Monday, October 18, 2021

Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 8 & 9 - Russelville, AR to Tupelo, MS to Home

After a nice overnight stay in Russelville we started our journey back home.    The first leg was back to Tupelo and the Campground at Barnes Crossing.  Sorry no photos from this part of the trip.  We just drove 5-6 hours a day fro both days to get home.  

We started out on Tuesday morning after a nice stay at Ivy's Cove in Russelville.  After stopping for some diesel, off we went.  Going back along a path we had already done is not as much fun as we have when seeing new things but it was the shortest path to home.  Interestingly enough our milage was not as good as the day before.  On this stretch of Interstate highway we only averaged 14.7mpg.  After fueling we headed another 20 miles down the road to the Campground at Barnes Crossing in Tupelo.  We got our spot  assignment and surprisingly enough, it was the same exact spot we were in 1 week previous.

After a good nights stay at Barnes Crossing we headed for home.  I filled up twice on this last day.  First outside of Montgomery where I got 13.4mpg and the second time at the Walmart just North of Dothan, AL and on that tank we got 15.7mpg.   The 15.7mpg is a little misleading since this was mostly on US231 at 65mph.

Trip map

Ok so lets see how well the Fuse did for the whole trip.  We traveled a total of 2,034 miles ignoring the Dothan to Tallahassee leg.  We did not fuel back up once we got home and Dothan is only 70 miles from the house.  We consumed a total of 129.38 gallons of fuel.  This works out to 15.72 miles per gallon for the entire trip.  

We used very little propane on the trip but we did fill up at the KOA in Harrison.  It has been several years since we got propane and the tank showed 1/4 tank.  We filled up and it used 5.3 gallons to fill it up.



Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 7 - Claremore, OK - Russelville, AR


Wil Rogers Downs


We started out Day 7 in Claremore, OK at the Will Rogers Downs KOA.   Our original plans were to go into Tulsa and see the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and then go to the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee.   
Sonya and I decided to invoke our new retired lifestyle options and change the plan and make it an easy day.  We skipped the Air and Space Museum and headed straight to the Five Tribes Museum making it a short day.  As part of our reset we also decided to skip Fort Smith, AR.   It was closed so seeing it would have been outside only.  We would travel a little further down the road and to stay at the Ivy's Cove RV Retreat again.

So off several toll roads and on to Muskogee.  We stopped to see the Five Civilized Tribes Museum.  Siri continued to have a since of humor and brought us up a road that was Singh and full of switchbacks once we got off the Interstate.  Anything bigger than a Fuse would not have made it.  She failed to note that by adding a couple of minutes to the trip we could have gotten there on nice wide straight roads with almost no change in elevation.  Siri has had a lot of laughs as she tried to kill us on this trip.

Union Agency BuildingUnion Agency Building


The Five Civilized Tribes museum is located next to the VA hospital in Muskogee, OK.  It was originally the Union Indian Agency Building where the Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent for the 5 civilized tribes that had been relocated to Oklahoma conducted business and lived.  This really was of interest since Sonya has a great, great, great grandmother who was from the Cherokee tribe and I have a great, great, great Grandmother who was from the Muskogee Tribe. (this may be missing or adding too many greats) 

Muskogee Nation

The museum itself took an hour or so to visit.  Lots of interesting historical stuff on the first floor about the 5 tribes and some very nice art on the second floor.  It also gave us a perfect place to stop and eat lunch.

Ivys Cove RV Retreat

We did stop and get a treat on our journey.   We stopped at a Braums Ice Cream & Dairy Store just outside of Ft. Smith.  We had seen signs for several on our travels around Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas but had never stopped in.  Well we won't make the mistake of passing one up again.  The ice cream was great.  I had an orange freeze that was out of this world.   Next time we will stop at one and try out the breakfast menu or the burgers and shakes.

Then we continued on to our stop for the night in Russelville, AR.   We stayed again at
Ivy's Cove RV Retreat.  We thought that this was a perfect one night stop RV park for us a week earlier and this time as well.  This time was a little different.  They were full for the night when we called but when we said we were in a 23 foot Fuse he said he had one spot so long as we did not mind being in the last overflow site.  No problem from us.  Unlike the last time we stopped and were in a 50-60 foot space, this time we were in a space that was 25 feet long.  Nay longer than the fuse and we would not have fit.  Good news was it was next to the laundry/bath house so we were set.  It is interesting  that Ivy's Cove is not the fanciest campground but it sure does feel comfortable to us and we would stop again..

