Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Have HD Direct TV


We were up early this morning at Camping World for our 8am appointment. We were there just before 8 and it wasn't until 8:30 before they took the home into one of their bays. We showed the tech our old system and told him where the receiver was located along with the mode switch which operated the old outdated KVH antenna. We also showed him our DVD player, amplifier, and surround sound systems. We wanted to make sure all of these items would still work after he installed the new Wineguard Trav'ler antenna and the DTV HD receiver. He said no problem as he has done many of these. This is probably where Murphy's Law first reared it's ugly head.


We then retired to their customer waiting room where we waited and waited. We spent most of the morning watching the news on Hurricane Irene. About three hours had passed and we were getting a little anxious hoping to see the tech come in and say he's finished as he said it shouldn't take over four hours to complete the job. Murphy's Law stepped in and whispered in my ear that I needed to go check on the progress of the installation.

Well as the saying goes if it's going to go bad hope it happens early in the game. Not the case here as I went out into the shop where they were working they had the old KVH system and RCA receiver out. Our entertainment cabinet had all these wires, RCA jacks and cables dangling out of it. Our TV was out of it's mount and laying against the back of my chair.

I asked how are you progressing and he replied the new Wineguard antenna was installed but he was unable to connect the HD receiver to coaxial cables and it needed to be connected with a HDMI cable to our TV. All the new receivers now as I understand him to say do not have a second connector for our TV in the bedroom. It seems he did not realize that a motorhome built in 2002 had a switch box and used coaxial cables for most of it's wiring and switching from one function to another?????? He saw I was getting a little upset and quickly assured me he would make everything work and we would be out of there by 4pm. And as he assured me everything did work but for us to have TV in our bedroom he had to install a RF Modular that would allow RCA jacks and coaxial cable to run this TV. If we had two receivers and separate wiring to the back TV this module probably wouldn't be required????

He installed the HDMI cable between the TV and HD receiver and we have excellent HD TV. We also have surround sound but in order to get this feature we must unplug the RCA jacks from the RF Modular audio and plug the audio RCA jacks from our amplifier into the audio jacks on the receiver. We then have audio in the bedroom TV but no audio. What we need is a RCA cable that has two male jacks with four female jacks to make everything work without plugging and unplugging. Do they even make anything like this????? I probably haven't explained this like I should but it is as I understand what we need to do.

imageI might add the Wineguard Trav'ler antenna works like a champ and we are very pleased with how quite it is and how quick it finds the Satellites.
Overall we are pleased with the tech for getting us up and running. Even though they had us in their bay for a little over seven hours Camping World stood by their fixed labor rate of $156.

My only recommendation is if you have an older coach that uses coaxial cables and a switch box stay away from HD TV.

Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Travel To Camping World Ft Worth

We were up before dawn this morning and did the final blue jobs for our departure for Fort Worth. We pulled out at 6:35am and arrived at Camping World a little before Noon. We would have made it a little sooner but the navigator (being me) missed our turn for 35W toward Waco. We've made this trip many times and I have no excuse as to why we missed our turn. In fact I didn't even recognize that we missed our turn until I looked over and saw a sign for Benbrook.

To late now to turn around and head back East so we continued on down to FM 2871which is the exit for our good friends Mark and Dortha daughter's house and where they base when in Fort Worth. Mark and Dortha are in Gillette WY attending the Escapade rally . Otherwise we just might have dropped in on them. We made our turn around and headed back on I20 east till we made the correct turn to Camping World on 35W.

We learned that McClain RV now owns the overnight parking spots that use to be If you were having work done by CW you could park free on a first come first served bases. Now that McClain owns this they want $30/night. We debated on just parking in the CW parking lot for the remainder of the day and tonight. When we looked at the temperature at that time being 106F we decided that was just to much for the GenSet and elected to pay the $30. Also McClain has just about taken over the entire parking area with their new RV's where it would have been very difficult to pull in with a 40ft MH and toad.

