Sunday, October 6, 2019

Fall 2019 Get Together In Branson

Call it a Get Together, Call it the 2019 Fall Fuse Owners Rally, call it whatever you want but definitely call it fun.  And thanks to Rebecca and Mark Smith for organizing the event.   This was held at the Musicland Kampground in Branson Mo.



So how was it?  It was great!  We had 22 Fuses that were registered and 1 Fuse that just happened into the park and joined us.  They are now members of the group.



The first events were on Friday night and it started with a Pot-Luck dinner.  Lots of food, lots of fellowship and just a great time.   That was followed by Robert Garbe leading a Q&A session on the Fuse.   Then we had musical entertainment by one of our own members, Dan Mobley.



Saturday started out with a breakfast buffet.  We then had an RV Electrical Systems 101 class by Roger Philipsek. After that, Robert Garbe presented a discussion about batteries and why and where Lithium batteries make sense.



After lunch, there was the mod tour.  What is a mod tour you may ask.  That is where everyone shows off the things that have done to their coach to improve and make them their own.  Some people had little like us, some people had made massive changes.   I took note of those folks that had upgraded their coaches with the latest NDQ air conditioners.  Much quieter than my original Mach 10.

After diner on our own (with some friends in our case) we enjoyed additional fellowship and just talking about Fuses.



Sunday was the day the event closed.  It started out with doughnuts and coffee.  Then some closing remarks.    And then we checked out.   Some folks stayed on to explore Branson, others went home and others continued their travels.  Everyone had a great time and were sad to leave their friends behind.

When is the next Get Together you may ask.   Currently Rebecca is planning on having it in Nebraska City, NE the first weekend in May.  Subject to change but definitely worthy of being penciled into the calendar.

Branson Trip - Last Day Home and Wrap-Up


Our last day on the road from the Get Together was pretty good.  Tupelo, MS to Tallahassee, FL was the plan for today.   It would be 7 hours driving but mostly along Interstates.    So we got up reasonable early and got the rig ready.

Like most folks do, since this was the last day I made sure to dump the tanks before we left the campground.  As always, I made sure to put a couple of gallons of water back into the tanks so the Happy Campers and Calgon would have something to work with.  Since we had a long way to go, we would be using the potty.

We stopped just outside the campground and filled up with diesel and got a couple of  Burger King Croissanwichs.  They are on sale, 2 for $4.00.   Then we headed for the Interstate.  It was a pretty easy run even though it was long.  First Tupelo to Birmingham, then to Montgomery.  We got on US-231 there and headed towards Dothan and then on to I-10 at Marianna, FL.  Once we were on I-10 it was a hour home to Tallahassee.

There is a pretty cool place to stop on US-231 even for a few minutes.  Just South of Ozark, Alabama is a rest stop that sits next to an Army heliport.  For those that do not know, Ft. Rucker is located near here and it is where Army helicopter pilots learn to fly.   So if you stop here there is a good chance you will see Apache, Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters flying right overhead.  We stopped for 10-15 minutes and probably saw 10 helicopters flying right over our heads.  Lots of grass for the dog to walk, shade and picnic tables.  And they even have a dump station.



Wrapping up the trip:
  • We were on the road for 7 days
  • We drove 1812 miles
  • Consumed  119 gal of fuel. (average cost $2.65)
  • Average miles per gallon - 15.2 mpg
  • Best miles per gallon - 19.6 mpg (Vicksburg and the Mississippi Delta)
  • Worst miles per gallon - 13.8 mpg - (I-10 at 75mph)
  • Things that broke while out - Nothing
  • Things I need to do maintenance wise:
    •  I need to get the oil changed.  The message came up while we were on the road


Monday, September 30, 2019

Campground at Barnes Crossing



On our way back from the Get Together in Branson we stayed at the Campground at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo, MS.   This is one to put in the book and we will stay here again.    It was on the higher side price wise at $40.00 but was worth it.  One caveat, cash or check only.  They do not take credit cards.  The inconvenience  is worth it.

It is located a mile or two off the Interstate-22 but a real easy drive, less than 5 min from exiting the Interstate to checking in.  It was located near shopping,  gas stations and places to eat.  We fueled up in the morning at a Shell station with reasonable diesel prices and it was next to a Burger King and had croissant sandwiches for breakfast.

Everything was very clean and well kept up.  It was obvious the people there were taking care of the property.  Flowers and bird feeders were all over the place.  It was very homey and not sterile.


The bathrooms were very nice but not air conditioned.  But that did not matter.  They had plenty of water pressure and scalding hot water.  Clean as clean can be.

