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Don’t put all your faith in the GPS!

Mac We’ve told the story before of our misadventure in San Diego when, following directions from our GPS, we took a bad turn and bottomed out the RV taking out some airlines and doing minor damage to 3 cargo bay doors.   Well here’s a story about an older couple who were stranded for 2 nights after being routed down a back road by their GPS unit.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/09/30/couple-stuck-in-mud-for-2-nights-after-gps-leads-motor-home-to-oregon-back-road/

I won’t say “never” but we rarely trust the GPS any longer.  In areas we’re unfamiliar with we look ahead at the route on a paper map, and we sometimes use Google maps as well.  We had planned to buy a GPS for oversize vehicles.  However, we probably won’t since we’re hoping to downsize soon to a much smaller RV.

Happy travels – and don’t let your GPS lead you astray!

 

RV Space Saving Ideas

No matter how big or small the RV there always seems to be a need to save space!

Saw this link to Pinterest on Facebook.  Many ideas such as the one in the pic below.  http://www.pinterest.com/campingroadtrip/rv-space-saving-ideas/

 

 

 

Best Bluetooth Headset for Cell Phone

As many of you know I work from “home” wherever home is and I’m on the phone a lot.  In years past I’ve had several wired headsets for my cellphones and although I found one that did a “good” job I’ve never been 100% satisfied with the cord hanging around to get snagged.  I’ve probably tried 6 or 7 different Bluetooth headsets over the years including several styles and in price ranges from $20 to $150.

Favorite wired headset:  The Boom “O” and The Boom “C”

Although these were my favorites, and I used one of each for several years, I don’t recommend them.   Two big drawbacks.  #1 it’s wicked expensive!  #2 the plastic components don’t hold up to anything but TLC.  My first headset was held together in several places with electric tape and epoxy glue!  But the noise cancelling is truly outstanding.

Best single ear Bluetooth headset:  Jawbone

I have two versions of the “Jawbone” and while its noise cancelling is great the audio quality on the other end isn’t rock solid, at least for me.  One reason is the technology in the Jawbone requires a small plastic nipple to rest on your cheek and pick up vibration from your voice.  My beard gets in the way ;)

Best compromise Music & Phone Bluetooth headset:  LG HBS-730

I have one and it does a great job with music and an acceptable job with phone calls.  That’s backwards for me – I need exceptional phone calls.  If you’re the opposite and music is a priority I think you’ll really like the LG

My Current Favorite:   Blueparrott B250-XT

One day in a truck stop I saw these on display and asking around I discovered they are hugely popular.  I figured if it’s good enough for a trucker I would try it out.  Yes, it’s a single ear, over the head unit, and a little clunky looking, but it has great audio qualify both directions and it cancels out a lot of noise.  Will last all day on a full charge and that includes 8-12 hours standby and 2-5 hours talking.  I use these at my desk for work, and on the road.  YMMV

 

 

Earning a Living – Working while traveling in an RV Part 2

Mac In places where people talk about going fulltime this topic will come up often:  How can we make a living while we travel?  In Part 1 of this topic I said:

“There are hundreds of ways to earn money on the road, but 99% of them will fit into two categories:  1, doing what you do now, but from a “home office” on wheels, and 2, finding something different that you can do while you travel”

I addressed the second category first, so here are some thoughts about the first, doing what you do already.

You probably already know whether you have a job that would fit with fulltiming.  That’s because you understand your job and what it involves better than anyone.  But here are some questions to help you explore it.

  • Do you know anyone who does what you do from a home office or as a traveler?  If so, talk with them and get some insight.  If not, that should be a clue that it may not be a compatible job.
  • Is there a job you did previously that might work out?  Maybe you’re an HR manager now but you were previously a registered nurse, that’s an excellent profession for travel!
  • What jobs use the same skills, background, education as yours?  Can any of them be done on the road?
  • How about changing jobs now?  How much time until you start traveling?  Let’s say you have five years.  Is there a job that you’re positive you could do on the road that you could train into now and have several years experience before you start out?