After we got parked in a space and plugged in to 50amp service no sewer, we loaded into the Jeep and headed north to the Apple Store on S. University Blvd to see if they can replace the screen on my IPhone 4. In a previous post I reported the phone fell out of my shirt pocket and busted the screen. We arrived and checked in at the Genius's Bar. In about 30 minutes a very nice young lady approached me and asked if I was Weldon and asked what could she do to help me. I explained my problem and was prepared for the worst but she said since I've only had the phone for less than 90 days that Apple had a one time courtesy to customer policy to swap my cracked screen Iphone 4 for a brand new one. Both Sandy and I where overwhelmed with this gesture. Thank you Apple!!!!


We returned to CW and checked in with the service manager. They will install a new Wineguard Trav'ler Slimline automatic antenna and DTV receiver starting at 8am in the morning. They said the job should take less than four hours and if all goes well we'll probably head out for Canton tomorrow afternoon. After we first check the system out to make sure we understand how to operate it and all is in working order.

Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

That Time Of The Year Again

Time has rolled around again where we needed to get the motorhome state inspected and tags. You already know about the big jump in our registration went from $197 to $352. As I explained in that post we contacted the State Representative and here is their reply.

Ms. Roffe,
These are our findings:
Our Vehicle, Title and Registration Division looked into your file and found that you did pay $197.10 last year. Your motor home with a gross vehicle weight of 26,800 pounds. Previously, for a motor home in the weight category between 26,000 lbs and 40,000 lbs, the registration fee was in the range of $182 to $421.
During the 81st Legislative Session, the Legislature passed HB 2553 in order to simplify the registration fees on motor vehicles. The Legislature simplified more than 1,700 different weight groups down to 9 weight groups, resulting in some registration fees increasing and some decreasing.
Under HB 2553 which goes into effect September 1st for registrations expiring at the end of August 2011, there is a single registration fee of $340, in addition to other applicable and local county fees for vehicles in this weight category.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further assistance.

So, there we have it in a nutshell.

In regards to the State Inspection I normally pre-check everything before going to the garage where they will inspect motorhomes. You know all the lights, horn, wiper blades, turn signals, insurance card to mention a few.

During my walk around I noticed two if the red clearance lights on the back of the coach were not working. Up top I go to check them out and I find one to have a burned out lamp while the other had a bad socket. Off to the local parts store to see if by any luck they would have a replacement socket. Would you believe they had a GM socket that was a perfect fit.

In the process of trying to push the new socket in it's mounting frame I accidentally pushed to hard and the 12v wiring disappears in the hole. Now what do we do to recover the two wires . I know I will get a heavy wire put a hook on one in and go fishing. Fishing I did for about fifteen minutes and naturally came up with nothing.

Sandy said let me try….. I replied you probably won't find it either and no telling where it is. Up the ladder she goes and I be danged in less than five minutes she pulled the wires through the hole. I asked her how did you do that??? She replied…. very simple I just ran the wire horizontally to the area where the middle clearance light was and there they where????? Okay I admit that women can do some things better than men and in this case I was over whelmed. The main reason I didn't catch the wires is the thought of fishing toward the middle light never entered my mind. Yes, positive thinking and patience she has where my thoughts were not positive and patience....... what is that????

After re-wiring the new socket and buttoning up with the lens cover our next step was go get the coach inspected. The  next morning we finally got off about 8:30am. We would have gotten off sooner but the HWH jacks at first didn't want to store properly as the jack warning light would not go off. I guess the home setting for sixty days, they just forgot what they needed to do. After running them through a second cycle they stored okay.

At the garage a young mechanic greeted us and started the inspection process. Oh no.......the right front turn signal did not work and he said we must have a short somewhere down the line. Now he can not pass the coach because of the light not working. I explained to him I did my walk around the day before and all seemed to be in good working order. What would cause this to all of a sudden jump up and bite me. So, we headed back to base with me scratching my head wondering where to start. I told Sandy the first thing I was going to do was check the bulb. Yep, it was burned out and after replacing it we go back to the garage and it passed with flying colors. So now we are good to go for another year.

