Monday, February 29, 2016

Cooking in the convection oven - attempt #2


This is my second attempt at cooking in the convection oven and it was a SUCCESS!!!

Tonights snack is Pillsbury Orange Rolls.


This time I decided to cook them with no changes from the instructions.  I used the times listed for a conventional oven.  In this case 400 degrees for 19 minutes.


First I preheated the oven.  It took 10 minutes to bring the oven up to 400 degrees.

I arranged the rolls in an 8" round metal cake pan and placed the pan on the metal rack that came with the oven.  I picked the short arrangement for the rack since I read that the important part was just to let the air circulate.  I left the glass tray in the bottom of the oven so the pan would rotate during cooking and ensure an even bake.

After 19 minutes the oven turned itself off and I pulled the rolls out of the oven.   They looked perfect.


I put the icing on them and brought them in to the house.


They came out perfect.  They were neither overdone or underdone.  There were just right.

So I think the next time I cook cookies (my first attempt) I will just use the normal times and not worry about this being a convection oven.




Carpeted Step

One of the things I remember from my childhood was dad always having a piece of carpet on the RV step(s).  Most of the time he glued a piece of astroturf to the step and it hurt if you were barefoot, but there was always something to wipe your feet.

This weekend we added a wrap around carpet to the Fuse step.   This carpet was from amazon and was held in place with 5 springs.    The hardest part of the job was collecting the springs from under the coach each time one slipped from my arthritic hands.   Eventually I got my Daughter to help since my hands do not work as well as they use to.  A very easy job in all reality.    In looking at the construction, if the springs do not hold, zip ties will be the backup plan and they would be easier to manipulate.


I do have a one concern about it.    Will it trap water and create rust or mold.   It is not on there too tight so there should be some air flow.  I will have to keep an eye on it over time.



Why a Winnebago Fuse 23a

I posted in the Winnebago Trend Facebook group some of the reasons we chose the Winnebago Fuse 23a motorhome for our first RV.  This was in response to a call to see if anyone had bought the Trend 23d, which has basically the same floorpan.   I am going to try and explain how we got to our decision.

Several years ago, my wife and myself decided we wanted to get an RV.  Some of this was to start our preparation for retirement, some of this was a change in how we like to travel, some of this was that our children had grown up and vacationing was about to change.

When we started our search we had several things we wanted:
  • Twin beds in the back.
  • It had to be usable without extending a slide out or anything else so we could pull off at a rest stop and take a nap.
  • Something small enough so we did not have a tow car.
We looked on the Internet and came up with a short list:  The Winnebago View 24V,  Phoenix Cruiser 2551 and the Leisure Travel Van Unity TB bubbled to the top.  There were several others that fit the bill,  Thor, Villagio, Dynamax all seemed to qualify in our search  but for various reasons, we did not like them.

The LTV Unity was the best built of the bunch. It felt like a premium built unit but it had a major problem.   I did not fit in the bed.  I am 6' tall with size 13 feet and I just fit into the bed length wise and my feet did not fit in the space below the closet that overhung the foot of the bed.  They were priced a premium and had a long lead time, but if I had fit we would have probably gone that way.

The Phoenix Cruiser had a similar problem.  I just did not fit the bed.

The Winnebago View fit me and we were very close to buying one.  Even though the closet overhung the longer bed, my feet fit.  We were looking for a 2016 or better since the 16 View has a window over the kitchen area and that seemed to open the whole coach up.  The other thing we wanted was a coach without the cab over bed.  This feature seemed to be hard to find.   As we were looking and debating on ordering one, Winnebago announced the Fuse 23a and the Trend 23d.  These really seemed to offer additional options.

At this point I have to say that following the news groups and in particular a blog called thefitrv.com really helped.  The yahoo newsgroups for the Winnebago View and Trend units let us know there were new options and thefitrv.com did a video at the Louisville show that peaked our interest.  The video tours from Lichtsinn RV also helped.

We read that both of the prototype units were in Tampa waiting on the Tampa RV show and we went to look.   We looked at both units and both had pluses and minuses, but both were closer to what we wanted than the View.  The rear bath floorpan opened up the center of the unit making it seem much bigger than the Views mid-bath layout. Both chassis offered what seeming to us a better total cost of ownership proposition.  That part was just a feel based on costs associated with Sprinter maintenance expenses.