So on this segment of our journey we traveled 248 miles and got 15.5mpg.  All of this was on the interstate system at 70mpg.  


 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

KOA Tulsa NE / Will Rogers Downs KOA Journey - Claremore, OK


KOA - Will Rogers Downs

We spent Sunday night in the Tulsa NE / Will Rogers Downs KOA Journey.  The campground is located just outside of Claremore, OK.  A couple of miles off of I-44.    First thing of note is that this is located at  the Cherokee Casino / Will Rogers Downs Track, so if lost, follow the signs there.  It was rather unique to drive up and see the campground next to a reasonably large horse track.  Did not even see the casino until we got to the park, it seemed rather small.  The campground was pretty large with over 100 sites and overflow sites in the racetrack parking lot.   


KOA - Will Rogers Downs

Our site was a back-on site right across the road from the office.  Good in that we were close to the bath house.  Bad in that there was a flood light on at the office and we had to block the light out on the cabin door window.  Our site also backed up to the track.  Had the ponies been running we would have had nice seats from our site to watch at the turn.  Well timing is everything and we missed out.

Being at the casino/track, there was food available for dine-in or takeout.  We did not check it out,  but it was available and it was only a flat,  couple of hundred yard walk to get there.

Fuse at KOA - Will Rogers DownsFuse at KOA - Will Rogers Downs

The site was nice and level.  It had been raining before we got there so there was some mud but the site was well drained so no standing water.  All the amenities were there, but no cable tv.  We did get a good number of stations using the antenna.

shower at KOA - Will Rogers Downs

The bath house was connected to the office.  The showers were large and clean.  No issues there.

Racetrack KOA - Will Rogers Downs

We would have no problems staying there again.  The only downside was there were no trees but I guess they would interfere with the view of the track.  Got to decide if you want shade or horses.




Sunday, October 3, 2021

Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 6 - Harrison, AR - Claremore, OK

 

We left the Rally in Harrison and continued on our journey.  Or next stop was Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.  This was about 1 hour and 30 minutes north of Harrison.

The battle at Wilsons Creek was the first civil war battle west of the Mississippi.   The park has a very nice and modern museum and a 5 mile driving/hiking/biking loop around the battlefield to see the important sites.

Wilsons Creek battlefield


Our first stop was the museum.  This was a very nice and modern facility.  Lost of information on lead to the ware and in particular the lead to the war in Missouri and the other boarder states.  

Cherokee Braves Battle Flag

There very interesting displays and interesting information on the battle.  The battle flag of the Cherokee Braves is on display.  This was a Native American unit made up of multiple tribes fighting for confederacy.  The flag has 5 red stars representing the 5 civilized tribes.  

Wilsons Creek battlefield artilleryWilsons Creek battlefield artillery


There were many other displays in the museum and a movie that explained the battle.  Artillery from both sides was also displayed.

Wilsons Creek battlefieldWilsons Creek battlefield


Wilsons Creek battlefield

After the museum we took the driving tour.  It was a five mile loop around the battlefield with stops at the important locations.  It was apropos that we saw people touring on horseback at a battlefield that had a large amount of cavalry present. 

When we finished with our battlefield tour we headed for our stop for the night, the KOA in Claremore, OK.  

Today we traveled 233miles.  Our milage was 14.2mpg.   We did a lot of idling in the park as we did the auto tour around the battlefield.




Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 6 - Harrison, AR

Fusing in the Ozarks

Day 6 of our trip and day 3, the last day of the Fusing in the Ozarks rally started off great.  The weather cooled down overnight and the morning started off with the best weather you could have, at least for someone from Florida.  The temperature was in the low 60's and very little humidity.

Fusing in the Ozarks - Sunday BreakfastFusing in the Ozarks - Sunday Breakfast

The last day of the rally is always a little sad.  Saying goodbye to old and new friends.  Making plans to see everyone in the spring and maybe on the road.

Fusing in the Ozarks - Breakfast breads

This morning we had numerous breakfast breads and more fellowship.  Hugs and handshakes all around and then most of the Fuses trickled out of the park.   We stopped with some others to fill up with LP and then off Sonya, Lily and I went to continue our journey.


Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 5 - Harrison, AR

This was Day 5 of our Trip and Day 2 of the Rally, Saturday is always the big day.

