Sunday, July 31, 2016

Winnebago Fuse 23a review - 5 month Review

I wanted to give a longer term review of the Winnebago Fuse 23A we purchased back in February 2016.  We have had it for 5 months and have 6800 miles on the odometer.  We have made day trips, overnight trips and have taken several longer trips that have lasted as long as a week.

The long and short of it is we love our Winnebago Fuse 23A.   Though not perfect, it is about as close as perfect as we expect to find in an motorhome.

The Winnebago Fuse is built on a Ford Transit Chassis. So far the Ford Transit chassis has had no issues.  We have only done routine maintenance.  We have been getting 15-17mpg in pretty much all situations.  The mileage seems to be mostly dependent on speed as opposed to conditions.

It is great to drive.  It handles great.  Need to make a U-turn (I hate apple maps sometimes), no problems.  Try that in any other motorhome.

You can park it wherever you see people with long bed pickup trucks park since it is so compact.  The driving experience is more like a large SUV than a large pickup or panel truck.  It handles large semis passing by and wind gusts pretty well.

 It is very comfortable to drive. I just set the cruise control and bebop down the road.  The most we have driven is 560 miles in one day.  This was through the Appalachian mountains on mostly nice roads.  It was not tiring in the least.  Much easier than in a car since you are sitting up above the traffic and have great visibility to the front.

I did have to learn to use the mirrors since everything behind your shoulders is a blind spot.  That is just the way it is with pretty much any motorhome.   I have gotten pretty good after just this amount of time at backing into spots.  Because of the nice compact size using the mirrors and backup camera, backing into spots is easy (and at many campgrounds,  a back-in spot is cheaper and easier to get particularly at the last minute.).

The only issue so far relates to ground clearance.  The Fuse sits close to the ground.  We have scraped the stair supports going over a large speed bump.  We have also scraped the rear coming out of a driveway onto a crowned road.   We now look for these situations and are more careful.  If the Fuse was another 2-4 inches higher it would help a lot.  This would probably destroy the mileage and handling on the downside.  If the rear was angled up slightly like on some motorhomes that would help as well.

Living Area:
The floorpan for the Fuse 23A is perfect for us.   Two people and a beagle fit perfectly.  We have spent several nights with 3 adults in the Fuse.  This works but is a little tight.   With the slide out and the couch made into a bed everyone fits.  We have traveled with 4 adults, but 4 adults can not sleep in the 23A. (A tent was brought along.)

We wanted a motorhome with a floor plan that allowed us to take naps and relax while traveling.  With the slide in everything in the coach is accessible.  With the slide out a large amount of space is added but is not necessary to be comfortable.  We have spent the night on multiple occasions with the slide in because we were just going to go to bed and did not need the extra space.

The Fuse 23A has what I would describe as an open floorplan.  It is very airy.   No obstructions to  interfere with the sight lines so you can see end to end without obstruction.  There are lots of windows and the designers made sure there was lots of natural light. We love this open feel.

There is plenty of storage for the two of us to go on a 10 day trip without having to do laundry. We have added containers to help organize things.

The kitchen is small but functional.  The burners heat up the coach, so during the summer I have decided to avoid them while it is so hot out.  The microwave/convection oven works fine and has been used plenty.  The refrigerator has been a pleasant surprise.  I was concerned that it would not stay cold.  I was concerned the freezer would not freeze.  It has worked fine.  I make sure we turn it on the night before we leave for a trip to get down to temperature.  We make ice in the freezer and it has kept our food cold.   We run it in all 3 of the modes it has with good results.

Sleeping Area:
The beds are very comfortable and my 6 foot frame fits on the passenger side bed fine.  I believe that the Froli sleep system that is installed helps immensely.  We keep our beds made up during the day.  We are using standard twin bed sheets.

There is plenty of storage for clothes and personal items in the drawers under the beds and the cabinets above the beds.  We have a lot of storage that is still not consumed or is just partially filled.

We watch the TV in the bedroom almost exclusively.  The heads of the beds can be tilted up and that makes it ideal for TV watching and relaxing.   I have run a headphone extension cord from the TV to the head of the passenger side bed so I can watch TV without disturbing Sonya while she sleeps.

