Our First Harvest Host Stay

Many RV’ers take advantage of a website called Harvest Hosts.  It is a searchable map of wineries, farms, museums, golf courses, and assorted other attractions that allow RV’ers to stay overnight for free.  The assumption is that you will patronize their facility.  Cristy and I found Klinker Brick Winery in Lodi, CA through Havest Hosts and stayed there this past weekend.

They have a great facility with LOTS of RV parking behind the winery right next to their  vineyards.  It’s a beautiful view!  The only problem we ran into was that it had rained heavily off and on for the past two weeks.  This made for some very large puddles and some very soft ground.


I did my best to find a high spot to park the trailer but we were tip toeing around puddles all weekend.  Still the folks at the winery tasting room were really friendly and understanding.  They offered to pull out their tractor if I got stuck in the mud. And the view during breakfast was outstanding!

After breakfast we took a walk before heading over to the tasting room.  I don’t drink wine and Cristy can’t drink wine so it was a short visit.  However, since we wanted to support them Cristy bought a T shirt.

We really enjoyed our stay at Klinker Brick and can’t wait to try another Harvest Host location.  Which, incidentally, will be next weekend when we stay at Vista Ranch and Cellars in Merced, CA.  We’ll let you know how that went.


Beautiful walk!  But COLD!

Securing The Bug Screens

One of the modifications I made to our Lance trailer was to add insect screens to keep muddaubermud daubers out of the furnace exhaust and water heater vents while the trailer is being stored.  The little buggers are everywhere out here and while they are not aggressive and don’t sting (at least I’ve never been stung by one) they build their mud nests in small holes and clog things up.

So I bought and installed some screens to prevent this.  However, the screens were meant to be mounted with really weak springs.  Other Lance owners have complained about brushing up against the screens and knocking them off the trailer.  Mine barely made it home from the RV storage lot after I installed it.  To rectify this I used some safety wire left over from my airplane builds and fastened the screens on securely.  They feel very solid now.

I did have to drill a couple of holes in the water heater access door to attach the screen.  The grate that is built into the door comes out too easily.

Both screens feel really solid now and won’t easily be knocked off either by my clumsiness or while driving down the road.

First RV Mod

I belong to an RV owners group called LOA or Lance Owners of America.  Once of the points of pride in ownership for Lance owners is the modifications or “mods” they have done to their RV.  I’ve completed my first mod.  The trailer comes with a large closet in the back with a single shelf near the top.  We plan to use the closet as a pantry and storage area.  To that end I installed two more shelves in the closet.  I also added a couple of Command brand broom hangers.  There was one little “oops” but I was able to conceal it fairly well.  Cristy is pleased with the result so I’m not going to point it out! 🙂

Normally they would be mounted so that the lip would be pointing down so that you can hang clothes from them.  I mounted them with the lip facing up to keep items from falling off the shelves during transit.  Here are a few photos of this first mod.

I’ve got a pretty good sized list of mods I want to make to the trailer but some of them are pricey so they will have to happen over time.  Here is a list of the mods I want to make:

  • Front Window Cover – To protect the front window from road debris
  • Oxygenics Shower Head – To replace the factory shower head which has very low water flow.
  • Upgraded bed lift struts – The bed lifts up to reveal more storage.  The factory struts are not strong enough to hold the bed up when opened.
  • Bedside closet organizers – The closets on each side of the bed can actually hold more if shelving is used rather than the hanger rod that is in the closet by default.
  • Receiver Hitch – To be installed on the back of the trailer.  This will allow for the mounting of accessories such as a bike rack.

Here is a list of the mods I have already done.  I’ll have to get some pictures of these and write more about them in a future post.

  • TPMS System – Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  Allows me to monitor trailer tire pressure and temperature.
  • Bug screens – Screens over heater and refrigerator exhaust openings prevent insects from entering these openings when not in use.

That’s it for now.  We are really enjoying this little trailer.

The RV Journey Begins

After 4 years of research and one year of actual shopping we have finally purchased our first RV; a Lance 1995 Travel Trailer.  We picked the trailer up on Saturday from Meeks RV in Acampo, California.  They gave us a walk through and demonstrated how everything works which took about an hour and a half.  We signed the paperwork and pulled out onto the highway for the first time.

I had to do some work at my job at 2am so we booked a spot at an RV park about 10 minutes away from where I work.  I got everything set up just in time for the rain to start.  I started going through some of the inspection items that I wasn’t able to complete at the dealer.  There were only two things that I could pick on.  I’ll start a list for when I visit the dealer again to have them take care of the repairs.

The RV park itself was pretty nice.  I’ve driven past it for years but this is the first time I’ve been to it.  I was assigned a pull thru site which made set up really easy.  It was really quiet which made resting before my late night work easy.  They gave me a key to the gate for a $10 refundable deposit so I could get in the gate after my work was done.

I rolled back into the RV park after doing my work at about 3:30am.  I turned the heater on and listened to the storm raging outside my warm little camper.  I actually had to turn the heat down at one point because it was too warm.  I slept in and completed a few more inspection items before joining my wife and son for some lunch.

My wife then rode back with me to spend the night in our new RV.  We had a really enjoyable time in the quiet RV park.  It rained and stormed most of the time we were there but there were but we still really enjoyed ourselves.  If our first shakedown cruise of the RV was this good then we have many more adventures to look forward to.   We plan to use this time to learn the ropes of living in an RV.  We’ll spend as much time in it as we can over the next 7 years and make sure that full time RV living is something we really want.  We can’t wait!

Finally Back At New Jerusalem

Had a fantastic afternoon today.  The winds were calm and there was a high overcast layer meaning there would be no thermal activity today.  Temperature was about 60 degrees.  It was perfect flying weather.IMG_20190126_153750

My wife wanted to get out of the house so she tagged along.  She packed some water and some snacks and her book and she just chilled in the truck while I flew around.  At one point she came out and took some pictures of me while I was flying around.  I flew in circles around her a few times and then flew out to look for coyotes and jackrabbits.


“Cristy, you look like an ant from up here!”


Finally here is some video I shot during the flight.  Enjoy!


Flying At Oakdale Again

This past Saturday I towed my powered parachute out to Oakdale Municipal Airport for our EAA Chapter 90 meeting.  The plan was merely to give the trailer an extensive road test.  However, once I arrived at Oakdale the conditions were perfect for a PPC flight.  As I had not flown for over 3 months I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

After warming up I taxied down to the blastway on the runway 10 end of the field.  This would be the extreme west end.  I laid out my chute and strapped in.  Moments later as I advanced the throttle and lurched forward I noticed that a small crowd had gathered to watch me fly.   I’ve flown out of that field probably more times in 26 years than most of the other club members.  Now that I fly out of New Jerusalem so much it’s kind of a rare event to see me flying there.  There were plenty of cameras to gather documentary evidence.  My friend Les Homan was kind enough to supply the following pictures and video.


First the takeoff…


And the landing…


It felt very good to fly the pattern at Oakdale again.  As well as catch up with old friends.