New Batteries

We have been having problems with our batteries for a little while now. During my 3 day RV inspectors training, I could not start the generator due to the batteries. So I took some time to really look at them and noticed that the sides were bulging out and I had several dry cells. I topped off the cells with distilled water and put them into the charge mode. No luck, they were dead.

So I started to do some research. Checking online and with folks on Facebook, I decided that we should probably replace them. I was looking at removing the 4 – 6 volt batteries and installing a couple Deep Cycle 12 volts. We don’t dry camp at all and only need the batteries to start the generator and run some of the 12 volt systems in the rig while driving.

During one of our trips, we stopped into Advance Auto to do some price checking. The manager at the store waited on us. I told her what I was looking to do and she asked if we could spend a little extra time to save $50 a battery. Of course for $50 I can spend a few minutes. Then she told us of a special code she had that if you spent more than $100, you could get $50 off. The problem was that the 12 volt batteries were prices so that we could only get $50 off the two of them, plus I would have to re-wire the battery box. But the 6 volt batteries were $120 a piece and if I ordered 4 one at a time, I could save $200 on the batteries and NOT have to re-wire the box. We decided to stay with the 6 volt batteries.

So we spent some time entering our orders online, using the discount code and waiting for the order to be processed. Then they brought out the four batteries. When did batteries get so heavy!

Anyway, they are now installed and I can start the generator without any problems. I do have to take some time to check out the battery watering system as the original batteries had some dry cells and others were over full. But that will wait for warmer weather. It is on my list of things to do.

Garth is in the house…

OK, well not in our house but we did go see him.   Daisy is a big fan of Garth Brooks.  She has seen several of his concerts and was really disappointed when he semi-retired to raise his kids.  So naturally when he announced that he was doing concerts again around the country she was kind of excited.

We are on the road enjoying our retirement and Garth wasn’t far from Daisy’s mind.  Now being in an RV means that we follow the warmer weather.  That being said in November we should be close to Florida and enjoying the sunshine state.  Enter Garth.  He decided to have a concert in Greensboro, NC, several hundred miles away.  She was kind of disappointed, so close yet so far.  But a good thing about having a home on wheels is that it moves.  So we spent some time on the phone and managed to purchase two tickets for his show.

Thanks to RV Trip Wizard we found a campground near by and changed our plans.  We arrived at Forest Lake and set up camp waiting for Garth’s concert.  Friday was the day!

We left for the concert around 3 PM.  Had dinner at a mall near by and around 5 PM made our way to the concert.  GPS’s have no idea about parking lots and the police don’t do a very good job of directing folks from outside of the area.  Seems everyone assumes you know where you are going.  We drove all the way around the concert hall and ended up going in the entrance we had passed not knowing where we were going.  All worked out fine.  However, getting great parking near the door is NOT a benefit.  Because after the concert you are the LAST to leave.  But Daisy enjoyed herself.  She got two new t-shirts which will be well worn by Christmas, maybe even Thanksgiving 🙂

Our seats were pretty good.  Row BB section 110.  No tall people in front of us and close to the floor.  Again having great seats is not necessarily good as you are the last people to get out as well.  Can you tell I am not much of a Garth fan 😉  Oh did I mention that I have claustrophobia and don’t handle cattle marches with 10,000 people pushing and shoving?

Now to be fair Garth puts on a great show. He is a few years older now and the energy level isn’t as high, but he is still a great performer.  I do like his older music, Country Roads was a good song, OH WAIT, that was John Denver.  Ok, well there are a couple of his songs I like.  The main thing was Daisy enjoyed herself.  Happy Birthday Hon.

 

Forest River, NC

Well we finally left Dickens RV.  I am now fully Certified as an RV Inspector.  We left Dickens on Monday and drove over to the Greensboro, NC area about 2 hours away.

Forest River is actually outside of Greensboro, NC off of Route 64 near Mocksville, NC.  Forest River is a Thousand Trails park, so we are staying basically free.

I did some math and by February our Encore Connection membership will be paid for based on the number of days we have camped so far at a rate of $40 a night.