On our way back to base we stopped at the propane place to fill up our propane tank. In talking with the manager who is an avid horseman was telling us that hay for his horses in this area was going for $100 a roll. He said it was cheaper to drive to Mississippi to buy hay and haul it back to Texas. This drought is certainly hurting all of us.

We leave for Fort Worth Friday to have Camping World install the Trav'ler antenna Saturday morning. Also I have an appointment with the Apple Store that Friday afternoon to see what we can do about fixing the cracked screen on my IPhone 4. After they finish the installation of the antenna, receiver and remote control we head back to Canton for First Monday the next weekend.

Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Everyone Is Not On The Same Page

This past week we've been dealing with some issues with our outdated KVH satellite system, Direct TV and numerous techs on the phone. It seems we never get the same answer to a question about trouble shooting our existing system, replacement equipment recommendations or just basic answers to basic questions. I don't believe some of the Direct TV people are working on the same page as you just would not believe the different answers we received on the same question when talking to different techs.

The circus started this past Tuesday when I noticed we were not getting certain TV programs like ESPN, any West Coast channel and certain movie channels. We did some preliminary checking of our system like signal strength from our roof mount antenna and everything appeared to be in working order. We called our cable company about our problem and after following some of their recommendations we lost our signal strength totally and could not recover it.

Sandy being the patient one went through the steps, I lost count of the number of times trying to reestablish the signal. First of all our KVH system is quite old and we learned the last time we had it worked on that there were no more system updates and if something happened again we probably should consider replacing it with a more up to date system. At that time we were given a ball park figure of $3000 to $3500. Ouch!!!!

Now we thinking that time has arrived. But, we wanted more opinions as to what out problem might be. So, we called the RV dealer where we had it worked on before and the tech who had worked on the system gave us some steps to try to restore our TV channels. None at first didn't work all we could get on our screen was "Searching for satellite signal”. We could never get the system to initialize. While talking about 15 minutes had gone by we all of a sudden got a signal. Yea!!!  So we hung up and sure enough we had all of our TV channels. We thanked the tech and hung up.

That evening I switched to the Hallmark channel to watch Frasier. Yep you got it…… no signal. We went through the steps again and this time we lost everything again and as of this writing we still don't have a signal. The RV tech said its probably our receiver that’s gone bad. He said he could check it out for $300 minimum. No thanks we are not putting anymore money in this old system. So if it is the receiver that's finally bit the dust what do we want to replace it with another KVH?  Sandy and I both have been wanting to upgrade our system to HD television and perhaps throw in a DVR receiver.

We contacted the tech at The RV dealer and he suggested we consider another KVH. So we asked him to work us up a quote and he said somewhere around $3000. We also understood that the system would be a mid range KVH travel in motion with capability to receive HD TV and all the trimmings that went that kind of system. So, an in depth research program got underway to get all the pros and cons we could gather from the manufacture, satellite provider and reading several RV forms.

This was enough to really boggle your mind and forced us to seek more answers to our questions and perhaps another system all together. We learned that any roof mounted dome that was plastic would not support Direct TV HD channels. I might add we did get answers contrary to this from Direct TV as well as some techs we talked to.  We also learned from the RV dealer the system we were quoted is not a mid range system but just the bear basic. For $3000 I don’t think so. Back to square one we go.

I happened to remember my good friend Mark Hall telling me sometime back he wasn't real pleased with his Kingdome ( it didn't get HD Direct TV). He had heard some good reports on the Wineguard Trav'ler and was considering changing his system out to the Trav'ler. Yes, back to the drawing board we go and again we get all kinds of different feed back from the RV dealer tech, Direct TV and reviews on the Internet. The RV Tech said he thought its weight (53#) would be a maintenance problem.

I finally told Sandy that we can ride this horse right into the ground and we needed to move on and make some kind of decision. While thumbing through the recent Camping Word catalog I noticed they had the Wineguard Trav'ler Slimline on sale and most importantly their labor to install was $156 instead of $326. They will however charge $85 to remove the old KVH system. So we have an appointment for August 27th in Ft Worth.

