Monthly Archives: November 2013

Product Review: Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer

P2248685.JPG We bought our Hitchhiker in New Braunfels, TX, spent the night in it, and then dropped it off at Camping World to have our Splendide 2100XC Washer/Dryer installed.  In other words, we never even brought the camper home before we made this camper upgrade.

A few years ago we used a similar washer/dryer on a visit to London so we had at least some understanding of it, but still, there’s a bit of a learning curve to using it.  For one thing, it took some trial and error to figure out just how many items to put in the machine.  Without doubt, the general answer is “small loads.”  We learned to think in terms of a load of clothes being one heavier “anchor item” (like a pair of blue jeans or one sheet from off the bed or one bath towel) and then a few smaller items.

We also learned that you really don’t want the dry cycle to get the clothes completely dry.  If that happens the clothes get a bit “crispy” and come out more wrinkled.  Also, the washer will handle about twice what it will dry.  We generally turn the dry cycle off, run a load, and then remove about half and hang them up wet.  Then, we run the dry cycle for a 40 minute cycle which leaves all but the lightest items just a bit damp.  We then hang them out to finish drying and repeat with the clothes we removed.  That leaves the clothes less wrinkled and fresher.

Having said that, depending on our location and the weather, we often wash everything and then hang it all out to dry.  Using the above method, getting everything dry includes two 40 minute dry cycles.  On a sunny day with a bit of a breeze, that’s about how long it takes for everything to air dry.  We have a nifty clothes hanging solution that we put under the nose of the 5th wheel.  Obviously, there are times and places where this can’t be done, but you’d be surprised at how often it can be.  We’ve been in very few places that don’t allow it.  Also, I’ll mention that we don’t hang our “unmentionables” outside.  It talks longer, but we hang them inside and they dry over the course of a few hours.

If we do need to dry the clothes in the machine and have more than one load to do we will often run the first load as wash only and not dry. We take those clothes out and hang them wet and run the second load all the way to dry. Then we dry the first load. With the drum already hot the second dry load goes a lot faster and we can often just use the 20 minute dry-only cycle to finish up the clothes from the first load.

Basically, we do one load a day; having to do an extra one a time or two a week.  On the setting we use most often it takes about two hours to do a complete wash/dry cycle.  (Remember, we’re doing this on 110 volts.)  Speaking of electric, on a 30 amp hookup we have to be careful or we throw the breaker at the power pedestal.   If we leave everything else off we can generally get by with leaving the a/c on plus the Splendide.  On a 50 amp hookup we can pretty much run it all without any problem.

We have experimented a bit with using the washer when we don’t have a sewer hookup.  Starting with an empty gray water tank we could do around four loads before filling up.  We had one stay in which we were without sewer and knew that our next stop would also be without sewer.  We “prepared” for that by using the campground showers and then, the day before our move we ran laundry a good part of the day, managing to get much of our laundry caught up before we dumped all tanks the next morning.

splendideWe already get a bit of shaking when a person walks up and down the stairs, etc. in the camper and when the Splendide goes into spin mode the shaking is quite noticeable.  Loose cabinet doors rattle and I get a bit of a massage if I’m sitting in my chair.  We consider it to just be part of the RVing lifestyle.  After all, our house is sitting on springs!

Overall, we love this unit and highly recommend it.  If we had it to do over again, we would still make this one of our first purchases.

Evelyn Meador Branch Library

Name: Evelyn Meador Branch Library

Location: 2400 North Meyer, Seabrook, TX 77586

Evelyn Meador Library is part of the Harris County Public Library System. The open spaces, murals and windows reflect the history of the Seabrook area and proximity to the bay.  There is a teen room, a children’s area and places for adults to read, work and study. Along with the book collection, audio and video materials there are many internet computers available to the public. Other amenities include a conference room, a quiet room and comfortable chairs near the newspapers and magazine.  Computer classes are free and taught at all levels. The library staff is warm and welcoming making this a place for the community to have fun, study, work or relax.

IMG_2010.JPGIMG_2011.JPGIMG_2013.JPGIMG_2015.JPGIMG_2016.JPGIMG_2017.JPGIMG_2018.JPGIMG_2019.JPGIMG_2020.JPGIMG_2021.JPG

Year in review: Random observations on our summer of 2013 Adventure

2013 - map.jpg

See the map detail on our travel map page

 In May, after spending a week at Lake Conroe, TX Thousand Trails we hitched the camper to the pickup and headed north on I45 to begin what we’ve called our “summer of 2013 adventure.”  On the first of November, after six months of travel, we arrived back at Lake Conroe completing our big circle and concluding our 2013 adventure.  All told we towed the camper about 4500 miles and, with all our sightseeing miles, etc. included we drove 10,000 miles.  We’ve had a wonderful time and the adventure lived up to all our expectations.