One of the great parts,  the beds in the back were 77-80 inches long with no overhangs.

We liked both of them and had a dilemma .

The Trend 23D
So what did we like about the Trend 23d.  The first thing was that generator was gasoline and got its fuel from the main fuel tank.  Another thing we liked was that it was gasoline powered and that implied a lower cost for fuel and overall maintenance expenses.

What we did not like was the smaller cargo capacity.  The lack of exterior storage space was another thing that caused concern.

The Fuse 23A
We looked at the Fuse and my wife loved the squared off cabinets.  The sliding doors on the cabinets were another thing she liked.  The inclusion of a widow in the bathroom and the pocket door to the bathroom also seemed to seal the deal for her.   I liked the exterior storage on the drivers side of the vehicle.   I also liked the greater carrying capacity.

What we did not care for was the LP generator and the drivers seat being fixed forward as opposed to being able to be turned around to add to the living space like in the Trend.  One thing that did not add any value to us was the large TV in the front.  The diesel engine was also something we could take or leave.

It really was a hard choice, but the cabinets, external storage and the bathroom window is what it came down to.  We know that nothing is perfect and there are lots of compromises, but I think we made the right decision for us.  Time will tell but we are happy so far.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fuse 23a inside photos


Just a couple of inside shots with the slide in.   The photos from Winnebago always have the slide out to make everything feel bigger but we find that with the slide in there is still plenty of space.

Fuse 23a Inside



Fuse 23a inside

Fuse 23a Inside

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Official Snack Food of the conFUSed RVer



The Official Snack Food of the conFUSEd RVer



Why might you ask.  It was the first food we ate in our FUSE 23a and made it feel like home.  

Cookies and other things might be good, but it is hard to beat Little Debbie Brownies


Cooking in the convection oven - 1st attempt

We tried cooking in the convection microwave today.  What is better to cook than cookies.  In particular Pillsburry chocolate chip cookies from the refrigerator section.



I read up on the Internet, tips from all over.  Preheat, airspace around the food, 20% less time or less heat. I got a 12" pizza tray from Walmart for $3.95 to bake on and I was ready.  I put the cookies on the tray and then the tray on the rack that came with the oven.

I read the oven instructions:
Step 1 - Preheat the oven.
This took 5-10 min so it seemed like forever to preheat.  Staring at the oven does not speed it up
         Trust me
Step 2 - Make sure that there is room for air to circulate around what is being cooked.
Step 3 - The package said 350 degrees for 10-14 min.  So I set the oven for 10 min at 350.
Step 4 - Cook
Step 5 - Get oven mitt and take out.
Opinion #1 -  Not quite done  Looked done but way to soft
Step 6 - Put back in for 4 more min.
Step 7 - Take out again
Opinion #2 Better -  Still soft but should be good once cooled.
Step 8 - Wait for several minutes for cooling
Opinion #3  -  Much better.  Edges crunchy but center still soft.
Done



Tastes, soft, and a great treat!

What am I going to do different next time:   I think I am just going to use the same temperature and time listed on that package and not adjust for convection baking.  I am thinking that the small size of the microwave might make the adjustments not necessary.   I also read that the thermostats in these High Pointe microwaves tend to be off on the low side.  

I still have a dozen to cook and will try again with these adjustments soon.   Wait for installment #2, though canned orange rolls might be next.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Automatic Transfer Switch

My Winnebago Fuse 23a came with an Automatic Transfer Switch.    I guess the first thing I should do is describe what an Automatic Transfer Switch is.  This device switches the AC power from shore power to generator power without any manual intervention when the generator comes on.  You have to manually turn on the generator, but everything else is automatic.



The greatest thing that it does is it injects a 30 second delay from when the generator starts delivering power until it switches this power to the coach.  This gives the generator time to come up to speed and allows the power to steady and get rid of any fluctuations.  You have clean power when it swaps. This should be much safer for the AC/microwave/refrigerator and anything else plugged into AC power.  To be safe I would probably turn everything off  before I cranked the generator, but I can use all the help I can get in case I forget.