The bathroom is tight but workable.  The sliding door adds to the open feeling of the coach. This is a big deal while moving down the road.

The shower is a nice space.  We have not been using it for taking showers but have been using it for storing the clothes hamper, drying towels and the place for the beagles water and food bowls.

We have not been bringing many hanging clothes so the closet is plenty big for our purposes.  We have had it mostly empty during our trips so far.

We have had no major issues with any of the mechanicals.

Noise is one issue where Winnebago should do some improvement.  The air conditioner from the outside is very quiet.  That was a complaint I heard from View/Navion owners but it is very quiet outside on the Fuse.  On the inside the A/C is noisy.  A lot of air noise is present and the compressor noise is also present. It is no louder than you have in an older house with a window A/C.  It can be slept through so I guess it is not too bad but there is room for improvement.

The generator is where I think Winnebago should spend the most effort.  When running, it is noisy inside and out.  There is mechanical noise that I have addressed some of.  There is exhaust noise that I have somewhat addressed with a resonator.  But when running you are going to disturb your neighbors and the noise is not much better inside the coach.

The generator is only available as LP.  I wish it was diesel so it would feed off of the main tank.   It would just make me feel more comfortable.  So far this has not given us any problems since LP gas has been available many places including at every campground we have stayed.  It does consume .6 to .7 gallons per hour while running the A/C.  This allows you to run for 15 hours before needing to refuel.

To be honest, if you do not need to run the A/C, you really do not need the generator running for any long periods of time.  Winnebago has made everything in the coach other than the A/C, microwave and front TV powered using DC from the battery system.  We have followed this approach and purchased items and adapters that are DC powered where available (Fans & CPAP).

The summer heat coming into the coach from all of the glass is an issue we are working to address.   We love the open feel from all of this glass. The AC needs help when in the upper 90s, so we deploy the window shades and close the bathroom door.  This will keep the coach in the low 70s when the outside temps are over 100.   We will probably apply clear ceramic film to some windows to block the heat even better.

What we have learned about RVing:
So far we have been have been having a good time.  This is a new thing for us and we had some trepidation on how we would like it.  So far so good.

We thought we might need satellite TV when we purchased the Fuse.  We have not to this point.  There has been cable TV in all of the campgrounds.  We have also looked while parked and in most places there has been a dozen or more TV channels available over the HD antenna.

We have kept the Sirius/XM satellite radio subscription.  That has been great while driving. It also provides access to all of the news outlets,so you do not have to be disconnected from current events unless you want to.

We found that our style of camping is fairly minimal.  We only hook up power and cable TV when setting up at our site.  We add water to the tank and dump every few days as necessary and that has worked out well. I have not found a need to connect the water and sewer when we set up camp.   In order to keep the weight down (and improve mpg) we only fill the water to 1/3 to 1/2 of a tank.  We find that sufficient to last us a couple of days.

We love our Winnebago Fuse 23a.  We would buy one again without thinking twice.  There are some changes I would like but nothing is perfect.  Winnebago has been listening to the users and has made several changes such as a higher capacity tow package and a better Ford stereo.  I think it is great that the vendor is paying attention.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wind Noise

Winnebago Fuse Door

One common issue that Fuse owners have noticed is wind noise coming from around the cabin door.    So what should you do if you have wind noise?  How can you try and address the problem?

First thing to do is have the dealer fix it.  Checking for wind noise should be on your acceptance checklist.  The dealer can check to see if the door is properly aligned as a first step.  They can spend the time to find the air leaks and address them.   They are the professionals and should be able to get it done right.

When we test drove my Fuse 23a we immediately noticed the wind noise coming from the door along with the salesperson.  We put it on our punch list and when we picked up the Fuse and took it home, 80% of the wind noise we had been hearing was gone.   Had we not gotten in a hurry I would have sent it back to find more before we took possession. It was not bad at that point but there was still some noise.

Winnebago Fuse DoorWinnebago Fuse Door

So I did some looking. What had the dealer done to address the issue.   The dealer had put some additional weather strip material around the door hinges.   They may have done more but that was what was obvious.

