September 18, 2019 – Border Binder

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Autumn is one of my favourite seasons here in Saskatchewan.

Sitting with my morning coffee and watching the trees begin a new transformation in preparation for the upcoming winter. I find it so calming and therapeutic. The leaves magically begin changing colours, and then gracefully fall to the ground.




The morning air is so crisp and fresh, which usually sparks our conversations on our morning walks to include homemade soups, hearty stews and of course, plans for our winter snowbird trip south.

Several of our Canucks On Wheels followers have sent us messages and asked if we would share what makes up our border binder.

Since it is now less than 30 days till we head south, and we are in snowbird prep mode, now would be a good time to share.

A little background for those of you wondering how our border binder started.

Travelling with anxiety can be difficult at the best of time. Now, crossing the border sends me (Becky) into a tailspin of what-ifs!

What if I didn’t have a document that can be requested! What if I lost our credit card or even worse our passports!

This says it all!

Before our first snowbird trip back in 2014, I had all our documents stuffed in a big brown envelope. It held everything that I thought we needed, but I started to get anxious that I didn’t have everything or that I could lose something important. Hence, why we put together this border binder, it contains copies of all our pertinent documents that could be requested by border security officers at the border.

I decided a binder with a zipper would be the most logical, and bright pink would be easy to spot if misplaced.

Get a binder with a zipper

Plastic sheet protectors work great for keeping everything organized.

Plastic sheet dividers

Here is the list of the documents we have in our collection.

Continue reading

September 12, 2019

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Woke up to another wet and cool morning, we had light showers on and off last night. It appears the nights are getting colder and I would prefer not having to run our propane gulping furnace very often. These furnaces are definitely not energy efficient and use a ton of propane. On the plus side, Mother Nature has other options to help keep us warm….. I have been handed the ability to self combust, yup that’s right, these wicked hot flash and night sweat. Seriously does it ever end? I swear I have had these sucks for 10 years now!

Funny, I always wished for a smoking hot body, menopause was not what I was thinking!!!

Last month I started working for our local campground. Staff were heading back to university and were going to be short-staffed till close up. It appears that my temporary fill-in will now be turned into a seasonal position next May 1-Oct 1. Perfect for us RV snowbirds as we head south middle of October, and are back home middle of April.

One month in., and I am enjoying it. Meeting new people from all over the world, I met a couple from Switzerland and a gentleman from Bermuda today. I love listening to their travel stories and hearing about their families.

Today’s project, the factory mounted the spare tire on the rear trailer’s bumper.

When we boondock, there are usually quite a few dips and washes we need to maneuver through. Our trailer is 38 ft, and that darn spare tire has been skidded a few times because it hangs so low. Today Myron relocated it, so now it is mounted just behind our rear trailer axle out of the way.

Spare tire has a new home

Besides truck and trailer maintenance, Myron has been busy this summer with his upholstery work and as a relief semi driver. It’s funny how things work out. He gets a call one day asking if he is interested in doing some relief driving. Lots of businesses don’t want to hire anyone full time as they may not have enough work for a full-time Employee, so hiring on a relief driver works perfectly for their business and us as well.

🍷, have a great one!

Condensation

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We soon discovered being in our Rv for an extended amount of time, the one thing we needed to carefully watch for was condensation. It will cause havoc in a camper.

Our friends Tom and Lori had an issue with condensation, and they strongly recommend we invest in a dehumidifier.

Pro breeze dehumidifier

These things are amazing. We purchased a large unit for our main living and kitchen area that holds 1500 Ml of liquid and then later purchased 2 small ones ( one for our bedroom and one for the basement solar compartment that hold 500ml each.

This past summer the humidity has been 85-99% so these units have done amazing collecting the liquid.

So we did our research, and discovered there are a few other things we could do daily that will help prevent condensation, so we thought we would share them with you.

Eliminate the source of the condensation as fast as possible!

