Thursday, September 6, 2018

Winnebago Fuse 23F Floorplan


The new Winnebago Fuse 23F is hitting the dealers as we speak and the information is now up on the Winnebago Web Site.  

Why the excitement?  It is the third floorplan in the Fuse lineup after the twin bed 23A and rear slide out bed 23T.

Winnebago Fuse 23F floorplan - Winnebago industries drawing


Monday, September 3, 2018

Ice Bucket


Gladware in freezer


I did not buy a motorhome to rough it.  I bought it so we could be as comfortable as possible while we were out traveling.  So with that in mind, I like ice in my drinks.  Not just those of the adult persuasion, but I want ice in my water and my soft drinks.

So, how do I keep ice in my freezer.  The freezer has no problems making ice,  I just need a place to store it once I make it.  I need an ice bucket.



64oz gladware container


So we have been using a Gladware disposable storage container.  Why that as opposed to just a basket or bowl.  I wanted a lid so that none of the ice would spill out as we go down the road.  I also wanted to make sure any odors did not contaminate the ice.  And before I get yelled at, we don't have smells in the freezer,  I am just cautious.

I fill up the container with ice from the house before we leave on a trip.  That gives us 2 days of ice without any additions.  We make more ice every night so the bucket will remain pretty full.

Publix gladware


I have used a 64oz Gladware (or in our case a Publix equivalent).  The key being it is freezer safe.  We made the mistake of using one that did not have that on the label and it cracked.

Gladware in freezer sliding in and out


The 64oz deep container fits just right in the freezer,  Slides in and out without any problems.

Now with it being Gladware (or equivalent) I get a couple of other benefits.  First is cost.  It only costs about  $1.00 or less if you use the generic ones (like me).  The second is that it is pretty much indestructible,  we had several of them crack due to the cold (before I started looking for the freezer safe versions) but they hold up.  And lastly, you can dispose of them and afford to get a new one if it get dirty or you are suspect of it.  Food safety is not to played around with.  We bleach the inside of the refrigerator/freezer and the ice trays down between trips but being to easily replace something like this is great.

Gas Strut for the Under Bed Storage

Fuse Gas Strut Storage Project


If you have a Fuse 23a one of the great things winnebago did was create a large amount of storage under the foot of the driver's side bed.   It is a real hidden gem that the sales people often don't seem to know about.  We keep our extra water, sodas, toilet paper, anything we only have to get to ever couple of days.

There is one problem with it.  You have to hold open the lid to get things in and out.  Winnebago did not put anything in place to allow you to hold it open.  It is also pretty heavy especially if you have your bedding in place.

We keep our rear beds made up as beds and it requires some muscles to open it with the bedding on top.  For Sonya and myself it turns into a 2 person job.  One person opening it and the other dealing with the stuff.

Ron Jansen came up with a great idea.  Add a gas strut to the system to help open it and hold it open once you get it upright.  So I decided to add this mod to the Beagle Bus.

The parts I used:
Fuse Strut mod parts


Under bed storage compartment.

This is the before picture.  I had to take off the bedding and the mattress to get started.  As you can see we have several very important things stored in the compartment.

Strut End


Step 1 - Prepare the Struts.  The struts are connected using the ball stud brackets.  Then get the hole in the strut to go over the ball you have to slide up a small clip on each end of the strut.  I needed to use a small screwdriver to get it to move.

Flat ball bracketL bracket attachment


Step 2 -  Attach the flat ball bracket.  This is an easy step.  We reuse one of the screws from the L-bracket in the corner of the bed.  I chose the 3rd one up from the bottom.   Unscrew the screw and then screw it back in with the flat bracket in place.  It is not a perfect fit, but pretty close.  Best of all no drilling.

Angled Ball bracketAttached angled ball stud bracket


Step 3 - Attach the angles ball stud bracket -  Now we need to attach the upper bracket.  I slid the gas treat into place and just hand fit the part making sure it was not at an angle.  Once I was happy I marked where the middle hole needed to be.  I used the hand drill to make a pilot hole so I would not split any wood and it would be easier to screw it down.  When I got the first screw in I made sure it worked the way I wanted it to. 

In a rare occurrence, I got had it lined up right the first time.  It would not have mattered if I had it in the wrong place.  I would have just moved it.  Any mistaken holes would have been hidden.  I then added the remaining 2 screws to make it permanent installation.

Gas strut for storage on the Fuse


Step 4 - I installed the gas strut.  This was very easy since I had it hand fit already.  All I needed to do was slide the clips back down so the strut would not fall off the back studs.  The project was complete.

