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Old 12-13-2016, 10:02 AM   #1
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Talking Our TWO Inaugural Trips! (I'm back!)

Hi!

I kept thinking I would wait until we finished the window treatments, and I'd make a mod update video, but since you asked , here's how it went (more information than you really wanted):

1. Our first trip was two nights at Dockweiler in Playa del Rey, 15 mins. from our house. We had a beach-facing spot, but there is a bern up until April, so we were looking at a massive 12- to 18-foot wall of sand. I didn't mind it, but since it is at the end of the LAX runway AND directly across the street from the water treatment (aka sewage) plant, it was noisy and occasionally (when the wind wasn't blowing the "right" way) stinky. Jim did not enjoy it. I found it only close-the-windows stinky for a couple hour stretch the first evening.

2. I don't know if I posted this before, but since we don't have a backup camera, I stand behind the caravan and Jim and I FaceTime each other and I show him exactly where he is when he's backing in and out of spaces and where he's at near the hitch. If you have a phone signal, its a super way to maneuver.

3. When we bought the FFx139, we had a brake put in at the U-Haul in Ventura (about $360).

4. We were getting an annoying push-pull thing, and Jim suspected something was wrong with the hitch arrangement. After we left Dockweiler the Monday before last, we went to Ekerd (sp?) on Sepulveda and they told us the stabilizers (?) were the wrong size (too big/powerful, I don't know -- Jim's on this forum, too, so he may want to offer more details). So we got a new set up ($650). When we got back from lunch, the guy showed Jim that the hitch on our 2004 Nissan Frontier was unstable (missing some stuff, etc. again, Jim may have to give details). We were going to need a new hitch, so we had one installed. Three-and-a-half hours and $980 (total) later, we were on our way home. Sigh.

5. We (and by "we" I mean Jim, the driver) are still getting used to the brake and adjustment thingy. They are very grabby.

6. Regarding the FF -- almost everything worked really well. Our caravan was the smallest one at Dockweiler by far. All the rigs were at least twice as big. I could not believe all the "pushers" and huge-ass motorhomes.

7. The radio was nice. Since we didn't have wi-fi (and haven't turned on the TV yet), we listened to a lot of NPR and classical. The AC works very well, but OMG, it is SO loud. The microwave works well. We brought salads and charcuterie so did not use the stove.

8. So, after our visiting friends left for some Picasso exhibit, our first night: Jim forgot his computer and he wanted to get a new sewage hose, so he left and the three wolves (our dogs) and I hung out and I LOVED IT.

9. The only thing obviously not working was the water heater. We have to find out what is wrong.

10. So, this past Saturday we went to Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach and it was really nice. You could see the actual beach, there wasn't jet noise and it was not stinky. There was a holiday party and we all got our photos with Santa (will post pics in gallery). There was, however, traffic noise from PCH. Again, this did not bother me. Just about everyone at the RV park was very nice -- our neighbors shared some yummy warm cake and fruit with us!

The day-after Christmas we are going up to Jamala with our son, who'll be home from school (in NY). We have one night at Jamala (sp?) and we'll see what it's like to have a 6-ft adult in the bunk above!

It was very cozy (some would say cramped) in the x139 with two regular-sized (I am actually more on the plus-ish side, but Jim is normal), two Heelers and a Chihuahua. There's a lot of maneuvering with the bedding and setting up and breaking down, but I didn't mind it. I absolutely love the caravan. I'm excited to go out again.

Check out my pics (they're not great, unfortunately) in the Gallery! Best, Nadine
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:28 AM   #2
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Wow, what a report!! I would skip Dockwiller in the future. But I know you wanted to stay close to home for your maiden voyage.
Sorry to hear about all of the extra expense for the hitch/brKe controller. Paul had fun getting to know ours too.
The second experience sounds better...much better! We are crowded with our three dogs in our 189, so I can imagine that you were too. Yes, you need help with your water heater. People are great about offering suggestions on here. Did you get manuals? I'll go check out your pictures now.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:45 AM   #3
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Lots of info on RV water heaters on the net.

Here is one: Your RV Water Heater: 10 Important Things You Need To Know

and:

and:

and others depending the the brand you have.

Note: When I turn on my propane tanks, I always light the kitchen burners first to assure propane is flowing. That way I know propane is available for the water heater.