So what could I do to address more of the wind noise?  On a sunny day I closed the blinds and blocked the front windows in the cab and started to look closely around the door for light leaks.  

Winnebago Fuse Door

Winnebago Fuse DoorWinnebago Fuse Door

I found some light coming in from several places especially in the step well.  I circled the areas I found the problems at.  There were some holes that did not get sealed well where wires passed.   There were some that I thought were weep holes to let water drain.  I either just covered the gap with a piece of the foam or put it in the gap and used a small screwdriver to push it in.

Winnebago Fuse Door

There were some gaps that remained between the door frame and the body of the motorhome.  There was an obvious gap above the door lock.  I added a piece of the weather strip to the door frame to help this.

Winnebago Fuse DoorWinnebago Fuse Door

The dealer used foam weather strip material so I decided to use the same.  A roll of the stuff was $5.00 at Walmart.  I used it to fill all of the gaps and holes I found.  I also purchased some gasket material that was white.  I placed a piece above the lock where we heard some air leakage earlier.

Some of these areas might have been better addressed with caulk or expanding foam or another material.  It would probably look more professionally finished.   The weather strip is a very safe option  for my purpose.  Right now I can remove it without leaving a trace if I have a better idea in the future.  This work took less than an hour, mostly me learning the best way to get the foam to stick where I wanted it.

Once I did this work another 10% of the noise was gone.  At speeds under 45 mph there is 0% wind noise in our coach.   The noise while driving at these speeds is dominated by the tires/road noise.  Above 65mph the wind noise is about the same as the road noise from the tires.  There is not a problem for the driver and the passenger to have a conversation in a normal voice going down the road at 75 mph.

It is hard to decide if the bigger bang for the buck at this point is to deal with road noise or wind noise.  I think there may also be some air leakage around the door window. I feel now that I am  swatting at gnats with the noise.

As far as noise in the cab goes.  We are thinking that floor mats will probably help with the road/tire noise.  If I was really concerned,  I would replace the tires with Michelins.  They are quiet on my other vehicles and would make a significant difference.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Winnebago Fuse 2017 1/2 updates

Patsy Stair in the Facebook group just ordered a Fuse and said that hers would be a 2017 1/2 model.  Production will start mid-August.  There were several changes/enhancements that her salesman told her about.

I got curious so I talked to a reliable source.  He confirmed what Patsy was told.  I was also happy to hear that sales have been better than expected and that they are increasing production.

The major changes coming are:

  • Enhanced towing with a 5000 pound capacity. Includes a 2 inch receiver.
  • The Ford Sync 3 touchscreen radio in the cab.  This adds navigation and smartphone integration.
  • A move from the Lunar Sky to a Dark Grey Metallic color on the outside.
  • Other changes Winnebago has addressed using their normal continuous improvement process:
    • Optical and HDMI connections to the TVs
    • The kitchen counter extension has been beefed up to address  the problems we have been seeing

  •  Lynn Hawkins found out at the factory that they are increasing the road clearance by 1" using Sumo Springs.
  • Joey Puntanilla pointed out stabilizing jacks are now an option.  Confirmed in the latest Fuse manual
  • Joey Puntanilla pointed out that the Ford Lane departure warning system is also available on package 159

There have not been any changes to the Interior colors.   No changes either to the Air Conditioning or Generator to address noise.  No changes to the ground clearance for us who scrape bottom.

The downside is that there is a slight price increase ( approximately $2492) 

If you know/discover any other changes, let me know and I will it add to this list.I think most of them would fall under the smaller changes in normal improvement, but I think everyone is interested in those as well.

7/28/16 -  Updated price increase to $2492
7/31/16 - Updated to show 2 inch receiver
9/26/16 - Updated with Lynn Hawkins 1" increase in clearance
10/5/16 - Joey Puntanilla pointed out stabilizing jacks are now an option.
10/7/16 - Lane Departure warning system

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Finding a Pet Friendly Hotel

RVers take for granted that your small/medium dog is welcome anywhere.  On our vacation trip we ran into an issue.  There was no campground conveniently located near my Aunt's house and the hotel we had used in the past did not take dogs.  How do you find someplace that is pet friendly and find out what caveats they have.

