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About SpaceNorman

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  • Birthday 09/05/1956

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  1. I've got an Aquahot 400D in my coach - but am experiencing some weirdness. Everything seems to behave normally - i.e, the heat exchangers in each zone start to blow when the coach temperature falls below the temp set on the thermostat - and will begin to blow warm air and the temperature readings at the exchangers quickly rise to roughly 90 degrees (tested with a digital infrared thermometer). However, after a very brief time (and before the temperature in the zone rises to the "set" temperature for the zone) - the exchangers start blowing cold air. Once they start blowing "cold air" - they continue to blow cold air until they are shut off manually (i.e., turning the thermostat controller to off). This happens consistently - and in conditions that I would NOT consider extreme conditions (i.e., outdoor temperatures in the 50 - 55 degree range, thermostat set to maintain 69 degrees inside the coach) I tried to post this question on the RV Hydronic Heater Repair Website. Unfortunately, my account appears to be stuck in "no man's land". They appear to have my email address on file - so I can't create a new registration. However, when I follow the instructions to recover the username/password of what must be an "existing" account - I get a message telling me that my username/password reset info has been sent to my email address - yet nothing arrives in my inbox (or in my junk mail files). Any input on my issue would be greatly appreciated. Heck, I'd even be happy with an email address to try to reach the folks at RV Hydronic Heater Repairs to get my account access issue resolved so that I can try posting there!
  2. We're three days into our trip to Florida - only to have electrical system go kerfluey. Can anybody recommend a repair shop or mobile service that deals with large coaches in either the St Augustine or Daytona Beach area? (We're staying in Flagler Beach which is midway between).
  3. Our coach came with a central vacuum system that seems to work pretty well ... however, for "quick cleans", my wife doesn't like having to drag out the heavy hose. So .. for "cleaning day", we use the central vac and for "quick cleans" she uses a little Hoover Linx Cordless unit. Depending on the nature of the mess - I'll sometimes just grab a broom to sweep the tile floor and sweep the debris into the "electric dustpan" which sucks it down into the central vac bag system. Truth be told - all three approaches do a pretty good job. I'd be happy to simply use the central vac ... but my DW likes the lighter, somewhat easier to sling around Hoover cordless unit.
  4. We did a couple of nights at $100+ a night on the beach at Camp Gulf near Destin, FL. The site was gorgeous .. nothing between us and the waves except about 150 yards of white sand. My wife loved I. It was our first trip to Florida - and I wanted my wife's first extended trip in the coach to end on a high note. Then (as now) I was working on selling her on spending more time on the road than back home (I'm ready to fulltime yesterday - while she enjoys traveling a whole bunch, the idea of fulltiming, not so much). I doubt we'll spend that sort of cash for a campsite again ... but, it was the thing to do when we did it.
  5. My experience with a trust that an uncle established shortly before his death makes me look at any trust with a jaundiced eye. The shysters that drew up the trust - also managed to sell my 86 year old uncle with Stage 4 prostate cancer a large annuity. The terms of the annuity were that it would begin to pay out in 20 years and that withdrawals prior to the start of the payment in 20 years would come with a penalty ... BUT, that upon the annuitant's passing, the money could be withdrawn without penalty. This all sounded good to my uncle ... so he signed up. What he didn't realize - was that when they sold him the annuity - they listed his Trust as the annuitant. The shysters collected their commission on the sale of the annuity shortly after the paperwork was signed - and indemnified themselves from any "clawback" of their commission when my then 86 year old uncle failed to live for the 20 years. By listing his trust as the annuitant - it negated the clause governing the early withdrawal upon death - since the trust is a legal entity that can't die. In the end, that cost my uncles heirs $25K in early withdrawal penalties. In my state (Michigan) - estate taxes aren't levied on estates that are less than $5 million dollars. If you're like many of us whose wishes are for the surviving spouse to inherent 100% ... and if there's no surviving spouse ... have their estate divided equally between their surviving children - a simple will stating exactly that works just fine. Far as I'm concerned - for most of us, the whole trust game is there for the lawyers to prey on us.
  6. We haven't found it necessary to use different cleaning supplies in the coach than those we typically use in the house. Seems like a spray bottle of window cleaner for the windows, a spray bottle of "multi-surface" cleaner for the flat surfaces, a wood care product for cleaning, conditioning, dusting the coach's cabinetry (I like the Old English aerosol stuff) and a "toss in a bucket of water" floor cleaner for the tile floors pretty much covers it for us. Staying on top of things - and always keeping the coach clean seems to sidestep the need for "heavy duty" cleaners.
  7. We just passed the 12,000 mile mark with our SMI Air Force One system used with our Jeep Liberty. We haven't had a lick of trouble with it. Connecting and disconnecting the brakes literally takes seconds - and involving connecting the two ends of a single "quick connect" air line. It wasn't the cheapest system to purchase and/or have installed - BUT, in terms of use - I can't imagine finding anything that is more simple and convenient to use!
