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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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!

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 Good, The Bad, and the …

LOVE and HATE__As we sit around in our RV we can’t but get into those conversations that ask…
What would we change if we did it all over again?  What is it that we absolutely love about our RV and what do we hate?… we hate is kinda rough.. what, if we had a magic wand would we change in our RV or what would we like in our next RV?
So here are some of the Good, the Bad, and the.. well we really don’t have anything Ugly.
The Good.
We Love the layout and the space of our RV.  It gives us lots of room to hang out with friends, play games, and relax.  I love the fact that when you walk around in the trailer you don’t have to walk sideways or wait till the other person moves.  There is plenty of space.  With the Rear Lounge layout we have great seating for socializing and relaxing in the RV.  I love the big rear window and the views it affords.
We love the two rocking chairs that are in the rear lounge.  They are comfortable and are in the perfect place for relaxing and being social.
We love the Bedroom, or specifically the queen size bed.  With the added memory foam the comfort is incredible.  We also love that the bedroom is completely apart from the main living area and has a pocket door that allows for privacy during much-needed nap time.
The restroom is a good size, but the feature I love the most there is shower.  There is plenty or room in the shower and we don’t have to hunch down to get wet.
The kitchen area is serviceable.  It does what it is designed to do.  The stove top is nice with its three burner cook top.  The oven is small, but works for what we need it to do.
There is not a lot of counter space, but the dinette is right across from the galley, so prep work can be done there.
Where we do have a lot of space is in storage.  There is a ton of cabinets and storage space in this trailer.  We love to have a place for everything and have everything in its place.
The Bad.
There is nothing so bad with this trailer that you can’t live with.  But as we are always looking for the next best thing, or things that can be better here are the things that we would change if we had a magic wand.
First, and what will more than likely be our next project is the bathroom sink, specifically the faucet.  It is positioned under a medicine cabinet that does not allow for you to really get over the sink.  This makes even washing hands and brushing teeth a bit of a challenge.  A faucet with a longer arm or corner placement would have been better.
The space around the bed in the bedroom.  This is a tight area and makes walking around the bed tough,  Another 4 inches or so would be nice.  But then we would sacrifice the Queen bed… that’s not an option.  Maybe in the next RV we get a slide out in the bed room too.
The couch in the living area.  It is a fold out bed and seats two.  It’s not the most comfortable, but then again, it’s not terrible.  I would replace it with recliners or two more rockers though.  It would be a better use of seating and space.
The table at the dinette.  It is a good size table as is… but when we get in the trailer to play cards or board games with our friends, it can get tight.  A table with about 6 more inches in width would be perfect.
And that is it.  We love our Passport Trailer.  It is our Happy Place.  While we can dream and wish and fix things up, at the end of the day this trailer is a gem.  We love it.
If you could change just one thing in your RV… what would it be?  Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.

Upgrading the Camera- Canon M 50

img_0209Recently we have been learning how to make better videos and as a result trying to learn to shot better photos.  Thank goodness for Youtube, there is a lot of information out there.  Now that I am on a fixed income… camera gear has to fall into a serious budget and so we needed to find bang for our buck.  After doing a lot of research we decided to go with a camera that shoots fantastic video and takes good to great pictures.  I still have a lot to learn about the set up and mechanics of photography, but this camera is set up to make it a fantastic entry level camera.
I am still learning, but there are some great tutorials out there.
Here are my impressions of the camera after using it for the last few weeks.
First.  The size. Unlike the DLSR camera’s this camera is a lot less bulky.  It fits well in the hand and still has lots of fantastic features.
Second.  It has a nice flip screen on the back which is also a touch screen.  This feature is nice as you can control the camera by touching the screen.  Focus, menus, and camera settings are all right there at the touch of the screen.  For a beginner, it is nice to see the changes in the picture as you make them.  This has really helped me learn what the camera and settings do.
Finally.  The price.  Yeah, the price was a big factor in getting this camera.  I picked it up on Amazon for $599.00 and got free shipping.  The value is certainly worth it in my opinion.  I think that a combination of the size, ease of use, and quality help me learn and actually use the M 50.  It is very convenient to haul around and use.  I am liking this camera a lot.
So here are the specs for the M 50.

Specifications

Key Specs

  • Maximum Video Frame Rate- Up to 60 fps
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • Lens Mount Compatibility- Canon EF, Canon EF-M, Canon EF-S

Dimension

  • Product Width- 4.6 inches
  • Product Height- 3.5 inches
  • Product Depth- 2.3 inches
  • Camera Body Weight- 0.78 pounds

Compatibility

  • Remote Compatible- Yes
  • Memory Card Compatibility- Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)

Display

  • Display Type-
    LCD touch screen
  • Varying Angle Screen
  • Folding Display Form Factor

Connectivity

  • Number Of Memory Card Slots -1
  • No Internal Memory Included
  • Output(s)- HDMI
  • No Integrated GPS
  • Tripod/Monopod Mountable

Included

  • No Memory Card Included
  • Batteries Included
  • Number of Lenses Included- Kit Lens 15-45mm
  • Lens Series- Canon EF-M

Performance

  • Not Shock Resistant
  • Records Audio
  • Self Timer

Power

  • AC Adapter Compatible
  • Battery Model- LP-E12
  • Removable Battery
  • Rechargeable Battery

Feature

  • Digital Camera Type-  Mirrorless Camera with Lens
  • Integrated Flash
  • Slow Motion Recording

Imaging

  • Lens Type- Standard Zoom
  • Image File Format(s)- JPEG, RAW
  • Face Detection
  • Low Light/High Sensitivity
  • Brightness Control
  • Number Of Images Per Charge- 235

Exposure Control

I hope you enjoyed this review.  I like the camera and am learning so much about photography by using it.  Hopefully the quality of our videos and the pictures that we take on adventures will get better and better.

