Thursday, December 12, 2019

Reminiscing in San Diego, CA…

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We have stayed in San Diego many times over the past eight years and have for the most part always enjoyed excellent sunny and mostly warmer weather. That is not the case this year… Sigh!

Our first 7 to 10 days mostly lived up to our expectations but then a cold front out of Alaska came this far south and dumped snow on the mountains around San Diego and rain on our park. It has been much of the same off and on ever since that first front came through.

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Mind you when daytime temperatures are mostly in the very low 60’s we’d still be ok but with the coastal breeze and moisture in the air near the coast it has felt colder than it is. Throw in the fact that it has also been cloudy most days and has rained a whole lot. In fact, I read that San Diego had more rainfall than Seattle Washington did in the month of November!

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It has us discussing the likelihood of us ever returning to San Diego. Not only is the weather cooler than normal but the since we were last here the price for our stay has gone up about 35%. Gas prices are around the $4.00 per gallon mark, craft beer pints are $7 to $10 for a pint unless we search to find more affordable happy hour pricing and groceries in general are higher too

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Another disappointment is the appearance of our RV park.  Three years ago we knew that the City would be relinquishing the park to the neighboring Camp Land RV park.  Little did we know that during the changeover which finally occurred while we have been here, the city would quit watering the grass and keeping up the landscaping.

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The facilities are locked up and broken down. Even the little snack bar is gone. Our walk around the park and the bay is not as appealing because in the three years we have been gone, the empty park model homes have not been removed so they have been vandalized and it’s just depressing to see.

That being said, when there are nice days we are able to fully enjoy those days. We have ridden our bikes all along the bay as well as over to the nearby stores of Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and Vons for our grocery shopping. We have also ridden over to Ocean Beach or Mission Beach to ride along the boardwalk to enjoy the sounds and sights of the Pacific Ocean surf. And where else can we buy an almond based delectable dip called bitchin sauce???

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Thankfully we have found a few nice happy hours in the area such as at a new Coronado Brewing location by our park, Rock Bottom when we are in La Jolla, OB Noodle House at Ocean Beach and the Draft House in Mission Beach. Coinciding happy hour with the time for the sun to set over the ocean has made the Draft House one of our very favorite places to be for happy hours!

While we do still love a lot about San Diego we both have come to the realization that it is in all likelihood our last time to be in this part of Southern California…

NOTE: We are currently in San Diego CA until Dec. 28th before spending the most of the rest of the winter in Arizona…

Friday, December 6, 2019

In San Diego, The Bikes are Ready…

We made it to San Diego California and we will stay until just after Christmas. We have spent a lot of time here over the years so we will re-visit a lot of favorite places we have been to before. We also have some things to repair and items to order now that we have an address to send things to.

When we settle in for longer stays we take our bikes off the bike rack and then take our bike rack off too. We love our car’s 3-bike rack but it kind of gets in the way when we want to access the back of the car.

With our bikes off the first order of business was to get our bicycles back in shape. Since we keep them on our bike rack with no protection they have gotten quite weathered. We don’t have high quality bikes for just that reason but we still need them to get around smoothly especially at our site here in San Diego. From our park we can easily bike to beaches or we have miles of trails all around the bayfront.

Our first repair was to replace some of the sticking/rusted cables on the bikes for the shifter and the brakes. There is a big difference between shifter cables and brake cables but a simple way to tell the difference is to simply look at the size of the “bead” on the end of the cable. Large beaded cables are brake cables and small beaded cables are shifter cables.

Hyacinth 10PCS Premium Bike Shift Cable, Professional Bicycle Shift Wire Kit for Mountain and Road Bicycle, for Free 5 O-Rings, 10 End Ferrules and 20 End Caps

I used a little Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube on the new cables and reinserted them in their appropriate sleeves. Next up was to lube the chain. I decided against taking the chains and soaking them in oil even though I know that that is really just what they needed. Instead I opted for the same Teflon based lubricant spray and got the chains and gears all lubed up.

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Perfect… now all we needed was a good test ride. Our park here at Mission Bay RV park is the perfect park to bike from so our first ride was over to Mission Beach to enjoy the boardwalk and ocean views. Now that our bikes are all  prepped up we look forward to using them everyday on the Mission Bay Trails during our stay here…

NOTE: We are currently in San Diego CA until Dec. 28th before spending the rest of the winter in Arizona…

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019 Buying Guide for RV Kitchens…

I thought this would be a good time to come up with a list items we have found invaluable in our kitchen over the last eight plus years we have been full timing. For those of us living in small spaces with limited storage space and continually moving around we have acquired things that fit this lifestyle to a “T.” Most of these items will either be lightweight or take up little space as those are the two major factors one must consider when purchasing kitchen items for RV’s. A few items on the list will simply be those that make life much easier for us in our confined spaces. So what are they?