Lilly the Beagle

We  turned to . It seemed to be a nice site. It has a map view for where you are searching.   There are selections to filter the results for hotels with no pet fees, no deposits, accept large dogs, etc.   In our case, I did not want pay a fee or a deposit so I checked those boxes and it came up with a list of hotels.   I looked over them, read their reviews and picked the one that seemed best for us.

In this case, a La Quinta that was across the street from the Hampton I had stayed in 10s of times in the past accepted pets with no fees.   I knew it was pretty new so we booked it.  By the way it worked out fine, it was a nice hotel and Lilly seemed to take to hotel life fine. also has other things that are pet friendly such as attractions, restaurants and the like.  I definitely would use the site again to search for help with the beagle.

There are other sites as well that help with traveling with pets.  Tripadvisor has a way to do a search for pet friendly locations but it is not that straight forward.  I am sure others do as well.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Drinking Water

I have no problems drinking water that comes out of the tank.  The tank holds 27 gallons of water so there is plenty.  I filter all of the water that goes in through an ubiquitous blue inline filter.  I have faith that the water is clean.  I even use the water in the tank to brush my teeth.

It comes down to one of our first experiences was a bad one.  During our first trip to Ft. Wilderness we wound up drinking the water there and it had a sulfur taste.  This upset Sonya's stomach and complicated our trip back home.   So now we are just extra careful.   I also like my water cold, so we keep our drinking water in the refrigerator. (And Sonya doesn't worry about the dog getting an upset stomach either.)

Winnebago Fuse Water

We like to get the Zepherhills 3L bottles of water.  At our local Walmart and others in the South the price is $1.00/bottle.  At our local Publix grocery store they are normally a $1.25/bottle and they go on buy one/get one sale every couple of months.  The same product is bottled by Deer Park and the other Nestle Waters Companies.

Another very nice feature is the plastic feels thick enough not to crack or break.  This is much better than the brittle plastic used on a milk jugs.  I am always scared those will spring a leak if dropped.  I have been bit by this more than once.  On occasion I have taken the spring/distilled water that comes in milk jugs and refilled these containers.

Winnebago Fuse Water

The most important reason we picked this particular water is that the container is a great size and fits in the refrigerator on their side.  We generally keep 2 of the containers on the middle shelf.  They don't shift much even with a gap between them.

Winnebago Fuse Water

The other really nice thing is these bottles store in the deeper space under the bed like they were made for it.  This comes in handy so we don't have to stop for supplies often.  We find that the two of us and the dog go through 1.5-2 bottles of drinking water a day.   On our summer vacation we were purchasing the bottles 6 at a time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Awning on the Fuse

Winnebago Fuse Awning

The awning on the Fuse 23a is very nice.   It is manufactured by Carefree of Colorado. On my 23a it is 16 feet long and which is the majority of the length of the coach.

Winnebago Fuse Awning

It requires nothing more to extend and retract than to push a button.  The switches are located in the step well for the door and I find myself sitting on the steps when I put it out.

Winnebago Fuse AwningWinnebago Fuse Awning

The first thing you have to to do to use the awning is to push the awning power button to the on position.   Then push the awning button and hold it in either the in or the out position until it is where you want it.   There is a safety built in that requires you to have the ignition key in the off position before you can extend the awning.  (Don't ask how I found out about these safeties) It takes a minute  to go in or out and is super easy.  Just let go of the switch when it is all of the way out or in.  When it comes in it makes a pop as it locks into place.

Per the manual it also has a gust detector that will bring in the awning during high wind.  So far I have not had to test this (thankfully).  I have taken an old-timers advice and put the awning in whenever it looks scary outside.

Winnebago Fuse AwningWinnebago Fuse Awning

Winnebago Fuse AwningWinnebago Fuse Awning

I think that the best part is that there are no supports or struts or anything else to get in the way.  It is helped out by an ingenious set of sliding arms.  They just sort of stay out of the way.  The outside end is a little lower than the rest of the awning and allows the water to run off.   I do want to duck when I go under it but it is a little higher than I am tall (6 foot).

