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Old 04-05-2009, 04:09 AM   #1
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Default New to a "B"!

We just purchased a 1995 PleasureWay STW that is in pristine condition/32,000KM. We are totally delighted with it and eager to begin our explorations of our home province, BC, in June. We had a "C" for a few years a while back, but wanted something smaller and simpler. Voila! ...a "B"!
The trick was to find a model with a bed looooong enough to fit our tall frames...6'3" & 5"8". The STW king bed is super!
As I have been reading various "B" forums, I have noticed that various RV items are mentioned frequently as "necessary". This is the list ...although I am sure there are more!
....carbon monoxide detector...battery powered (This one of course makes total sense & I was surprised ours did not have one)
.....replace lights with flourescent or led lights...no heat and less draw
.....voltage meter...plug in
.....outside sediment water filter
.....good tire pressure gauge
.....water pressure regulator

Would love others take on this list.
Recommendations for brands would be very helpful.
Since I live on Saltspring Island, BC, what are the best places to order RV supplies online .....or buy in person on Vancouver Island?
We are also interested in adding solar power....but that is for another posting!
Any and all other advice will also be much appreciated!
Cheers,
Mamello
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

Welcome to the forum mamello

That's a good list. Maybe the previous owner removed the carbon monoxide detector. In my RV's they've always been wired into the 12v system. Propane and Smoke alarms are very important also.

Re: fluorescent or led lights - we like led's but they not for everyone. They don't give off as much light as incandescents. I made a few of my own at first but have bought them off eBay more recently. Fixtures that take one incandescent and one led give you the best of both worlds: http://classbforum.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=580 I found the cost of getting fluorescent fixtures to be high. If you only need one or two then that won't be too bad.

Re: voltage meter - smart idea - I've never checked a campgrounds voltage but it is a wise thing to do.

Re: outside sediment water filter - another good idea - I've never used one.

Re: good tire pressure gauge - I check tire pressure before each trip. I'm not sure if your tires take up to 65psi (Load range D) or 80 psi (load range E). If 80 then a compressor at home is handy. On one trip I must have tried 5 gas stations trying to find one that could put 80 psi in my tires. Now I do it at home.

Re: water pressure regulator - I always use one.

There's a fair bit of info re: solar here: http://classbforum.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=712

On Vancouver Island, I get parts and accessories from Arbutus RV - I think they have 5 locations. I do order a lot from online sellers, both stores and eBay. When a fan for example costs you $100 to get online and $300 locally I have to get it online. I like visiting Camping World stores in the U.S. I sometimes order from them but dislike all the fees associated with UPS shipping. UPS fees link: http://classbforum.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=634 (btw I still order stuff from Camping World )

It'll be interesting to hear what other forum members consider necessary to have.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

WOW!!! Did you ever come to the right place.
There are one or two experts on class B's and Vancouver Island on here.

Sorry, Marko.......had to say it.
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Old 04-10-2009, 02:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

Mike.....GUESS why I came to this site !!!!!
Marko...thanks for all your info...really appreciated. I will be checking out Arbutus RV as soon as they let me off the rock! (that is our local affectionate term for our island!)
Now I have another tough question....how the h#@$ do I add "smilies" to my comments? Tried different things, but didn't seem to work.
(YES, I will confess...sigh....I am not only new to a "B" but also to computers and this virtual world of ours!)
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

When making a new topic or replying to one you select smilies by clicking on the one you want.



There's a practice area at this link: viewforum.php?f=30

-------------------------

In Sidney, not far from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, there are three RV dealers.

