Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Dumping at Flying J


Today I did something new. I dumped my tanks at the Flying J.  Normally I dump at the last campground we stay at before we go home.  On our last trip it was rather wet and I did not want to mess with the tanks standing in a puddle.  The tanks were pretty empty so I would just do it later.   Unfortunately, the "stank in the tank" came and needed to be taken care of.

From my house there is a Flying J about 10 miles away.  The nearest "free" dump site is 20 miles away at a county park.  Another one is 50 miles away.  In the interest of time, I decided to use the Flying J.  I looked it up on their web site, to verify they had dump facilities and I was off.

It was actually pretty easy though not cheap.   First you find the dump station.  In the case of our Flying J it was next to the RV fueling stations.  Then you go in and pay.  The standard price is $10.00.  With my Good Sam Card I got a discount and the price was $7.50.   With the Flying J RV Plus Card it would have been $5.00.

Flying J Sani-Station

Your receipt has a code on it and you go back and get to work.  The area that the sani-station was located at was nice, dry and clean.  A contained concrete pad with a drain in case anything escaped.

Flying J Sani-Station

There is a keypad next to the dump station.  When you enter your code the cover to the septic unlocks.  There are some big signs telling you to get everything ready before you enter your code since you have 60 seconds to open the cover before it locks again.

The system worked out pretty well.  I got my RhinoFLEX hose out and connected the Fuse end.   I laid it out where I needed it to go.   Then I entered the code, the cover unlocked, I opened it and put the elbow into the hole and went through the standard process. Luckily, no leaks.

Flying J Sani-Station

The process went well but the implementation at this particular Flying J was not great.  There is a containment curb around the hole.  Really nice but the Fuse is low enough that there was only about an inch of drop from the Fuse to the hole.  Not much assist from gravity and I had to help coax the "stinky stuff" down the hose.  Picking the hose up in the middle and giving the nasty stuff inside a roller coaster ride.  Every other time I have dumped we had a good foot of drop and everything flowed nicely.

Flying J Sani-Station

They had plenty of water available and I used my expandable utility hose (not the drinking water hose) to flush the black tank and wash up the sewer hose and sani-station area.  I put up everything  and then I was on my way.  

Today it was worth the price.  I needed to get rid of the stank.  The Flying J was reasonably close and I accomplished the mission.  On the other hand, it is a $7.50 lesson to not be lazy and dump before you go home.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Headphones aka: Marriage Savers

Sonya and I have been married for around 30 years.  We know we are different and we know neither of us is going to change much.  Living in a small motorhome magnifies these differences.

One of our differences is our sleep habits.  Sonya needs much more sleep that I do.  She goes to bed around 10 and wakes at 8.  Me, I go to bed at midnight and wake at 7.   Sonya also takes a little bit of time to get going in the morning.  Me, when I am up I am up.

Sonya's response:  I would sleep later than 8 am if Don and the dog would let me, but Don is noisy in the morning and the dog licks your face if you aren't paying her attention.  And she wants both our attention in the morning.

Sonya needs quiet when she is asleep.  I usually have the TV going even if I am not watching it.   At home we go to opposite ends of the house.  In a 23 foot motorhome there is no opposite side to go to. So I was given a mandate, get some headphones to watch the TV so my wife could sleep in peace.

Bose QC35 box

Since this was for my wife after all, I decided to go all out and spare no expense.   Only the best for Sonya especially if I am the one to have to use it.  I got a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones  Very expensive, but only the best for my wife after all.

In all seriousness, I have always wanted a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones and now I had an excuse.  You would see all of the road warriors on the planes have a pair so they did not have to listen to the engine noise.  I never could justify the expense since I did not travel that much and the drone of airplane engines puts me to sleep anyhow.

I really wanted a pair since they were the height of luxury.  I had tried them a couple of times in a store and WOW! was the only response that was appropriate.

Bose has always been at the top for audio equipment.  They are the unquestioned leader for active noise cancellation.  The QC35 headphones are their latest and only came out in June of this year.  All I can say is they are great and work as advertised.   Don't like the air conditioner noise, put on the headphones with noise cancellation on and no noise.  Generator noise, you might feel the vibration but you won't hear it.  Sonya says they work great for what we bought them for, she has not heard the TV while I have been using them.

Bose QC35 Case

The headphones come with a case to store them in, a charging cord, a traditional 3.5mm cord, and a 2 prong adapter.  They also have a built in microphone for using with a cellphone.  If you do not like black, they are also available in sliver.

Bose QC35 headphones

The QC35 headphones cover your ears so no sound penetrates or for our use,  escapes.  They are very comfortable. The padding around the ears is like memory foam and is great.  They have bluetooth if you want to use that method to connect to devices.  They are also have an input for a traditional cord if that is better for your application.  