Once you turn the generator off it takes 3-4 seconds to convert back to shore power. It is mounted in the Utility/Electrical bay and lives with the 30amp AC cord.

The device is a TRC model 41300.   The website for the device is at http://trci.net/products/surge-guard-rv/transfer-switches/30a-hardwire-basic-41300

I'm not sure if this is standard or optional equipment since I can't find it on the build sheet, but it is there.   It has a document in the additional documentation book, but the FUSE operators manual still depicts plugging the power cord into the generator outlet.

If you do not have the Automatic Transfer Switch you need to plug your AC cord into the generator receptacle to get generator power to your coach.  This is a photo from the manual:


Fuse 23a size

I have been asked several times by friends, how big is your Winnebago Fuse?  Where are you parking it?  How much space does it take up.

Well I took a picture today to see if this would answer the question.  I know there is some forced perspective, but in all reality I am parking it where I use to park my Ford F250 Crew Cab truck with the standard bed.  The vehicle in front is a Nissan Pathfinder to get an idea of the sizes in question.

Winnebago Fuse 23a

Winnebago Fuse 23a

I tell people to remember that the fuse is 24 feet long and 7 1/2 feet wide.   To think of it, it is about the same size as the truck.  If I am reading the specifications right, the Fuse is 1 foot narrower and 3 1/2 feet longer. But even if I am not reading them right, they feel really close.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cab privacy panel alternative


I am not sure I will need them, but over in the Winnebago Trend Facebook group they are talking about cab privacy panel alternatives.   There were two web sites mentioned:

http://www.eurocampers.com Looks like a higher end/more insulated version of the shades that come in the view

http://www.eclipsesunshades.net  These look like the pleated view shades.

Mostly adding this info to the site incase I ever have to find this information again.


LED Task Lights


I want to pay a compliment to the designers of the Fuse.  They did the lighting right.  With the lights on, there really are not any dark spots in the living area.

One of the many good things that they have included in the cabin are several LED task lights.  These are bright, independent from the cabin light switches, and provide plenty of light just were you need it when the cabin lights are off.   Looking straight up above the couch you can get an idea of what one of them looks like.



Now comes the conFUSEing part.   How do you turn them on and off.  Everyone has to stop and look to figure this out.   Unless you get directly underneath one of them, you will never figure it out.  The switch is a small slider on the back of each light.  Generally it is hidden unless you are looking directly up at the light.


I am not sure if this is a common thing, but as a new RVer, this caused us to stop for a few minutes to figure it out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fuse Solar

My Fuse 23a came with the 100w solar option.  This consists of a 100w solar panel on the roof and a charge controller in the cabin.  


This all comes from a company called Zamp Solar Power.   Their web address is http://www.zampsolar.com for those interested in details.

Based on what I have seen in the unit, Winnebago has installed the Zamp Solar Deluxe 100 Watt RV Solar Kit.      The good thing about this is that there is room for expansion if I ever want to add more panels.  On the roof of the unit the wiring box already exists for two additional panels.  In addition,  there is a connector in the electrical compartment to connect a portable panel.


A couple things to help those looking for more info:



One thing I need to find out is if the Zamp plug is propriety or if it is an industry standard?  It appears to be a standard type, but I am not certain.

The other question is how the plug in the electrical compartment is wired.? Does it go back to the charge controller, or does it go straight to the batteries?  If it goes straight back to the batteries, then we need panel with a solar controller.  Just not sure.  I got an updated from the winnebago View yahoo group on where to look and it does go bach through the controller.


ConFUSEd as always, I continue to wonder how well does a 100w panel keep the battery charged? Should I add an extra 100w or 200w of solar to the roof to bring it up to a grand total of 300w.