What camera do you use?
Thanks again for stopping by our Happy Place.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

high-windThis last weekend there was a big Scouting event out at the Oregon Coast.  Specifically, the event is held annually at a National Guard Camp.  The Scouts like it as it provides some real nice facilities and barracks, which is really nice for an event in January at the Coast.  But as you can imagine, a room full of Scouts or Scouters can be a bit loud and the snoring in the adult rooms is overwhelming.
The event being at the Army camp is great for me as a retiree from the Army.  The camp has an RV park, full hook ups and nice and level.  So each year, I bring the RV so I can participate in the event and still get a great nights sleep.  Win Win! Seeing as this is an Order of the Arrow event and not a unit event I don’t have to be with the boys from our Troop.
Friday we arrived at the Camp and got set up.  There was a little drizzle, but the weather was coming in.  By Friday night the winds were blowing steady at around 30 mph and gusting to 50 mph.
I had the slide out in place and the slide topper was smacking the roof.  It sounded like a freight train was coming through.  I went outside to check on the topper, nervous that it would rip or come unattached from the trailer.  I had never been in the RV with winds so high.  Being safer than sorry, I pulled the slide out in to keep the topper from being destroyed.
This settled the rocking down a little and I could sleep well knowing that no more damage would be done to the RV.
The trailer shook and rocked so much that it actually shifted off the blocks I put the stabilizers on.
The next morning the sun came out and the winds had died.  I did a good walk around the trailer and found no damage.. whew.  The topper was in place and worked properly when I put the slide out.  Relief.
We have never been in anything like that before in the RV.. it reminded though of the reason (one of the reasons) that we got into the RV.. We were camped in our tent at the coast when we got hit by 70 mph gusts.. it just was not fun anymore.  So on the way home from that trip we talked about looking into RVing.  We have not regretted that storm since.  But this time was a little different in that now it is our RV and I did not want to see it damaged.. A rip in a tent is a small issue compared to damage to an RV.
I am glad that I was in it though.. the Shake, Rattle, and Roll, of the RV was still better than a tent, and way better than sleeping in those barracks.
Question of the Week…
Whats the biggest storm you have been in with your RV?
Any great stories?
Have a Happy Day!

The BIG 5 List – Pets

44497060_10215972748805023_4616306690273312768_oThis weeks BIG 5 List is all about pets.  Yep for the most part our four legged friends that love to hop in the RV and head out for adventures with us.
We have two traveling companions, Sadie and Chunk.  They are campers through and through.  When it’s time to load up the trailer, they are first to the door and ready to go.  Our little family members are seasoned campers  They have their spot in the RV and the truck and seem to love being out for the ride.
This week we will list our BIG 5 things to consider when traveling with your pet.
Here we go!
1.  Treat them like family.  When we take out little ones with us, we include them in most if not all of our activity.  We don’t bring them so they can just sit in the RV.  We have pets for companionship.  Leaving them alone all day is not why they want to be with you.. or the other way around.
2.  Make sure to give them their space.  We throw a extra large dog bed on the floor of the trailer.  It is a place for them to nap, lay around, or delight in a treat.  But it is their space and they know that they are welcome when we give them that place to be a part of our journey.
3.  Take their favorite stuff.  We have a blanket they like, their bed and of course their toys.  Again, it is a part of making them welcome.. that and when you do have to leave them alone, they have their stuff to keep them entertained.
4.  Make sure their shots are up to date and bring along their medical record/shot records.  You never know when you will need them.  An unexpected trip to an out of town Vet or a trip to Petsmart for a special Spa Day.  You will need to have that documentation.  I have even heard of some camp grounds or RV resorts that want to know that your pets are current.
5.  Our Dogs love to take walks.  Help your dogs help you stay fit.  I see too many dogs just leashed (chained) up to a tree in the campsite while the people ignore them.  Walks on the beach are Sadie and Chunks favorite camping activity.  Chasing the ball on the beach is Chunks idea of heaven on earth.  So get out and active with your pets.

We love our pets and want them to be a part of our lives and our camping adventures!  If you bring them along have a great time with them.  They are special to all of us.
Oh.. a bonus item for the list…
If you have barkers… yeah ours tend to bark at times too.. but they typically bark when they are scared or lonely.  The more they know you are there for them, the less they bark.  At least that’s our experience.
Thanks for coming along with us… what are some things you do with your pets and hey… how about giving us a tip on your pet experience.  Leave us a comment.
Have a Happy Day!