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White Knuckle Drive Over Snowy Monarch Pass in our RV
We drove over 11,000+ foot Monarch Pass in Colorado during a snowstorm. Towing a car up a 6% grade in snowy conditions creates some challenges, but the accidents we saw mostly occurred on the way down!
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Navajo Lake State Park
Highlights from our visit to Najavo Lake State Park in New Mexico and fly fishing on the San Juan river. Music is The Bluest Star by The 126ers. www.jumpingoffthecliff.com
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AT&T Versus Verizon Unlimited Data Plans
I have accounts with both AT&T and Verizon with their new Unlimited Data plans. While Verizon has a little better coverage in some areas out West, AT&T is kicking their butt in speeds once you go over the "Throttling" limits. Basically, AT&T almost never throttles and Verizon almost always throttles. Since first doing this test, I switched to the AT&T hotspot and I still haven't been throttled under AT&T.
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Lithium RV Batteries & Solar
We came back to Madison and hung out in the county campgrounds here for most of the Summer. We were camp hosts for about a month at Mendota County Park. It gave me time to install four 200 ah Lithium Ion Batteries(Lithium Iron Phosphate) and solar panels on the RV. Here's a look at some of what went on.
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Blanchardville, Wisconsin & Our RV Philosophy
We find ourselves drawn to small towns off the beaten path and when we are east of the Mississippi and public lands are scarce, some of the small towns provide a fantastic experience.
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Magnolia Beach Ride Along To The Beach, Free RV Camping
I was concerned about what it would be like to drive a big RV on Magnolia Beach in Magnolia Beach TX. It turns out it was a piece of cake. Ride along as I start the video as we pull into town and end it as we get our spot. It was a great place to rest up for a few days.
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RV Windshield Replacement
I always wondered how they removed and replaced RV windshields. Now I know, the key is a piece of rubber that expands the gasket and locks it in place. Thanks to Good Sam's RV insurance, the broken windshield cost was limited to our $500 deductible. The whole process took about an hour and was done on site at Token Creek Campground in DeForest, WI. www.jumpingoffthecliff.com www.facebook.com/jumpingoffthecliff
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Bought an RV
We bought an RV, but Terri wasn't as excited as I was, at least initially. After a trip to Mexico for new paint, all is good and we're off and rolling.
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Imperial Dam LTVA & new Drone
I ended up with a new drone after making the mistake of going in to Best Buy to get a camera lense. It is the DJI Spark. I am amazed at this technology for a pretty low price, by drone standards anyway. We are at the Imperial Dam LTVA in California just outside of Yuma. The weather has been fantastic and the hummingbirds have been stopping by regularly.
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Nine Mile Canyon, RVing in Utah
After visiting Moab and the Arches NP we found a much slower paced place to stay and another equally peaceful place to visit. We stayed at Huntington State Park near Huntington, UT, just south of Price. North East of Price is a canyon called Nine Mile Canyon. It's name isn't actually related to its length, it probably came from a railroad surveyor who was sectioning a map and it happened to be on the nine mile section. It's a neat drive with plenty to look at. Watch out for falling rocks! We saw one that had fallen very recently. The pictographs go back almost 2000 years. Amazing. Check out our blog too, jumpingoffthecliff.com.
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Truth or Consequences NM
T or C, as it is called locally, is a pretty unique place. From Hot Springs to giant ranches owned by Ted Turner, it is an interesting place. We stayed at Elephant Butte State Park. One of the few that has free WiFi that is actually usable! The history of the area and how T or C became T or C, is pretty interesting!
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Super Easy Method Winter Cold Camping in an RV
I remember seeing videos from RVers about insulating their hoses with heat tape and split foam wrapped around the hose and then going to great lengths to make sure there were no low spots in the sewer hose, etc. It turns out, if you aren't staying somewhere for the winter long term, there's no reason to go to extremes. It's a lot simpler than that as I will explain in the video.
