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Steven@146

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About Steven@146

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  • Birthday 07/06/1956

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    Cedar Creek Texas
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    Enjoying Life

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  1. At this moment we are at the Escapee's in Livingston, camped in the older part, everyone seems to be wearing masks, practicing good SD. Even the people walking their dogs may not be wearing a mask but have it with them in case they stop to talk, but always at a distance. Using the laundry facilities everyone is being responsible seems like. These sites are a little closer together but still plenty of room to keep away from each other. The park volunteers are doing a great job and everyone seems to be following the rules. Now maybe the local Walmart isn't as good with people practicing SD and using masks. Monday we leave for Northern Indiana to help take care of the Wife's parents in their mid 80s and isolated at home, give other family members a break, and it will take 3 days to get up there. Very rural community. We will be staying in a winter campground up there and already have camping reservations along the way and have paid online to keep contact to a minimum. We should be able to pull in to our site, set up, spend the night, break camp and head out again without ever, or very little interacting with anyone. Stopping for fuel shouldn't be a real problem, just practice good SD, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer and keep to ourselves. We'll be fine to get up there. Once we get up there, we will not be having the usual family gatherings for the holidays that we usually have. Probably get together individually with family members one at a time using good SD practices but not the big gatherings. Come Dec 28th its back down to Texas for the hard winter months. We are careful and responsible and stay away from people who are not, so I foresee no problems traveling. We keep an eye on the states where we will be staying overnight, but so far none are going lockdown.
  2. yes. we are setting here in the Livingston escapees park, I can sign-in but selecting anything i keep getting a 404 error
  3. Yes i was having the same issue. Was trying to get to Smart Weigh and started to get that error and random characters and scrambled data elsewhere. Still not totally ok. Was worse accessing from my Iphone,desktop is a little better but still some problems
  4. With us going fulltime its going to be a problem doing maint myself. For my Cummins I can get the 3 Mopar filter package for @ $100 off Amazon, 2 fuel filters and the oil filter, then 11 qts of Shell Rotella T6 at a lot of different places. But what to do with the used oil and old filter discards. You got to have a change pan and all the stuff that goes along with it. A lot of campgrounds do not want you working on your vehicles. Silly people discarding their old oil and fuel filters in the trash. In our case the fuel filters last about 15,000 miles between changes about the same time as the oil needs changed. For me I only use Mopar filters, keep them changed when called for, try to always fill up at quality fuel stations, only use quality DEF or at stations with DEF at the pump, I don't worry too much about stuff growing in the fuel system, put in an additive when I think its called for and just drive it. Ram service at dealerships have a huge markup on their parts, plus labor. yes i have run into dealerships wanting to charge me $700 for an oil change. Recently we just went over 30K miles on the truck and it was time for the AISIN transmission fluid change, they wanted $1000 for that. Of course the service writers job is to upsell and make a profit for the service department telling me that it requires Mopar specific fluid for the AISIN transmission, you can't use anything else. BS, there is a factory tag on the transmission that says use Mobile 3309 fluid. Yes and they will use scare tactics on people to get them to buy into their repair quotes. But now that we are fulltime, i'll have to bite the bullet or time our travels where we can be close to family or friends and still do the maintenance myself, or an independent shop that will do what I tell them and even supply the parts to them to get the regular maintenance done.
  5. South Central Texas, Austin and surrounding area, is becoming more popular with winter folks. Obviously its not the Florida coast, but some people find it more economical than Florida. Bastrop TX, 25 miles southeast of Austin is building RV campgrounds faster than you can count, and older parks are expanding. Kerrville Tx just west of San Antonio, is another place catering to winter RVers. There is still plenty to do and see all within easy driving distance of Austin, San Antonio San Marcos areas. Or if you prefer the Texas gulf coast is still cheaper than a lot of places in FLA, so they tell me. Like Texas BBQ and Country music? We have been in Bastrop TX at the Bellamont RV Park staying Aug- Oct. $525 / month, water, sewer and metered electric, with cable TV and internet (not completed yet). Brand new park just opened this summer, 92 sites but only 35 completed so far, gravel sites, hiking trail, small fishing pond, on site laundry facilities. Or $575/ month which includes a 10x10 Sturdy-Built wooden storage shed at the back of your site big enough for bicycles or motorcycles. It is 1 mile to many stores like Home Depot or Lowe's but quiet. https://bellamont.com/ We are moving for Jan- March 2021 and have reservations in Galveston at an RV Resort for $700 / month, huge park with several on site attractions, concrete sites, many amenities, 1/4 mile from beach. Gives you some kind of idea about costs. I have not heard of a covid problem at campgrounds in this area. People are acting responsibly, face covering and distancing. Costs seem to be anywhere between $475 - $800 / month for FUP sites depending on the amenities offered by each CG.