  8. Have you really ​studied​​ your data needs? I work fulltime as a network analyst for a large bank - and regularly work remotely from my coach via a VPN connection into my company's network. My typical daily data consumption ranges between 200MB - 250MB per day. Multiply that by 30 days - and that's only 7.5GB. Like others - I spend most of my days connected to a server in my company's data center via a Microsoft Terminal Services connection (which uses RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) - so it's basically screens and keystrokes traversing the network. With such a "skinny" data stream - my "end user experience" isn't a whole lot different from that which I experience while connected via cable modem or while actually in the office physically. The only time things slow down is when I execute an operation that moves a large file to my remote workstation processing (i.e., opening spreadsheets stored on file servers in the data center). Good luck!
  9. I work my day job as a network analyst for a large bank while traveling. At the moment I'm sitting in a campground a couple miles west of Davenport Iowa enroute Phoenix AZ after a weeklong stop in the Denver area. My mobile internet solution is a Cradlepoint IBR600 router provisioned on the Verizon Cellular network - augmented with a Weboost Drive 4G-X signal booster. At the moment, my wife is browsing the web via a Wifi connected iPad (i.e., the iPad does not have any onboard cellular connectivity), I'm drafting this response on my personal laptop - while sitting on a WEBEX on my work laptop that is connected to my company's internal network via a VPN connection. Granted, I'm not doing anything that I would consider "data intensive at the moment - and as usual, I see little difference in terms of network performance between that which I get on my mobile setup than from that which I get on my cable modem connection at home. The cost of internet connectivity is NOT cheap. The Cradlepoint router cost me roughly $600. The Drive 4G-X cellular signal booster was roughly $425. There was another $125 for a nice, compact MIMO antenna on the rough. Add another $250 in installation charges to have the dealership install the hardware (this including delivering 12V power to both the router and the signal booster, along with a minor cabinet modification to mount the hardware, poking a hole in the roof to mount the antenna and running the cable). All the hardware and installation charges were one time, upfront costs. Then there's the monthly charges associated with the data plan. My Cradlepoint router (along with our cell phones) all share a single Verizon Data Plan. We typically burn between 20GB - 30GB worth of data each month at a cost of roughly $170 in monthly charges. It's expensive - but being that it allows me to wander the country while continuing to pay the bills with a network analyst salary - it's a cost I'm happy to absorb! For TV service - we use DirecTV ... delivered via a Winegard Traveler rooftop satellite installation and a normal DirecTV HD DVR box mounted in the coach's "entertainment" cabinet. Being that we're DirecTV customers at home - the cost for DirecTV was the cost of the Winegard Traveler (which was already installed when we purchased our coach, a one-time $200 charge for the HD DVR hardware ... and $7.00 per month to have the additional HD DVR active on our account.
  10. We've got a collapsible collander that's designed to span the sink. We've been using it regularly for a year or so now and it hasn't shown any evidence of wear. It's especially convenient for things coming out of a pot straight off the stove (think pasta, potatoes, etc.) It collapses reasonably flat and fits nicely in the tiny cabinet (maybe 4" high?) above the microwave.
  11. I've lived in Metro Detroit for most of my life - and have travelled back and forth to Canada literally hundreds of times. If there's anything I've learned over the years - it is that you are NOT some anonymous traveller when you pull up to the booth. They've already ran your license plate and likely know who you are before you came to a stop. They've undoubtedly scanned your vehicle for radioactive materials (we were pulled over and questioned specifically about this - until we explained that one of our passengers had had a medical test that involved the injection of some sort of radioactive "dye"). They identified the radiation before we stopped at the window - and just needed to confirm the source. The other thing is that they have the power to completely and totally ruin your day. The vehicle I was driving was detained for nearly 4 hours while it and everything in it was thoroughly searched - all because an idiot of an acquaintance who was a passenger in the back seat decided to answer the officer's "where were you born?" question with a smart ass'ed "in a hospital" response. When crossing the border - ensure that everybody has their Identification at the ready, have your window down and the radio off before you come to a stop at the customs booth, answer every question clearly, quickly and concisely (they don't want to hear long winded explanations or stories!) .... and most importantly - be 100% legal !!!!! They can and will find contraband - and will completely ruin your day if they decide to go looking for it!
  12. Same here ... between data I burn for work, data used by the three cell phones on our plan along with our personal browsing via our laptops - we've found we can burn thru as much as 40GB in a month if we're not careful. ...and that's without streaming any audio and/or major video. (There are undoubtedly short video clips included in the cell phone and personal browsing ... so "major video" means feature length movies, etc.). An "unlimited" data plan would be nice - but few of the carriers offering "unlimited" plans have the coverage that we need. So, like many others who are on the road - we're Verizon customers - specifically because of the coverage their network provides.
