Retirement Cards

We love to stay in touch with the people that we meet on the road. What do we use? Retirement cards and our website.

We had run out of our first set of retirement cards. We had ordered them from MOO in July of 2018.

We are now on our second run of retirement cards. They came in yesterday.

This was release one:

And our newest release:

We decided that we should include a picture of ourselves on the card. And, perhaps in a future release, a picture of ourselves with Tabby, our golden retriever.

The first card featured a photo of our coach at Petoskey Motorcoach Resort which is now operating as Petoskey RV Resort.

The new card features a photo of our coach at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. We do miss that place! The photo of us is the same one that we use on our website. This was a photo taken at a family wedding in Venice, Florida in 2015.

The people we hope to stay connected with will usually receive a card from us and, if appropriate, we send them an invitation to join the mailing list on our website. That requires an email address. And, sadly, the folks that agree to joining our mailing list receive a daily email from yours truly.

Except on weekends. Thank heavens for small mercies.

We get our retirement cards from MOO. Great service and quality.

Our website runs WordPress self-hosted at Siteground. They run over 2 million domains and they do an awesome job for us.

A few ways that have allowed us to stay in touch with our friends and family as we travel.

Replacing the Winegard Trav’ler SK-1000 Dish

The time had come. Or rather, this box had come. And what was inside this rather imposing box?

A replacement motor turret for our Winegard Trav’ler SK-1000 Satellite Dish. I needed one other critical piece of equipment however. And that was the Xtend + Climb 785P ladder. It arrived just in time for me to replace our satellite TV system yesterday.

The first problem was how to get the motor turret up to the roof. I had two people help me remove the unit back in Florida.

We don’t know many people yet at Desert Shores and that left us with two choices: hire someone to reinstall the unit or do it ourselves.

Being a self-reliant type of guy, the DIY route won. With help from Lorraine of course.

I needed to get the unit up the ladder and I needed someone at the top of the coach to help me swing it over the roofline. Lorraine was willing to climb up to the roof and give me a hand.

I moved everything else up to the roof first: tools, the dish and parabolic arm, bolts and other assorted items.

I lifted the roughly 40 pound motor turret with one arm and climbed up the ladder, gently hoisting it over the top to Lorraine where she placed it on some pads.

Winegard provided no documentation on how to replace the unit. I used the original documentation that outlined the process to remove the dish and I worked through that process in reverse.

And that was fine until I got to the part that required assembly of the parabolic arm and dish.

The arm on top of the turret was in the stowed position, face down. Obviously not possible to reconnect the parabolic arm and dish. What to do?

Nothing in the limited documentation. Nothing on the web.

We called Winegard technical support for some help.

They suggested that I go down to the interface box in our coach and reconnect the power. Then initiate the process to connect the antenna. And, once the pivot arm had opened up, press “Power” and “Select” on the interface box. That will stop the process and allow the parabolic arm and dish to be reassembled to the unit.

It worked. I am a profoundly happy RV geek.

To finish the reassembly work was straightforward. A few bolts and a bit of elbow grease.

I went back down into the coach to test the new system and everything seemed to work fine although we are not able to lock on to the Dish satellites at 110, 119 and 129 degrees. Those satellites are only visible on the other side of the country and not here in California. I might be able to lock on to the satellite at 61.5 degrees using the manual tuning mode but I haven’t tried it yet. By the time we got everything done, it was getting late in the day. It was time to stow the antenna and tidy up.

Updated: I initialized the Winegard interface this morning and it did find and lock on to the Dish Satellites at 110, 119 and 129 degrees. We now have our satellite service fully restored.

If you ever have to do this replacement, make sure that you take pictures of the disassembly work.

This one in particular.

We marked the housing (“1”, “2”, “3”) and the cable ends when the dish was removed. Good thing I took pictures. Winegard replaced the unit so there were no markings on the new housing. But, with this photo, I could quickly reconnect the satellite cables without any issue. Best to mark all of your cables so that when the time comes to reconnect them, it is very clear which one goes where.

Here is a short video showing the replacement.

Keeping The Machine Clean

Keeping the coach clean is a big job. I see many RV owners that outsource the cleaning of their coach to a mobile detailing service. For a few hundred dollars, a couple of people will spray down the coach, scrub off the dust and dirt, rinse everything off and finish the job after an hour or so.

I prefer to detail our coach myself. I find it very rewarding when the coach looks its best. Yes, it can take a lot of time and effort. And yes, it can be frustrating because, once detailed, it doesn’t take much to start all over again from square one. Like our recent drive from Florida to California.

2,500 miles in all sorts of road conditions will definitely get the coach dirty.

I do not like a dirty coach.

Once we arrived to our site at Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort, I spent about six hours over two days washing the coach. Not detailing it mind you. Just getting it back to being clean.

Yesterday, I began the process of detailing the coach. I like to start with the tires and the wheels. Done well, detailed tires and wheels can really set off the beauty of a coach and it is not hard to do.

First, the equipment and the product.