  6. Hey Kirk, We have 2 Cummins diesel trucks. Most of the time we are in warmer climates, Texas winter, Northern states summer. Of our trucks, One is driven a lot and the other sits a lot. In my mind it isn't so much the diesel fuel going bad as it is the microbial problem growing in biodiesel. If i use a diesel fuel treatment it is Power Service Products which carries a Cummins Engine endorsement, usually listed on the container just to keep the microbes at bay. The 2500 diesel truck that sits a lot ,I only keep the tank half full and when down to 1/4 put some in to bring it back up to 1/2. This in my mind keeps the diesel fuel fresher. I will use PService diesel clean additive at intervals but not all the time. Our 1 Ton diesel, driven a lot, gets lots of fuel run through it and I'll use a PService diesel clean additive at intervals between tanks. About every time I add DEF, which equates to about every 3000-3500 miles. Now if we travel up to northern states in the winter, the suppliers switch over to winterized diesel in October so I don't worry about gelling unless we get trapped in sub zero temps, then I would use an anti-gel, anti-microbial treatment. Power Service Product white bottle - winter, PS product silver bottle for summer.
  7. RV PRE-FLIGHT CHECK LIST BEFORE TOWING EXTERIOR · GAS OFF / BOTH TANKS PULL TEST · DUMP BLACK TANK & FLUSH ALL REAR & MID JACKS UP & LOCKED · DUMP GREY TANKS FRONT JACKS JUST OFF THE GROUND · STOW SEWER HOSE AND CAP APPLY TRAILER HAND BRAKE · WATER OFF STOW HOSE & FILTER TRAILER WHEELS STILL CHOCKED · STOVE FAN VENT CLOSED TRUCK IN FORWARD GEAR · AWNINGS STOWED LOCKED FOOT OFF BRAKE - PULL ON HITCH · CABLE TV DISCONNECTED · ROOF CHECK ROLLING BRAKE CHECK · SLIDES FULLY RETRACTED ALL WHEEL CHOCKS STOWED · REAR & MID JACKS UP & LOCKED STOW BLOCKS TRAILER FULLY HITCHED & LOCKED · POWER CABLE DISCONNECTED TRUCK IN FORWARD GEAR · CHECK TIRE AIR PRESSURES FOOT OFF BRAKE PEDAL · CHECK RIM LUG NUT TORQUE ROLL OUT – APPLY TRAILER HAND BRAKE · TRAILER STOPS TRUCK HITCH · CHECK REAR & MID JACKS UP – BLOCKS STOWED ICOE BUG OUT BAG · CHECK LUBE DISC PIN BOX EXTRA KEYS TRUCK & TRAILER · HITCH PINS / LOCKS IN PLACE, OPEN LOCK ARM EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST · HITCH 5TH WHEEL – DROP TAIL GATE REQUIRED MEDICINES · JAWS LOCKED ON KING PIN SPARE CONTACTS / GLASSES · LOCK ARM CLOSED & LOCKED/PIN DRIVERS LICENSE / IDs / CREDIT CARDS · 7 WAY POWER PLUG CELL PHONEs & CHARGERs · EMERG BRAKE AWAY CORD ATTACHED LAP TOP COMPUTER & CORDs · PULL TEST – FLASH LIGHT · INSURANCE CARDS CONTACT INFO · FRONT JACKS FULLY RETRACTED INTERNET BLACK BOOK · STOW WHEEL CHOCKS & LEVELNG BLOCKS PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS · FRONT JACK FOOT UP – LOCKED CHANGE OF CLOTHING · MAIN DOOR HAND RAIL LOCKED WATER BOTTLES / ENERGY BARS · REAR LIGHTS CHECK – WALK AROUND · LOCKED STORAGE COMPARTMENT LIGHTS OFF · · BUG OUT BAG IN TRUCK · REAR CAMERA, GARMIN, TPMS CHECK · ADJUST TRUCK MIRRORS · TOW/HAUL MODE ON – EXHAUST BRAKE ON · ROLLING TRAILER BRAKE CHECK · SAFE DRIVING This is our external check list for our 5th wheel. It is kept in the pocket of the truck console. I may not always be the one to drive the rig. Lets see how this posts cut and paste instead of trying to attach a file.
