Tag Archives: upgrades

2018 – Shortstop – Santa Fe Safari Campground – Chanute, KS

We’ve spent a couple of nights at Santa Fe Safari Campground in Chanute, KS as we prepare to drop our 5th wheel off for service at NuWa. These are the folks who made the camper and we are looking forward to having a couple of things repaired on it. Just a few minutes from the manufacturer’s service department is this nice city campground. My guess is that over half the RVers who come to this city campground are here because of NuWa service and sales. No one can argue with the price: free for the first two nights, then just $10 a night after that. The campsites are basically parking lot sites with 30/50 amp electric and water. There is a dump station on site.

This city campground even offers free WiFi! There are two sections. The east side is closest to S. Santa Fe Ave. and has all pull through sites and has the good WiFi signal. The west side sites are all back in and are close to restrooms (not well kept) and beyond the range of the WiFi. However, the sites are a bit wider and longer. They are also close to the dump station. We spent one night in the eastern section and then moved to a back in spot so we could stay hooked up and be ready to report in to the service center early the next morning.

Some of the pull through sights are are just barely wide enough for two RVs. People who are trading RV’s park the two rigs “face to face” so they can more easily move their belongings to their new digs. This is perhaps the only time you’ll ever see a RVer happy to have another rig parked very close by!

While Chanute isn’t exactly a tourist destination, this is a great small town campground for a great price.


See individual photos with notes here.

2018 – Project: Dish Tripod

I’ve written about my satellite TV setup before, mostly in reference to the Winegard Carryout I used for a few years. You can read those posts here:

As I mentioned in the later reviews, I finally decided I was happier using a regular dish rather than the Carryout.  The reasons are in the final review so I won’t rehash them in this post.  All this to say that for the past few years I’ve used the home style dish and intend to keep on using it.

One of the weak links in this setup, though, is the tripod.  I inherited a small, very basic one, that is rather flimsy.  If the ground is unlevel, I put something under one leg to attempt to level it.  I also stake it out with guy wires to hold it steady in the wind.  It works but is far from an elegant solution.

I’ve been looking at the TV4RV tripod for some time.  However, it is pricy and I had a hard time pulling the trigger on it.  Finally, though, I went for it and I’ve just finished setting it up.

The tripod is actually a modified surveyor’s tripod; each leg can be adjusted independently.  A compass is supplied that fits right into the top of the tripod, and you are supposed to aim the direction before you ever mount the dish onto the tripod.

The whole setup took about 15 minutes and I think in the future it will take less time than that.  In my case the new tripod was set up right next to the old one, so I just moved the dish from one to the other.  In other words, there wasn’t much aiming involved in the initial setup.  However, I’m fairly confident that it won’t be hard to master the setup process.

The whole thing is supposed to be attached to the ground using one of those screw in doggie stakes.  In my case the ground was too rocky, so I ended up using an alternative method using two tent stakes.  Also, you are provided a bungee cord, but I opted to go with a strap.  Of course, different situations will call for different anchoring solutions, for instance, using a 5 gallon bucket of water.

So, I now have the Cadillac of portable dish tripods.  I’ll report back on any future discoveries I make while using it.

Reflecting on our 2017 Adventure

Our 2017 Adventure had both ups and downs.  It was a year with several unexpected expenses that included a broken windshield and various camper repair projects.  Later on we decided it was time to put new tires on the camper.  At four and a half years they still looked good but camper tires are notorious for failing at about that age.  We also ended up putting new tires on the truck, but, sorry to say, that came after a major tire failure that did damage to the truck.  Not long after that the truck ended up in the shop for a bigger repair.  After working through the issue with the warranty company, the repair ended up costing us hundreds rather than thousands of dollars.  Still, it was an expense that hit the bank account pretty hard.  The lesson learned wasn’t a new one, but still hit us in the wallet: when it rains it pours.

2017 also brought some medical issues our way, some are still ongoing.  That reminds us of another old lesson made new: life happens, even when you are living the RV dream.

During the year we tried a bit different approach to travel.  Rather than moving every 1-2 weeks during the months when we aren’t volunteering we decided to slow down in the early spring while we waited for warmer temperatures up north.  We spent a month on the Alabama coast, then another month near Knoxville, TN.    The result was mixed.  The month in Alabama wasn’t bad at all.  We were in a park that had lots of winter people and lots of interesting activities.  The month in Tennessee, so close to the month in Alabama, seemed longer.  The campground was crowded and the weather was wet.  All this added up to a less than enjoyable stay for us.  Lesson learned: be careful when scheduling longer stays to be sure the campground/area is worth the lengthy stop and don’t schedule longer stops too close together.

While we were in Indianapolis we were joined by our son and family for a few nights.  The camper was really crowded.  Still, it was fun seeing our loved ones and accommodating our “guests.”  None of us would have enjoyed this set up for a longer stay, but for a few nights it was great and we would happily do it again.   The lesson learned is that changing things up for a special occasion can be fun even if it is inconvenient.

We enjoyed family a couple of other times during the Adventure, spending a week near Jackie’s brother and his wife, Jim and Phyllis. This was followed by a couple of stays near Jackie’s family in Iowa.  Then in the fall, my sister Susan joined us and traveled with us for a couple of weeks.  These family times are a real bonus and make traveling even more fun.  Same lesson: it’s a real bonus being with family and friends.

We always enjoy worshiping with the various congregations we visit in our travels.  This year we especially enjoyed the Church of the Nazarene in Summerdale, AL.  Being that this was one of our longer stays we got to know the folks a bit rather than just being one or two Sunday visitors.  Then, we finished the year by filling in for a month for a pastor friend of ours in Denison, TX and then accepting an interim assignment (still ongoing) at Baytown, TX.  A good lesson is that while being a perpetual church visitor is always interesting, nothing takes the place of being part of a worshiping community.

During 2017 we towed the camper nearly 5000 miles, visited 17 states, and stayed in 34 different places.  This year, when we arrived in South Dakota we completed visiting all 50 states (although not all in the RV).  We started and finished the year volunteering on Battleship Texas.  This marks our fourth season of wintering in this unique location on the Houston Ship Channel.   We are still working on our 2018 Adventure and expect to continue our journeys in this New Year.