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Easy RV Internet Wifi Network
Super easy way to setup a wireless network for Internet access in an RV using a Mac and an iPhone or a Verizon MiFi device. Eliminates the need for a separate wireless hub or router. By having the MacBook do the Internet routing, it is possible to leave all of the devices permanently networked together. Then the connection being shared to the Internet can be changed on the Mac so that the in house configuration is never changed. This method works with Internet connections shared via the USB port. There is a second video that shows how to also share using campground WiFi, which does require a wireless switch or a router configured as a wireless switch and connected to the Mac's ethernet port. Either method is very effective and less expensive than buying the dedicated equipment from Pepwave or WiFi Ranger. Those appear to be excellent solutions, but are more expensive than this method which is pretty much free:)
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Leaving Yuma
We are leaving the Yuma area and heading east before winding our way back north over the next three months. We enjoyed the desert outside of Yuma. We were in California, just barely, at the Imperial Dam BLM Long Term Visitor Area. It was our first significant desert stay, and besides leaving for a week or so to visit San Diego, we basically spent 6 weeks here. I found all kinds of things to goof around with, including the "Bridge to Nowhere", which is a miniature Golden Gate Bridge, abandoned about 50 years ago, but still standing! Here are some highlights from our stay.
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Riding The San Diego Trolly System
I spent an afternoon riding on San Diego's trolley system. They have three lines that run through the area. The pass works for both the trolleys and the buses so you can navigate San Diego pretty well for less than parking in a garage costs. I love trains, so this was great fun. We also have a blog at jumpingoffthecliff.com. As I Figure - Latinesque by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100323 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
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RV Crush!
RV smashed by tree in Chula Vista (San Diego KOA). After a few weeks in the desert we are parked in San Diego to meet up with family, and we ran across this RV a few spots down. A tree blew over on late last week. Luckily nobody was hurt, the owner was away, but it looks like it would have killed anyone in the bedroom! Now I'm wondering, how strong are RVs?
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Steer Safe for RVs
My experience with the Steer Safe product is less than optimal. In fact, I have trouble picturing when installing this thing is ever a good idea, but I know people do like it. I am not one of them, and I explain why in this video.
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Rincon Parkway on the PCH, RV Camping on the Beach!
Parking along the PCH on the Rincon Parkway in the RV turned out to be an incredible stay. Great beach walks, sunset views and plenty of marine life to watch.
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Dateland RV Park? Sounds like the E-harmony of RV parks, but it’s not!
Dateland RV Park, not much to look at, but it is a great value! If you love trains like I do, this is hard to beat! I caught Amtrak's Sunset Limited at full speed at midnight! Full 50 Amp hookups and pull through sites, what more could you ask for? On I-8 between Gila Bend and Yuma.
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RockHound State Park Deming New Mexico, a Real Gem!
There are gemstones here, but they might consider renaming this to sunset state park. Wow, the sunsets were simply spectacular. It is a small park but easily accessible off of I-10 and is within 10 miles or so of Deming. We planned on staying a couple of days on our way west in January, but ended up staying a week. We debated staying longer, but moved on after a very nice stay.
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Valley of the Gods, RV Boondocking!
We have been boondocking, dry camping that is, in the Valley of the Gods near Mexican Hat Utah. It is beautiful here this time of year. The road in is easy to traverse for the most part. The east entrance is easiest for RVs to navigate. There is a sign that marks Valley of the Gods road off of UT 163. It is BLM land so it is free, but there are zero services of any kind. They limit camping to existing pullouts, of which there are quite a few that can accommodate an RV or even more than one RV.
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Alpine TX RV Visit
We stopped in Alpine Texas for a few days on our way west. It was a true diamond in the rough. The town, home to Sul Russ University, was a real surprise. They have decorated the town with murals and have restored or maintained old buildings that are part of their heritage. I watched trains on the Union Pacific line and Terri and I wandered the downtown area. I highly recommend it as a stopover on the way through or while visiting Big Bend National Park.
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Black Hills Buffalo Roundup (Custer State Park)
We went to the annual Custer State Park buffalo roundup. We had never seen it before and had visions of a thundering herd. While it wasn't exactly like that, it was still pretty cool.
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Step Cover Fix, Dead Mouse & RV Lessons
There is always something to fix on an RV, and I don't mind taking care of it. Although, ignorance can be expensive as we learned from our step cover breaking. It is nice to have the cover so nobody falls in the stair well:) Anyway, we managed to break it by not using it properly:(
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Royal Gorge & Canon City Free Camping
We spent a few days near Canon City Colorado and camped for a few days almost within a stone's throw of the Royal Gorge. It is an impressive monument to railroad building. You can see the Denver and Rio Grande Western's original track work through the canyon from 1000' above it!
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RV Bathroom
A tour of our RV bathroom. The toilets in RVs are similar, if not identical to those used in some larger boats. The use of the space is pretty cool and I find I don't miss the larger bathroom at all,
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Leaving Utah, Full Time RV Life
Just a short video as we say good bye to Utah for now. Most of Utah is remote and beautiful. We went to Capitol Reef National Park and stayed a few days for free. I fished the Fremont river and we goofed around in the area. The great thing, now charge for a campsite. We stayed a mile or so west of the entrance near Torrey, UT. Operating out west, for the most part, can be done with significantly reduced costs by finding placed to stay free!