Branson Trip - Last Day of the Get Together


Well Sunday was the last day of the Get together.   Sonya, Lily and I had a great time.  If you get a chance, you should come to one.  Whether you own a Fuse or you are just interested, you will be welcomed and make friends for life.


Sunday started off with some people leaving early, but most stayed for the breakfast.  Doughnuts and muffins and some really good coffee.

The Spring 2020 Get Together is currently tentatively planned for the first weekend in May in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Please underline the word planned.  Sonya and I are penciling it in our calendars.  We will get at least one new State for our Fuse if we make it.

We said our goodbyes,  unhooked the utilities and headed down the road.  When we came into Branson on Friday, Siri brought us around the back side of the strip missing all of the traffic.  Leaving on Sunday I wanted to see what the strip was all about so I turned to the left as I exited the park.  Then for the next hour we traveled at 5mph the rest of the way out of town.  Even on Sunday morning the traffic was all backed up.  It was cool to see everything however, but now I have it out of my system.

We finally got out of town and then shot down the road.  Today we were heading for the half way mark between Branson and Tallahassee.  When we looked, that spot was Tupelo, MS.   Tupelo was 6 or so hours away.  So off we went.  We even passed one of our Fusers.  Friends who were also leaving and heading to Tupelo as well.

The path we choose took us down mostly 2 lane highways.   Up and down hills, through valleys and on some very curvy roads.  We went through a number of small towns and we saw some really nice vistas.  The road eventually brought us up to Memphis and then we got on the Interstate.  An hour or so later we were at our destination for the night.  The Campground at Barnes Crossing.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Musicland Kampground - Branson, MO




The location for the Fall 2019 Get Together was the Musicland Kampground in Branson, MO.  This is a very nice campground located in downtown Branson.   Most campgrounds are located away from things, but this one is right in the middle of the action.  The staff was terrific and helped with everything.



We checked in at the office.  Then they guided us into our spot.  The staff really did a great job getting us settled.  The rally had use of a nice building that held all 40+ of us so we could eat together and engage in great classes and fellowship.


This is a very nice campground.  It really deserves an A grade.  Everything was spick and span and staff was looking over everything constantly.  The campground is located on some hilly property but every site there was level.  The sites are not all the same.  Some were close together, some were a good distance apart.  We had a smaller site because a) we messed up our reservations and b) we are in a Fuse and we don't need large site.



The bathrooms were reasonably nice and were clean.  Showers had good hot water.  Only complaint was the the shower heads were a little low for a 6 foot person.  I know, being kind of picky this morning but when that is all I have to complain about you know everything was pretty good.

Since it is in the middle of the action they take the park security seriously.  The property is fenced. You are given a key for the bathrooms and to get back into the park if you exit.  If you choose to walk, there is a gate in the fence that puts you in the middle of the main drag.  When you exit here you are within walking distance (and I mean walking distance for Sonya and myself so call it 100 yards) is The Clay Cooper Theater, Montana Mikes Steak House, an Italian restaurant and the Titanic Museum.    Another hundred yards or so down the road are many other places for food and things to do.

We are keeping it on our list of places to go back to.  We will definitely stay here when we get back to Branson.


Thursday, September 26, 2019

Petit Jean State Park



Our destination on Day 3 of our trip to the Fuse Get Together in Branson was Petit Jean State Park.    This is an Arkansas State Park about an hour North West of Little Rock.  It sits up high on a ridge where the air is a little cooler than on the delta below.



It was the first State Park in Arkansas and was built by the CCC.  This is a nice destination park.  It has everything.  A lodge, cabins, a nice restaurant, camping, hiking trails, bike trails,  a driving tour, an auto museum just outside the park, all sorts of stuff.



We did get out and explore.  I walked down to the falls.  Too bad it has been dry since the falls were at a trickle.  But it was an easy walk and ADA compliment so even Lily made most of it.


In addition to the natural beauty, there were also a number of CCC building projects.  The CCC water tower was really an interesting structure



We got site #60 at the campground. The price, $23.00. 30A electric and water only. 50A full hookups are available for $36.00.  A dump station centrally located and since we rarely do full hookups anyhow we elected for the smaller site. Book online at Arkansas State Parks.


The bath house was next to our spot.  Nice and clean. The showers are not very large, but definitely workable.  Pretty standard for a State Park and everything was well kept up.





One thing I do like to do is visit and explore park lodges.  Not that we stay in them but the architecture of these old structures just mesmerizes me.  I could sit in the the lodge at Old Faithful, the Ahwahnee at Yellowstone and here all day and take in the atmosphere.  The Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State park is right up there with the lobbies in these famous lodges.

Pecan Grove Campground





We stayed at the Pecan Grove Campground in Lake Village, AR.  We had a deluxe site (#1) which was next to the bath house.   What seemed to differentiate it from a standard site was a concrete pad.  The cost per night was $45.00.    The standard site would have been $36.00.