Winnebago Fuse Awning

Another nice feature is a strip of LED lights along the outside edge of the awning. These are a bluish color and at night they supply some nice subdued light.  It is not as harsh as the  white patio light next to the door.

One other piece of advice.  Stand inside when you bring in the awning.  If you leave the awning out overnight it collects dew.  The dew will shed off as the awning goes in.  If you are stating outside holding the button you will get wet.  Again, don't ask how I know.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Summer Vacation 2016 - Wrap-up

Winnebago Fuse

We had a great 8 days/7 nights on vacation this year.  This was our first real trip in the Fuse and it went great.  We ran into no issues and everything just worked like it should have.

During the trip we traveled 2214 miles.  And drove a total of 48 hours per the Ford computer.  An average speed of 46mph.   We got between 16-17 mpg.  We traveled through 10 states: Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

We found some really nice campgrounds and we found some so so campgrounds.  Not any bad ones so that was good. Prices ranged from $29.00 - $51.00 with the average price around $30.00-$35.00/night.  We wound up spending one night in a hotel since it was way more convenient to my Aunt's house than any campground we could find.

Winnebago Fuse
Fuse on a straw pad

Lesson learned - Pick out a site that is a concrete pad or gavel.  On the one night we parked on a site that was covered with pine straw the next morning we had ants going up and down the side of the Fuse.  Another addition to our packing list and our only camping purchase outside food was ant spray.
Observation - All of the sites we had were level and we did not have to use blocks or scoot around to find a level spot.
Observation - All of the campgrounds had good or better WiFi.  Remembering to get the password was a problem and some had time limits, but all of them had it at the sites we were at. 
We discovered our style of camping during this trip.  When stopping for the night we only connected up the power and Cable TV.  We did not bother with the sewer and water.  Depending on how we were feeling we would put the slide out or not.   We tried to keep the water level between 1/3 and 1/4 and when it went below that we added more in the morning.  When the septic tank levels got above 1/4 we emptied them.  There was no need to keep them empty and no desire to haul around the extra weight when full.   For the black tank we were told you really want to have a slurry when you dump so all of the TP and solids came out which would not happen if the tank was mostly empty.

We cooked in the Fuse 2 nights.  Did takeout 2 nights.  Went out for dinner at Longhorn steak house 1 night and Cracker Barrel 1 night. Had ice cream for dinner 1 night.  Breakfast was a normal breakfast in the Fuse, 1/2 a sandwich for me and granola for Sonya.  Lunch was variable sometimes in the Fuse, sometimes at the museum, sometimes fast food.
Lesson learned - Avoid the cooktop when it is hot.  We used it for cooking rice.  It heated the entire inside of the Fuse.  We shifted to microwave rice and the heat was gone.   I will wait until it is cool out before playing with the cooktop again. 

We stopped for supplies at Walmart 3 times.  Mostly for bottled water and drinks.  We were using about 2 gallons of water a day.  The only other thing we ran out of was milky way bars and had to re-supply.
Observation -  In the South, Walmart is inexpensive.  In Ohio, not so much.  The water we purchased in Florida and Kentucky for $1.00/gal was $1.25 at the Walmart in Grove City, OH.  Soda was also about 20% higher in Ohio than in Southern states.

We had one boo boo.  We went over a speed bump and bent our stairs.  Would only come out about half way after that.  Once I got home I was able to bend the bent part to get it to come out most of the way but it will need a more definitive fix to get it back 100%.   We also added one or two more items to the Winnebago warrantee list we found but nothing major (the black and grey tank levels are swapped).

We also got some answers on a couple things we were worried about:

Driving in the mountains

How would the Fuse handle in the mountains?   -  It did not seem to care no matter the grade, the curves or anything else.  We went on roads that were scary and I am not sure how anything larger than the Fuse would fit.  Milage did not seem to suffer on these roads staying in the 16+mpg area.
Observation - When using Apple and Google maps they will route you down goat paths if you are not careful.  A take away for me is to learn how to use these better or get a GPS designed for an RV.  On the other hand we saw some pretty sights in out of the way locations.