Catered Breakfast @ Fuse Rally

Breakfast at Fusing in the OzarksBreakfast at Fusing in the Ozarks



Saturday started with a catered breakfast from the Ranch House Restaurant.   Lots of great food and lots of fellowship.  That is always a winning combination, food and friends.

Fusing in the Ozarks Tech Talk

Fusing in the Ozarks Tech TalkFusing in the Ozarks Tech Talk


After breakfast we got down to business.  Lee from Winnebago answered a number of questions and took a lot of comments.  Winnebago is a great company sending someone to our rally to help, in return they get our input.  He brought a EKKO with him and pointed out some of the suggestions we had to the Fuse that were incorporated into the new unit.

Fusing in the Ozarks  Coach Tour

Then we did tours of coaches and saw all the ideas and mods people have incorporated into their Fuses.  This is always a great time to see how imaginative and how many experts and mechanical geniuses we have in the group.   

As part of this Rob G. and some others went to all the coaches and checked gutters.  You need to make sure the drains under the front window are kept clear of dirt and debris.  If not, the water can overflow and damage the Transit air filter (passenger side drain) or one of the main electric connectors (drivers side drain).    Out of the 25 units that were inspected, 5 had very clogged drains and they were remediated.

Fusing in the Ozarks - EKKO

The main attraction seemed to be the EKKO Winnebago sent.  It was super interesting to see the similarities and the differences between it and the Fuse.  They definitely are siblings but they are definitely not twins.  I will have more on the EKKO later.

Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 4 - Harrison, AR

 Friday is the start of a Fuse Rally.   A large number of people get there a day or two early but the official start is usually on Friday.  The rally in Harrison was no different.  More units rolled in all day long until 25  units were at the park.   Well To be exact 24 Fuses and 1 Ekko but it is a really just a younger sibling of the Fuse.

People were out helping others fix problems with their Fuses.  Lots of experts in the group were providing tips on how to use features on the Fuse and showing people the ways they modded their units to make them more to their liking.   


Fusing in the Ozarks - Pot Luck

Fusing in the OzarksFusing in the Ozarks

The festivities started at 5:30 with the Pot Luck dinner.  As always, there was a huge amount of food, probably twice what was needed. And everything I tried was really good.  It is amazing what can be created given the small size of the units.  Things in crock pots and I even saw some bread.

After dinner,  Rebecca, the organizer of the Rally did introductions and started off the event.   We have people from as far away as Florida and California and everywhere in between.   It is amazing to see this many Fuses in one spot.   There were going to be more be there were a number of last minute cancellations and with COVID going around and other health issues I was happy to see this many.

Lee from Winnebago gave a short talk about what he was going to talk about on Saturday and got mobbed with questions.  Lots of people are really interested in the Ekko he brought with him that has all sorts of cool features and things we recommended would be nice in a Fuse but I think the universal consensus was that they were not as interested in the cassette toilet.  That was not an idea from the Fuse community.



Harrison KOA Holiday

 

Harrison KOA

Our Fall 2021, Fusing in the Ozarks Rally, was held at the Harrison KOA Holiday in Harrison, Arkansas.  This is a very nice campground. 


Harrison KOA

The first thing to say about this campground is that the staff and owners are incredible.  They took care of our every need and were always around maintaining the grounds and keeping the place spick and span.  

Harrison KOA

Everything was just as perfect as you would want with nothing out of place.   When you needed something they were right at your site in minutes.   This is as nice and clean of a campground as we have stayed.   They even had the grounds decorated for Halloween on the first of October.


Harrison KOA

All of the sites were very level, there were 72 channels of cable TV and some of the best WiFi I have seen in an RV Park.  There was a new wrinkle for us at the KOA.  Many of the spots were pull-in, not back-in.   We have never had a pull-in site but it really does not matter and made setting up camp a little less stressful.  If you have a trailer or a big class-A , not to worry, there were lots of pull-through sites as well.

Harrison KOA ShowersHarrison KOA Showers


So, as I always point out, the real grade of a RV park is the showers.  How did the Harrison KOA make out.   Perfect Score.  The bathrooms were spotless.  The showers large and there was plenty of hot water.

The campground is located right on Highway 412 so it is really easy to get to.  There is a little bit of highway noise but there will soon be some more sites further away from the road that will be quieter.  