I give the campground a grade of C.  This is a campground that with a little TLC could have been really nice but it really needed some maintenance, paint and the grass cut.   The bones were solid.  It was right across the street from a nice lake.  Many cute buildings and a novel idea to replicate an old time farm.  A little elbow grease and it would be great.


Sites were close together but not too close.


The bath house was clean, just needing some paint and dead light bulbs replaced.   Showers were slightly small but not too bad.  Pleanty of hot water and water pressure so that was fine.


Would I stay here again?  As an overnight stop, sure.  As a destination, probably not.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

2018 Compact Coach Rally Overview


First we had a great time at the Compact Coach Rally.   There were over 130 coaches and 16 were Fuses.  Pretty good turnout from the Fuse community especially since the View/Navion coaches have been on the market 10 years longer than we have.

We drove into Forest City and right as you get into town is Lichtsinn RV on the right.  You can't miss it.  We stopped in and looked around for a moment.  Verified some of what was going on and then decided to go to the rally grounds so we could get back to the Lichtsinn pre-party.

Since it was cold, we decided to top off the LP gas.   The folks at Lichtsinn sent us down to the local Farmers Co-Op.  They were several blocks down and a block off of the main road.  Turn at Caseys.   Look for the grain silos.  They were very nice and got us topped off.

We then continued down the street to the Winnebago Rally Grounds.  They are just down the road from the Winnebago Factory Tour building.   We drove in and checked in at Friendship Hall.  We picked up our packet and were directed to park on row 6 where the Fuses were at.  We plugged in and then I caught the shuttle down to Lichtsinn.

Well it was not quite that simple.  I think everyone got a good laugh as I tried out 4 sites trying to find the one that was most level.

A couple of notes for those who go to the Winnebago Rally Grounds:

  • Most of the parking is on grass.  Some areas are very level and some are not.  And if the ground is wet, well you find/create a rut.  If you are there for a service appointment there is some level overnight parking on a crushed stone surface.   
  • Electricity is everywhere.  Water is at the end of every other row and septic is in a couple of places.  You need to fill up with water when you get there.  I did not and had to move to get water half way through.  Apparently people link hoses to make a long one during some big events.
  • Bathrooms and showers were clean and had lots of hot water.  They worked out fine.
  • Friendship Hall was the center of all of our activities.  It is on the opposite side of the facility than the entrance.  Row 6 was about half way between the entrance and Friendship Hall
  • It is on the side of a hill so there is some up and down walking getting to various places.


When we got to Forest City, Lichtsinn RV was having an all day Pre-Rally party.  A day of classes on various View and Fuse related items.  Overviews of the units, a class on solar & inverters, a class on awning and slide out maintenance, a tech corner discussing all sorts of technology stuff.  And to top it off they provided lunch and snacks.  They also provided shuttles between the rally grounds and the Lichtsinn RV building.   There was lots of great information.

Then was was the kickoff dinner.  Lots of fun, meeting people and just a good start to the rally.

On Friday morning we got tours of the factory.

Friday afternoon we got to meet with the various teams.  View Product managers for the View folks and Fuse.

Friday night we had a pot luck dinner.

Saturday morning started off with a Breakfast provided by Lichsinn.  Then a product development workshop.

Saturday afternoon was the mods contest

Saturday night was another catered dinner and then a large game of trivia.  We did not win, but our team, "refuse to loose " gave a good showing.





Vicksburg National Military Park




We are on our way to the Branson Get Together and today we visited the Vicksburg National Military Park.  I had not visited here before and it was well worth the stop.  It would have been better if the temperature was not 95, but it was a pretty interesting even with the heat.

We got up this morning and got started.  Filled up with diesel and got some biscuits at McDonalds across the street.  Milage yesterday on the second tank of diesel was 15.2mpg traveling with our speed averaging 60-65mph mostly on US highways.



Sometimes people ask exactly how maneuverable is the Fuse.  Here is a picture of ours at the McDonalds this morning.  Fits in the spot fine.

Our campsite was a short 10 min drive away from the main entrance to the park.  National Park fees have really gone up recently.  Entrance fee was $20.00.  Not that I mind paying.  I wish more of my tax dollars would go to the parks.  I love the National Parks and think they need even more money.

Our first stop was at the museum at the entrance.  It had a little movie and some nice displays.  Not large and we were in and out in less than 30 min.   Then for the driving tour.  This is what this park is mostly about.




There were lots of monuments and markers and other things to read.   It got kind of confusing since this was a siege and there were lots of Union monuments all spread out and fewer Confederate markers all bunched up.  But if you think of the battle and use the visitor's guide, it makes more sense.