I am a big fan of McKee’s 37 products and there are two that I use that do an amazing job on tires and wheels: McKee’s 37 Tire Gel and McKee’s 37 Fast Metal Polish. Highly recommended. You can learn more about McKee’s 37 products for RVs here.

Other helpful products include a degreaser, tire gel applicator pad, rubber gloves, microfibre towels and a hose and bucket.

The process is straightforward.

I clean my wheels and tires using a good quality automotive soap. I then work on one tire at a time. I start by degreasing the tire. The degreaser gets rid of the browning and other contaminants on the surface of the tire. I spray a liberal amount of degreaser on the tire, agitate the surface aggressively and rinse thoroughly. I then dry the tire and the wheel and I am now ready for the polish and tire dressing.

Using McKee’s 37 Fast Metal Polish, I apply a small amount of product to the rough side of a microfibre cloth and firmly rub the product against the surface of the metal. I continue applying the product until the entire wheel has been polished. I then use a second cloth to buff out the polish.

The tire requires less effort. I apply a generous amount of McKee’s 37 Tire Gel to the applicator and stroke the product firmly and I ensure an even amount of product goes on the surface. Depending on how much gloss I am wanting on the tire, I may apply a second coat.

And that is all there is to it. A beautiful set of wheels. Here is a video I made that walks you through the process.

Border Crossing

It seems like it was so long ago that we crossed the border into the United States.

Three months. Roughly.

I still remember that border crossing. It was such a tough drive.

We had been stranded at the dealer for six weeks. Then we headed down to Sherkston Shores near the Peace Bridge border crossing but, unfortunately, we had to return to the dealer, nearly four hours away, before starting our drive down.

The dealer took longer than expected to make the final repairs to the front awning of our coach and we left much later than planned on November 1st. Closer to 5:00pm.

At that time of year, Canada gets dark early. By the time we left the dealership, the rain had become very intense. Traffic through the Greater Toronto Area was a mess.

Driving in the dark, in the rain, to cross the border, was not the best move.

And I did not take into account that there would be so much construction on the way to our first stop in Erie, Pennsylvania.

We made it safely to Erie after an exhausting drive.

Note to self: do not drive large motorcoaches at night, in the rain unless absolutely necessary.

Here is the video from that fateful evening:

McKee’s 37

I love detailing my coach. And I love great products that help make detailing the coach a joy.

I came across McKee’s 37 products back when I first ordered my motorcoach from Newmar. I was looking for RV specific products and eventually wound up on the McKee’s 37 RV website. What impressed me was that the founder, Bob McKee, is an avid recreational boater and a Newmar owner:

I’m blessed. Plain and simple. Not only am I fortunate enough to call the sunshine state home, I’m the proud owner of a Newmar motor coach and a 21 foot Cobia center console. With my 30 plus years in the surface care enhancement industry, it was only natural to develop a product line tailored specifically for the unique cleaning requirements of boats and RVs.

I was surprised to discover that my latest undertaking would be so much work, and I was also surprised at just how much fun I would have developing the entire line, from the high-sudsing Carnauba Wash & Wax to the hugely capable All Purpose Surface Cleaner. I thought it would be a walk in the park, because there are a lot of marine and RV products on the market. It was my goal, or mission as my senior chemist likes to call it, to make my line of marine and RV products superior to anything else available. What my team and I developed is so good I decided to put my name on it. Enter McKee’s 37 Marine & RV.

I’ve been using McKee’s 37 products on the coach since we got it three years ago. McKee’s 37 products are an integral part of my detailing toolkit.

I have a few new products from McKee’s 37 Marine and RV line — new to me — and I have been trying them out on the coach. I’ll have a few posts about my experience with these products but today I wanted to highlight one of them that I used last week: McKee’s 37 Marine & RV Final Step Detail Wax.

I am so impressed with this product!

I like to use a detailing wax in between coach washes. It can take a few hours on and off the ladder to apply a detailing wax and buff it out. There is no getting around the fact that a diesel pusher motorcoach has a very large surface area.

With Final Step, the experience can be highly rewarding when you see what this product can do to the finish of your coach.

Here is a shot of the finished front passenger slideout. The middle section is a reflection off the black paint colour of the coach. Incredible!

Another dramatic reflection that shows off the mirror finish.

And another example of the stunning result from using this product.

My coach is three years old and I have taken very good care of the finish which helps a product like McKee’s 37 Final Step to produce such an amazing result. I literally spent an hour or so after I had detailed one side of the coach just admiring the shine.

What an awesome product.

Final Step is very easy to use. The finish should be relatively clean and recently waxed. A detailing wax is not a substitute for washing nor is it a substitute for a full wax. For light cleaning, you can apply a liberal amount of Final Step to the surface with a microfibre cloth and wipe it off without bearing down hard on the paint. Then use a second microfibre cloth to buff out the detailing product and bring out the gloss. That is really all there is to using this product.

Highly recommended to bring out the best of your coach in between washes.

I’ve ordered McKee’s 37 products from Autogeek and Amazon. You can also find them on McKeesRV.com and McKees37.com