  8. Thank you for posting, we are right there with you thinking the same thing. In our case we re-estimated our income for 2020 and found we will be over the cut off limit for a subsidy. Don't forget to add the stimulus money the gov sent you to your income for 2020. So for Nov, Dec we would have to pay full rate for health insurance @ $1500-2000 / month. Wife retires Oct 6, health coverage ends Oct 31. Now the Wife's COBRA through her former employer is actually lower @ $ 1000-1100 / month. So we will go with her former employer COBRA plan for Nov, Dec. Then for 2021 our estimated income will be basically cut in half so we would quality for a subsidy. We will plan and estimate very carefully but I'll pick up medicare in July when I turn 65. Even when you think you have somewhat of a handle on this health care subject, you still feel like there are monsters hiding under your bed!
  9. Just my thoughts coming from a position of owning TTs and 5er. Its not a race setting up or tearing down. The job is what it is no matter what type of RV you have.. I take my time doing the tasks, As soon as you start trying to do things faster or take short cuts, that is when you will forget and damage something. With our TT, yes we had lift bars and the weight distributed hitch and manual stabilizing jacks. It just took a little longer for either task. With our 5er, its the companion hitch and pin. I carry a step stool from harbor freight so I can reach up and over the truck rear dual fender to do the hitch functions. I painted a white stripe down the middle of the pin box so the wife can more easily back the truck in and align the hitch to the pin. I also use an air hose manual reel from HF that I mounted on the overhead of the storage compartment, cost all of $25. Its up and out of the way, not taking up floor space in the compartment, handles the 30 ft 50 amp cord nicely. The wife and I share the tasks. The 6 way one touch level up system on our 5th wheel makes the tasks easier, but we still take our time setting up or tearing down. Some people with knee, leg or hip problems find it better in a TT than a 5th wheel, less stairs to climb. There is a lot more storage in our 5er but you have to be mindful of not over loading. Just because you have room to store more crap, that does not mean you have to fill it up. Towing, there is a real difference between a TT and 5er. So much better towing a 5th wheel, however turning and backing up are different than a TT. It just different not more difficult. Really it is all about what a person likes the best and works for them, MH, TT or 5er.
  10. We have visited Galveston Island many times from the Austin area, as we could get there in 3.5-4 hours for a 4 day weekend. Love it there. Have stayed at Dellanera right off the beach for a week or so, Jamaica Beach and Galveston Island Rv Resort 1/2 mile or so from the beach. Kept the RV and Truck washed at least once a week, saw no signs of excessive corrosion, but it is a concern and you have to be aware of it. Yes I have seen vehicles and RVs parked right on the beach, not a good idea.