Now getting stuff in and out of the underbid storage is a one person job.  No effort required.

Other folks who have done this mod have suggested using a 60lbs strut since the 30lbs strut does not hold the top open with bedding on top.  My experience is that 30lbs will allow you to hold the lid open with your pinky and makes opening it super easy.  Making the change to 60lbs would be super easy but I am staying with 30lbs for the moment.

Effort required - Low
Total time - 15-30 minutes
Cost of the parts - $30.00

Friday, August 31, 2018

Winnebago Fuse 23F Quick Look



Fuse 23F  - www.motorsportsland.com


Winnebago has released a new Fuse model.  The Fuse 23F.  There have been rumors of a different model appearing next year but it seems one has made it out into the wild.

I have heard through the grape vine that Winnebago will have the 23F on display at the the Hershey show (Sept. 12-16) and at the Compact Coach rally (Sept. 27-30).

Fuse 23F passenger - www.motorsportsland.com


What is it?  A Winnebago Fuse with a rear corner bed and a dinette.  This looks like it has a very similar floorpan to the Winebago View 24J.

Fue 23F interior - www.motorsportsland.com


This is a 2019 model so you get all of the good upgrades Winnebago has been rolling out this model year.   The compressor refrigerator, 2 solar panels, Inverter,  raked off rear for more clearance and all the rest of the 2019 goodies.

It looks from the photos that there is a huge amount of exterior storage under the bed. 37.9cu ft of exterior storage in the 23F vs 35.2cu ft for the T and 23.2cu ft for the A.

There is no information up on the Winnebago site yet.  I did find this if you are looking for more information.  https://www.manualslib.com/products/Winnebago-Fuse-23f-2019-9037137.html.  I think this is just the standard 2019 Fuse manual .

Fuse 23F Forward View - www.motorsportsland.com


I borrowed these photos from https://www.motorsportsland.com/inv/2019-Winnebago-Fuse-WF423F-32298/#mainpic .  There are more.  This seem to have the first one out there for sale.  If you are going through Salt Lake at the moment, take a look.

Get Together - Spring 2018


Wow!  What a time we had at the Spring 2018 Winnebago Fuse Get Together.  I had a blast!   Sonya being the brains of the operation set up a great event.

We left Wednesday evening after work and made it from Tallahassee to just South of Troy, Alabama. About a 2-2.5 hour ride.   Stoped at a campground on the South side of town and everything was grand.  The Walnut CreeK RV Park. Nice folks checked us in.  Nice power/cable and a level campsite.  On grass mind you, but a nice site for the night.  This is mostly a permanent trailer setup for student housing at Troy State University.  We ate dinner and turned in for the night.  

The bad part came in the morning.  The bathrooms were horrendous.  They had not been cleaned in a while.  I might have been able to work around this but there was no hot water.  I aborted the shower attempt and did a sponge bath in the Fuse.

We left there and headed up the road through Montgomery,  Huntsville,  Nashville and our final stop at the Grand Ole RV Park.   We got there mid-afternoon on Thursday and 4 or 5 Fuses were already waiting on us. 

I have to give two big thumbs up to the service at the Grand Ole RV Park first.  Not only did they guide us to our campsite, but they offered to help hook up as well.  How can you beat that.

Oh, and after our previous stop I can happily report that the bathrooms at the Grand Ole RV park were spotless and had plenty of hot water.

We quickly got setup.   I had to get with our Fuse Family members.  We spent the rest of the day on the porch talking and welcoming the group arriving.  I think by the end of Thursday we had 10 or more of our Fuse Family at the park.  And there were two other Beagles and they both read the word sucker on my forehead.

We got up Friday morning  and got ready for the festivities starting that night.  We talked and laughed and just had a great time as I ran from coach to coach welcoming everyone to the fun.   

At 5:00 we started the pot luck.  More good food than you can imagine.  I think everyone got plenty.  The campground had live music starting at 7:00 and we sat around and listened until it finished.

We were blessed that Ford sent goodie bags promoting the power stroke diesel an the Transit platform.  How great is that.  Hats all around plus some other fabulous stuff.  We also followed the tradition of something Fuse branded.  This time, coffee cups.  Come through Tallahassee and I will give you one so long as they last.

The next morning started at 8:00am with a great breakfast furnished by Winnebago.  The campground catered the meal and I know I ate more that I should have.  We had people sitting inside and outside and everyone was just having a wonderful time.

At 9:00 our headline speaker from Winnebago started his talk.   A huge amount of great information and lots of questions and answers.  It was a great two way discussion with the man who designs the Fuse.   I will be writing up the tech talk notes in a separate post.