How would the LP generator work out?   We ran the generator most every day to keep the A/C on for the dog.  During the week we ran it 13+ hours.  Determined that we consumed between 2/3 and 3/4 gal per hour of LP gas.  We were able to refill the LP at every campground that we stopped at.  We wound up topping off with 3-4 gal every couple of days when we were down around 1/2 tank.   The one problem is that the generator is noisy and I am going to have to continue to look into this.

How would we enjoy RV lifestyle?  We enjoyed it.  No big issues.  Living this close was concerning but we found several things to help.  Headphones for the TV according to Sonya was a big help so she could sleep while I watched TV. Having separate beds also helped since our schedules are not in sync.  Sirius/XM radio was also a winner.

Beagle in the drivers seat

How would the Beagle do ?   She did fine.  After a few days she was controlling the barking (mostly) and getting wth the program.   She was getting more exercise than normal and was exhausted at night.

Was there enough storage in the Fuse?  Plenty.  We had packed heavy and had clean clothes left over. We fit in our spaces and the closet was mostly empty.  A weeks worth of my clothing (Shorts and T-shirts with underwear and socks and a nice shirt and pants in the closet) fit in the large drawer.  Sonya had her cloths in her drawer and some of the above storage.  I would say we had space for twice as much as we carried.    We also found out in the middle of the trip that the storage under the bed is perfect for storage of water and drinks.  We started buying drinking water 6 gallons at a time.

The last question was could we have gone longer than a week.  Sure could!  We were doing fine and only came home so we could go back to work.

Summer Vacation - Day 8 - Heading Home

Summer Vacation Day 8 - 7/16/16  -  Heading back to Tallahassee

We are heading home today, so we slept in a little and got a late start.  Did not get on the road until about 10:00 AM.  Today's goal is to drive 360 miles for 6-7 hours and get home by dark.

So we left the Bald Mountain Camping Resort in the North Georgia Mountains.  The temperature was in the mid 60s.  It was hard to leave with the cool breezes and nice temperature.  The view out the window made it even harder.

The GPS shot us through a scenic drive to Helen, Georgia and then to the Interstate.    This part of the drive was up and down and round and round.  The Fuse did not care and just went along and did it's thing.  During this trip I have learned to downshift to save the breaks.  I had to do this today multiple times.

Once we got it on the Interstate we set the cruise control and off we went.  We took I-985 to I-85.  Then we took I-285 to I-675 to avoid downtown Atlanta and the traffic.  It did not help.  We got stuck again right where I-675 comes together with I-75.  We spent 30 minutes crawling along at 10 mph before the traffic opened up again.

Once out of the traffic in Macon we stopped for fuel.  Paid 2.11/gal for diesel at a Murphy station.  On this tank we got 16.8mpg which included the mountain driving and standing in traffic.

We got back on the Interstate and turned off at Cordele, Georgia to make the rest of the way home on some very nice Georgia State highways.  We filled up again when we got to town.  This last part of the trip was on nice flat roads either at 70mph or 55mph depending on the speed limit.  On this segment of our trip we got 16.3mpg computed by hand and 16.7 on the Ford computer.

We had a great time and the Fuse did great.  We learned some things and have a new appreciation for what works for us.   In a couple of days I will post a wrap-up.  Now to unpack.

Bald Mountain Camping Resort

The Bald Mountain Camping Resort is definitely a resort as its name implies.  It is located a few miles off the main road going through Hiawassee, Georgia.  Hiawassee is located up in the North Georgia Mountains near Helen.

It is located in a beautiful location with mountains surrounding the site.  The sites are all on gravel with a picnic table and a fire ring.  Full hookups including CATV and good WiFi were present.  There is a diverse group of campers with some having what looked like permanent setups, some with seasonal setups and some like us there for a day or two.

We paid $40.00 for our site.  There was a Good Sam discount available but we forgot to ask when making the reservation.  Since we were only going to be there one night, they charged us when we made the reservation so we did not get the discount.  Lesson learned.

The staff was very attentive.   It started to rain when we backed in to the site so we just connected the electricity and did not extend the slide.  Once it stopped raining we sat outside and a couple of the staff came by.  They noticed we weren't fully hooked up and the slide was in so they wanted to make sure we did not need any help.  We told them we were good and then they wanted to talk about the Fuse since it ws the first one they had seen.

