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Old 11-09-2014, 01:11 PM   #1
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1st Month in the Books - Here's what we've found - the good, bad and ugly

So we (Claire, 28yrs old, me 37 yrs old and Elton Black Lab 8.5yrs old) took ownership of our 2014 AS International 23D in mid Sep. (previous owners used 4-5x in year 1. Lived in Sacramento). We brought the AS back to San Diego and as of 9/30/14 have spent every night between San Elijo, Coronado, San Onofre, and/or boondocking when reservations were not available.

Here's what we've found:

The Good:
1. everything is better in an AS (life, needs vs. wants, outlook)
2. the bed is very comfortable even with the rounded corner on one side
3. the dinette set up makes more sense than the 2nd bed / lounge area
4. we still cannot believe we can take standing hot showers when on shore power
5. we can go 5+/- days (w/ navy showers) and a Honda 1000 generator boondocked.
6. The fridge/freezer is plenty for our healthy living/eating lifestyle --
7. took some time to figure out our drawers/cabinets organization but i think we're getting close. Dry food goes in pantry door cabinet 1 - cooking supplies in cabinet above that. top cabinet has coffee mugs and plates / glasses. Below silverware rack drawers we have additional cooking utensils and various spices, oils, etc.
8. We get looks at every campground, passerbys that stop to chat and share / ask questions - SOBs dont stand a chance when it comes to 'curb appeal'.
9. Airstream Mike: (our nickname) - for a local guy / mechanic / know-it-all and now friend who's had a fair share of AS experience and wealth of knowledge to pass along. I can't even begin to tell you how critical its been to find someone locally who is a hop-skip-jump away from helping, instructing and advising us.
10. Going from battery to generator to plug in and back around when moving day to day as we have - and NOT having to do anything manually other than plugging in has been one of those we're totally thankful for this feature without probably realizing how nice this feature is.

The Bad
1. Counter top space is tricky. Like - where do you put the removable sink cover/cutting board when not in use?
2. Not AS fault, but having a lab on board, even with sweeping 3x a day, we still get a second pet in swept up hair each time. Crazy. I know this is excessive, but those homes with central vacuum could be really really cool to next edition AS .. for the luxury types.
3. Wardrobe space is def. still getting used to. I ended up sticking a vertical, canvas shoe rack in my closet and using it as clothes divider. In shelf above, i place shoes. I screwed in 5 screws in order to hang belts on inside of door. Works if you roll everything up - Claire just uses a hanger and then shelf above with a plastic bin.
4. Understanding the airflow from fantastic fan. We've pulled the wiring and now instead of On/Off -we have temperature activation meaning that we want the fan to turn on/off automatically when a certain temperature is reached. We are still figuring this out. For now we have had warm days and cool nights and that means I'm getting up and manually overriding. I know in So Cal we have blessed weather - so this will not be a life/death issue but we'd like to automate this.

The Ugly:
1. With just normal wear, we've managed to unscrew the TV antenna handle. PIA to get to stay back on. Any suggestions?
2. We only get the 4 basic channels (FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS) - except for NFL Football and my alma mater The Amazing Race, I could care less, but NBC seems to 'go weak or no signal' A LOT. Suggestions?
3. Backing up onto our orange blocks for leveling sometimes results in the blocks just moving back and the tires cannot ramp on - we've tried the 'ramp' thing too but on concrete, no bueno. Thoughts?
4. The Zip Dee has had MANY MANY issues - missing acorn nuts - a broken claw on one side (one has already been ordered/replaced -- PS went factor direct and these guys were AWESOME) -
5. The space behind dinette chair upon entry - WTF?? what a terrible design idea -- its just totally inefficient and if we had better carpentry skills we would pull this out and build out shelving/storage/cabinetry ..
6. The stove top burners rotate from when they decide to work and not work (using spark .. .they always work w/ match/lighter) but a little frustrating still ...


So I think that sums up month 1 (actually day 41) -- we are pulling with a 2011 Toyota Tundra 5.7 V8 4x2 (and just yesterday I installed our Prodigy 3 ) so havent had a chance to see difference when pulling but so far this thing is a beast and can hold our outside chairs, tables, firepit, generator, tools, crossbow, 2 5gall tanks, etc.
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:40 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new-to-you trailer and the new lifestyle! Everytime my wife and I sit on our comfy couch and watch the Amazing Race, we promise each other that we'd NEVER do that.

Bully to you for doing it - if you have the resilience to do that, living in an Airstream will be cake (as will most other things in life.)

