Friday, August 31, 2018

Winnebago Fuse 23F Quick Look

Fuse 23F  -

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 -

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 -

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.  I think this is just the standard 2019 Fuse manual .

Fuse 23F Forward View -

I borrowed these photos from .  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.


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.


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. (

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.


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.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Question - What do you carry in the refrigerator

Here is a little insight into traveling with Don and Sonya.  We are on vacation so we are interested in having fun.  We do some cooking but not for every meal.  And to be honest we don't cook every meal at home either.

So you might find us in the parking lot of a McDonalds for breakfast, an Arby's for lunch or a nice restaurant for dinner.  Or you might find us cooking something in the Fuse.

Stoping and eating lunch at a rest stop is the norm, but what we do is just a toss of the coin depending on where we are when we are ready to eat.   The beauty of this lifestyle is we get to make the decisions and set the schedule.

I came from a family with RVs.  My mom provided some sage advice.  It was not really a vacation if you have to cook.  If you want to cook it is a different story.

So what do we keep in the refrigerator to be this flexible?

conFUSEd rv refrigerator

You see soft drinks in the door which are self explanatory. 
A quart of milk for the coffee and just when you want some milk.
A container of honey mustard for sandwiches
A stick of butter, just in case or to top off steaks on the grill
2 containers of condiments.  Sugars, packets of various ketchup, mustard, hot sauces, etc
2 gallon jugs of water -  We go through at least one gallon a day if not two  
A Publix microwave entree (meatloaf this time) 
A container of microwave mash potatoes
Sandwich meat (ham and turkey)
Swiss cheese 
Hot dogs

What about the freezer?

conFUSEd rv freezer

Just some ice this time 
We forgot the Hershey bars this time but they got added at the first Walmart stop.

For this trip we decided if we want to cook out we will pick up the meat that day.

Raleigh to Beckley WV

We stayed the night at the North Carolina State Fair Campgrounds last night.  There will be a separate post on that.  Today's events involved visiting our daughter and then getting half way to Pittsburgh, the location of the son.

Winnebago Fuse at apartmentWinnebago Fuse on Curb

We drove the Fuse from the campground over to the apartment.  I love the Fuse since it will park almost anywhere.  We found a place on the curb right outside her unit.  It would have fit in a parking space if we wanted to squeeze and stick out a  little, but we want to be asked back.  We had a great visit with our daughter and then went out to eat brunch with her boyfriend.

Boyfriend, Daughter and Wife

Brunch was at Bob Evans.  Drove the Fuse, and Lily stayed in it while we all went and ate.  Interrogated the boyfriend and generally had a good time.  The boyfriend seems to be a very nice guy so we went away happy.

Stopped and filled up.  I was not real happy with the gas milage..  We only got 13.5mpg.  I was a little disappointed but then remembered I added an hour of idling the engine to the mix.  Still not bad since I was still driving on the fast side.

Outside pilot mountain

Then we drove up to Beckley.  It was a pretty drive through the mountains.  Traffic was moving pretty well until we hit I-77 in VA.  Traffic was parked.  It took us 2 hours to go 10 miles. The signs said construction but I have never seen something this bad outside of an accident.  Well we drove the through the problem and there were lanes blocked for construction but no construction.  We finally figured out the problem was at the merge from 2 lanes to 1.  Apparently no one knows how to merge any more.  Traffic stopped and started.  Pretty ridiculous.

Then on to Beckley.  We are staying at the campground at the Coal Mine Museum.  I will report tomorrow on how this went.

North Carolina State Fairgrounds Campground

Fuse at the NC state fairgrounds

We spent one night at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds Campground in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This is a bare bones campground but with one large caveat it was all right.

Located at the NC State Fairgrounds which is right across the street from the stadium and PNC arena.  A great location and only 12 minutes away from our daughters apartment.  There are no reservations so first come, first served.