After the tech talk there was lunch and the tour of coaches.  Everyone showed off mods and asked each other for tips and techniques for doing things with our Fuses.

One thing that did stand out that we had not done before was Deb Mowers doing two sessions on how to use your convection microwave.  During the first session she packed 10 people into her 23T.  During the second session (which I attended) there were 7 students.  She showed us about convection baking and the grilling feature.  She used a can of crescent rolls to demonstrate the oven in operation.   I got some tips (have got to try toast in the microwave) and a recipe for beef and yellow rice in the instant pot.

At 6:00 on Saturday Night we had out good bye dinner.  In the past we had done pizza but since the Grand Ole RV Park was cooking, we had sloppy joe sandwich plates.  We listened to some more great music, said our good byes and hit the sack.

Sunday Morning a good number of people had left before we got moving.  Lots of sightseeing or long distances to head home.  Some people stayed around.    We decided to head home.  Lily got sick while we were there (she actually pinched a nerve in her neck) and we decided to get her home to the Vet to make sure she was ok. 

So when it was all finished up we had the following:
22 Winnebago Fuses
1 Coachman Orion (an honorary Fuser)
1 Fuse couple from California who flew in
2 Gonna Be Fusers 
1 Guest speaker who broke their Fuse on the way to TN. (Gasoline and Diesel are not interchangeable)

How did the beagle bus do on this trip?   I mostly ran at 65mph on US-231 between the small towns and ran at 72mph on I-10 and I-65.  For that I got a combined mileage of 15.8mpg.   I got as high as 18 mpg for one tank on US-231 and as low as 15.2mpg on I-65.  Not bad and shows that speed matters.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Asheville to Tallahassee and the Wrap Up


Driving through the north georgia mountains


We headed home today from Asheville.  A roughly 7 hour drive.  We plugged our destination into Apple Maps, looked at the path and started out.  We did make a decision that was a little different.  We decided on the route through Atlanta.  Normally we would avoid Atlanta like the plague, but since we would be going through mid afternoon I decided to go for it.

We started out and eventually got off the Interstate and onto beautiful 2 lane roads.  It was great since the speed limits were 55-65 and I got 17mpg on one tank even with the hills.

We took the route and things looked familiar.  Once we passed Dillard and Tallulah Falls we recognized that we had been here before.  We need to figure out how to keep notes on these routes.  It would be nice to know where places we like to eat are and not have to relearn each time.  We were craving some Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch and eventually gave up and ate Arbys.  One exit later was the KFC.  Ok, well.

We started our day on the road around 10:00 and got home around 7:00.  Running down I-75 keeping up with traffic was a chore.  Averaging between 70-75mph I did manage to get 15.2mpg.  Not a bad days drive but the stress going through Atlanta, even at an off time is tiring.   Now that I reminded myself about Atlanta traffic I will swing around through Athens next time.

Lily


The big wrap up for the trip. Most importantly Lily had a good time and got to see both of her children.  The Fuse did well, but I need to take care of the fuel filter warning before we head for Iowa.

The statistics:

  • 7 days away from home
  • Traveled 2252 miles
  • Used 145 gallons of diesel
  • 44 hours and 51 minutes of time on the engine (at least 4 hours of idling)
  • Average price paid per gallon of diesel was $2.90
  • Total miles per gallon was 15.5 calculated.  The trip computer has it a 14.9mpg

Asheville West KOA


Fuse at Asheville KOA


We spent the night at the Asheville West KOA.   It is just off of I-40 and not a bad place for a one night stay.

We were not exactly sure where we were going on Thursday so when we got tired we were close to Asheville.  We called several places that got higher reviews, but they were all booked up. The KOA campground has a fairly large number of spots so they were able to accommodate us.

We had a good experience checking in.  Everything around the office and store seemed to be very organized and neat.   Lily was given a baggie which included the pet rules, a poop bag and a doggie bone which she quickly devoured. The campsite where we were assigned was in the B section.  It was a back-in sites with full hookups.  We drove over and set up our site.  It was level and reasonably wide.  It had a picnic table and was nice place to spend the night.

It had several really positive aspects.  The place was very clean.  There was a security officer that patrolled the area throughout the night.  The cable TV worked very well and the WiFi signal was strong and fast.  As good as we have seen in a campground.

The shower facilities were nice.  Very clean and fairly large.  There was plenty of hot water and good water pressure.