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One Last Freight Train Hop
I've been wanting to ride a freight train for quite awhile and finally got around to it. Come along as I catch out and then return via Amtrak. It was a total thrill to be able to do something I haven't done since the summer of 1974! It was thrilling then, and it was thrilling now. (Not recommended for everyone, it's dangerous even if you are careful, and violates the law in some places!)
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RV Life, Sandhills of Nebraska, The Eclipse & Incredible Family in a Bus!
We headed to Nebraska to be in the path of totality, staying in Merriman and driving between Alliance and Hyannis. It was fantastic, and video and pictures simply can't replicate what you see. Incredible. I also met the fascinating family of Kayla and Andrew Blanchflower who are living in a school bus on one of the reservations in South Dakota. Check out their blog at landliberationproject.blogspot.com.
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Spring Switches on the BNSF
I thought I was going to see a derailment! I wasn't aware that there are some switches on the railroad that are forced open by the train itself. Apparently they are common on less traveled branch lines. With train crews down to two people, this makes life much easier since there isn't a caboose with somebody who can realign the switch after the train is clear. Without the automatic "spring" pushing the switch back, the conductor would have to walk from the back of the train all the way to the front. This is on the BNSF El Paso Sub from Belen to El Paso.
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RV Life, Black Hills, Something For Everyone
The Black Hills is a great place for a family vacation, especially if you want to fish for trout in the streams and rivers. There are tons of tourist type activities from Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse to the Bison in Custer State Park and the Reptile Gardens near Rapid City. There are caves, forests, mountains and best of all, fantastic trout fishing throughout the area. I knew there were creeks with trout in the Northern Black Hills, but there is some almost unknown trout flyfishing in Custer State Park in the Grace Coolidge Walk-In Fishing Area that rivals trout fishing in many popular places.
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The Truth About RV Campgrounds & Lava in Eastern Washington, Grand Coulee Dam
I probably give the impression that most of the places we stay are fantastic. Many times they are, but other times, well, not so much. We visited Dry Falls, Banks Lake and Grand Coulee Dam in Eastern Washington. Fantastic geology around this area, and a not so glamorous campground, but hey, we stayed for four days! Couldn't be that bad:)
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Yellowstone Church (Not in Wyoming!)
Many of our families, mine and Terri's both, have stories of immigration and upheaval by ancestors risking everything to come here. Many families have even more harrowing histories still affecting them today, including slavery and the impacts of the Europeans on Native Americans. Nonetheless, it is hard not to appreciate the efforts and history represented in a structure like this church that has stood for 150 years of Wisconsin winters.
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Winslow Arizona Free Camping, Exploding Bowl & Cool Hotel
Winslow turned out to be a cool place to spend a few days. Number one, they have a nice free campground a few miles outside of town. Number two, you have to Stand on a corner in Winslow Arizona..., just like the Eagles song. They have an incredible original Harvey House Hotel that has been redone. It is called La Posada, and it is simply fantastic, a must see. Lastly, I blew up some more china. Man, I've been responsible for a lot of breakage!
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Sirius XM Rant
I can't stand companies that treat new subscribers better than existing customers. I understand most do that because subscriber growth is everything. So is losing subscribers, known as churn. Sirius XM just lost me, forever, as a paying customer. They wanted to offer me deals to stay as a customer, AFTER they jacked my rate about 300%. Game over jackasses, I'm the one with money, and I'm keeping it. You want me back as a customer? You're going to have to PAY ME for my time and aggravation. $90 an hour for three hours over three years, an hour for each year of arguing about my rate. $270 should do the trick. You have my information, when the money hits my account, we'll talk;)
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Full Time RV Anomie? Look Out!
Well, OK, that's a bit dramatic. However, I think it's a real thing, and I'd even bet it's a factor in why people quit living as nomads regardless of their choice of vehicles. Either way, I'll gladly use New Mexico and Colorado to treat mine;)
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Loneliest Road, Volcanoes, Free California RV Camping & More
We headed down through Eastern Oregon and Northeastern California and on through Nevada, using US 50 in Nevada, the loneliest road in America. I'm pretty sure that is an accurate and well deserved title. Wow, there is still wide open territory out west!