Collapsible Kitchen Items – We have several of these Items such as a the collapsible strainer,  the collapsible measuring cups and the collapsible salad spinner. These collapsible items take up so little space and are easy to clean and sanitary. The colors of the measuring cups also makes it easy to grab the one you want… well, that is after you remember which color goes with which measuring cup!

Non Stick and Heat Resistant Baking Mat Set

We use this all the time when baking as it can be used in the oven, microwave, toaster oven or even freezer. This simply turns any baking sheet into a non-stick surface without having to use oil or cooking spray.  It can also be used as a flexible cookie sheet. They are flexible so are easily stored anywhere!

Heat Resistant Kitchen Spatulas

We love these flexible silicone spatulas that are heat resistant so they won’t warp or melt like plastic ones do. Also since they are solid silicone they have no crevices like wooden ones for bacteria to collect and grow. We like having multiple sizes so we can get all the goodies out of any size container with one of these!

Below are some other kitchen tools that make our life easier and help keep our non-stick pots and pans protected.  These are rated up to 480℉ for handling heat. Now while we don’t have this complete set we do have several of these tools and if I were starting all over this is the set I would want in our RV. Add to this a Silicone Whisk Set and the utensil list is pretty much complete.

We currently still have heavy cutting boards but I would trade them in for a set of these flexible cutting matts. By purchasing a set of these matts in assorted colors with nifty food icons means we could use separate mats for different raw foods thus avoiding any cross-contamination. Cool!  I really don’t know why we don’t own these… maybe I should get us a set for Christmas!

Another item we have that we love for their durability and light weight are our Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls. They are light weight and easy to use and with the polished finish they are easy to clean as well.!

CounterArt Flexible Cutting Mat with Food Icons, Set of 4(Set of 6) Dozenegg Mixing Bowls Standard Weight Stainless Steel, Mirror Finish, 3/4, 11/2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 Qt.

Since we are both short our must have is a Folding Step Stool. Without this much of our storage would simply be unusable. It is great for reaching the higher cabinets and cleaning those otherwise out of reach places. Sharon also loves it for resting her feet on when we are traveling since her feet don’t touch the floor when she is seated in the passenger seat.

One of the things we quite often reach for is our Hand Held Blender.  While this is not the one we have this Hamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender is an almost exact duplicate of the one we bought five years ago. With the attachments we are able to do everything from puree sauces, chop a small amount of vegetables or nuts and even beat egg whites to a a peak. So this is also used as our mixer.  We wouldn’t leave home without one…

Home-it Super quality Folding Step Stool great for kids and adults 11 Inches. Black, holds up to 300 LBSHamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender

While we don’t have one of these many of our RV friends swear they couldn’t live without an Electric Frying Pan. We simply don’t have the storage to have one of these so we list it here simply because so many others love their electric fry pans. They do make them as small as 7 inches which has tempted us but we still have never purchased one. We love our new T-Fal 10.5” skillet that. We recently replaced our very favorite Cast Iron Skillet with this one and it’s non-stick capability is simply amazing!   Eggs simply never stick in this pan! That said I still use my iron skillet for many other dishes.

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Another item we don’t have that a lot of RV’ers say they love is a toaster oven. Storage is the big issue here for us but for those with more storage space you may want one of these!  We do have a regular toaster because sometimes we crave toasted bagels! We store ours inside our oven when we travel.

A bulky item we do have but really love is our countertop double burner. The one we currently have has two burners, one at 600 watts and one at 900 watts. We love using this as it frees up counter space and also, let's be real… why pay for propane to use our gas stove when we mainly receive electricity for free. Our one complaint is that it takes a long tome to boil water on 900 watts so I would prefer more wattage. In fact when this one dies we will likely buy one of the newer induction burners. While these are pricier than the one we have the safety it offers is more than worth the additional cost. And we would get one that ranges up to at least 1800 watts as well.

Two items we don’t have but otehr RV’ers love!

A couple of other small appliances that are nice to have are a compact blender and a new Instapot. While we have items that perform these tasks these are two items we would love to get! For RVers short on storage space it pays to find a good compact blender. Having yourself this powerful micro blender means not missing out on smoothies or your favorite frozen cocktail. The Ninja Master Prep is, we feel, the one to get for RV’ers.  Not too small and not too big this blender can whip up favorite beverages in its 48-ounce pitcher. After all any bigger and you might just imbibe a bit too much!