This park is pretty nice.  Good size lots, open spaces with plenty of Southern sky (satellite TV).  Although I haven’t found any over the air TV.  Will work on that tomorrow.  Which brings me to my next point.  We are getting new batteries for the coach.  Got a great deal on 4 6 volt GC2 batteries.  Seems Advance Auto has a sale when you order online with a special code .  We had to do it four times, but we got each battery for only $76 each.  Tomorrow we have someone coming over to remove and replace our batteries.  After that we should be good to go for boondocking in 2017.

Not much activity around here.  There is Bingo on Friday nights.  But that is concert night, so Daisy had to choose.  Bingo lost.  Weather got real cold last night.  Down to 17 degrees.  Lost water, I forgot to turn on the electric belly heater.  But no problems, sun came up and we have water again, with no leaks.

 

Making Money on the Road, Part 3

If you follow us on Facebook or here, you know that I have been in training to become a Certified RV Inspector, a house inspector for RV.  When we saw this opportunity both Daisy and I saw this as a positive thing for a few reasons.  First, it would teach me about the RV that we call home.  It is essential that full time RV be a little bit more self sufficient when it comes to the systems within the RV.  Case in point was the $2800 fuse issue we had in July.  Second was as an income opportunity helping people with a pre-purchase of an RV by going over it in detail to identify issues before the sale.  The third thing was to make me more employable to campground as a troubleshooter for their customers.

This is not a cheap or quick way to make money.  There is training, business set up , insurance, equipment, tools and uniforms to purchase.  If you are starting at having nothing, I figured the cost would be around $6000.  However, the income opportunity more than makes up for the expenses over the long haul.

Starting on this path begins with a 5 day class on RV basis, Inspection process and business start up seminars.  From there you have to take a couple of exams on Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.  Once you pass those you become a Certified RV Inspector.  The company that teaches these courses also is hiring as a sub contractor inspectors around the country.  To work with them you will need to complete a 3 days class regarding the software they use, the inspection process they want followed and perform two complete inspections, one on a towable and one on a Class RV.  This course is taught around country.

Once you complete the training, you have to perform two inspections.  One on a motorized vehicle and one on the towable (fifth wheel or travel trailer).  These are done free of charge and the supplies are provided for you.  When you are done, the report is reviewed with you by one of the trainers.  You are now Certified.

Once you have the training out of the way, the business aspect should be started.  This includes starting an LLC in your state of residence.  You will also need a Federal ID number, 1 million dollar General Liability Policy, a banking account, business cards, website etc.  If you will be working with RV Inspection Connection as a sub contractor, you will also need to sign their agreements.

As a sub contractor you receive your assignments from RVIC and are paid a percentage of the amount charged to the customer.  The benefit of working this way is you don’t have to do the sales, collecting, billing, credit cards, advertising etc.  You set your schedule and work when and where you want.

This is still a growing industry so some areas are slow to build and there are not enough inspectors available in all areas.  Think of this as a ground floor opportunity.  There is a good foundation and some very good people behind it.

For more information please visit:

RVIA

Click here to learn more about the inspection process

 

Making Money on the Road, Part 2

The second opportunity we came across was another product that we found really makes our lives easier on the road, and that is Dri Wash and Guard.  We found that many campgrounds do not allow you to wash and wax your rig while staying there.  We also found that the insects of America like, no LOVE, to commit suicide on the front of the RV.  So washing it is required for safety if nothing else.

While we were at Hershey Outdoor World, we met a couple that had Dri Wash and Guard window sticker on their car.  We asked them about it and she came over and did a quick 5 minute demonstration on one of the dirtiest parts of our RV.  Within a minute we have a clean 2 sq ft area with black streaks, road grim etc gone and a nice smooth finish in its place.  Daisy and I were amazed at how easy it was.  Then Daisy asked if they had anything for carpets and furniture.  Sure enough they did.  Another 5 minute demonstration and Daisy was sold.  We purchased several different products that day.

