Second Chance

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    Travel, photography, sailing, world cuisines, music.
  1. Thanks, David. I will start with the "phone tree" first thing Monday morning and see what I can accomplish. Failing that, I'll drive down to Anthony to the CDL testing site. If both of those fail, I'll "schlep" to the location where I have an appointment and report back. Rob
  2. A little update... It seems that the Texas DPS has recently centralized all of their customer service functions and any calls to numbers listed for local DPS drivers' license offices are shunted straight to Austin... when you can actually get through. We changed our plans to spend time back in Las Cruces, NM, (my hometown) and to conveniently get the Class A license stuff taken care of at the TX DPS drivers' license office just 30 miles down I-10. Based on what was written here and everything I could find on-line - and not being able to directly communicate with the DPS locations by phone or email - I drove down to the northwest El Paso location this morning to take the written exam and schedule a driving test. The people in the office seemed well-versed on the exempt licenses. I went with my paperwork ready and, after about 40 minutes in line, got seated at a testing kiosk. When I finished the written test, I asked the agent about scheduling the driving test. She said, "Oh, you have to go on-line to do that." I explained that the web site only provided for scheduling either a Class C or CDL driving test - not the exempt licenses. She said I still had to go on-line and to schedule a regular Class C driving test. The first one available at that location is three weeks out, so I schedule one on the west side (about 15 miles farther) for next Wednesday. If this all pans out, it would appear that the exempt licenses can be done at any DPS drivers' license office and one doesn't have to seek out a CDL testing location. On the other hand, IMHO, Texas' streamlining and centralization may have made things a little better for the masses, but not for us "outliers!" Rob
  3. X2. When we use our RV Plus card at Pilot/Flying J in the truck lanes, we aren't charged the extra commercial tax on diesel if the state has one. We also get a few cents off for "loyalty." I particularly like the truck stops that have DEF at the pumps. It's fresh and a lot more convenient than dumping it in out of 2.5 gal. jugs. I had to fill up in an "RV lane" yesterday... man was that pump slow! Rob
  4. We used the VIP-211K prior to getting a Wally. Both are/were installed inside the cabinet in our entertainment center and both had/have a hard drive installed (the HD also runs hot). I use a regular bungee cord to hold everything down (there's a DVD player involved, too) and have never had a problem with the bungee and the heat. Rob
  5. I'm right there with you, my friend. I've always had an extreme fear of this type of driving... and I'm a licensed pilot! (Being in an aircraft - large or small, including Army helicopters - doesn't bother me at all.) I wussed out on my wife at Sequoia National Park last week and had to pay for her to take one of the tours a couple of days later. When planning trips into/across areas that involve mountainous areas, I use the Google Earth and/or satellite views to check out the route first. I also use the Mountain Directory (digital version) to make sure routes are suitable for the rig. Family members think my fears may be rooted in the fact that a cousin of my father who lived with us for a while treated me like a football as an infant (he was a high school football player at the time) throwing me up in the air and laughing when I cried. My fears haven't changed in 64 years and I don't see a lot of potential for change in the future.
  6. Thanks, everyone. Downloading the Mountain Directory right now... Rob
  7. So what do you suggest - ordering both the east and west Mountain Directories? Rob
  8. Thanks, folks. has mislead me before and you have confirmed my suspicions. I think we'll even take the surviving stretch of the original Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman via Hackberry, etc... Rob
  9. We are planning our route back east from southern California and want to see as much of Route 66 as possible. Checking things out on, it shows a 16% grade on I-40 on the southwest side of Kingman, AZ. I thought 7 - 9% was max on interstate highways... is this short stretch really 16% and, if so, should I be concerned about it with the rig in the signature? If we stick to this route, we'll probably get to Kingman this coming Friday or Saturday. Thanks, Rob
  10. X2. There is a reason goose-necks are usually seen as stock/horse trailers or for medium-duty hauling. The goose-neck trailer chassis are designed and built much differently than a fifth wheel RV and installing a goose-neck adapter on a fifth wheel RV is putting your pin box and the front of the trailer chassis at risk for failure. There are reasons 18-wheelers aren't goose-necks. Rob
  11. Kirk - you are correct. Riverside County, CA, where the Jojoba Hills SKP Co-Op park is has an ordinance limiting the annual occupation of an RV in an RV park. From what I'm told by members, it is very difficult to - and is not generally - enforced. In actuality, there are more than a few founders who have "aged out" of travelling and have made the park their full-time home. Claudia - you may want to ask any park you are considering what their rules are about working on the rig while it is in the park. Some strictly limit what you can do and others do not. Rob
  12. X2. In order to bend the landing gear/stabilizers, the rig would have to be scooted sideways, backward, or forward. Rocking back and forth won't bend them as the force is downward on the leeward (down-wind) side of the rig. Ballast down low (filling tanks) is good, too. If you're not already still hitched up, I wouldn't venture out in extremely high winds to do so. We've weathered 60 - 65 MPH straight winds from various directions and only experienced moderate rocking - and our fiver only weighs about 14K lbs. Rob
  13. We get a bit of rattling noise when the winds are astern - but the winds have to be in the 35 - 40 MPH range for it to be significant. We don't worry about it. Rob
  14. My fear, exactly, Bill - but I needed the black sport coat and charcoal slacks for my dad's funeral about seven years ago - and everyone else over 25 was in a coat and tie. They're still in a garment bag in the closet (the coat and slacks - not everyone over 25...).
  15. Grand Design offers one in their Solitude line: Rob