We also stayed close to home on our first venture out with the camper. The initial learning experience was well worthwhile....although had no tow vehicle or equalizer hitch issues like you had.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:50 AM   #4
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Great report, and great photos! Trust me -- if you thought those two trips were fun, wait till you get out into really remote places, where it is quiet and peaceful. You will love it. The Sequoias are only six hours from West LA (depending on traffic).

A couple of thoughts -- that overhead bunk is (I think) limited to 140 pounds. So unless your six foot tall son is a very picky eater, you might be at risk of a collapse? Not sure what to do about that -- attach helium balloons to his belt? The problems are that the plywood is kind of thin and the support brackets that attach to the side of the trailer are not terribly stout. I am not sure how they are anchored into the frame of the trailer.

Maybe ask him to try this out in the driveway, with no innocent victims underneath?

So let's talk about the water heater -- first, you're sure you have propane, right? The water heater on the X-139 runs only on propane, not electricity.

Second, make darn sure there is water in the water heater before you switch it on. Turn on the water pump and open the hot water faucet in the kitchen sink -- it may splutter a little until the water comes streaming out. When it does, your water heater tank is now full.

Next, open the access panel to the water heater. Make sure the various orifices (air passages) are clean and free of spider webs. If necessary, blow out the dust and webs with an air compressor. (I do this prior to every single trip -- probably not necessary to do it so frequently, but it couldn't hurt.)

Next, if your trailer is like mine (and I think it is), there is a switch on the control panel near the door. Have someone stand by the water heater, with the access panel open. Switch the water heater on, using the control panel.

Note what happens. Do you hear a clicking sound? That is the igniter trying to light the stream of propane. It sometimes takes a few seconds to ignite.

If there is no clicking sound, the problem might be in the wire that runs to the igniter. Other than making sure that this wire is attached, I don't know how I would fix that -- I am not good with electricity.

If there is a clicking sound, but it does not ignite, that could be a problem with the burner orifice, impeding the flow of propane. A spider might be living in there (and might have survived the air compressor treatment). You may have to disassemble the burner and use a thin wire to clean out the burner. (I've never done this, but I have read about it.)
Let us know what happens with this!

Last, on your trip to Jalama, be sure to downshift aggressively on the downhills, allowing the engine compression to handle most of the braking. (You probably already knew that, but just in case . . . .)
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:06 AM   #5
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What they said!
It can get a little close in a 139 at times but that just means it's cozy! Being the tiniest in the campground seems to make for friendly neighbors.
When you're the smallest sometimes your campfire is the busiest.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Great Trip Report NedProvince,
We went through Southern Cal last year, but it was a quick trip through San Diego and we ended up staying at Wally's NE of Vegas on the way to Yellowstone...

Hope you get the Hot Water Heater going... Maybe we'll see you guys next spring in Arizona...
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:06 AM   #7
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Great Trip Report NedProvince,
We went through Southern Cal last year, but it was a quick trip through San Diego and we ended up staying at Wally's NE of Vegas on the way to Yellowstone...

Hope you get the Hot Water Heater going... Maybe we'll see you guys next spring in Arizona...
That would be great!
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:31 AM   #8
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So Nadine, what about the water heater?? I am suffering from a bad case of VCS -- vicarious cold showers! (That's a new TLA -- three letter acronym.)
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:43 AM   #9
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So Nadine, what about the water heater?? I am suffering from a bad case of VCS -- vicarious cold showers! (That's a new TLA -- three letter acronym.)
Hi,

We went to Jamala but showered in the park's facility. We haven't tried to adjust it yet. But will def. have to, for the next trip. OMG. It is freeeeezing in the caravan (sitting in the driveway). I went in to put up some curtains I made and, well, BRRRRR.

Nadine
Slowly, but surely setting things up.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:09 AM   #10
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Hi,

We went to Jamala but showered in the park's facility. We haven't tried to adjust it yet. But will def. have to, for the next trip. OMG. It is freeeeezing in the caravan (sitting in the driveway). I went in to put up some curtains I made and, well, BRRRRR.

