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Messages - kitphantom

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Leveling & Stabilization / Re: Stepping Out!
« on: October 26, 2017, 07:21:20 PM »
We have used a Stromberg Carlson one for years. If I was going to buy one now, I would get a similar one, but they now have one that adjusts on each leg:
There have been a few sites over the 6 years that that one step wasn't quite enough, but that's seldom enough that it works well for short-legged me.
Before we got that step, I used a Rubbermaid stool, but that flipped too easily. I have a tallish folding step I keep in my truck ( It works well there for me to reach into the bed or wash the windshield, but the metal one is more stable for going in and out of the camper.

Towing / Re: Towing with extra mirrors
« on: August 29, 2017, 08:50:37 PM »
When we went from the popup to the small 17' TT, it took us three tries to get a set of mirrors that worked well.
First set was one of the ones that has a ratchet strap, with clips over the edge of the widow slot. Ruined the weather stripping, and the right one would not tighten enough to stay in place - on the first trip, I ended up with a wrench and screwdriver in the console, so I could tighten it at every stop - usually all I saw was the road shoulder. I ordered a different style before I reached Ohio (from NM), the CIPA Universal 11950 ones. Better, but difficult for me to secure onto the vehicle mirrors, they use a rubber strap. (I now understand why I've seen them lost on the side of the road.) They still lacked some sight lines.
The ones that have worked best are the JR Products Grand Aero Towing Mirrors 2912; this is our third season with them. They use two clamps for each mirror, and I can secure them better than either of the others -though it's helpful if I use my gardening gloves with the little dots on them (handy for several camping chores). They work on the 4Runner, and on our newer tow vehicle, a Chevy Colorado truck - I get a better view of the trailer with the truck with them, though.

Most of the time these days, we plan stops, even to the point of making reservations. There are some places we'll stop FCFS, if we know it's likely we can find a spot. For example, we make a reservation in Flagstaff on the way to North Rim of Grand Canyon, because it was on Memorial Day Saturday. On other trips, there's a Forest Service campground that we've used.
For my long trip East, we plot a route that gives me a reasonable length driving day and I make reservations. That way, I know where I'll be stopping and can pace myself through the day - at least as long as weather, road construction, etc. cooperate.
At some point, probably not until my husband retires and we're not limited to vacation days, we'll go back to doing first-come,first-served for at least part of the time. Right now,we'd rather plan things out, know where we'll be stopping, and spend more time camping than looking for a campsite. (Many of th eplaces we like to go have gotten popular in the last decade or so.)

We seldom drive less than 5-6 hours to camp, usually 7-8. That means we really don't do much weekend camping. However, my husband's work schedule gives him every other Friday off, so we plot to use those days with vacation time. That lets us do things such as Memorial Day week @ North Rim of Grand Canyon this year - 8 nights camping, 3 days of vacation - a little over 500 miles each way, one night on the road each way. (No longer fun to drive it in one shot.) Our shortest trips this year will be about 250 miles each way.
Next month will be the first time in 5 years that we've gone to 2 weeks at a time, NM to Wyoming for the Wind River Range, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone - with eclipse viewing as part of it.
I took our first, tiny popup on a solo trip to visit family - NM to Ohio to WNY and home to NM. This fall, I will make the third trip NM to Ohio and back with our small TT.

General Campfire Discussion / Re: Theme Camping
« on: June 20, 2017, 04:50:01 PM »
Not exactly, maybe a decorating theme of sorts, no sound-track, though.
First popup had a woody vibe to some of the items, such as the quilts. Second one ended up with some Route 66 and vintage themes - quilt, vintage eating utensils. The travel trailer is a Retro, so that sort of sets some of the tone. Same quilt (next couple have vintage looks, not yet finished) and throw pillows so that's Route 66 and vintage. Same vintage "atomic" eating utensils (Twin Star Oneida pattern from the late 50s, same pattern my mom bought when they built our new house - in 1959).
Maybe some of it is just funky - like the couple of flamingo decorations I've ended up with. I seldom look deliberately for decorative things for the camper, but still manage to find some fun things. Blue glass cabinet door knows were the right size to replace the original ones (they pinched fingers), for example.

What's Cookin / Re: Instant Pot
« on: April 14, 2017, 04:21:40 PM »
One of the biggest things with the IP is to realize that it is an electric pressure cooker, not a microwave. Cooking time is fast, but there is still time needed to reach pressure and reduce pressure. (For some foods you release the pressure immediately, some let it naturally release, others a combination of those.)
For instance, it takes me almost 3 hours to make posole (sort of pork stew with hominy/nixtamel) with the Instant Pot - that's still a great improvement over 5-6 hours, and with less pot watching.