On our way out I filled up the propane on the Fuse.  They were able to do it without any problems or confusion.  It worked out to be very convenient and we were off without any hassle.   This was a perfect place for a Rally, to spend a number of days or just to spend the night.


Friday, October 1, 2021

Heading to the Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 3 - To Harrison, AR




We took our time on Thursday morning getting on the road.  From Russellville to Harrison was only a couple of hours according to Siri.  Should not be a problem.   So we did not get off until 10AM or so.  

And off we went dutifully following Siri's advice.   So how would she take us to Harrison this morning? Well she decided to take us on something called the Pig Trail Scenic Byway.  I still do not know why on one day Siri picks one way to go and on another day she picks another way but we just follow the advice.  

When we made our plans the maps app showed us going straight north from Russellville up HWY 7 on the 2hr 11min path but there must have been construction or an accident or Siri was just messing with us on Thursday so off to the Pig Trail, we went.  The longest option when I took this snapshot the day after.

Sorry there are no pictures,  I was holding on for dear life.  It actually was not that bad in the Fuse but I do not know how a large Class A would do it.  After we left it we saw several heading that way and were passed by several Semi trucks so I and sure they made it.  There were a number of switchbacks and curves where the speed limit was 15mph and I would guess the average speed limit was 35mph.   It actually was a beautiful drive but as Sonya and myself agreed, we would have hate to have done it at night or in the rain.

So how did we do on day 3, performance wise.  We drove 181 miles and got 13.5mpg.   I actually think that was a good MPG rating this time since it was all up and down.  Town/Haul mode in the Fuse got used almost all of the way.

We had lunch at a McDonalds in Huntsville.   After lunch the road straightened out and we had a nice ride into Harrison and the KOA.    Showing our age, we actually have been through Harrison before when we went to the Rally in Branson a few years back. We remembered when we saw the Walmart and the Arby's we ate at last time.  

Ivy's Cove RV Retreat, Russellville, AR


Ivy's Cove RV Retreat

We spent the night at Ivy's Cove RV Retreat in Russellville, AR.  This was a very nice RV park just off of I-30.  It was still far enough away from the Interstate so you could not hear the traffic.  It was a really nice campground and we would not hesitate to spend the night again.

Winnebago Fuse @ Ivys cove Rv Park Beagle Bus at Ivy's cove RV retreat

We were in a very large pull through site.  Nice and level.  To get an appreciation for the size, all of our neighbors were full size (40'+) Class A motorhomes.   We looked very small compared to the other motorhomes on our row.  There was also nice large field to walk the dog in.  One important thing to note is that they allow you to wash your rigs at your site. Our Fuse had picked up some grime from being on the road so I was able to give the Fuse a quick spray down and make it look respectable again.

Ivy's cove rv retreatIvy's cove rv retreat

Ivy's cove rv retreatIvy's cove rv retreat

As I point out the most important feature of an RV park is the bath house and showers.  They were spotless with plenty of hot water and reasonably large.  The showers were located with the laundry and there was some workout equipment so if you want to stay fit while on the road you definitely could.




Heading to the Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 2 - To Russellville, AR

 On Wednesday We left Tupelo and headed for a jaunt through Mississippi with our ultimate goal of spending the night in Russellville, AR.   After a great night we headed out through the backroads of Mississippi to see Fort Curtis, a reconstructed Civil War Fort in Helena, AR.   

Well we listened to Siri and Apple Maps drove down a number of farm roads, backroads and saw a huge number of Farms growing everything from soybeans, to wheat to cotton.   We even found a bump over some railroad tracks where I think the Fuse was airborne.  Think of the Fuse taking the place the General Lee in the Dukes of Hazzard.   Decided to come to almost a stop before going over any more train tracks after that.

We got to the Fort and it was closed.  It looked nice but it was locked up due we guess to COVID.    We ate some lunch in the Fort Parking Lot and then went on a tour of the farms of Arkansas.  It is always amazing to me the difference in the land on one side of the Mississippi River and the other.  

We drove for a while and arrived at our destination at the Ivy Cove RV retreat in Russellville, AR.

We thought that Russellville would be a small town but it was not.  Big and bustling with every store you could imagine and it was the home of Arkansas Tech University.   Right down I-40 from Little Rock.  The best part was the restaurants all seemed open so KFC was for dinner.

So on Wednesday we traveled a little over 323 miles.  We got 16.5mpg

Heading to the Fusing in the Ozarks Fall 2021 Rally - Day 1

 

Well we are off to the Fusing in the Ozarks Rally in Harrison, AR.    Our first time out now that Summer is over.    We are super excited and heading down the road.   