In a few days we’ll leave Thousand Trails and move to a commercial campground located about midway between Houston and Galveston.  That will be our “winter quarters” although we are planning on taking a month off somewhere along the line and head south for warmer temperatures and a change of venue…just because we can!

Here are a few random observations drawn from the past months of travel:

  1. I like planning and organizing.  Some fulltimers detest it.  They want to hit the road in the morning not knowing where they will be that evening.  If they are driving along and see something interesting along the way they change directions and follow their nose.  That doesn’t suit us.  We like looking at the map, planning the best route and knowing there will be a spot for us when we land at the end of the day.  For budgeting purposes, I had planned our entire summer, at least in theory, before we left Conroe.  With only a few changes, we followed that route and schedule all the way.  We liked doing it that way and we’ll probably continue that practice in the future.
  2. We like stays of longer than a week, but not as long as two weeks.  My rule of thumb is that, as fulltimers, we are going to spend every night somewhere.  For us, the journey is the destination so we are in no hurry.  At the same time, we are out on the road to see things we wouldn’t see otherwise.  The occasional one week stay was fine, but having to button down the camper and move every week, we realized, could become a bit of a drag.  At the same time, we had some longer stays in places where it didn’t take long to see all there was to see.  For those I mentioned above, it is easy to just move on.  For us, with reservations already made, we needed to stay put.  We’ve decided that, aside from nights when we are simply “in route” that we like stops of 10 or 11 days.
  3. The most dangerous time for any RVer is arriving at a campground.  As you arrive you are a bit tired and you are now off the highway and needing to maneuver campground roads.  You are looking at campsites and trying to take it all in, and, then you are landing the big rig.  There are tree limbs and power pedestals and ditches.   All this combines to increase the likelihood that something bad will happen.  Another of my new found rules of thumb is this: don’t let anyone talk you into trying to park the camper in a spot where you are uncomfortable.  This applies to pick-your-own-site and assigned site campgrounds.  Even if “people park campers as big as yours in that spot all the time” don’t do it if you have doubts.  After all, when something bad happens, it will be you who will pay for the damage, not the campground.  Happily, I learned the lesson without paying the price – but I came close; not once, but three times, and in the same campground!
  4. When picking a campsite, take your time.  Don’t think you have to take the first spot you come to.  Find a pull through site where you can leave the rig and take a quick walk around the campground.  We’ve learned to keep an eye out for the location of the dumpsters in relation to the campsite.  Who wants to listen to the lid of one of those things bang all day?  We’ve also learned to take the slide outs into consideration before backing in.  A tight fit becomes no fit at all if the slide will hit the power pedestal when extended.   If it fits it fits, even if it’s a tight fit.  If it doesn’t, well, it doesn’t.  It’s good to know that before you fight your way into the site.  We’re still learning this one: unless you like a nice bright campsite, it’s wise to notice where the street lights are.  We like to sit out and enjoy our portable campfire and watch the stars.  Twice now, as darkness fell, we realized the campsite was flooded with light.
  5. Let me provide a spiritual dimension to all this.  For years Jackie and I have stopped just prior to leaving on trips to bow our heads and ask the Lord’s protection for our journeys.  We have carried that practice into our RV adventure.  Each move has started with a prayer of thanksgiving for our stay and petition for a safe, enjoyable journey.  The Bible tells us that if we acknowledge the Lord in our lives that he will direct our ways (Proverbs 3:6).  We have taken that word of instruction to heart.

Montgomery County Memorial Library System Central Branch Conroe, TX

Name:  MCMLS Central Branch

Location: 104 I-45 North, Conroe, TX

2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-009.JPG

Central Branch  is located in a business like building with open space and a place for everyone inside.  On the first floor is the circulation area and the Children’s Department, which is warm with a fall bulletin board, wall art and a child sized school bus. There are tables available for children and the adults who bring them.

The second floor has adult materials to check out or use in house, a computer room, a reading area with newspapers and magazines, a large genealogy room, and an area set aside for teens.

The  library and staff are warm and welcoming making this a place for everyone.

2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-001.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-002.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-003.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-004.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-005.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-006.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-007.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-008.JPG2013 Central Branch Conroe, TX-009.JPG