What's Cookin / Re: Instant Pot
« on: April 13, 2017, 09:45:26 PM »
We have two of the Instant Pots. I bought the 6 qt DUO on Amazon Prime day last July and the 8 qt Duo a month or so ago. So yes, you could say I've found them useful. They are an electric pressure cooker. I don't use them for slow cooking, I don't like most slow cooker meals; some like the feature, others not so much. There's a huge Facebook group.
Since we live at altitude, one of my main reasons for buying one was cooking dry beans, since our old stove top ones needed new gaskets. Little did I know how handy they would be for steel cut oats, cheesecake (!), hard cooked eggs, and even yogurt. (I swore I wasn't going to make it again all these years after doing so as a poor college student, but I am.)
Most of our camping is dry camping, so I doubt we'll take one of the IPs often. However, one of our trips with power should be in prime fresh corn season, near Durango, so even higher than at home in ABQ. We cooked corn on the cob  in the IP last year and it was great.

Introduction and Show Off / Re: Hello from Albuquerque
« on: March 28, 2017, 12:23:22 PM »
Welcome from ABQ, too.

Our first popup was a 1984 Palomino, which we eventually did an extensive renovation on.

Pop-Up Campers / Re: Lite weight campers?
« on: October 18, 2016, 06:58:49 PM »
I had to drop our TT off for service today, the dealer had two of these in the showroom:
They had one in camping mode, the other hauling mode. I didn't look too closely, so the best I could say is that it would be camping off the ground - though once upon a time I would have jumped at a chance to look more closely.

Pop-Up Campers / Re: Lite weight campers?
« on: October 17, 2016, 08:24:51 PM »
It partly depends on what age they want, how much DIY they are willing to do, and what the budget is.

For instance, our first popup was a 6', one bunk end 1984 Palomino that was under 800#. Some of the Livin' Lite popups are pretty light, they have a Bimini-type top instead of any hard roof (at least the ones I've seen).
Years ago we looked at a fiberglass TT that was just a shell, it was tiny and light, but I don't remember the weight.
Campers designed to be pulled by motorcycles are very light, but also small and bare bones. Tear-drops may be light too, but as with everything else, they vary a lot. The Retro JR. 509 has a listed dry weight of 920# (

I think the idea is to provide extra floor space with seating during the day, but have a better sleeping surface than a convertible couch.

Our White Water Retro by Riverside has a full-time bed, in a 17' travel trailer; there is storage under the bed. They now have several floor plans, and two exteriors (one is the vintage look like ours, the other is more modern looking).
Retro with quilt by Andrea Vaughan, on Flickr

New and Pre-Purchase / Re: Best Product to get rid of Musty Smell
« on: July 08, 2016, 07:07:37 PM »
There are all sorts of ideas to reduce the musty smell, including using vinegar in water to clean it up. If you can air and/or wash the cushions, or at least the covers (on gentle, air dry, use thin plastic to help get the foam back into the covers), as well as the curtains (if any), that will help.
I would suggest that you do a thorough inspection to eliminate the possibility of mold or mildew. On our first popup, there was still a funky odor, even after washing the cushion covers. A few years after we bought it (well used), we had to renovate it and found hidden old mildew under one of the dinette benches. Once we took care of that, it was good.

Pop-Up Campers / Re: using a cordless drill for raising the top
« on: July 06, 2016, 08:02:49 PM »
Get one with an auxiliary handle. I had to brace ours against my leg (I had to sit on a step stool to use it anyway) so that the drill raised the roof instead of spinning. We bought a Sears Craftsman 19.2 volt with a rechargeable battery. I had to learn to use the right speed and torque - I made it overheat and turn off due to thermal switch a couple of times. The drill has turned out to be a very handy addition to the tools we have, even if we're not using it for raising a roof.
For our 8' Coleman Cobalt, it worked OK, but I ended up not taking on trips. One charge was enough to raise it once, and we usually dry camp. Most of the time, I used it at home, when it was too hot to crank the roof up.
It probably delayed our needing to move to a TT by a little bit, but my deteriorating back made the move inevitable. I get the part about not wanting to get a new tow vehicle too. We towed the TT with a 2005 4Runner for a season and half, but finally bowed to reality and bought a truck. The 4Runner was our newer vehicle, the 20 year old car was going to need work soon, so one way or the other we needed another vehicle.

Mods / Re: Why have a bathroom sink so close to the kitchen sink.
« on: June 13, 2016, 10:51:03 AM »
One reason we liked the tiny shower/toilet set-up in our Retro is that there is no bathroom sink. Two steps and I'm at the kitchen sink. Makes sense to me - one hand soap, one less faucet to winterize.

General Campfire Discussion / Re: Puck/Tap lights.
« on: June 13, 2016, 10:46:56 AM »
We put one in the under-bed storage in our Retro. Worked OK but the adhesive on that one did not hold up to lots of miles on the road. After a while, I needed a flashlight to find where the puck light had fallen. It was easy to forget to turn it off, too. Maybe we should try another tap light, but we realized the usually-forgotten under-counter light in our kitchen area shines pretty well into that space.

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