Since we do most of our cook in our Rv, we alway use lids on our pots and have our stove exhaust fan running. This helps reduce the moisture in the air. (Remember to open your flap on the outside of your trailer or your stove exhaust will not work properly, ask me how I know, lol)

Showering is another contributor to condensation. We always have our bathroom fan running as this pulls the moisture out of the air. Immediately after our showers we use a shammy cloth to wipe down all our shower walls and use a squeegee to remove any left over water on our shower floor.

Roof vent covers

These install directly over your roof lids and allow you to leave your lid open in various weather conditions. Unless the wind is coming directly into our vents they always stay open, even and inch or so.

Dollar tree disposable moisturizer eliminators.

We place these in our closets, and in our cupboards. They are cheap and work great!

Indoor thermometer with wireless humidity level indicator.

We placed the 3 wireless units strategically in our rig, one in the basement garage near our water pump, one in the solar compartment, and our bedroom. Now we can monitor multiple areas at once.

If you are able, run your AC as this will also help to reduce the humidity level inside.

Cheers!!

Lippert Error LF Jack

It’s amazing how RVs have changed over the years. Our old Prowler 5th wheel had a manual crank levelling system on it, that drove us nuts trying to get level. Each corner had to be done separately, and this took time and patience, and our fridge was very picky, it had to be completely level to work properly.

With our Cougar we have been spoiled with our Lippert 4 point automatic levelling jacks! Just hit the button and it does everything for you, no guess work involved, just to be on fairly level ground.

Amazing system, until you hear that dreaded beeping noise, and the screen shows ” error LF jack”. Grrr, we tried everything and still that awful beeping and error LF Jack kept appearing on the screen. Thankful we have a manual mode override so we could get back on the road.

We found an article that said we had to reset the computer to clear the error code.

To do this we need the trailer still hooked to our truck, extending all jacks at least 6 inches. Then press and held the retract button until the jacks begin retracting. All of the jacks fully retract and clear the error.

Issue fixed!

Here are a few pictures from boondocking by Chirciaco Summit, California

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We sometimes have to do some fancy driving to get our rig to our boondocking spot, yes all the while I usually sit with my eyes covered! 🙈 The best views are sometimes the most awkward getting into.

RV Mods – Solar

When we purchased our trailer, our intentions where to purchase a 5th wheel that we could head south where we could bask in the sun for the winter months. Staying in campgrounds or rv parks every-night was not on our priority list. We love to travel and see new places, some would say we get itchy feet!  So dry camping only made sense to us. In order to drycamp/boondock for extended period of time, we would need to invest in Solar.  We wanted to be self-sufficient and not rely on rv parks, campgrounds or a generator, so we invested in ourselves.

We did  a lot of research and called everyone we knew with any knowledge on the subject, and Myron and I came up with our present system of: 690 watts of solar and 440 amp hours of battery.

This allows us to use our Instant Pot, Induction cook top, bread maker, coffee pot, basically everything with the exception of our A/C and Microwave (we do not use the microwave, it’s become our bread storage compartment)

Solar Panels

12v 38.14 Amps 690 Watts wired in parallel.

2- 12v 9.37 Amp 170 Watts each

2- 12v 9.7 Amps 175 Watts each

Each panel is wired in parallel with #8 PV- Solar Wire (Sunlight and weather resistant), ran to a junction box.

(Prices have dropped lots since we purchased our first set of panels. You can now purchase high quality 200 watt panels, made in the USA, for $185.00 USD/ $240.00 CAD. So if you open your local weekly flyer and see solar panels from Canadian Tire or Harbour Freight don’t waste your money, they are a ripoff, more than 3x the price per watt and they do not compare.)

Installing roof junction box and drilling hole in our roof for the wire drop. This required precise measuring as we needed to make the drop directly into the wall between the kitchen and bathroom.

Myron had perfect alignment from the roof, directly in the wall, straight down to the electrical panel compartment.

# 4 Pv-Solar Wire was used to run from Junction box to Charge Controller. (Over kill? Maybe, but we didn’t want any voltage loss, and room for expansion)

This required team work, as this #4 PV (Solar) wire was heavy and very tricky to pull. Thanks for the help Tom!