The Instapot is one of the hottest kitchen products around now and they come in all varieties. Once our crockpot dies we will most likely replace it with one of these. We find it hard to buy one now when our crock pot works just fine. So it is on our Christmas wish list for now.

Coffee drinkers typically find space for their favorite coffee maker. We are still using our old trusty Cuisinart while many others make space for their Kuerigs or Expresso coffee machines. We figured we would use the Cuisinart until it died. So what would we like to have to replace it? We would love to have a the AeroPress Coffee Maker. This compact coffee maker uses an air pressure brewing process to make 1 to 4 cups of American or espresso style coffee. Boy, as coffee lovers, we would love to have one of these!

Last year we got some Airtight Storage Containers. We had some aluminum ones with clamping styled lids that broke. So we bought some inexpensive ones at an Aldi’s Grocery Store that we loved except they were too cheap and the lids are failing. We love being able to see what's inside and the best part is that they keep all the bugs on the outside for that inevitable time you get invaded by ants. Although they are a bit pricey we figure one ant invasion thwarted will pay for them by saving the contents inside!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Great Gift Ideas for your favorite RV’er!

Here are some great gadgets or gift ideas that we love or have found useful. I have listed them in order of cost so get shopping for your favorite RV’er :

Under $15

Water Bandit – This is a must have for RV’ers who like to use National Parks, State Parks and US Forest Service campgrounds. This little non-threaded blue wonder will attach to any water source!

Kink-Free Hose Saver – This nifty little hose attachment will help prevent hose kinking and is drinking water safe!

.Quick Products QP-KFHS Kink-Free Hose Saver - 5/8"

Gorilla Quick Hose Disconnect – Make life easy with these quick connect/disconnects and make hooking up your water hoses quick and easy!

Command Hooks – These adhesive hooks are great for hanging items in the RV as they are easy to install and come off easy without leaving a trace.

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Microfiber Dish Drying Mat – Every RV kitchen needs one of these small but efficient matts for drying dishes on.

Quakehold Museum Putty – Want your pictures to stay up and not fall down? Don’t want to make holes in the walls. Here you go… museum putty works on any surface.

RV Slideout Corner Guards – Tired up hitting your head on the corner of your slide-out? Get rid of the those swimming noodles and use these.

Vanicream Lip Protectant/Sunscreen Tube, SPF 30 – Sharon had to go through a painful process when she found out she had pre-cancerous spots on her lips. The Mayo dermatologists told us to use this lip cream for the best protection of our lips from harmful sun damaging rays.

RV Gutter Spouts – If your RV doesn’t have these or the ones you have are missing you need these. They directs rainwater away from the sides of your RV thus reducing dirt and water streaks and it installs in just minutes.

Under $30

Rand McNally 2020 Large Scale Road AtlasIt is always nice to have a good map to go along with your GPS. Also great for boondocking since it uses no power and it also includes information on bridge heights and highway exits.


Heavy Duty RV Tire Gauge –We all know that checking our tire pressure on our RV is extremely important. So pick up one of these heavy duty tire gauges.

Exercise Resistance Bands – Are you into fitness and staying in  shape then these portable exercise bands are the perfect gift. If you have a small set of weights then a set of these will make your outdoor gym complete.

Digital Wireless Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer – Need to know how chilly it is outside? Then this device that displays indoor and outdoor temperatures is just what you need.

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Kill-A-Watt Meter - This cool gadget will monitor the electrical load of any plugged-in device. Why do this? Well it helps when you are boondocking by knowing how much power each of your plugged-in devices consume.

RV Visited States Stickers – Mark where you have been and where you haven’t been. This is a great ice breaker at RV parks as people will simple stop and ask about some of the states you have been to.

Camping Signs – Many RV’ers like to add a little touch of home to their camp site. Check out this camping signs for one that fits your style.many under $25 but others are higher.

Under $50

Oxygenics Shower Head – Want better water pressure especially when boondocking. Then you will want to replace tour current shower head with this one.

Zero-G Freshwater Hose - While we don’t have one of these hoses yet you are looking at our next hose that we will purchase. I love the Teknor Apex’s lighter weight and that it is kink-free. This is one great heavy-duty RV hose.
Cameo Heavy Duty Leveling BlocksThese are perfect for leveling single and dual Wheels on Class A RV’s. They are also great for Class B’'’s and C’s as they work well under hydraulic jacks and tongue jacks.