The active noise cancellation requires power.  They come with a built in battery that has to be recharged every 20 hours of use.  It uses a USB port to do the re-charging.  I have moved to this approach for everything.  The USB ports in the Fuse are perfect for this.

Winnebago Fuse Headphone mod

Since the Fuse TV does not have bluetooth built in I took the simple approach.  I ran a $10.00 12' audio cable from the TV to the head of the bed.  I dressed the cable so you could not see it above the valance and I was in business.  I just left the end dangling so it was easy to plug in.

Winnebago Fuse Headphone modWinnebago Fuse TV menu

I leave the audio cable connected to the back of the TV. We use the remote to turn on and off the speakers on the front of the TV.  This setup works pretty well and there is no fiddling wth cables in a confined space.

Since the headphones are Bluetooth as well, I have connected them to some other devices.  I have connected to the Jensen radio above the cab over bluetooth.  I have have also had the headphones work with my iPhone and computer using Bluetooth as well.   It all works well.

There is another option if you decide to go down this path.  There are bluetooth dongles that can be attached to the TV audio jack.  You can search for "bluetooth audio transmitter" and see lots of them.   If I slept on the drivers side bed I would have had to go this direction.  I did not do enough research to see if the TV USB ports were powered, how well these devices work with Bose headphones and which ones did not have the dreaded lip sync delay problems.  I went for the guaranteed approach and have been very happy so far.

You don't have to use a set of Bose headphones to get most of the benefit of this project.  Using the audio cord and the earbuds from your cellphone will give you 90% of the benefits.  You will also only have $10.00 invested in the project.  But Sonya's comfort is my paramount concern and nothing is too good for her :-)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Quick MPG Update 9/17

Just a quick update on the mileage I am getting on my Fuse 23a.  Several weeks ago I filled up the Fuse in Live Oak Florida before I came back to Tallahassee.  I normally would have filled up when I got back to town.  Due to the hurricane that had just come through, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of gas so I made sure I was good well before I got back to town.

Beagle in a Fuse

It had been 2 weeks since I took the Fuse out for a ride.   I took the advice I give everyone else and  did a short 40 mile trip down the Interstate.  I keep telling everyone that RVs rot when they sit still and are not exercised.  So my co-pilot Lilly the beagle and I went down I-10 to the newly refurbished rest stop near Midway. Florida.  Lilly got some good sniffs in at the stop and I verified my bike rack installation was solid had no rattles.

On the way home I filled up at our local Murphy station.  $2.17/gallon.  120 miles since the last fill-up and I got 15.25mpg.  I traveled at my normal speed of 68mph.  I thought that was pretty good since I had idled the engine for about 30min while I watched (and cried at) part of the FSU/Louisville football game on the TV while relaxing at the rest stop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Recall Notice - Transfer Switch

I saw this in the Travato Facebook group.   It lists the Fuse as well so everyone should check it out.

An NHTSA Recall was found for your vehicle.
NHTSA Campaign ID: 16V598000 
Manufacturer: Winnebago Industries, Inc
Model Year: 2016
Recall Date: 20160812
Potential # of
Units Affected: 3826
Winnebago Industries, Inc (Winnebago) is recalling certain model year 2014-2017 Itasca Cambria, 2015-2017 Winnebago ERA, Travato, Fuse, Aspect, and Vista recreational vehicles, and 2015-2016 Itasca Sunstar recreational vehicles manufactured May 6, 2014, to April 22, 2016. The affected vehicles have a power cord connection to the automatic transfer switch (ATS) that may not be properly tightened. 
A loose power connection may cause a build up of heat at the connection, increasing the risk of a fire. 
Winnebago will notify owners, and dealers will tighten the power cord connection, replacing the ATS box and switch, as necessary. These repairs will be performed free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Winnebago customer service at 1-800-537-1885.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fiamma Bike Rack Installation

Fuse Fiamma Bike Rack

I decided to buy the Fiamma Carry-Bike Pro C bike rack after agonizing about which bike rack to buy for a long while.  It sits up kind of high but it does not block the license plate or the break lights.  It holds two bikes high enough so they should not get too dirty from road dust.  The other racks I considered were hitch mounted and I think would have had all of these problems.

This is the bike rack that comes as a factory option on the Fuse.  I purchased it from   The price was $352 + tax and shipping.   I had it within a week of ordering.  It might have been cheaper ordering from Europe, but I really did not want to use my credit card outside the US.   I was also quoted $568 from several Winnebago dealers with a 90 day lead time.