Nadine
Slowly, but surely setting things up.
Yea!!! Curtains. What is freezing in So. Cal.? Lol! Later this week they say the high will be 13 here in Michigan. High 30's today. Miss seeing our little FF.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:52 AM   #11
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In coastal Southern Calif, "freezing" means that our house is in the mid to low 50s every morning when we wake up. The funny thing is that because of the cold weather camping that we have done, we like it that way! We have not yet run the heater this season --we have not even lit the pilot light.
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:23 AM   #12
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That is cold!!! We can't stand it much below 68 inside. We do use our wood stove daily and the furnace if the outside temps get up near 40 like today. Then the wood stove has a poor draft.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:26 PM   #13
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That is cold!!! We can't stand it much below 68 inside. We do use our wood stove daily and the furnace if the outside temps get up near 40 like today. Then the wood stove has a poor draft.
Hey Mich,
You guys better stack up some more wood... The weather guy says the highs are going to be a sweltering 0 to +4 for the next week or so... But, you know, it really hasn't gotten that cold here yet... Maybe, we'll be lucky and have a warm winter... but there are 2 months of winter left...
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:50 PM   #14
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We are forecast to bounce around ZERO thru this week .. maybe a degree or two above to a degree or two below during the day.

Tonight temp to dip to -15 and bounce to near -20 below by Friday night.

Glad I have an astro-start in my pickup and factory auto start in the Jeep!



And for those in the southern state that think it's funny, I've been to TX, AZ, NV in the summer where it's so hot one runs out of an air conditioned building, uses a handkerchef to open the door so you don't burn your fingers, start the vehicle, put the A/C on max cold and run back inside and wait for 15/20 minutes while the car cools down. LOL LOL LOL
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:52 PM   #15
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Hey Mich,
You guys better stack up some more wood... The weather guy says the highs are going to be a sweltering 0 to +4 for the next week or so... But, you know, it really hasn't gotten that cold here yet... Maybe, we'll be lucky and have a warm winter... but there are 2 months of winter left...
It's about 35 today.
They are saying high of 17 tomorrow, 12 Thursday, 15 Sat. And 18 Sunday. Lowest Tursday night of 7. Brrrrrr....
We have wood stacked and he's going out behind the garage to bring more into the breezeway yet today. We got a real mishmash of wood quality this time but it all burns...all hardwoods. Keeps the house a nice toasty 72-75 degrees. Hate to use the furnace...too drafty and cold.
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:58 PM   #16
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I think I will cross S. Dakota and all southern states off my move to list!! Haha! But then some solve that by being snowbirds I guess. But I would have to only visit for a couple of months in a fairly deserted place down there. Love four seasons!
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:10 PM   #17
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Eagle, in answer to your question whether cold weather sounds funny to folks in warmer climates, it sounds great to us -- where we live (coastal Southern Calif), the weather is dull -- almost no change during the year. It is pretty, and it is handy to have good weather for camping all the time. But it is like eating the same thing for dinner every night, forever.

For us, the only thing that really changes is the surf -- sometimes big, or small, and from different directions (which affects the shape).
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Old 01-03-2017, 02:31 PM   #18
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Eagle, in answer to your question whether cold weather sounds funny to folks in warmer climates, it sounds great to us -- where we live (coastal Southern Calif), the weather is dull -- almost no change during the year. It is pretty, and it is handy to have good weather for camping all the time. But it is like eating the same thing for dinner every night, forever.

For us, the only thing that really changes is the surf -- sometimes big, or small, and from different directions (which affects the shape).
Ha, Ha, the Boss used to say that Southern AZ (specifically Phoenix) did not have seasons, just weather changes ... sometimes...
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:42 PM   #19
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Eagle, in answer to your question whether cold weather sounds funny to folks in warmer climates, it sounds great to us -- where we live (coastal Southern Calif), the weather is dull -- almost no change during the year. It is pretty, and it is handy to have good weather for camping all the time. But it is like eating the same thing for dinner every night, forever.

For us, the only thing that really changes is the surf -- sometimes big, or small, and from different directions (which affects the shape).

I hear you as have visited Southern Calif. for several weeks at a time more than once. LOL I will grant one thing in your favor, no bugs!

I prefer the changing seasons ... the beautiful colors fall brings, the white of the winter snow, the rebirth of everything in the spring and the green and growth of the summer. And those changing seasons brings a change in wardrobe too.

As for cold weather, one can always put more clothes on but in the heat, can only take so much OFF!!!
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:24 PM   #20
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Eagle, in answer to your question whether cold weather sounds funny to folks in warmer climates, it sounds great to us -- where we live (coastal Southern Calif), the weather is dull -- almost no change during the year. It is pretty, and it is handy to have good weather for camping all the time. But it is like eating the same thing for dinner every night, forever.

For us, the only thing that really changes is the surf -- sometimes big, or small, and from different directions (which affects the shape).
Which is why many of our weather readers moonlight as standup comedians.
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