Our site was beautiful with a small stream running behind it.   The temperature was in the upper 60s with a cool breeze so we were very happy.

The campground is set up for groups.  There is a large indoor pavilion and huge number of large pull through spots around it.  There are large open fields, mini-golf, a pool, and every thing else you can think of.  We noticed that several RV groups hold their jamborees here.

The bath house was suffering from heavy use.  It was not bad, but was not great either.  Several of the shower hooks were missing, the handle for one of the showers in the men's bathroom was missing.  A first for us was a code was needed to get into the bath house.

What set the tone, and it is not the fault of the park. Someone had just dropped their cigarette on the floor of the shower and left it.  How rude.   About 30 minutes after I had finished my shower I noticed the staff cleaning the showers so maybe I just hit the end of the rush.

We had very friendly neighbors having a family reunion.  They even invited us to partake in their feast.  We unfortunately turned them down since we had already eaten and were exhausted.  But we noticed in the morning they were getting the watermelons ready for later in the day.

Even given that, I would go back.  It was very nice even if the bathrooms were not the best of our trip.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Vacation - Day 7

Summer Vacation Day 7 - Friday 7/15/16 - Waterfall Day - The goal was to see some things and find some place cool to stay.

This morning we got up in Anderson SC.  We spent the night at the Anderson KOA.  It was a medium quality.   We did run into one new thing.  We got ants and have no ant spray.  Used some DET spray and stopped them.   Not sure why we got them other than the sites are heavily wooded, we were parked under trees and instead of gravel or concrete the sites are covered in pine straw.  Oh well, time to pack bug spray.

Where were we going today.  Plan was to see stuff and keep loose and head in the general direction of Helen, Ga.  The mountains where it should be cooler.  When we parked yesterday it was 102 degrees.  Though not too humid we want to escape the heat.

We drove down the Interstate and stopped at the Georgia welcome station for some ideas.  Our first stop we decided would be Toccoa Falls.

Tocooa Falls

So off we went for an hour drive.   Tocooa Falls is located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College.  You drive through the college and go the the Visitors center. The admittance was $2.00/person (Lily was free) and they let her walk through the building to the path to the falls.

Tocooa Falls

Tocooa FallsTocooa Falls

We went out and walked the 100 yard long path to the falls.  It was very pretty and a very easy walk.
Tallulah FallsTallulah Falls

Tallulah Falls

As we were walking out we were given a hint on another water fall in the area.  About an hour away was Tallulah Falls at the Tallulah Gorge State Park.  They have a beautiful visitors center and a more difficult walk to see the falls.  There are actually 6 falls here and from the "easy" trail you can see 3 of them.  Easy is relative.  Unlike Toccoa Falls and its flat 100 yards,  it was maybe .5 miles but it has a good amount of elevation change.  It tuckered out Lily.

We started to look for a place to stay and picked one.  The Bald Mountain Camping Resort in Hiawassee, Ga.  So off we went for another hour drive.  It was a beautiful drive through the mountains.  We took in all of the views and stopped at a scenic overlook to see the landscape.  Once we got up there the temperature was down to 79 degrees.  Much better than the 102 from yesterday.

Anderson/Lake Hartwell KOA

We stayed at the Anderson/Lake Hartwell KOA one night.   It was a fine stay.  Everything was clean and tidy but it was definitely not a destination campground.

It was located near Interstate 85.  Not much else was at that interchange other than several Gas Stations and the KOA.  Checkin was uneventful. Paid my ~$40.00 and we ere good to go.   We were guided to the site and we set up camp.  It was very hot, over 100 degrees so we just hunkered down in the Fuse.   The sites were heavily wooded and shaded.  Lots of straw on the ground and not much grass.  It idi have the standard amenities such as a pool.

After a dinner of BBQ and rice we watched TV and used the WiFi.  The WiFi here was different since you only got 2 hours of Internet included with the campsite.  If you want more you had an extra charge. It worked well.

The bathrooms were clean and had plenty of hot water.  One of the mens showers did not get very warm but the other ones had plenty of hot water.  Not sure why but it got me confused.