Perhaps the best way to upgrade the Fantastic Vent is with, well, an upgrade kit from them. We put 2 of the top-of-the-line remote-controlled version in ours. We love it because we can throttle it way back, conserving energy when boondocking (it gives you 14 speeds instead of 3.)

Tom
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:30 PM   #3
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I put Loctite on all my acorn nuts on my Zip Dee to prevent them from unscrewing.

You may need to bend the spark ignitor closer or farther to get a better spark at each burner. If the ignitor is too far the spark can't arc and if too close the spark is weak.

I haven't had any issues backing or pulling up onto my Lynx blocks. Maybe its because you have 14" tires. I suggest placing a block under each tire and kick it in with your foot to try to wedge it in and then try backing or pulling up. You have to start with one block.

Over the air TV is usually limited to the network channels, the remaining locals are usually Spanish and depending on where the closest tower are your mileage may vary. Maybe the Winegard Enhancer is worth looking into for UHF enhancement.

Download the Winegard installation instructions to see if that will help to reassemble you antenna handle.

Looks like you are on the right track.

Kelvin
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:14 PM   #4
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You may want to consider Winegard's newest RV retrofit antenna which is dual directional and picks up many more channels in lots of locations.

Winegard Rayzar Air Amplified TV Antenna
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Old 11-18-2014, 12:16 AM   #5
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When setting up on a level site, dial down the trailer brakes... it makes rolling up on the ramp things much smoother.
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:36 AM   #6
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Greetings...sounds like your new lifestyle is working out just great - congrats! Love the comment on "curb appeal" We place the cutting boards (sink covers) under the couch cushion. Handy "out of the way" location and a safe place to store when traveling. Enjoy!
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Old 11-18-2014, 05:48 AM   #7
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Lily is a lab mix, and a ridiculous shedder.

I have little hand vacs that do a very quick job of cleaning up the floor.

The one in the Interstate is a 12 volt something, which works very well and holds a charge for several days, the one at home is a Black&Decker Dust Buster....which I like even better as it is smaller and more compact, yet still very powerful.

These take up little space, and don't create the airborne hair that sweeping does. Just a quick zip around and....voila!

Enjoy,


Maggie
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:02 AM   #8
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As those who own them know, all Labs shed. Ours always have and this 15th month puppy does as well. However, diet helps, her "main" shedding is now only two times a year, the rest is very manageable.
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:36 AM   #9
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Hmmmm....what kind of diet?


Maggie
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:25 AM   #10
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You might consider getting an RV/Boat central vacuum, such as this one:
Dirt Devil® Central Vacuum for RV's and Boats
It's 120vAC, because Ohms Law means that 12vDC vacuums either don't suck hard, or don't suck for very long, or both. Which kind of sucks. You already have some waste space you were complaining about, which might be a good spot to install the cannister portion of the central vac.
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Old 11-18-2014, 09:36 AM   #11
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Congrats!

We have a Husky and although his fur is not such an issue, here in the PacNW we have been having a terrible time with pine needles in the AS.... So, in my normal style I went a little overkill and put a Dyson hand held in there. Super quick to clean anything up, but a little spendy.
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Old 11-19-2014, 06:47 AM   #12
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Dog Diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Hmmmm....what kind of diet?


Maggie
Maggie:

We feed our dogs Flint River Ranch. The product has limited distribution, so we buy it directly from the manufacturer in the US. Made in the US with US ingredients and never had a recall. Due to this when we travel for long periods we end up carrying a lot of dog food, but it seems worth it. We feed much less food than many of the store brands and as mentioned the shedding seems to be less than with previous Labs we have had.

Flint River Ranch

Good luck and safe travels

Bud
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:12 AM   #13
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Thanks,

Bud. I have ordered a sampler pack, but this is a bit pricey, even with free shipping.

I don't see anything in their product information or customer reviews about this food reducing shedding. Was this an intended or accidental outcome?

Lily is a very healthy dog, with a cast iron stomach. Pedigree is her daily brand,. I'll have to find a convincing reason to double the price of her dog food.

Thanks for the info.


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Old 11-19-2014, 07:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gsmblue View Post
Congrats!

We have a Husky and although his fur is not such an issue, here in the PacNW we have been having a terrible time with pine needles in the AS.... So, in my normal style I went a little overkill and put a Dyson hand held in there. Super quick to clean anything up, but a little spendy.
Yep! The little hand-held guys are just as quick, and you have to do a bit of bending and twisting to use them so can count as a bit of exercise.


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