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Monday, April 24, 2023

First "REAL" Camping and Modifications

Oh my---- what a perfect 65th birthday present from the grandkids!! 

(They ordered it when we still had the bigger Class A a few weeks ago, but it still has the right sentiment) 

Now I have an interesting question. Why would Winnebago go to all that trouble to install a DC 12 volt TV in the motorhome as original equipment.... but then route the DC cord through an adapter to plug into 120v AC wall outlets? And of course, the next step of the question is when you're boondocking, then that means you have to turn on the inverter to change the existing DC power over to AC to run the tv??? 


Why change it from DC to AC back to DC?

Side note, the TV in the back bedroom area is DC all the way. DC directly into DC with no adapters and not changing it back to an AC wall outlet. Why didn't they do that to the front TV in the living area? Who knows?

Since we bought this Winnebago View, we joined a Facebook group of other Winnebago View owners. They all said the same thing. Unless you only go to campgrounds all the time with AC 120v hookups, I suppose it doesn't matter. So upon reading all their comments, a number of them remarked that Winnebago thoughtfully included an original power cord from DC that can be wired in directly to a DC power source somewhere on the motorhome! Sure enough, in the very back of our bag with a bundle of booklets and pamphlets about the rig, here is a little plastic bag with exactly the connector we needed!

See that big black adapter plug up there in the top right corner? That is the power cord line that is DC12 volt running into that adapter box that then changes it to AC and allows it to be plugged into that AC outlet. 

Steve did a quick glance into the compartment behind the TV, and saw a place that he could easily route over and tap into a 12 volt DC power source and ground. 

In no time at all, Steve gathered the materials needed and decided to also attach an extra toggle switch at the same time. That way he could turn off all power to the TV and our Roku device in case we are boondocking and not watching any TV at all.  The back bedroom TV already has such a toggle switch installed from Winnebago. The phantom loads from things like tvs, radios, and the inverter itself can drain down the batteries down over a couple days time. When we are stored at home in the driveway, or when boondocking, we watch our battery drainage and power draw things carefully.

And there you have it, a DC TV that goes straight to DC... Good job Steveio!  Note the big adapter plug is unplugged and we will coil that up and store it away in case we ever really want it in the future. 

Soon we will be upgrading and installing some solar. We are debating if we are going to put panels on the roof like we did last time, or just get portable panels that we can move around on a campsite. That is how my sister does hers. Then we can be parked in shady tree covered campsites and just move the panels around where there's available sunlight throughout the day. That decision is still up in the air. 

One of our next little projects is the outdoor patio light. It is a bar with about 8 LED diodes from Optronics. When we were looking at the rig with the sellers, he told us that a few of the diodes had burned out. He knocked $100 off the price even after we made the deal and said we should be able to find a replacement for under $100. That was fine with us.  Since then a few more diodes burned out. There's only one left. 

But after joining the Winnebago View list on facebook, the other owners with similar problems said that the light is still under a lifetime warranty! All you have to do is send in a photo showing the missing diode illuminations and they will send you a whole new fixture for FREE!

So I sent off the required information and we will see what happens... 

Oh, remember in my last blog I mentioned about trying to find a good spot for our fishing poles? We discovered that we really didn't have anything in the cabinets over our bed in the back bedroom slide. Besides another set of sheets. So Steve was able to collapse down our fishing poles and the tackle box and stowed them away neatly in that compartment. It's not every day you keep fishing poles in your bedroom? But it's a good place where they won't get bumped or banged around compared to in one of the bottom storage compartments.


It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I was chomping at the bit to get out and do some camping. The weather wasn't really cooperating, but the snow is gone. We knew it was going to get cold but we decided to throw a crock pot of beef stew into the motorhome and a few other groceries, the dog, and some warm clothes. We drove a whole 8 miles to the county campground just north of our house. It's actually the only 6 miles as the crow flies.

It's called North Bayshore County Park part of the Oconto County Park system. Here is a link:

You can pay for your campsites on their website, or over the phone with a credit card during courthouse office hours, or you can use the kiosk over near the boat landing at the harbor. Also with a credit card. There are no longer pay posts or envelopes to put cash or checks in.

There's absolutely nobody else in the campground, and we had our choice of campsites. We picked site number five so we have a beautiful view out the front windshield as well as all of the side windows over to the bay waters of Green Bay and into the harbor where the fisherman launched their boats. This bay then opens out into Lake Michigan if you go far enough. 

Electricity is included and the water has already been turned on in this campground. We filled our holding tanks at home though before we left. There is a dump station nearby and the bathroom/shower building is open already too.

It sure is different backing up a little 25-ft rig instead of our 40 foot that would take up this whole campsite pad. It sure is kind of cute. We were totally level so we were able then to put out our slides out the back and out the living room. Done! 

We had our delicious beef stew for supper and enjoyed a nice walk around the empty campground with the dog. She found many many places to sniff, because it was her first camping of the year. Just about every tree and rock needed to be stopped and smelled. She was very happy.

Towards evening we turned on the TV and tuned into some old TV shows rather than run the Roku off of our hotspot of our telephones. Steve hauled out the old vintage popcorn popper from his father's house to make us a snack. 

The motorhome smelled great with the scent of fresh popped popcorn and we had some accompanying beverages too. Talk about being spoiled. Here we were all curled up in our jammies in a nice warm camper only 8 miles from home. LOL

We know it was going to get cold overnight so we flipped on the water tank heaters. Everything is above the floor and stays warm with the furnace and the accompanying electric heating pads. They run off 12 volt, so you have to be careful if you're boondocking if you're going to use these. They're kind of like an electric heating pad you'd use on a sore muscle that are glued right to the tanks. 

We can heat our motorhome with either the propane furnace, or the electric heat strips up in the roof air conditioner.  Our electric heat strips in the air conditioner on the ceiling are only supposed to work only in outside temperatures down to about 35 or 40°. But we found we were able to run them all the way down to about 29° before we switched over to the propane furnace for the night. We didn't want them to cut out and wake up to a cold motorhome. 

It sure got chilly overnight and here was the temperature when I woke up in the morning!!! Brrrrrrr!!! 

But we were cozy and warm inside with the propane furnace, plus we have an electric mattress pad heater on our bed. Is extremely comfortable and we didn't even know how cold it was getting until I looked at the phone this morning. But then I had to put on my slippers and Steve's heavy winter jacket to go outside with Binney on a leash to do her "thing".  The sun was coming up in the East and breaking through the clouds. It is supposed to be sunny for the rest of the morning? 

We could hear the fisherman unloading their boats over at the ramp across the way of the campground. One by one they would slip out into the bay, hoping to catch their fill of fish on an early Monday morning. 

In no time we had the coffee perking on the stove and some leftover cinnamon coffee cake from Steve's birthday Saturday. Life is good and we are cozy. Who can ask for more?

Before we head home today, we will probably buzz a little bit further up the highway and top off our propane tank. We're down to about a quarter tank and we don't want to let it get too low. That way if we're boondocking next time the refrigerator and the furnace can run without worry. 

This was our first official real camping in the motorhome overnight. Last weekend was more of just a working weekend and a place to sleep. This time we're officially in a campground and camping! I wonder where we will go next?


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