Our last experience, we hope, was the mix information we got from Direct TV on the right receiver for the Trav'ler. That's another story in it's self and I have bored you enough. We will update you on the Camping World install next Saturday.

Until the next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mowed Our New Grass Twice Now


The four and one half pallets of grass we've laid down is really coming along. In fact I mowed the yard for the second time this past Tuesday with my BIL’s riding lawnmower. Due to our lack of being able to get rain in this area we've been using well water from BIL James place next door. It is deep and spring fed. We run three 100ft 5/8” water hoses to the edge of the grass and from there we use two 50ft water hoses with sprinkler heads. As you can see from the photos it certainly keeping our grass good and green. (click on photos to enlarge)










The well water has a lot of iron ore in it and the water is so cold. In fact the water hoses actually sweats while watering. I'm not sure if the iron ore is the reason the grass is so green and growing so fast but it certainly hasn't harmed it.


We also have recently laid down several rows of the Centipede grass squares around the FHU area. As you can see it's coming along just fine. Next spring we will expand this area with more grass squares. We are hoping to do some flower bed work soon. Right now its just to hot to do anything other than maybe sit on the patio and watch the grass grow.

I plan to check with one of the local hardware stores for a stick of the 4-3/4” square x 98” fiberglass fence tubing for placing the hook ups inside it for a little cleaner appearance. At least the sewer hose and maybe the water hose.

Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Day Of Ouches

Yesterday was just one of those days you wish had never came around. But, if it hadn't we wouldn't be here.....right!
Yes, a day of Ouches! First ouch was dropping my IPhone 4 on the concrete patio and cracking the lens. Stupid me put it in the top pocket of my t-shirt and when bending over to pick up my reading glasses. Yep, you know what happened next. I'm hoping Apple will be able to replace it.


Day before yesterday Sandy's brother showed up with two more pallets of grass. We learned that the owner of the grass place had called James and said he really needed to get rid of some grass before it died. He knocked off $75 per pallet and that's the reason we have two more pallets of grass to put down. So, this is where ouch number two occurred.

What we do is use the BadBoy to haul about 15-20 squares of grass to where we want to put it down. Well on one of the trips as I was backing the BadBoy to load some more grass I heard this awful sound of glass breaking and a big crunch. I then heard Sandy screaming to the top of her lungs "Watch it"!!!!! Naturally that was a little late as when I turned to look to see what had happened I saw the Jeep.


My what have I done. You got it I just backed the BadBoy into the left rear quarter panel breaking the rear left lens and dented in the piece just below the lens. Fortunately I was able to pull out the dent even though it left a scratch in the paint which I might be able to buff out. As to the lens it was busted out at the very bottom. You can hardly see it. I will address this at a later date. I would say being nearly blind in my right eye is my excuse for this ouch which I won't's purely being stupid and not paying attention do what I'm doing.

Ouch number three was when setting on the patio in front of the fan trying to cool off. I had left one of the cargo bays open where I had took out the fan. Now this ouch was a physical one as I hit the right side of my head on the corner of the open door. Lesson learned.... when you are through always close the bay door. What is that Forrest Gump saying......"Stupid is as stupid does". So my friends out there in blog land have you had any ouch days????

While going into Longview this morning for Sandy's doctor follow-up, we drove pass the grass place and saw he has about three more pallets of grass left. Oh, how we pray that he doesn't call brother James and make him another offer he wont be able to refuse. It's not that we are not appreciative of what he has done for us, I just don't think our bodies can take anymore abuse particularly in this heat. Our high yesterday was 111F. This evening its 109F.

Sandy's follow-up visit with her doctor went well. He did remove one of the internal snitchers that had made it to the surface of her stomach. He said she could resume normal activities which she has been doing already anyway. Tomorrow we venture over to VA Shreveport where I have a pre-surgery clinic visit with the surgeon that will do surgery on me sometime in the very near future.

Until next time. . . .MtnAire Travlers.