Over $75

Portable RV Jump Pack: -  One thing that has saved our bacon more than once is one of these. When you have a dead battery and don’t have jumper cables this device will jump start your car or RV without anyone else's assistance. I will say just don’t buy the Whistler brand as we have been going around and around with their company to replace our unit after it quit working after only two uses.

Drone Quadcopter with Camera – I don’t own this item but love watching them and seeing the photography they take form above. A perfect entry-level drone with easy controllability and the Amazon number one best seller.

Good Sam Roadside Assistance  - Every RV’er needs a reliable 24/7 Roadside Assistance policy. This policy has unlimited towing, lockout services, fluid delivery and more at just $79.95 per year! It is only $49.95 over the next two days!!! We have had this service for the last eight years and had to use it twice. Once for a roadside flat repair and once for a tow 60 miles away to a service center.

Good Sam Roadside Assistance Logo

Gift Cards - Can be any denomination

Not sure what to get your favorite RV’er then one of the best stocking stuffers you could get them would be an Amazon Gift Card!  Or you could pick a site specific gift card to one of their favorite restaurants by searching this link for gift cards Who wouldn’t want a gift card in their stockings!

Gift a RV Membership

Lastly get a gift that will save your favorite RV’er a bunch of cash when they go camping. Get them a one year Membership to Passport America. For only $44.00 your favorite RV’er will save 50% off at nearly 1900 campgrounds.

We have been members for nearly seven years and we have stayed at many of these campgrounds. While they may not be all glamorous resorts many of them are among some of our favorite places to stop…. and we get them all for 50% off! What a deal!!!!

Amazon Prime Membership – Need something delivered fast? Then you need this. Also gives access to free streaming of thousands of books and movies as well as millions of songs and many other perks!

Harvest Hosts: While we aren’t currently members now we always sign up when we get near areas that are rich in camping opportunities using this membership. It allows members to stay FREE overnight at vineyards, farms and other unique spots. At $44 per year it will pay for itself fast. We found it best for smaller rigs but those of us with larger rigs can stay at a lot of real neat spots as well.

Boondockers Welcome - Another group that offers up a large database of free campsites across the USA. This site however, is not for those of us with large RV’s and is better suited to smaller RV’s as many of its sites will be in someone’s driveway. Great for city camping

Xscapers or Escapees: The Xscapers is a community of working-age RVers that holds regular convergences & meetups while the Escapees tend to be non-working retirees. Not only do you get great discounts on many parks you will meet a lot of new friends through these communities.

OVER $100

WeBoost Drive Sleek Cell Phone Booster - Now although we don’t use this device it is the most recommended for those who wants or wished they had better cell reception on the road. Better yet this booster is an affordable option that requires no permanent installation!

Portable Grill - Not every campground has access to a grill and if they do they are usually pretty nasty. If you boondock (camp for free on public lands) you really need a grill. I currently use the Coleman Road Trip Portable Grill and have so for nearly 7 years. I find it to be an excellent grill for most of our needs. The only other one I would personally recommend is the Weber Q Portable Grills. We know many RV’ers who swear by this grill as well.

Instant Pot 7 in 1 Cooker – Another device we don’t currently own but when one of our major appliances dies we will most likely be owning one of these. Everyone who has ne raves about the various ways this one pot cooker can be used. Wow  - Just Looked and this is a Cyber Monday Special.

Garmin RV 760LMT Portable GPS Navigator – The ultimate RV GPS! This baby has a large 7" high-resolution touchscreen displays It has cautions and advisories (i.e. risk of grounding, lateral wind, narrow road, sharp curve, steep hill and tree overhangs). You can even talk to it. as it has vo. ice-activated navigation. It includes specialized RV routing based on customizable restrictions such as height, weight, width and length. And it comes with free lifetime map and traffic updates

Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch Sharon loves, loves, loves her fitbit. Maximize your workouts, count your steps, track your heart rate, see phone calls, texts and calendar notifications on the OLED display, automatically track how long and how well you sleep and more… Did I mention Sharon loves her fitbit!!!

RV Awning Screen – We love our Awning Screen as it gives us a sense of privacy as well as much needed shade when facing west. While we may not use this all the time it is absolutely fantastic for any of our extended stays and is always the first thing out to be put up. Your price will depend on your size ordered and some are even under $100. Make sure to measure how long and how tall you want your screen to maximize your room inside it.