Fuse on Asheville West KOA lot


There were two negatives.  First was the noise.  Not from the campers, but from the Interstate and from multiple helicopters flying over during the evening.   Second was the campsites.  They had very little grass.  They were mostly composed of gravel and dirt.  I admit that we were probably spoiled by Pipestem State Park, but Lily really likes to walk on grass over gravel.  That being said, there was a large grassy area and off-leash dog park but they were a good distance from our site.

If I was looking for a place to overnight the Asheville KOA west would be fine.  Not sure I would want to make this a place to stay long term, but plenty of people were there for the several days.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Pipestem to Asheville


Fuse in the mountains


We left a jewel of a park.  Pipestem State Park and started our way back home to Tallahassee.  Last time we headed home from these parts we were trying to beat a hurricane.  This time we were going to take it much more slowly.  The first leg would be to Asheville and then the rest of the way home.

Well off we went and after a short drive through winding roads we were bak on the Interstate.  Believe it or not, the traffic backups we saw on Sunday were non-existent.  Construction was still there but no huge backups.  I guess people who drive during the weekdays know how to merge without stopping.

Driving the Fuse


The weather was beautiful and conditions were great.  I kept the speed around 65 miles per hour and got 15mpg which was pretty good considering the grades that we went up and down on.  In the Ffats of TN, at 65mph I was seeing 17mpg, but that was on the computer.  We will have to see what the pen and paper calculations say on the next tank to see how real that was.

Ford Transit Fuel Filter Error Message Ford Transit Fuel Filter blocked message


I got the Fuel filter message again going up a steep incline.  Went away when I stopped.  I guess Ford service in Tallahassee will get to look at that when I bring it in for an oil change.  I want to get everything serviced before the Get Together in Iowa at the end of September.

We had a hard time finding a place to stay in Asheville. Had to call several places and finally settled on the Asheville West KOA.  It is just off the interstate and there will be a separate article on our stay.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Pipestem State Park Campground


Winnebago Fuse at Pipestem State Park


Almost Heaven, West Virginia.  The person who wrote this must have been staying at the Pipestem State Park Campground.  This is by a long shot our favorite stay for this trip.

Pipestem is a resort state park.  It has lodges, cabins, restaurants, stables, golf course and many other activities.  This jewel in the mountains is located on the Bluestone River Gorge.  Take note:  Everything is spread out, so walking from the campground to anything else is pretty much out of the question.  But because of this, the campground is quiet and not bothered by golfers and the rest of the guests.

Campground Playground at Pipestem State park


First observation is this place is immaculate.  Clean, manicured grass, lots of trash cans and everything just looked perfect.  The closest I have see to this is at Disney's  Ft. Wilderness.  It was just down right beautiful.   And god was smiling down on our stay.  The humidity was low and the temperatures were in the 50s.  I even had to find a jacket.



As far as the park.  There was a mixture of back-in and pull through sites.  There were separate sections for full hookups, electric only and some with no hookups. We made a reservation and paid $37.00 for full hookups.  The weekday night we stayed, the full hookup sites were half full and no one was in the no hookup loops.

Pipestem Campground Showers


Again,  the place was super quiet and squeaky clean.  Trash cans everywhere.  Rangers made regular rounds.  The shower facilities were large and had lots of hot water and plenty of water pressure.  And like everything else, very clean.  There was a small camp store at the check in location selling firewood and some small essentials.

Pipestem aerial skyway


We did have one disappointment at Pipestem.  They have an aerial tramway.  The tramway allows dogs which meant Lily could go.  It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and unfortunately for us, it was down for mechanical reasons when we went.   C'est la vie. Lily probably would not have liked the ride anyhow.  We will try again next time, and I am sure there will be a next time.


Pittsburgh to Pipestem State Park, WV



Fuse at Pittsburgh


We had a great visit with my son in Pittsburgh.   We spent the whole day with him chauffeuring us around Greene county Penn. looking at old family historical sites.  We left the Fuse at the campground for this adventure.  We should have used a jeep to get to some of the places we went to but, his car made it fine.

Sonya and Jimmy


We parted ways Tuesday night after dinner.  On Wed morning we did a little cleaning, dumped tanks and then headed for our next stop, Pipestem State Park in West Virginia.   So down I-77 and then on to US-19 heading back to Beckley, WV.   

Winnebago Fuse and the big rigs


The weather turned out to be much better than on Monday and Tuesday.  The rain stopped and the temperatures stayed in the low 70s.  The perfect weather and it made Sonya and myself believe that Fall was on the way.  To celebrate, we made lunch at the West Virginia Welcome station and ate with the big rigs.