Then after talking about it we decided that this to was something that we liked and saw an income opportunity in.  After all how often do you find something that works well, is designed for our lifestyle and is in demand by RVers, so we decided to become distributors as well.  Daisy can do the demos and I can handle any recruiting.

The cost to start up as a distributor was confusing.  It is somewhere between $45 and $300.  Basically, the $300 gets you started with some products for demonstrations and to learn with.  Since we had purchased a few already, we started with the $45.  You can always upgrade later from what we had heard.

http://www.dwginternational.com/WebSite/DWG.shtml  our Dealer number is 293305.  You will need that to order any product or to sign up as a dealer.  This is one of the ways the company protects it dealers.

Making money on the road… how we are doing it

There are lots of conversations, groups and pages on Facebook where people ask something like “how do you earn a living on the road?’.  So I thought I would post what we are doing.

First I am retired military and on early Social Security.  We have some money in IRAs and the bank, so ideally, we don’t need extra money.  That is until you have transportation issues.  Those of you that have followed our posts know about the $2800 fuse issue with the RV and the recent $800 oil leak.  We also have a $2200 repair coming up in GA for hydraulic levelers.  So having an extra income sometimes is nice.

When we started looking at what can we do on the road, we wanted something that did not require a lot of money to get started, something that was easy to do and didn’t require a lot of time. Finally, something that was related to the way we live would be nice.

We have four different ideas that we are currently working on.  First was AMSOIL.  AMSOIL is a USA Synthetic motor oil company, although they do offer more than that.  I like it because its primary benefit is it saves me time and money as a user.  For the car I now change oil once every 25,000 miles or once a year.  Since I have always used synthetic oil at Jiffy Lube or another quick lube place, that once a year oil change saves me about $180 a year and several hours of waiting around.  I am also seeing about a mile per gallon increase in fuel mileage, which saves me about $20 more per year.  For the RV, I may never need to change oil again.  Diesel engines oil changes are as required.  Normally the owners would perform an oil analysis when it is time to change the filter.  The analysis will determine if the oil needs to be changed or not.  Most times it is only the filter that will be changed and a quart of oil added.  Many over the road truckers using AMSOIL will get a million miles or more without a full oil change.  When you look at 16-20 quarts of oil that is a lot of savings.

From a business or income stand point, it is fairly easy to show an RV owner that using AMSOIL will save them time and money.  Since all sales are via the web, I have no stock to carry around.  AMSOIL also has warehouses around the country, so in many cases I can order it online and drive by the closest warehouse and pick it up.

If you want to check out the AMSOIL Products please visit:

AMSOIL Products

If you want to look at being a distributor ($30 a year) please visit:

AMSOIL Business Opportunity

 

Tomorrow I will tell you about our second little side business.

Dickens RV Park, Moncure, NC

We are in NC to visit the grand daughter and our first great grand child. The campground is Dickens RV in Moncure, NC. Talk about in the boon docks. My Verizon signal is 1 bar at 1X.
Now, the people at the campground are really nice, the facilities are fairly new. What facilities they have. There is one building which houses the laundromat, bath house, game room. That is it, no store, no office. This used to be a field that they have made into a campground. Pretty level sites, 50 amp service, all full hookup. Passport America rate is $20 a night. Basically from what I have heard it is mainly here for the electric plant and other businesses near by. A truly no frills campground. They do offer free WIFI. No fire-pits, no tables, no grills.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is a nice place. Quite, clean and very economical. But definitely not your normal commercial campground. Would I stay here again? Yes. It serves it purpose. I have a good Satellite signal, their WIFI is OK, it is clean and appears to be safe and it is cheap.

RV Inspector Training and Certification

When we were at PA Dutch Country, I stumbled across an advertisement for training that was being offered at the campground to become a Certified RV Inspector.  Think of this as a Home Inspection but for RV.

Daisy and I looked over the information and talked to Terry Cooper, the instructor as well as Steve Anderson, he runs the Workamper News organization.  After some thought I decided to sign up for the training.  It was 5 days of RV systems, testing and general knowledge.  After passing the exam on that Friday, I became a Certified RV Inspector.

