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Old 02-01-2016, 12:13 AM   #1
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Month long trip is over - and Modifications review

We just returned yesterday from a month-long trip from San Antonio to Tucson, AZ. It was a 1800 mile round trip and VERY fun to spend 3-weeks in Tuscon in January.

We stayed at the Lazy Days/KOA and really loved the resort. Everything about it was fantastic. Especially the weather. We also enjoyed Tucson and surrounding areas. I can't say enough about the destination - except to say we'll be back next year and will no doubt stay longer.

Before going I completed a number of modifications and I wanted to circle back and review each one.

1. Thetford Sani-Con
This is the macerator/pump you install on your RV's black and gray water dump outlet to rid yourself of the 3" hose in your bumper or wherever you store yours. Now that I've had a month of use I can tell you it's fantastic. They like to say "it's as easy as pumping gas" and they are correct. It really simplifies the dumping process. Yes, it takes a few minutes longer to dump in that smaller diameter hose - but everything else is so much faster, cleaner and easier that I'll never be without one of these again.

2. Hatchlift Gas Springs
I put Hatchlift Gas Springs on the two "up" opening hatch doors on my 3051S and this is another win. So great my only question is... why doesn't Forest River install these as standard equipment? My wife was skeptical when I spent $50 on hatch lifts - but the first time she had to get something out of the BIG hatch door she actually came up and said she was wrong about those Gas Spring things. Huh? That never happens.

3. Winegard Pathway X1 Satellite Dish (roof mounted)
We've had a Winegard automatic sat dish for 3 or 4 years - but its the kind you carry out, run a coax cable to, run 12-volt DC to it and place it on a stand in your campsite. It's great and always works, but it's a big hassle to do all that - so much that you just skip it for shorter stays. I really splurged and picked up a smaller, newer, easier Sat dish and mounted it on the roof. The difference is you just turn on your receiver, select the State you are in and boom - you've got your Dish Network channels. No muss, no fuss. So, for overnight stops it's just as easy as using the regular TV Antenna. We still carried our older "portable" dish as a back up - and actually found it to come in handy once. But the roof mount came in handy at all other stops.

The two other minor things that are must haves are the small aluminum step we carry to make entering the coach easier - and the screen door handrail that I installed during the trip.

The only mod I've made that hasn't been a must have is the Wifi Ranger Elite Pack system. We stayed in some very good RV parks that had strong Wifi and the extended range from the WiFi Ranger didn't come in handy at all. The accompanying Go2 Router on the other hand was a delight to use and made getting connected in each locale super convenient.

We bought our 3051S at the end of June and have put nearly 8,000 miles on it and have spent close to 75 days in the RV since then. We really enjoy it and love traveling in it.
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Old 02-01-2016, 03:18 AM   #2
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Creativepart-Glad to hear you had a GREAT trip. I like your mods especially the new roof top dish. Guess you just screw it down and attach the cable up there. Where did you put the receiver, or did I ask you that before?

Sorry we couldn't get down to Tucson and visit. Came down with a bad cold and only caught the last 2 days of Quartzsite. I wasn't feeling well at all and came home after that. Still coughing 2 weeks later.
Any chance you'll pop up to Quartzsite next year? We are probably headed your way in May or June going to NC and VA to visit relatives. Maybe catch you then.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:46 AM   #3
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Sage, when planning our trip initially we thought we'd spend most of our time in Palm Springs, going through Quartzsite, only spending a few days in Tucson. But my wife lobbied for halting at Tucson and staying put. She said, less days traveling, less mileage and less gas, plus more time to sit and relax.

She was right and we were glad to stay put. So, for next year we're likely to repeat this same formula but staying in Tucson longer than this year.

I still want to do a long stay in Palm Springs one day, but knowing us once we find a place we like we're likely to return year after year for a while.

You might miss us in May / June - we've already booked our next month-long outing leaving Mid-May and returning Mid-June. This is a trip we've taken every year for the past 7 years: San Antonio > Albuquerque (1-week) > Durango (2-weeks) > Santa Fe (1-week) > home.

We've even got a Fall (Sept/Oct) month-long trip planned back to Washington DC to visit our daughter. But spending less time in DC and more time at one of our favorite RV parks in Dandridge, TN (outside of Knoxville) at Anchor Downs RV Park.
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:55 AM   #4
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I forgot to add one important Modification that worked GREAT