Well since the Fuse is new, I have been spending an hour or so every night in the unit just looking around.  I have the lights on and the rear TV on.  I am not connected to any outside power. On sunny days the controller shows that the batteries are full.    I will have to keep watch, but I like that I am not having to worry about the house batteries are going dead and I like being green.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Family Portrait


This is me and my pack,  Figure out who is who


And my new favorite spot 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Our First Trip

We took our first trip  in the Fuse motorhome this weekend to our favorite place on earth.  Disney World!!
Ft. Wilderness Sign


My daughter called at the last minute and got a cancellation at Ft. Wilderness on Saturday morning for that night.  We packed the motorhome up in an hour or so and off we went.   I don't think we have ever done a Disney trip with an hours notice, but off we went.

The drive down went well.   Drove at anywhere between 70-75MPH and had a blast.  Found couple of rattles and got them resolved.  Realized that the cabin door needs to be slammed or you would get some air noise.  Do going down with the motor home packed,  and with 3 adults and a beagle riding a passengers we got 14.02mpg.   The Ford computer said we were getting 13.8mpg so the computer did not appear too far off.   This is less than I got driving it home from the dealer, but good guess is that I have 1000lbs of cargo and people in the coach.  Still below the 1500lbs it is rated at.

Once we got there we set up camp.  Again, no excitement.  Got the electricity first, then the cable and then the water.   Remembered to run the water through the external filer  first to blow out any loose carbon (a very good idea since the first quart of water was black).  I did not connect to the sewer since the tanks were still registering empty and I did not get it close enough to the dump for the sewer hose to connect easily.   Then we ran out the slide and put out the awning.It all took less than 30 min. with most of that time being me explaining to my wife and daughter (and convincing/reminding myself) what I was doing.  The only step I forgot was the turning off the power to the antenna booster to get the TVs to use the cable.  I ran through one channel discovery cycle getting no stations before I realized what went wrong.
Winnebago Fuse 23aWinnebago Fuse 23a


My daughter went to the park and my wife and myself relaxed and explored Ft. Wilderness.   The dog had never experienced camping (no had my wife) so it was new for everyone.  The dog was not sure what to do, but had a great time just sniffing around.  My wife talked to folks and we just relaxed.   We did the fried chicken takeout from Pioneer Hall for dinner.  Probably the best deal for dinner in the park.  Plenty of food (we had leftovers) for 4 for less than $30.00.

Slept great and got ready to go.  Took us about an hour to pack up.  Most of that being me repositioning the coach and emptying the holding tanks.  It went well, no messes, but I went slow and did the explaining again.  This time, my wife and daughter realized this was as much for me convincing myself I was doing it right as it was for her benefit.

Drove back to Tallahassee.  This time I kept the speed at 68mph.  From Orlando to Lake City the Computer read 16mpg.  From Lake City to Tallahassee, it read 15.2mpg.    I did the math, miles/gallons and it came out to 14.6mpg for the entire trip.  Still going to have to watch stuff but it looks like mileage from 14-15mpg is easily doable.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Storing the Stinky Slinky

The first piece of advice we got on the new motorhome was to buy a good sewer hose, aka: the stinky slinky.  We did not get it just once but several times.

As we were doing the paperwork for the Fuse, we asked what we needed to get so we could stay the night in the coach.  He said bring pillows, blankets, and a good sewer hose, either at their store, or at the Walmart down the street.  He explained that even working for a large RV sales organization, he managed to make a huge mess when the connections failed the first time he tried emptying the tanks. We might be conFUSEd, but I can take a hint.   We went and got a good sewer hose as the first thing.

We will talk about the hose in another post, but there is a different problem.  Where to store it.  The Fuse came with a storage area for the sewer hose, but it was too small for a heavy duty hose with super duty connections.  The sewer hose compartment just fits the blue hose that came with the unit and I was told that that hose is NOT what you want under any circumstances.

Now luckily the FUSE has several outside storage compartments but I do not want the stinky slinky touching anything else.  So what did I do, I bought a clear plastic container from Target to store the hose in. I am going to keep it the front outside drivers side storage compartment.   15' hose and sewer adapter fits fine and It will keep it away from everything else.  The one I bought is:






And the best part,  The price was $6.99.   I will say I wish it was a little shorter and a little wider.  The compartment is 20-21" deep and the container is 23.5x16.4x6.5 so I had to turn it sideways, but it works.   It can stay in its container and keep the nasty stuff all segregated.  Call me paranoid and if it is washed off good and sanitized, not problem but better safe than sorry.  And just the thought makes me want to do even more.