The training requirements didn’t stop there.  But before I continue, I want to explain why we spent the money for this training and the upcoming opportunity.

Although we have both lived in RV for over 12 years and I have a background as an automotive mechanic, I wasn’t comfortable with the RV systems and being full time traveling around the country, this seemed like a great way to gain the understanding required to maintain the RV.  In addition, the inspection business sounded interesting and maybe a way for us to supplement our income from time to time.

The second part of the training required to perform inspections was to pass the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice Exams.  I got those done this week.  Now I could have stopped there and been Certified to do inspections.  But that would mean finding my own business.  Anyone that knows me, knows I am not a sales person.  One of the things we found out during our training was that Terry and Steve not only are teaching people how to be inspectors, but they are hiring them as sub contractors to perform inspection through a company called Inspection Connections.  To be a subcontractor however, you needed to complete a third course, which I am happy to say will be this next week for me.  Once that is done, I will be able to perform inspections around the country for Inspection Connections.

I am already putting the information I have learned to good use.  On Facebook at on RV Inspection Service I am writing Tips of the Day providing tips of what to inspect before buying a RV.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Williamsburg Outdoor World Review

We started our second leg our our journey by heading to Williamsburg, VA from Hershey, PA.  This is another one of our membership parks with our Encore Connections Membership.

Williamsburg Outdoor World is north of Williamsburg proper just off the I 64 exit at Norge, VA,  It is a nice park in rolling wooded hills.  You can pretty much forget Satellite coverage, all though there were some lucky people, most of the sites will not allow much coverage.  They do have new WIFI and cable for most of the park.  These are extra of course.  Verizon worked well both for cell and WIFI coverage.

Activities were good even this late in the season.  We attended two Chili dinners and a campfire sponsored by the park.  They do have an indoor pool, store, adult area and game room.  Staff was friendly and helpful.

All in all this is a nice park.  I would camp here again.

If you are in the area I would like to recommend two restaurants.  First is Capt George Buffet.  This is a seafood buffet and a little pricy at $36 a person.  But if you go on Sunday from noon till 4PM you can eat for only $27 per person.  It is well worth the price.  The second restaurant is a little bit of a road trip South on I64 to Hampton Roads ext 263 then head East for about 2.8 miles.  On the right hand side you will find Tappanyuki a Japanese Buffet.  At $9.95 a person, you won’t have a problem with leaving stuffed.  Sushi was very good and many different options to choose from.  They also have a Hibachi Grill and 8 other tables of food.  This is a must visit place if you like Japanese food.

Well we have left Williamsburg and arrived at Fuquay Varina, NC to visit our oldest grand daughter and our first great grand son.  We are parked at Dickens RV Park.  Will write up about this unique park over the weekend.

Luck of the Irish, I have none

Coming back from Virginia Beach, we had a little problem.  Driving home on I-64 about 8 PM or so and the car’s Check Engine light comes on.  Knowing that this happens every now and then and it is not always fatal, I pulled over the side of the road as quickly as possible.  As I neared the shoulder of the road, the other lights on the dash come on.  First the oil light, then the Alternator, then the rest of the dash lights and the engine dies.  Luckily we have a stick shift, so put it in neutral and coasted the rest of the way.

At first I thought that it was a belt or something, but all of them looked good.  It would start, but immediately die unless I kept my foot on the gas.  This was actually good news as it wasn’t anything major with the engine that I could see.  So I called my son-in-law (our mechanic) for advice.  As all good mechanics, he could tell me anything without the computer diagnostic.  So I called Good Sams for a tow.

Dropped the car off at Firestone and took a cab back to the campground.  Cabs are expensive!  $65 one way from Newport News to Norge, VA about 26 miles or so.  Anyway, Firestone calls me on Friday morning and  says that the valve cover gasket has been leaking for a while and filled up all the spark plug cavities soaking the plugs and coils.  Total bill $830.  Retirement is getting expensive.

The good news is this should stop the oil use we have been having for the last few months.