  13. We do the same thing with the dealership we purchased our coach from. When it comes to work that can be scheduled - I work with their Service Department well in advance to put together a list of work to be done and a mutually agreed upon day (or days) that we're targeting to do it. The dealership is roughly 170 miles from our home - I drive up the evening before, pull in around 10 pm - park in a "visitor" spot, extend my slides and plug into their shore power. The next morning, a service tech knocks on the door to let me know they're ready for me. I take 10 minutes to close up the slides and disconnect from shore power - and they then drive the coach into a service bay and gets to work. My service trip last November included an "Engine Service" (oil, filters, etc. for both the coach engine and the generator), "annual" service on the Aqua Hot, replacing the controller on the macerating toilet in the rear bath, the installation of my internet electronics (router, signal booster and rooftop antenna) which involved running 12v power connections, modifications to the cabinet where it's installed, breaching the roof to run antenna cabling, etc. Finally, I had them winterize it as well. I drove up after playing in my Tuesday ice hockey league - and they completed my laundry list of work such that I drove home late Thursday afternoon. I literally stayed in the coach the whole time - even when it was actually in the service bay - working my day job via a work issued MiFi Jetpack. In the evening - they simply rolled me back to a Guest spot and left me for the evening. Being present when they're actually working on your coach can be a good thing! Being that this was the first time the coach had been winterized since we've owned it - I paid to have it done. It was expensive - BUT, I rationalized the expense as being in part the cost of the winterization process - and part tuition payment. They let me shadow the technician - who explained and demonstrated everything he was doing while I took pictures and notes. It was enough instruction that I was able to re-winterize the coach with confidence while on the road home at the end of our Florida in late February. The "knowledge sharing" was a two way street. I was sitting at the dining room table working as they were installing my internet gear. I happened to catch the two technicians discussing which of the antenna leads needed to be connected where. While they were standing there talking it over - I was able to reach out to the manufacturer and speak with an engineer who provided direction on exactly how it should be wired. Plus, there were a couple of times that the technician gave me a shout to show me things discovered in the course of their work (all of which were minor/low $ issues) - and gave me options to have it addressed right then and there "since the cover was off". Working with their Service Department to prepare for the trip included me sending the laundry list of what work I wanted performed. They in turn requested pictures of a handful of things (so they could order parts in advance). Since I was providing the internet hardware that was to be installed - I forwarded installation guides for their review prior to my arrival. We probably exchanged a half dozen emails as we coordinated my visit. Heck, the sales guy we worked with when purchasing the coach stopped by at the end of his business day - and joined me for a couple of bourbons. We hung for damn near two hours talking RVs and world peace. I'll be honest - I was a little concerned about how purchasing from a dealer that was 170 miles away from home was going to work out. I've been pleasantly surprised at how well it's been working for us!
  14. Prior to owning our coach, I worked as a network analyst in the financial services industry. The company I work has embraced telecommuting for people working in positions where a physical presence in the office isn't a requirement. The nature of my work is a good fit for telecommuting. Roughly 5 years ago - I began "working from home" 3-4 days each week. It quickly became clear that I was as effective working from home as I was during my weekly trek into the office. Shortly after purchasing our coach (roughly 18 months ago) - we outfitted it with what I consider to be a solid mobile internet solution. Over the course of the first year of ownership - I worked with my management to demonstrate that I can effectively work from my coach while traveling. After this winter's two month trip to Florida - throughout which I worked a "normal" 40 hour work week (minus a few pre-arranged days that I took as PTO (personal time off) - I made a request to be officially granted permission to telecommute on a "full time" basis. I recently received notice that my request has been approved. I now work remotely virtually 100% of the time - and only go into the office when we happen to be in town. We've been summering in Michigan's northern lower peninsula. We'll be leaving in late August for 3 month trip to Arizona to spend some time with our son before returning "home" to the metro Detroit area for the holidays. We'll be leaving again in early January for a 4+ month long trip to Florida. Under my arrangement with my employer - I work a normal 40 hour "Monday - Friday" work week - and schedule any PTO (aka "vacation") time just like I would if I was working in the office. I'm required to maintain core business hours (which I've established to be from 8 am thru 2 pm daily). During my "core business hours" - I'm expected to be at online and working - responding to phone calls, messages via the company instant message system, available for conference calls / Webex meetings, etc. I'm free to "flex" the other two hours of my business day as I see fit (either working them between 6 am - 8 am ... or later in the evening instead of watching TV) - and use this time to perform the "heads down" data analysis work that is a large part of my job requirements. Several members of my team are essentially full time telecommuters who make 1x / 2x per month appearances in the office as well. My only "unique" obligation is that I'm expected to provide my manager with a calendar that shows my planned location and work status for each day. In practical terms - we're able to travel more or less at will. I tend to be an early riser - so I usually start my work day at 6 am and am done by 2 pm. Being done that early each afternoon - I've got a pretty good slice of time each day to do stuff with my DW. Combine this with weekends, bank holidays and 200+ hours of PTO per year - and I'm able to string together enough free time to be able to do the "touristy" stuff we want to do as part of our travels as well. The only real restriction I have to concern myself with is the need to be somewhere with a functional Verizon cell signal during working hours - and so far, that hasn't been much of a restriction at all! I avoid burning PTO time for "travel days" to the extent possible. We're finding that if we start a day's travel as soon my day ends at 2 pm as possible allows us to cover 200...ish miles and still arrive at our destination for the day at a reasonable hour. If the sun, the moon and the stars line up right - I'll continue to work like this for a little more than two years before I retire outright. Truth be told - I'm feeling pretty darn lucky to have been able to position myself for this arrangement.
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