Our first stop this trip is in Tupelo, MS at the Campground at Barns Crossing.   You can read about this camp groups at: http://confusedrv.blogspot.com/2019/09/campground-at-barnes-crossing.html.    We have stayed at this campground several times and it is a good one just off of I-22.   Take note that this campground does not take credit cards so bring a checkbook or cash.

With COVID still around it is a little different traveling.   We normally stop for takeout once or twice a day.  We are finding that this is a hit or miss proposition.   Going up restaurants in Alabama all seemed to be open more or less normal.  Once in Mississippi, the fast food restaurants were drive through only.  So We got lunch at an Arby's in Dothan, Al but missed out on KFC chicken just outside of Tupelo.  I guess I could try bringing the FUSE through the drive through, but I am not really that brave.

So on Tuesday, We went from Tallahaseee to Tupelo.  I won't report on the milage on the first tank of gas since it was a partial, a lot of idling in the driveway and up and down the road around the house.   We drove a total on Tuesday of 425 miles.   And on the second tank of diesel we got 14.97 mpg going from Dothan, Al to Tupelo, MS.   Not too bad for mostly Interstate Driving at 75mph.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Retirement




I retired Friday (6/4/2021)!  Now more time to RV and have fun with the Fuse.  Not sure when or where we are going next but no we no longer have to figure it out months in advance.  The path is clear ahead and the outlook is beautiful


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Inspecting the ATS

One of the items that has been  a common problem in the FUSE is the Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) failing.  The ATS is the device that selects if the generator or the shore power plug is what is powering the FUSE 110v loads.   I wrote earlier about the ATS at: http://confusedrv.blogspot.com/2016/02/automatic-transfer-switch.html.  The one in our fuse is a 41300 and info can be found at:  https://rvpower.southwire.com/products/transfer-switches/30a-hardwire-model-41300-basic-automatic-transfer-switch/

ATS With cover on

Big problem is when the ATS fails you get 0 power from either.  Oh, and and an acrid smell comes out (and possibly a small amount of smoke). For me it happened just outside of Dallas, Texas and caused us to cut our trip a couple of days short.   BTW - your 12volt system will still work if this happens, just no recharging the batteries from the shore power or generator so the lights stilled work.

So how can you avoid this.  Well a good practice is to inspect the ATS once (or twice) a year.  What you are going to need is a flashlight, a small screwdriver and a 5/32" hex key/driver - Now let's go over the steps.  

The ATS is located in the electrical box with the shore power cord.  It is a pretty tight fit in there.

Important Note:  Make sure the shore power is unplugged and the generator is off.  This is electrical and you can get hurt if the power is on.

First step is to take the cover off of the ATS.  It unsnaps from the top of the cover.  There are some keys at the bottom of the unit.  Be gentle, but it comes off pretty easy.


ATS Cover Off


Once open, you need to take a look at the wires.  If any of the wires looks burned, the wire insulation looks bubbled, there is any heat damage you have failed the inspection.  Get this fixed now.  If everything looks ok, then continue on.


ATS with Cover off

The next thing you need to check is if the connections are tight.  On the ATS you will see several electrical relays with hex screws.  There are 8 of these connections.  Check to make sure these are tight.  Don't over tighten.  If they are already tight, you are good.  If they are loose tighten them down to 30 in-lbs.  This is listed on the cover so refer to what it says if there is a change between model revisions.  

FUSE ATS annotated

 

How much is 30 in-lbs? What does that mean? Tighten, but do not crank it down.  Don't use any leverage from your wrist.  You will put that much force on the connector just by using your hand without any leverage.

T handle Hex key

I purchased a T-handle hex key just to do this with.  This was a tip that was pointed out at the last Fuse Rally.  It makes this job much easier than with traditional L shaped wrenches.

Also check the screws on the terminals on the top of the ATS.  On mine this required a small screwdriver.  If everything is tight then great, otherwise, tighten them down but again, do not over tighten.

At this point you are done.  Put the cover back on and you are good to go.  If you need repairs, take care of them.    

This is a good thing to inspect regularly. It only takes 5-10 min and can save you from trouble down the road.  At the Spring 2021 Fuse rally, Bob Garbe went around and inspected them for folks (13 if I recall correctly) and it was greatly appreciated by all.