The downside here was we got ants.  Not sure if they came from the trees or they came from the ground but when I was putting things up to go there was a stream of ants from the roof down the side to the front slide.  We sprayed them down with DEET since we did not have any bug spray.  That seemed to work but I am not sure why we got them.  Probably since the sites were so wooded and they had so much straw on the ground.

My overall impression was fair.  Not great but not bad.  Needs some TLC on the maintenance but kept clean.  Would I stay here again.  Overnight maybe.

LP Generator Thoughts and the Winnebago Fuse

I have been somewhat concerned about the generator since we purchased the Fuse.  LP is the only option and I would really would like a diesel generator. That way it would feed off of the main fuel tank.  I was concerned about where to get LP gas.  I was concerned about how long it would run on the 10/13 gallons LP tank.  (13 listed as capacity but 10 gallons usable)

These two questions have been answered on this trip. Mostly positively.

Campground LP Station

I have been able to get LP gas at every campground we have stopped at.  Possibly not at the cheapest price but everyone so far has had it and it was convenient to get.  Just go to the office on the way out and tell them you need some propane.  They will tell you to pull over to the big LP tank and turn off the appliances.  They take it from there.  

I have learned to check for minimum purchases requirements. At one place there was a 3 gal minimum ($10.00).  I was nervous about having enough that day so I didn't care.  But I have learned to ask.

How long will the generator run is the second question?  Well the LP tank holds 10gal. My use of the generator is to keep the beagle cool.  That means running the A/C in the south turned up all the way.  We have been using 2/3 a gal/hour.   At 2/3 gal per hour that means we can go 15 hours or so.  I am figuring 12 hours is a safe number.  Given our style of camping, that is enough for a day.

Is an LP generator a bad choice is the real question.  If I was not needing it to keep the Dog cool while we are out, I would have no worries.  I would not be running the A/C while we were not in the motorhome.  Our use would be pretty small.  Even with our exploring, the most we have had to run the generator is about 5-6 hours in a day and the tank was still more than half full.

The one thing that is still bothersome is how loud the generator is.  I have now noticed something while we have been out.  When level it is noisier than when it is parked at a slant.  I think something might be loose and shifts when not level.  I am going to have to get on the creeper and take a real good look underneath when we get home.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer Vacation Day 6

Summer  Vacation Day 6 - Thurs 7/14/16 Revolutionary Battlefields

We got up on Thursday morning and checked out of the Fort Chiswell RV Park.  The park was fine for a single night.  Older but clean and well kept.  The best part was it was just off the Interstate, but behind a hill so no noise.  If you had problems sleeping, there was a flock of sheep grazing on the hill.

We filled up the LP while here.  They added 3.8 gal of LP to the tank.  This was after running the generator 5 hours or so with the A/C set to max.  Still running somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 gal per hour.

Kings MountainKings Mountain Fuse

Our first stop today was Kings Mountain National Battlefield.   We ate lunch and then went to the Visitors Center.  It was in the upper 90s and just too hot to walk the trails.  It was a nice stop and more importantly one of my wifes distant relatives fought here.  Luckily for the patriots.

Cowpens National BattlefieldCowpens National Battlefield Fuse

After Kings Mountain we went to Cowpens National Battlefield. It is about 45 min down the road.  It was another interesting stop.  The museum here was not as impressive, but the battlefield had a great walking path.  

Cowpens National BattlefieldCowpens National Battlefield

There was a breeze and it was shady so I decided to take the 1 mile walk.  Sonya thought I was nuts.  It was interesting and from walking the field, you could really understand why the generals picked this particular piece of ground.  If you watched the film, "the Patriot" with Mel Gibson, the final battle scent is inspired by Cowpens and one other simular battle.

After that we had an issue.  We did not know where we wanted to go next.  We are playing it by ear now.  We headed down the road to spend the night at the KOA in Anderson, SC. Tomorrow we head to North Georgia or somewhere else.  we will decide in the morning.

As far as fuel mileage.  We got 15.4mpg today running 90% on the Interstate at 60-70mph.  The Ford Computer said the same thing.  So far the Ford Computer and the pen and paper version of milage seems to stay within 1 mpg of each other.