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Christmas 2017 in Our RV
Instead of Christmas cards, Terri and I decided that a sincere youtube video would be a great way to express our wishes for everyone to have a great holiday season and Merry Christmas. Come join us as we open and show off the incredible gifts our children sent to us, via General Delivery, no less:)
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Snowy Wolf Creek Pass RV Ride Along
We seem to be pretty good at driving over Colorado mountain passes in October, while it's snowing. LOL, there were no chain laws in effect and it was above freezing, but nonetheless, the snow started really coming down. Wolf Creek isn't as high as Monarch, but it is so steep that they have special regulations for trucks. Having an engine brake is a must for big vehicles, or you have to be super careful in choice of gears going downhill.
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San Antonio in an RV
We stayed at the Riverwalk RV park while we visited San Antonio so we could meet up with my son's family. What a great city to visit. There is a light show covering the history of San Antonio projected onto one of the churches that I was unaware of. It was great!
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Tehachapi Loop & Sequoia National Park & World's Largest Tree!
We're hiding out in California's Central Valley while our mail catches up to us and there some pretty cool things around here. The Tehachapi Loop is a world famous railroad engineering feat that has has been in service continually since 1867. Sequoia National Park is home to the General Sherman, the world's largest tree.
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Portland by RV
I'm behind on video editing. We made a way too quick swing through Oregon and Washington on our way back to Wisconsin. Portland requires more than two days to see much! Here is a little bit about what we did see.
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Cody Wyoming RV Stay & Shoshone Fly Fishing & Wild Horses
I'm way behind on videos, but we have been winding our way toward Glacier NP, but we needed a place to stay over Labor Day. Campgrounds are usually crowded, especially those near national parks. We found an inexpensive campground with beautiful views at Buffalo Bill State Park just outside of Cody, WY. The area has a lot to offer from wild horses on BLM land east of town to historic museums in town, as well as my favorite, fly fishing on the Shoshone.
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RV Camping in Knoxville Iowa, Sprint Car Capital of the World!
We went to Knoxville for the weekend to meet up with some of our family. The highlight was when my brother and I watched non-winged sprint cars their for the first time in more than 35 years! Knoxville has only had a handful of non-winged shows since the rules were modified to require wings in about 1980. The non-winged cars make for great racing and the track seems to hold up better providing multiple grooves for passing. The campground was really nice for about $20 a night, it's hard to complain!
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Modern Hobos & Old Train Stations in Cheyenne & Green River
Just some video from hanging around rail yards in Wyoming. The size of the buildings from days gone by is pretty impressive, but not all of them will survive. I ran into some young folks looking to catch out on the next east bound with a place to ride, and a place to get on without getting caught! That usually means waiting until night time.
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La Crosse Mississippi Swing Bridge in Operation
We filmed the Canadian Pacific's swing bridge in operation over the Mississippi at La Crosse, WI. this was built just after the civil war and has been in use ever since!
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RVing with Montana Fires, Grizzly Bears, Moose & Trains
We had a great time in Montana, what a fantastic state. We realized that you could spend several summers here and not see enough. I geeked out on a unique train engine in Harlowton, and we camped with evacuees at Harper's Lake. We made it to East Glacier from our main spot at Swan Lake campground after discovering that we couldn't go fare into the West side because of fires there. Once we got setup at the very inexpensive St. Mary campground just inside the East entrance, it was fantastic, even with the smoke!
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Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
We are wandering slowly south in the RV and we hung out in Durango and met up with my brother and his wife. Terri and I took a trip up to Silverton so I could get some shots of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad. It is almost 100 years old. The railroad originally hauled the ore from the mines at Silverton, but now it just hauls people. During the summer, there are are two trains daily. The steam engines make all kinds of noises and are fascinating to watch. I didn't want to part with the $80 or so for the trip, it takes pretty much all day. But, maybe someday, I'll break down and do it. I hear the Winter trip is spectacular, although it is shorter.
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Failure? At Success Lake California
We've been staying at an Army CoE campground near Porterville, CA called success lake. The failure is that I tried and tried to get a shot of the Pelican's gliding long distances, but my efforts were pretty much in vane. We are enjoying this area of California, it's like being in the midwest to a certain extent.
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RV Engine Troubles!
We got evicted! We had to leave the RV in Oklahoma to have the engine overhauled. Ouch, it wasn't cheap. What I had hoped was a simple issue, turned out to be a lot more. We basically took a two week "vacation" back to Wisconsin over Halloween. It was great to see everyone in Wisconsin, as well as Oklahoma, but we missed our house for sure!
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