  11. Being mobile is good if your job or training / education dictates you being mobile. But living fulltime in an RV can be just as expensive as a stix and bricks home or apartment. You really have to work at it to make it cheaper and with very minimal debt. You want to stay mobile, OK. What do you say people, 80-85% of RVs, regardless of manufacturer, all use the same appliances, microwave/convection oven, water heater, AC units, refrigerator, stove, so on and so forth. Most of the manufactures, on new units, have a one year warranty on appliances. A lot of these items fail often new and need repair or replacement. A lot of new units have problems right off with the pex plumbing leaks in the water systems. Buying a new 5th wheel in the 36-39 ft range, mid price point is going to run you $60-75,000, are you ready for that? High price point RVs over $100,000. I would not go cheap low end light weight RV here, they will not last. Travel trailers can be a little cheaper, maybe, but are susceptible to the same problems as 5th wheels. I know you have a 1 ton truck, but a lot of the RVs have huge pin weights, in the 3300 - 4000+ pound range depending on the RV. Always use 20-22% of a 5th wheel RV GVWR for an estimate of pin weight. 12-14% for a travel trailer tongue weight. Truck Payload capacity is far more important than towing cap for a truck. Also think about RV cargo carrying capacity. Some RVs look great, but have very low CCC, in the 2000# range. That is not a lot for all your stuff! Some have very high CCC, like ours 4,478 pounds, but that also means its heavy on the truck and heavy to tow. RV livability - where in the country will you be staying a lot of the time? Hard winters in an RV takes a lot of work preparing for and expensive, think propane. You have to keep the RV furnace running to keep the water pipes from freezing. Two 30 pound tanks are not going to cut it. You can not relay on just electric heaters. Then think about Skirting along the bottom of the RV to keep the cold wind out. You can not go cheap light weight RV here, the bottom side of the RV, walls, roof had better be insulated well, maybe even double pane windows. Staying in warm climate, southern states, you better have two AC units to keep the coach cool. Also, today they are cranking out a lot of new RVs to keep up with demand, a lot of short cuts are being made, shoddy work, meaning a lot of new RVs, regardless of manufacturer, have problems in the plumbing and electrical systems right off the bat. Do you have time to drag the RV back to the dealer for repair? RV dealer service centers are overwhelmed with repair work. A lot of dealers will not work on your repairs if you did not buy it there. You might be waiting weeks to get it repaired, now your hold up in a hotel/motel. Are you knowledgeable and handy with tools? Can you fix it yourself? Just to add RV maintenance - RVs are not buy them and forget maintenance. I have 4 pages of maintenance items that have to be done monthly, quarterly, biannual and annual. Can you repack wheel bearings? They need to be done annually. What type of suspension does the RV have, leaf springs, shackles and bushings? If so the bushings better have wet bolts for greasing quarterly, more or less depending on how often its towed. Never lube bushings or bearings, don't trust them. Independent suspension and disk brakes = higher end RVs with higher initial prices. This is only the beginning of what you need to educate yourself on. I am not trying to kill your dreams but you better be realistic and well educated on RVs before jumping in.
  12. I can echo what Kirk said, Texas is a huge state, from Dallas/Ft Worth north area down to Big Bend on the border, or Lakeview in the east with large pine forest to El Paso desert terrain in the west. Or the gulf coast, Galveston, Port Aransas down to Corpus Christi. Central Texas, Austin area is where we are now. There are lots of RV parks and Campgrounds in the Austin area, Bastrop, Kerrville, Johnson City, Fredricksburg, Texas Hill Country, San Marcos, and farther south like San Antonio, on and on. Yup the Escapee's park just north of Houston at Livingston is a nice park and very reasonable rates if you are an Escapee's member. You can also learn a lot while there. Conroe in the same area has some nice parks. The KOA in Conroe is very nice. The Bastrop area is fast becoming the RV/Mini Home campground/park capitol of Texas. There are now some 30-35 RV Parks within a 10-15 mile radius of Bastrop. Most are very nice retired, long term, snowbird type of campgrounds with anywhere from 60 to 100 plus camp sites per park. I would not consider these as "resorts" but most of them have some type of central hall where bingo and card games abound. All of them are full hookup type parks and some have WiFi, cable TV, laundry or camp store services at the campground. Some have swimming pools / hot tubs, spas or exercise rooms, or lakes and the like but most do not. This area is also home to a lot of State Parks and COE, LCRA parks with limited consecutive day stays and most do not have sewer connections at camp site but dump stations. Best bet is to spend some time on the net looking at campground web sites in the area you want to stay to see what amenities the campgrounds offer and their monthly rates. Rates vary widely from $475- $800 per month depending on what amenities the park offers. As an example the campground we are at now, Bellamont RV Park Bastrop, is brand new, just opened this summer and is not completely finished yet but will have 90 plus sites all full hookups. Gravel sites with sodded grass, and is 525 per month with metered electric and laundry, US Mail lock box facilities on site but not much else yet. Good Luck and safe travels.