We have been listening to Siri on the apple phone for directions.  I think I am going to have to stop blindly following the directions.  I am going to be breaking out a map before we start out from now on.   The instructions from Apple Maps brought us on the most curvy, up and down narrow roads I have been on in a long time.  60+ miles of them.  Looking back at the map afterwards I could have stayed on Interstates and US highways and probably only been 10 minutes slower.  Of course I lost way more than that on my lifespan and the few hairs I have left would have been much happier.

On our trip we did get a scare going up and down the mountains.  I got a alert from the engine.  It was complaining about a Fuel Filter issue.  We did a quick search and found a Ford Dealer about 10 minutes away.  We headed that way, parked in the service area and shut down.  Out of curiosity I started back up to see what happened and the message was gone.   Talked to the friendly folks at Mid-State Ford in Summerville, WV and after a short discussion with the service folks we agreed that since the message went away we would be good going on.  Also there were two good dealers where we were heading that could help if the message came back (so far, no more messages).   I know some dealers have not been able to help us, but just having Ford be there to give a word of advice made me feel soo much better.  Try and find a Mercedes dealer in the middle of rural West Virginia to do that.

But the drive up to Pipestem was glorious.  Though it was via small winding roads, the views of the New River Gorge were unbelievable.  It lived up to the scenic drive hype.

Now a little on the mileage.  One tank got 17mpg.  Mostly driving around into and out of Pittsburgh on Interstates averaging 60mph.   The next tank had me driving little bit faster following the speed limit at 70mph.  The milage dropped to 15.6mpg

Indian Brave Campground, Harmony PA




My son lives on the North West side of Pittsburgh in the township of Wexford.  We searched out a campground that was as close as possible to him and we found the Indian Brave Campground in Harmony, Pa.  This was 10-15 minutes down the road from his apartment so the location was perfect.

This campground caters mostly to seasonal or permanent residents. There are around 200 sites of which 24 were set aside for folks doing short term stays.

A quick note on finding the campground.  It is just off US-19.  You turn into the drive for Murphy Tractor Company and the drive brings you back behind there.

Indian Brave Campground Pool


It was clean and quiet.  It had a pool,  but it is a resort by any means.  The sites and roads were gravel and reasonable level.  I was slightly disappointed that the cable TV was not working in the short term stay places.  But the power, water and sewer were fine.

Pool Shower


The showers down by our campsite were a little different.  They were mostly there for the pool users for instead of private stalls, there were chest high walls.  The showers there were designed to wash off after swimming.
Front bath


There were other showers down by checkin (near tent camping) that were private but that was a very long trek through the campground.   Both shower sites were nice and clean.

It was very quiet.  There was a pedestrian bridge that gave quick access to the town of Harmony and several shops that were a block or two walk away.

I don't think we would stay there for a long term stay, but it was fine for overnight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Beckley WV to Pittsburgh

Today we drove from Beckley West Virginia to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania so we could visit with our son.  We spent last night at the exhibition coal mine campground.  It was really nice and a good time there.

Deer

We started off at the campground with a trio of visitors.  A buck and two does we on the hillside.  Lily took note, but unlike at the house she just watched as they walked away.  No barking.

Then we took off and explored Beckley some.  Took a look at the Coal Mine Museum and the Tamamark Art gallery. This will be a place we can explore in more depth with the kids - it's halfway between them. ( https://beckley.org/general-information-coal-mine/)

Scenic View


From there we went down the road.   The milage from yesterdays tank of fuel was 14mpg with another hour or more of idling while stuck in traffic.

traffic


Today was much different.  There was only one time when we were slowed down.  Even through we were going up and down in the mountains we averaged 16.5mpg.  Besides not being stuck in traffic, the average speed was around 65mph.  That probably helped.

Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine Campground



We stayed at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine Campground.  This was a nice little campground owned by the city of Beckley WV.  Limited amenities, but it was very clean.

Fuse in Beckley


It is small.  There were 20 sites or so.  All back in.  Full hookups and $30.00/night.



It was a little intimidating to get to it.  It is located in a residential section of town.  You drive through a couple of neighborhoods and eventually get there.  It is up a very steep hill.  The sites are all very wooded.  They all looked fairly level.  the one we were in was right in the center of the bubble.



I am not sure if it is normal or not but it was only cash or check.   No issues here but this was the first time in a while where a credit card was not accepted.



We got there late and checked in at the campground itself.  You normally check in at the museum.



There was a nice bath house with plenty of hot water.  It was a little dated like many public parks are but it was spotless.  I would rather have clean than modern any time.