I am eventually going to see if we can come up with something better, maybe a pipe under the coach, but this will work for now.

Bike Rack

A quick little post.   When I do research I will try and include what I find out here.  

I am going to need a bike rack and the Fuse. Mine did not come with one from the factory.   It came with the hardware to mount one from the factory, but not the rack itself.   I am not sure what I am going to do, but I did track down the vendor that Winnebago uses for the bike rack.    It is from a company called FIAMMA.   There web site is at:


I am not sure what I am going to do, but  it took more than a few minutes to track down. the manufacturer and there is not much info on the Winnebago site.

Oh, and by the way, Winnebago included covers for the bike rack hardware in the case with the manuals that came with the coach if you are looking to cover up the brackets.   Not sure they are the most attractive coverings and the bright white does not match the tan of the coach, but should at least keep me from scratching myself on them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confused about the Front table

Staying confused as always I am today confused about why the front table is mounted the way it is, or more correctly why Winnebago only put one mounting hole for the front table.


This picture is with the slide out.  Notice that if the slide was in there is no hole to put the table leg in.

One of the reasons I bought the Fuse is so we could pull over on the side of the road  (at a rest stop preferably) and nap/eat lunch.  The napping is taken care of by the twin beds and nothing is required to make that happen.

But for lunch there is an issue.  In order to set up the from table you have to put the slide out.   Now I probably want to put up the table when the slide is out, but I also want to set up the table when the slide is in. Putting out the slide at a rest stop is apparently bad manners. So now I wonder what the thinking is from Winnebago.

I guess the proper term is the "table leg base".  I looked it up and found the part if I wanted to add it myself at a later date.

I wonder if there is an engineering reason for this?  Maybe the drive shaft is passing right there.  Not sure.   Just a question,  not a show stopper.   Just kind of weird.

Staying ConFUSEd.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First long drive



We brought the Fuse home from Tampa to Tallahassee yesterday.   This is a trip of about 250 miles.  I forgot to look at the odometer to get an exact reading.    It drove really nice.   I was scared since we did not leave the lot until 4:00.

We left so late since the service techs we still making minor adjustments to several things we found during our walkthrough and the overnight stay.   I highly recommend staying the night after purchasing.  We found and learned several things and it was nice to be at the dealer to get them looked at/our concerns answered.

 I started out concerned about rush hour traffic around Tampa.  A big new vehicle,  Construction on I-75, a new driver.  I was a little apprehensive to say the least.   Got the vehicle on the road and it drove great.  After about 10 min I felt comfortable, even though Tampa drivers are insane.

Key thing was we got the mirrors adjusted before we left.  For me it is not natural to have to look at and upper and lower mirror to see behind.  With an RV, that is how you do it.  I said I was new and I am not lying but 10min and I got with the program.

The Fuse handled great.  Trucks went by without blowing it around.   It handles nice.  The seat is comfortable and the view out of the front is amazing.   Ford did a great job on the automotive part of this rig.

I felt so at ease in the FUSE.  When my brothers Father-in-Law (who has an RV) called to see how we were doing, I talked to him for 20min while driving in traffic.  

Now for the good part (I think).   If you believe  the Ford/Winnebago computer - From Tampa to Lake City Florida, the first 150 miles, I got 17mpg in 60-70mph traffic going north on I-75.   I had the cruise control set for 70 and slowed down and speed up some because of the traffic, but 17mpg was great.    When I got to Live Oak I refueled and reset the computer.   From Live Oak to Tallahassee  (82 miles) I got 15.5mpg.   Not as great.   I ran this part with the cruise set to 70 just like the other part.  Not sure if it was the hills, the new fuel, or the rain.

Oh I forgot, I got to drive The last 40 miles in the rain.  It did great there as well.

We bought it

We bought our first motorhome.   After several years of looking we pulled the trigger on a New 2017 Winnebago Fuse 23A motorhome.

We purchased it a Lazydays in Tampa Florida  and spent our first night in it on the delivery lot Valentines Day.    Here is our new coach:

Winnebago Fuse 23a


Now the fun begins