Fuse Fiamma Bike RackFuse Fiamma Bike Rack

It was delivered to my front door by the nice UPS man nicely packed in a large box.   Most of the rack was pre-assembled.   The first thing I did was to look over the instructions.  Fiamma could do better in this area.  It was mostly pictograms and several of the pictures were not exactly what I had purchased.   Not too bad, but I had to skip to the back several times to figure out where I was at.

Fuse Fiamma Bike Rack

To put it together I needed a metric socket set and a drill.   Remember, this is from Italy, metric if in doubt.   I also needed a Torx bit, a small standard screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.   A ruler helped for figuring out which bolts were which, but was not required.  It took me and my son 2 hours to construct.  If I was more mechanically inclined it could have been done in an under an hour.

Fuse Fiamma Bike Rack

My Fuse did not come with bike rack option but did come with the mounting hardware already installed.  This made installation really easy.

Fuse Fiamma Bike Rack

It went together fairly easy.   You first construct the frame that connects to the motorhome.  It is held to the mounting hardware by 4 stainless steel rods.  Two on the top and two on the bottom.   The top part of the rack slips over the rods.  The rods go through the bottom legs of the rack to positively connect to the motorhome.   In the picture above you can see the rod that holds the lower left support.   The rods on the bottom slide out through the side and then slide back through the legs.

Once we had the frame on the mounts we needed to use the drill.  This was the only scary portion of the exercise. The top and the bottom supports slip together so there was some adjustability.  Now that the height was determined you had to drill a hole through each leg to add rigidity to the rack.  So a hole was drilled on each leg near the red band and a bolt inserted to tie the top and bottom half together.

Fuse Fiamma Bike Rack

The next step was pretty easy - attaching the bottom.  Fiamma ships this pre-assembled so all we had to do was to use two bolts to connect the bottom folding portion to the supports.  After that, we were pretty much finished.  We had to snap on the holders that keep the rack up when folded and then add the bike supports to the top of the rack.  Then we were done.

Fuse Fiamma Bike RackFuse Fiamma Bike Rack

Fuse Fiamma Bike RackFuse Fiamma Bike Rack

Then it was time for some testing.  Did we build it well enough to hold a bike?  Well we tried it out and it worked!   We still have to see how well it works on a trip, what is the best way to secure the bikes and several other details but that will be the topic of another post.  

I am going to depend on some videos from and I will let everyone know how it works for me.  If you have any tips, yell out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Guest Post - Easy Fuel Cap

The Ford Transit Fuel fill does not work with the larger fuel nozzles used at truckstops.  You must use the normal size diesel nozzle used for cars.  If the nozzle doesn’t fit completely into the hole, you shouldn’t use it. If you need to add fuel from a container, there is a specially sized plastic funnel provided with the unit that will allow you to add fuel. Don't use the funnel with a direct fill pump!    Here is some interesting information about the easy fill that  I found this on the web. 

"The technology behind Easy Fuel adds extra layers of security behind the external fuel filler opening to inhibit forced entry and syphoning.  Easy Fuel’s spring-loaded flap is held closed by two latches that can only be released by a standard-size fuel nozzle. When the proper nozzle is inserted into the filler neck of the system, the latches release and the nozzle pushes the spring-loaded flap to the open position.  When the nozzle is removed, the flap is automatically and firmly closed by the spring. 
Easy Fuel also has a patented inhibitor designed to prevent improper fuelling and syphoning.The inhibitor consists of a fuel nozzle detector that guides the nozzle to the opening. If a nozzle or foreign tube of a different size – a diesel nozzle or plastic hose, for example – is placed in the filler neck of a petrol-powered vehicle, the latches will not release. For a diesel-powered vehicle, the inhibitor will keep out the smaller nozzles. 
 Another deterrent in Ford vehicles stems from its refueling vapor recovery system. The purpose is to prevent vapors from escaping during fueling, but syphoning efforts are also thwarted because it closes automatically after the process starts by detecting the pressure of liquid fuel as it passes."

From a loyal reader who wishes to remain anonymous

Lazy Days Campground - Tampa, FL

Winnebago Fuse at Lazy Days Campground

This weekend we went to Lazy Days in Tampa (really Seffner, Fl) to pick up our Fuse after spending a couple of weeks having some warranty work done.  Since it is 4-5 hours from Tallahassee, we decided to spend the night at the attached campground.  We had spent the night at the purchase lot when we bought it, but we were interested in what the campground was all about.

We made our reservation a week earlier.  It is their off season and the rate was $30 a night.  Remember this is the summer in Florida and Seffner is well inland from the beach.  

Check-in was very easy.  They had a large check-in lot in front of the reception building.  I walked in, paid, they gave me a parking pass for my Fuse and my car and we went to our spot. The booklet they provided for the campground was well done and complete.   As we drove through the campground I noticed it was about half full.   This confirmed this was their off season.  