So why was the battle so important?  Vicksburg controlled the Mississippi River.   There is a beautiful overlook on the Conferderate side of the line that commands the river.  From here you really understand why this place was important to both sides.



One of the highlights of the tour is a partially restored Union ironclad.  The USS Cairo.  It was sunk and recovered recently and is cut away so you can get a real good idea of how it was constructed.  There was a museum here as well with artifacts from the ship.



We spent all morning here and did not even get out and walk much.  We could have spent all day if we had, but the heat and Lily's back kept us in the Fuse.

Then we got some KFC chicken (2 blocks from the park entrance) and ate lunch at the Louisiana welcome station on I-20.  Another treat we do not normally do at home.



Then we drove to our destination for the night,  the Pecan Grove RV park in Lake Village, AR.    So today we drove 118 miles.  Not many for us but it was a full day.

For the first several hours today as we did the driving tour of the park we drove 25mph or less and had the Fuse idling when we stopped.  That was 2-3 hours.  The rest of the miles today were at 55mph down US highways.   The good news.  19.6mpg using a calculator to check the milage.


River Town Campground


Fuse at River Town


We spent the night at the River Town Campground in Vicksburg, MS.  This was an overnight stay on our way to the Get Together in Branson.  River Town is a very nice campground located just south of Vicksburg on Highway 61 S.

This is one of the cleanest campgrounds we have stayed in.  Very well kept up.  Everything looked manicured.  There was nothing out of place.   The bathrooms were spotless.

River Town Campsite


This is not a resort campground and the amenities are sparse.  There are 100 or so spots, both pull through and back in.  We had a pull through site and it was huge.  Not just in length but the sites themselves have plenty of space between them to spread out if you want.  Nothing like some of the pack them in as tight as you can feel that some places have.

There is not cable TV and the antenna did not pick up much over the air but for the $28.00 a night with the Good Sam discount, who cares.  Cellular coverage was fine and the campground had really good WiFi so entertainment was not a problem.

River Town shower


Some places we stay have pretty small showers.  Not here.  The showers were huge.  I would claim all of them were wheelchair accessible with the exception of the bump to get in.    Spotless, plenty of hot water but not fancy.  

Another good thing is that there is a Walmart, a Murphy Oil and a McDonalds a couple miles up the road so all of your needs are met.  Ok, all of our needs are met and McDonalds biscuits for breakfast is one of our standard treats while we are traveling.

I think that is the best way I can sum up the River Town Campground.   Not fancy, not a destination place but they did the things that mattered to me  right.  As well as I have ever seen or could expect from a campground.  Would definitely stay here again.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

On the Road Again




Well we are finally back on the road again.  Our last trip in the Fuse was in April at the Bowling Green Get Together.  Been a real eventful time in the family since then.  Sonya had health issues, Lily had health issues, we had family issues and just no time to take the Fuse out.  Been using it in the driveway. I used it by myself in June for a radio event, but we just have not been able to go out exploring.

Well we are back!  

Today we got on the road for the Fall Fuse Get Together in Branson, MO.  We drove from Tallahassee to Vicksburg, MS.  Left the house around 0900 eastern time (I have to get the time zones right) and drove 3 hours to a spot between Pensacola and Mobile.  Why did we stop there?  Guess.


There is now a Buc-ees in Alabama on I-10.  If you are not failure with Buc-ees you are missing something.  Think the cleanest, fanciest, truck stop you have ever been at with no 18 wheelers.   Why no trucks I have no idea, but wow it is nice.  Had to have 100 covered pumps and it had super clean bathrooms.    They even had food.  We got a selection of BBQ sandwiches.  Pork, Brisket and Turkey.  Not the biggest fan of the sauce, but the brisket was out of this world.

From there we continued west through Mobile and got off on I-165.  Wish I had got photos but you go right by the USS Alabama and one other thing.  You go by the Austal shipyard where they are building Navy Ships.  I saw 3-4 LCS ships under construction and a fast transport ship as well.  US industry at its finest.

Next we headed up US-98 to Hattiesburg, MS and then up US-49 to Jackson, MS.  Then on I-20 over to Vicskburg, MS and our campsite for the night at Rivertown Campground.  

Arrived at 5:00 PM Central Time We will give the review for that tomorrow but at first glance looks nice and clean but no CableTV.  At $28.00 for the night with full hookups I can deal with that.

So what was the stats for the day.   We drove 490 miles about half interstate and half US highway.  Milage on the first tank of diesel was 13.85 using the calculator (70mph on I-10).  Will not find out on the second half of they until we refuel in the morning.

Best part of the day was we are back in the Fuse and going down the road.  Can't beat that.