  13. Thanks, I was able to find a web site ehealth.healthsherpa.com where I can plug in our data and it comes back with multiple plans, and data for each plan, and monthly costs. We do qualify for a subsidy because we will be just under the 64K cut off when the wife retires and stops work in Oct and we lose our healthcare Oct 31. All of the plans it comes back with are HMO plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, ranging from $180 - $1200 per month, based on what deductible we choose and the coverage we want. Now that may not be so bad. Here's what I am thinking, we will do some traveling through the year but always return to Texas for the winter around December of each year, staying until around March/ April or longer, of the next year before traveling again. Right now our GP doctor is in Austin, he accepts all the plans presented on the ehealth web site, and we could keep him and schedule a visit for our annual medical stuff Jan-Apr staying at an RV park near Austin. Once that's done we could move over to Livingston and get any vehicle registration stuff done if needs be. Then free to roam Texas until we head out again for parts unknown in late spring. Now we probably have not paid enough of our deductible to be of any use in the first 4 months of the year but annual physical stuff should be covered. At least it gets us through until I turn 65 in July of 2021, then I drop off and maybe get a supplement and go on medicare, the Wife can then pick a new plan for just her. Now in the event that we are outside of the area and need medical attention it being only an emergency situation, the HMO plan would still pay some of the costs since it was an emergency. This happened to us for real back about 8 years ago when I wound up in a hospital emergency room in Middletown Ohio while visiting the kids for the holidays. The HMO plan through the Wife's work we had then did pay a lot of the costs since it was an emergency situation. Once we got back to Texas home base I went to our local hospital and had the surgery done. A least that is my thinking now, still a little fuzzy but becoming a little clearer. At lease I have multiple plans to look at, all be it from the same healthcare provider and disect and drill into without a bunch of vultures hounding me daily!
  14. The wife and I just went fulltime. She retires in Oct and we lose our healthcare Oct 31 so we are looking. I just turned 64 and the wife is 62, no major pre-existing conditions. We need some coverage for at least a year until i turn 65 and things change again with me going on Medicare. We have lived in Texas for 17 years with a stix and bricks, now fulltime. We have changed our address to Escapee's Livingston. I will tell you we are totally frustrated and fed up with weeding through all the crap. All we wanted was to get some quotes from different insurance providers with coverage information so we can best decide what to go with, but no you have to talk to an agent. Once they get your phone number the vultures swoop in! I had to turn off my cell phone to keep the vultures at bay receiving 35-40 phone calls in one day all wanting to sell me their health insurance. One told me I need to go out and apply through ACA, I looked at it on healthcare.gov, never got so much as a dimes worth of information before I was shoved over to signing up and supplying a god awful lot of documents and crap, that was a total disaster! I am sick of it and we are no closer to finding something. Now we got some information through the Escapee's forwarded to the Philadelphia American Life and health insurance as others have talked about here. Yes it says right up front its an Indemnity plan. Received a whole lot of information and statements in little tiny print with a quote of $1200 per month for both of us. About the same amount as if we went with a cobra plan from my wife's old employer. Isn't there anywhere a person can go to get unbiased information without having to go through an avalanche of agent phone calls only hawking their specific crap from god knows where in the country? One of our questions is, whats the problem with an indemnity plan? Except that as a fixed benefit your bill for services, somewhere in the country, maybe way over what they will pay, but it works anywhere in the country. Some of it doesn't take effect for 90 days after you sign up and some until after a year after you sign up. One person told us we need a PPO plan, or something that works across the whole country no matter where we may be, well no kidding, that much we figured out on our own! PPO,s Major Medical, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, HMOs, Indemnity Plans, the whole quagmire pot full of mud, we are not any closer to getting good unbiased information and making a decision than we were a couple months ago. And changing our residence to FL is a non starter. I'm ready to go out and scream, I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore! Sorry for the rant,
  15. i might do just that, thanks. she has the ability to take a pic of a check with her phone for deposit purposes, I cant do that with my bank. But then again I dont get hardly any checks written to me for deposit.
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