Our site was nice and level.  The setup was very nice with a utility pedestal with power, water and CATV.  The sewer was right there as well.  The only problem was Tampa had gotten a huge amount of rain and I had to step over some puddles while I hooked up the utilities.   Not a big deal but it should be expected since Tampa had received 10-20 inches of rain in the last several days (1-2 feet of water).  

Winnebago Fuse at Lazy Days Campground

The campground had a nice screened in pool (remember this is Florida and the mosquitos are huge) and plenty of play areas for kids and dogs.  If you are there any other day but Sunday morning, they give coupons for breakfast and lunch at the dealership.  We have eaten there and it is not bad.  A newspaper is delivered to the campsite in the morning and trash pickup is at the site.  Cable TV was nice along with free wifi.

The showers were located at the pool.  They were clean and a reasonable size.  Plenty of hot water and pressure.   I could see where they might be a little busy if you wanted to take a shower while people were out swimming. 

We really enjoyed the bar and grill that is on site called the Exit 10.  The menu is standard bar food,   but it is really good.  We had the chicken tenders and the club sandwich with chips.  The night we were there they had a musician playing jazz and that made the meal much more enjoyable.  Actually  I had a great date with my wife that night.

I even had some fun while we were at Lazy Days.  I looked at the Lazy Days camping store and examined several E-bikes.  They even let me take a test ride. Zipping through the parking lot was fun!

Now for the bad part.  The sites are pretty close together and both Sonya and myself thought that the campground just had no character.  Sort of like all of the cookie cutter beachfront condos that are along the coast.  It just kind of felt sterile.

I would stay there again without hesitation. It was nice and clean. But I don't think I would go there as a destination.   For a one night stay it is perfect.  There is even a Flying J between the campground and the Interstate to fill-up on your way out.

The weekend we went was the weekend that Hurricane Hermine came through he Florida Panhandle.  It did some pretty good damage to the area.  Tampa got the torrential rains on the East side of the storm.  Some communities were flooded and had to be evacuated.  Tallahassee, where we live was on the West side of the storm and most houses lost electricity.  Trees were down and power was out from Tallahassee to Lake City a distance of about 100 miles.   

The picture above is from the rest area on I-10 just West of the I-10, I-75 interchange.  The electricity was out at all of the rest areas along my path on I-10.  What this meant was that the restrooms were closed and porta-potties were being used.   As I saw the expressions on peoples faces when they realized the restrooms were closed, I loved my motorhome even more that day.

Fuse Wash Brush

We drove down to Tampa and back this weekend, and when we got home the front of the Fuse was covered with bugs.   It is time for the semi-annual mating season for the lovebugs here in Florida.  Love bugs are attracted by the CO2 on the roadways and come in pairs so when you hit them you get 2 for 1.

So when we got back home we had to clean them off before they caused damage.   The splatter they leave tends to eat the finish.

My first several times washing the Fuse involved a blue brush on a three foot pole and getting up on a ladder.   I have found something that works much better.

Carrand 93088 8' brush

I purchased a Carrand 93088 10" Bi-Level Brush with 8' Aluminum Handle.  It cost $40.00 but it has worked great. It does not squirt water through the brush like some others do.  The blue brush I have does this but I never use it.  It is too much bother to turn on and off.   I prefer the accuracy of the hose with a sprayer attached.    I am still not using soap and still looking for which cleaning product to use.

The way I go about washing the Fuse is to wet down a section of the Fuse and wet down the brush.   Brush the section working from the top down.   I then rinse off what I just went over.  I spray off the brush if it is dirty.  It gets pretty dirty scrubbing lovebugs.  I then go on to the next section.

Carrand 93088 8' brushCarrand 93088 8' brush

Carrand 93088 8' brushCarrand 93088 8' brush

The nice thing about this brush is that I can reach everything on the Fuse other than the roof from the ground.  As you can see from the photos, it does make washing the motorhome easier.

The brush is pretty soft so I am not concerned about scratches.  It is firm enough to get off what is there.   

The handle is nice and stiff so I have good control.  It extends from about 4 foot long to 8 feet.   There is no give even when extended out to its full length.  In general it is working for me really well and makes the task of washing the Fuse much easier.

So far I am not carrying this with me in the Fuse.  I am leaving it at home.  I am not sure what the protocol is for washing your motorhome at a campground.  I also have not found a need to do so yet.  

On the other hand,  I did make sure it would fit in the outside lower rear compartment where I am keeping most of outside stuff.  I only need to figure out how to keep damp brush head from getting the other stuff stored there wet and then it could come along.  I will probably do this in the future.