Gate H7

It was a small adventure to find it however.  The fairgrounds are a large place and the campground is not marked well.   We drove  the perimeter of the fairgrounds and never saw it.  Eventually we saw a worker and asked where they were.  She told us there were at the horse complex, Gate H7.   Once we had that little tidbit, we were good to go.

NC State fairgrounds campground office

We drove in up a gravel road and stopped at the office.  The security guard told us to pick a spot and he would be there shortly to check us in.  We drove around the sites and picked #21.  It looked nice and level so we set up there.   The guard came and got our information.  Swiped our credit card and we were set.  $30.00 for the night.

NC State fairgrounds campsite

The sites have full hookups but no cable.  Not to worry,  I picked up 50 stations on the antenna.  It is kind of minimalist, a gravel parking spot and grass.  The spot was level.  There were no tables or anything .  Lots of trash cans which was nice.

campsite - nc state fairgrounds

There is one big caveat you need to know about before you decide to stay here.  The shower facilities are not at the campground but over at the fairground buildings.  Driving distance, not walking distance.  We were ok, but it is just one of those things you need to know.

Hardeeville SC to Raleigh NC

I-95 in South Carolina

Todays portion of the trip was from Hardeeville, South Carolina  to Raleigh, North Carolina to see our daughter.   We stayed at the Camp Lake Jasper Campground and we have it on our list of places to stay again.  A nice place - clean, organized and good to go.

We got on I-95 around 9:00 and headed north.  It was a nice day and traffic was fine other than the several times it turned into a parking lot and we all stopped or slowed to 30mph.   Curses to people who want to drive 50mph in the passing lane.  But it was a nice day and we made it to Raleigh about 3:00.

A couple of interesting notes for today.   The Gas Buddy app was my friend. Diesel was running around $3.15-$3.25 along the Interstate at the various truck stops.   I pulled out gas buddy and saw a Murphy Oil (Walmart) just south of Florence S.C. selling diesel for $2.85.   I looked a little closer and there was a Sams Club station selling diesel for $2.75.   You have to be a member of Sams Club to buy there and luck would have it Sonya joined a month ago when ran a sale on Sams club memberships for $30.00.   Saved $10.00 just today so we lucked out.

While getting fuel, we I checked the Infocenter on the Fuse and it said the DEF was at 1/2 full.  Guess what,  there was a Walmart right next door.  Easy Peasy. Went right in and got 2.5 gallons of Walmart DEF and we were back to full.   This time I got just over 2,000 miles on  2.5 Gal of DEF.   Last time it was around 2,500 miles but the measurements in the DEF tank are not close to being exact so this seems fine.

Oh,  on this leg of the trip I was a little disappointed with our milage.  I only got 14mpg.  I would be a little sad about this but I was keeping up with traffic today on I-95.  That means we were traveling a little faster than normal.  75-80mph was what it took to keep up with traffic today.  And we had several times we were stopped or crawling, so all in all it was ok.

We always joke that if we forget anything or need anything there is always a Walmart around the next bend.  This time it was in the next parking lot over.

Relish Craft Kitchen and Bourbon Bar

Once we were in Raleigh we spent some time with our daughter and then went to dinner.  This was the highlight of the day.   We went to a restaurant called Relish Craft Kitchen and Bourbon Bar.  This Gem was tucked away in a shop in a Food Lion Shopping Center.   All I can say about this place is WOW!
Fried black eye peas

I have never had this or heard of this before but how about trying Fried Black Eyed Peas.  This was our appetizer.  It was something unique so we had to try it.  Talk about delicious, deep fry some black eyed peas with some onion, red peppers and bacon.  WOW, I could of eaten this for the main course.

Next were the entrees.  I had the shrimp and grits.  Delicious.  Sonya had the country fried steak and Cathy had the Roman mac and cheese (shrimp, pesto and parmesean cheese).  All super good.  Finished it off with Atlantic Beach Pie that was outstanding.  The total for the 3 of us was around $50.00 which was very reasonable.