Front storage compartment houses our 40 Amp Blue Sky MPPT charge controller with a 500 Amp Shunt that send a signal back to our Blue Sky IPN Pro-Remote.

Our battery bank is 440 AH, wired in series & parallel with 1/0 cable

4- 6v Golf Cart Batteries

2- Costco Interstate- 210 AH ea

2 – NAPA -230 AH ea

We installed a 1000 Watt pure Sine inverter with a remote and dedicated solar plugs.

I must say, I have one talented husband! Having solar has worked out great for us, as we invested in ourselves instead of the Rv parks and campgrounds!

We will have an update coming this winter, as we will are making a few changes to our system to make it more efficient.

Note:

This is not a how to, this is just how we did it!

Rv Mods – Drawer Covers

It’s not a matter of if, but when!

This past summer we had an unexpected visitor move into our Rv! We got the surprise one morning when we open up our cutlery drawer and surprise, something left us a turd!!

Yes, you guessed it, a fricken mouse!!

Grrr, now everything has to be completely cleaned and sanitized. These things creep me right out! Ok truth be told, I am scared shitless of them. Yes I know they are smaller than me, but nope not happening. I will scream like a little school girl, and I am not afraid to admit it.

Any plans Myron had that day were now put on the hold, as he now was on a search and destroy mission!

Aha, a section of our underbelly had come lose and allowed for a perfect entry point for the mouse to get in.

With traps set, it didn’t take long and snap…….. we caught the bugger!!!

We always knew it wasn’t a matter of if we would get a mouse, but a matter of when! We thought we had mouse proof our rig, but sometimes they just get in!

Not wanting them to ever get near our cutlery again. Myron came up with these sweet drawer covers.

He already had this clear heavy plastic material similiar to Lexan in his mobile shop, so he figured it would work perfect for the job.

Strong enough to hold my glass of wine!!

He used Velcro to temporarily hold them securely in place until we find the right fasteners.

They work awesome, another fabulous idea!

RV Mods – Drinking Water

We thought we would show you what we do for drinking water.

This idea is just super cool! We can’t take any credit for it, as our friends Roger and Collene installed this in their Cougar trailer. We loved the idea so much that Myron got busy!

He installed a separate water tap next to my kitchen tap for our dedicated drinking water.

Then install a 12v pump and switch.

Finally he ran a water line that feeds to our refillable water jugs.

It fits neatly tucked away under our sink so we don’t have to trip on the jug.

Genius I tell ya!!

RV Upgrade – Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 9260C RV Converter/Charger with built in Charge Wizard Remote

This past winter we did a few upgrades to our 5th wheel. Once the Shackles were complete it was time to upgrade from the factory installed WFCO converter to the new Inteli-Power 9260 Series by Progressive Dynamics .

The Charge Wizard constantly monitors battery voltage and battery usage then selects one of the following four operating modes to properly charge and maintain the batteries. Since we mostly boondock (Dry Camping), we are able to charge our batteries up faster with the generator on those cloudy days.

to access the converter we had to removed the electrical panel,

then remove the kitchen drawers on the other side of the cabinet.

Not the easiest spot to get to in the Cougar 337FLS, this took team work.

Out with the old, and in with the new!

It also comes with a remote pendant that we can manually control the charger.

Entry Door Upgrade

The more time we spend in our RV, the more we find some of the design aspects of our Cougar are just not to our liking.

Our entry door came with a gas cylinder that was installed at the bottom of our door to keep the door open.

Cylinder head is connected to a steel ball installed in the sill and one at the bottom of the entry door.

Great idea, at first we really liked it. Well, that was until a gust of wind came up and grabbed the door and snapped the cylinder head which caused the door to smashed up against the trailer! Thankfully we had a broom leaning up against the trailer so this stopped the door from smashing our big picture window.

We have removed the gas cylinder and installed the trusty old plastic door holder.

Myron also install a 3″ rubber door stopper.

Not only has this upgrade now allowed us to have our door completely open in a breeze, but it also allows a full view from our door and opened up our seating area to utilize the entire awning.