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Old 05-23-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
exav8tr
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What We have Learned

Well folks, today is a very special day in our lives. One year ago today we picked up our 3400 from Simmons RV in Anchorage, Alaska and started our “Big Adventure”, as most of us call it.

I will say it has been a very good year. We have traveled through the Northwest, West, and Southwest and are now headed to the upper Midwest and will travel East to the Great Lakes, then after the Fall rally in Goshen will head for Nashville and then on to Texas and who knows where after that.

We have visited friends and family and met many folks along the way, learned to play a great game called pickle ball and learned how to geocache. We have been on roads that we shouldn’t have been on (Moonshine Pass Road in Oregon) and many beautiful roads.

We have learned that we could Boon dock, thanks to many great folks at Quartzsite in February. Also learned how long we could go without emptying the black and gray tanks. Learned that most AC plugs in the 3400 are hooked to the kitchen breakers. Learned that the Monty is more stable with JT stabilizers than without. Learned that an air ride hitch is invaluable. Learned that if an RV Park has the word Resort in it don’t believe it. Learned you CAN have HDTV on the road. Learned that if your roof mount sat dish is blocked by trees you will not get a signal Learned to carry a portable dish for this reason. Learned that Sat Radio and Navigation system is invaluable. Learned if you have both your propane tanks open at the same time, they will both empty at the same time. Learned that if you have the trailer plugged into 30 amp power, you cannot run the furnace, a 1500 watt heater, microwave and espresso maker at the same time. Learned how to back the big monster into a 90 degree parking spot (takes many tries still). Learned you don’t have to park perfectly square in a parking spot. Learned that service on the road is best facilitated by making appointments well ahead of time. Learned that Tire Pressure Monitors can save your bacon (4 times). Learned to read the MOC forum daily for invaluable information. Learned to perform routine maintenance and preventative maintenance on the Montana. We have learned that not all Camping Worlds or Wally worlds are the same. Learned to deal with financial management on the road and medications from three different sources. Learned we CANNOT collect souvenirs everywhere we visit, (T-shirts excepted). We have even suffered through the loss of our Golden Retriever, Sam, whom we dearly miss. Cats can adapt to life on the road quite easily.

We have been to a Good Sam Rally, 2 Life on Wheels Conferences and 2 MOC Rally’s. We hope to do more rallies in the coming year. We are gradually learning what a beautiful country we live in and what great people RVers can be.

To those of you thinking about fulltiming: This lifestyle is not for everyone, I would advise reading some of the fulltiming books available from folks who have been doing this for years and then evaluate your situation, THEN: GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!

Hope to meet many more of you on the road this coming year!!!!!

Phil & Cathy
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:39 PM   #2
Icehouse
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Great summary Phil! And I'll agree with you that if an RV park has the word resort in it, don't believe it! That's priceless!
Tammy
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:41 PM   #3
Jim Jarvis
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That's a great report Phil. I would only question one thing, the running out of propane if you have both tanks open. I do this all the time (both tanks open) and do not run out at the same time. Makes me wonder if you have your pointer "straight up" or pointed to one tank.

Being a dog lover, I really feel sorry for the loss of Sam.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:19 AM   #4
padredw
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Quote:
quote:Learned if you have both your propane tanks open at the same time, they will both empty at the same time
Ditto to Jim above. If this happened, it is not normal. Normal operation is for both valves to be open, so that supply will not be interrupted when the "active" tank (indicated by valve handle) runs out. The indicator will then "turn red" and the valve handle should be turned to the full tank which becomes the "active" tank. Then the empty tank can be removed and filled--and on, and on, and on, and on.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:45 AM   #5
stiles watson
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Thanks for posting. Now I don't have to write our one year summery (in this unit) because I can just refer to yours. We didn't have a Sam to miss and I do know the tanks empty sequentially, not simultaneously, when both valves are open, beginning with the tank that you point the controller handle to. We have also learned that we can overcome some very challenging setbacks and difficult circumstances and still enjoy our nomadic lifestyle. Congratulations on your first year.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:59 AM   #6
LonnieB
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Congratulations Phil and Cathy on your one year milestone. It sounds like you guys are really enjoying your new lifestyle, and learning all kinds of new things. I will agree with the others on the propane issue, both tanks should not empty simultaniously.

Keep on having fun.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:52 AM   #7
exav8tr
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I guess I need to check the propane valve more often. I guess I had run out of one and missed filling the empty one before the other ran out. I do this now, when one runs out I switch valve to other and refill empty. This I learned also........
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:09 AM   #8
DHenry
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Phil & Cathy,
Congratulations on your one year anniversary with your Montana. We are happy that we could be a part of your experiences by meeting you two in Quartzsite last January. Happy travels.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:23 AM   #9
SAndreasen
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Congrats on your one year of fulltiming it! We are one of the fortunate ones who got the chance to meet the two of you. (AZ) Keep enjoying the lifestyle of the road, enjoy each other's company and our great country.
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:09 PM   #10
rogue
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Congratulations on your first year, lets hope you have many more safe and enjoyable ones. Even thought we do not full time, we have put about 10,000 miles on this year, and have enjoyed every one of them.
Bob
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:44 AM   #11
sreigle
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Great info, Phil. I was going to pose the same question about running out of propane but then saw others already asked the question.

I no longer have the problem of forgetting to check for the red flag on the regulator. Since January 2003 I've had an indoor indicator that flashes a light in the bedroom when that red flag goes up. I find it invaluable although probably not if we were weekending/vacationing.

I bought it for about $35 from a company bought out by Camping World. CW does not offer this item. However, it is available online. Some here have bought it more recently and can tell you where to buy it. It is made by Marshall, same people who made the regulator. It fits only on the Marshall regulators with the red flag column on top and on which there is a vinyl cap (the cap on ours is black). That should cover every Montana made up into at least 2007. I recently saw a 2008 model and it uses a different regulator. This won't work on that one.

If you have trouble remembering to check the regulator you might give this indoor indicator some thought. It's pretty easy to hook up. the hardest part is running the two wires from inside the rig to outside. I ran ours down the shower drain into the basement and into the propane locker.
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:46 AM   #12
exav8tr
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Steve, Thanks for that info. I didn't know something like that even existed. Sounds like just what I need. I will pursue it here in the near future.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:36 PM   #13
DONnANNIE
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Phil & Cathy, CONGRATULATIONS on your one year anniversary. You have certainly ran the gammit of life experiences fulltiming.

Annie & I certainly enjoyed our visit with you and Cathy and hope to see you again sometime.
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