4. Solid Valve Stems
Like most of you I suffered through having to constantly top-up the 6-tires on my RV. Seems they always lost a few lbs of pressure before and sometime during each trip. Not a lot a pressure, but enough that it was always something to check. But before this trip I spent $130 on new valve stems extensions that are solid rather than using a screw on valve extension. Then spent another $120 having them installed on each wheel. So nearly $300 for valve stems. I gotta admit that's sobering to read as I write it. But the day I had them installed they set the tire pressure and 80 psi rear and 75 psi front. Then a month later when getting ready to leave I checked the pressure and they were still 80/75 on the dot. Then we drove to Tucson, stayed 3 weeks and before leaving I checked the tires again - still 80/75. So, eliminating the screw-on extensions made all the difference in how solid the tire pressure is in these tires. This is a welcome change.
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Old 02-01-2016, 10:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sagecoachdriver View Post
I like your mods especially the new roof top dish. Guess you just screw it down and attach the cable up there. Where did you put the receiver, or did I ask you that before?
The Dish receiver I have (and older ViP211) is thin enough to sit under the TV on the overhead bunk. So mine sits right there in the corner under the TV. I put a IR to RF converter on the receiver so that I can change SAT channels in the Bedroom or even outside to operate those other TVs. And I attached a HDD to the USB port of the SAT receiver so we can pause and record shows. all of this sits behind the TV which we leave facing forward on it's swing mount pretty much all the time in the overhead bunk section.

And yes, installation of the dish was super easy. Climb up on roof > place Dish > screw it down > dicor everything in sight > run coax from dish to the provided coax connector > repeat dicor (and dicor tape) on everything. Done.

PS. We've had Dish Network service since 1998 at our home - so the RV Dish just piggy-backs on that account. We pay $5 a month for the extra receiver and just leave it on our RV. We did the same when we had a Travel Trailer.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:02 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creativepart View Post
The only mod I've made that hasn't been a must have is the Wifi Ranger Elite Pack system. We stayed in some very good RV parks that had strong Wifi and the extended range from the WiFi Ranger didn't come in handy at all. The accompanying Go2 Router on the other hand was a delight to use and made getting connected in each locale super convenient.
I think if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't bother buying the Elite antenna. I love the Go2 but 99% of the time, I use my own hotspot. When I don't use it, the campground wifi has been accessible at my site without the Elite. In fact, lately- I've disconnected it and have left it disconnected. I want to play around with it to see if I can extend the range of my devices connect to my own wifi (e.g. my daughter's iPod when she's out roaming around).

Glad you had a good trip!
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:13 AM   #7
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Nice write up!

On the 3051 model, with the slide in, can you still recline the drivers seat back to make it comfortable while driving? I've sat in both the 3051, and 3011 but not with the slides in. I'm not tall at 6'0, and just looking for info as to the drivers seat can recline "some" with the couch behnd you.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:19 AM   #8
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I think if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't bother buying the Elite antenna. I love the Go2 but 99% of the time, I use my own hotspot. When I don't use it, the campground wifi has been accessible at my site without the Elite. In fact, lately- I've disconnected it and have left it disconnected.

I feel the exact same way. I too don't use the Elite antenna about 80% of the time. The Go2 was available for $239 and the mini router for $159. I'll bet I would be just as happy with the Mini Router.

But the router makes it so easy. We have 6-wifi devices (between the 2 of us!). All we do is set up the router for either our Verizon aircard or the available CG wifi and all 6-devices are all set to go since each one connects to the private network offered by the router.

There have been a few times that the Elite Antenna has helped out - but only a few. Most of the time it just helps you log on to the really bad wifi offered by the campground. No real benefit.

We also think that our Verizon aircard works better connecting to the Go2 via WiFi than when we tether it via USB cable. Does it seem that way to you?
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:21 AM   #9
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Nice write up!

On the 3051 model, with the slide in, can you still recline the drivers seat back to make it comfortable while driving? I've sat in both the 3051, and 3011 but not with the slides in. I'm not tall at 6'0, and just looking for info as to the drivers seat can recline "some" with the couch behnd you.
I'm 6' 2' and do have the seat all the way back and reclined quite a bit, too. It does interfere with the slide when it's in. But not too much. The slide will still come in all the way, but it contacts the top of the seatback.
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Old 02-01-2016, 11:31 AM   #10
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Sage, when planning our trip initially we thought we'd spend most of our time in Palm Springs, going through Quartzsite, only spending a few days in Tucson. But my wife lobbied for halting at Tucson and staying put. She said, less days traveling, less mileage and less gas, plus more time to sit and relax.

She was right and we were glad to stay put. So, for next year we're likely to repeat this same formula but staying in Tucson longer than this year.

I still want to do a long stay in Palm Springs one day, but knowing us once we find a place we like we're likely to return year after year for a while.

You might miss us in May / June - we've already booked our next month-long outing leaving Mid-May and returning Mid-June. This is a trip we've taken every year for the past 7 years: San Antonio > Albuquerque (1-week) > Durango (2-weeks) > Santa Fe (1-week) > home.

We've even got a Fall (Sept/Oct) month-long trip planned back to Washington DC to visit our daughter. But spending less time in DC and more time at one of our favorite RV parks in Dandridge, TN (outside of Knoxville) at Anchor Downs RV Park.
Nice trips planned. IF we don't go east in the spring, then we will in the fall. The DW wants to see the fall colors. We'd be headed to Harrisonburg VA and down to Asheville NC about the same time. Guess that's about an 1hour 45 minutes from your spot in Tennessee. Maybe then.
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