I hope these questions have helped.  Below is a list of jobs that are compatible with a traveling lifestyle.

  • Recruiter ;-)  I am one – trust me you want to have at least 4 years experience and success before going fulltime, starting out in an office, then working successfully from a home office, then you’ll be ready.
  • Nurse (and other medical professions; physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, diagnostic imaging, etc.)
  • Electrician (and other construction trades)
  • Sales (some types but not all; seasonal RV sales, telemarketing,
  • Casino Dealer – blackjack, craps, poker, etc.  Usually better as a seasonal job than traveling
  • Accountant
  • Income Tax Preparer
  • Musician, Comedian, other performing arts
  • ?  Send me more and I’ll add them…

Saving Money on Fuel

Mac Whether you burn diesel or gas, and whether you get 7.5 mpg or 37.5 a dollar saved is a dollar saved.  We just returned last night from a 2,000 mile round trip (no unfortunately not in our RV, we were in the Honda) and for almost the whole trip we saved 20% on our fuel.  How did we do it?  I’ll tell you…Gift_card_shell

There’s a grocery chain here in Florida named Publix and they sometimes offer a deal on gas cards.  You buy a $50 worth of groceries and they’ll sell you a $50 gas card for $40.  Now before you think we spend $90 for each deal think again!  Chris does couponing and even though she’s no match for the “extreme couponers” she does very well.  I won’t go into all the details because some of you would be bored but we probably spend less than $25 on average for each basket of $50 worth of groceries.  So we bought $200 worth of groceries and $200 worth of gas cards ($400 combined value) for less than $260.

There are many other ways to save and I’m sure some of you know ways that we haven’t thought about.  Not everyone has a Publix or a grocer that does these deals but many places there are gas discount partnerships between specific fuel and grocery chains.  Likewise Caesar’s casinos has a deal going where you get a discount at Shell for every X points you earn.   Some casinos, especially Indian casinos with their own convenience store, let you buy fuel with your player’s club points.

You can also save as you travel by picking the station with the lower prices.  A website (and smartphone app) Gas Buddy will help you find the lowest user-reported prices on fuel in your area.  In extreme cases we’ve saved over 80 cents a gallon by consulting this website.  That was the difference we encountered once between fuel in Oregon and California as we were headed south on 101.  Stopped in Oregon and saved about $50!

Write me or comment with other ways to save.

Slowly moving the site over here

Mac I’m still in the process of moving our site from the .com over here to the .net.  Updating pages with new information as I go.  I’ve moved the Dry Camping series, and the article on choosing an RV.  Also, I published phred’s poop sheets for the first time.  While looking for them earlier this year I had a hard time finding them because the phrannie website is no longer online.  phred always allowed duplication, so when I finally found the phull set I included it here for posterity.

Lots of work, but it will be worth it when it’s all done!

Happy travels!

As Bob Seger said…

Well those drifters days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m older now but still running
Against the wind
Well I’m older now and still running
Against the wind

Most common questions on RV forums

VisitedStatesMap 5-13-12What do you suppose are the most common questions asked on RV forums?  When I first thought of this one side of my brain wanted to do a statistical sample, search for keywords, count and rank them.  I may eventually do that but for now I’ve chosen the less scientific but easier method of choosing the ones that have caught my attention.

I’ve already written about some of these, such as diesel vs. gas, how many solar panels do I need, how do fulltimers get their mail, etc.  But this time I was inspired by a simpler question; where does everyone get those cool maps on their posts showing all the states you’ve visited?  The answer to that and more will be indexed on a page with links to the answers in my blog.

So, where do you get those cool maps?  Here are a few places starting with my favorite

http://www.visitedstatesmap.com/

http://www.ammap.com/visited_states/

http://www.epgsoft.com/VisitedStatesMap/

Here’s a link to the Index of most common questions and I’ll add to it as we go

Happy Travels!