Arbutus RV
10040 Galaran Rd
Sidney, BC

Peden RV Superstore
10049 Galaran Road
Sidney, BC

Triangle RV Centre Ltd
10299 McDonald Park Rd.
Sidney, BC

They're all helpful, friendly & knowledgeable. Peden has the larger floor space devoted to parts and accessories. Often I get a discount on the invoice on caulk from them. Arbutus has given me butyl tape when I purchased a fan - that was nice, saved me having to buy a whole roll. I got a good deal on sewer hose from Triangle recently. I'm a shopper
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

I've installed LED lights in my '02 RoadTrek to replace all of the interior 1156/1157 bulbs I could get at. I also replaced the porch light with an LED and bought a blade style LED for the over the cooktop range light. All work well, and draw very little.
Pricey though (about $12-14 each), but they're supposed to last a long time.
I've got all 3 detectors (CO, propane, smoke) factory installed. The s/d runs off batteries so it's on all the time
and the other 2 run off coach power, so they run when needed (when you're actually using propane or potentially
generating CO).
I've got a handheld voltage meter, and the 2 pressure gauges (water/tire) you mentioned as well.

I also carry a crank style flashlight which works well, in case we need to exit the van after dark in a campground,
as we use their facilities when we stay at a State/Provincial Park or National Park/Forest/Shoreline/Rec Area.

If you're planning to travel in the US at all, you might consider purchasing a NPS annual pass for your rig.
They're US $85 and are good for all the NPS and most LMB run parks and locations for one year.We've used ours
to get into a lot of the places we've been. Many of these places charge as much as $25 per day to get in. We figure ours
has reduced our costs per entry to around $3-4/day.
For US State Parks we just pay as we play.
Another useful tip for US travel. If you like to check email and surf while on the road, get a Starbucks card.
We were always looking for free wifi hotspots on the road our first 2 times out last year. You could find them, but many
were actually pay per use, and you either needed an account with the ISP, like AT&T, or a loyalty card at the business, like
McDonalds. Starbucks has a 2 hours/day wifi usage with their cards. The card has a minimum load of $5 and you only have to buy a coffee with it or add funds once a month. We gave in and got one in Texas last month and used it after the halfway point of our trip. When we got back to Canada, we found out it does work up here as well. So that's our mobile internet ISP when we're on the road now, for $5/month. Not free, but we think it's as good as it gets.

While not absolutely necessary, we also carry a small pair of binoculars (they're handy for reading signage from a ways
back, like if you're approaching a toll booth and they don't post how much it is before you get there). They're also handy
for other signage issues, or just for being nosey (just joking ).
I added a CB radio last year for emergencies (you're not always near a cell tower out there, but you can almost always talk to a trucker), and traffic jam info (again, usually from trucks that are in it or just passing it), and just for listening to the idle banter between truckers.
We don't have a built in inverter, so I added a cig lighter plug in model from Canadian Tire C$35, to recharge our cell phones and other 110VAC devices from the coach batteries while we're driving. It has built in low battery shut off and fault sensing, so it shouldn't drain us if we forget to unplug it (we hope). I also keep our battery cables in the back of the RV, just in case.
I also carry a small assortment of tools including vice grips, needle nose pliers, hammer, screw drivers, sockets/ratchet drive, and spare odds and ends including glass and blade style fuses, and of course, duct tape. Again, just in case.
Assuming you have a TV, you'll need a digital converter if you plan to use it anywhere in the US. They're available at
a few places now. Best Buy has one for C$99 and Tiger Direct has the one I got (Artec T3AP) for C$49. There's a thread
on this forum describing my trials and tribs getting it (and the LEDs) in, as well as a step by step on how to install one.

We also carry an assortment of cleaning supplies including paper towels, baby wipes (great for dusting or just to clean your hands), Windex, and a small vacuum cleaner to suck up dirt and sand and anything else that winds up on the carpet. Ours isn't the best one available, but it runs off 12V and it works reasonably well. I'm still looking for a better option. I also have a small bucket, a long handled soft wash brush, and a long handled squeegee with scrub webbing on the sponge. For hard to reach places. After a long drive, I try to get the bugs off asap, but I'm not always successful. There's a thread on here about what folks use to get their bugs off. I'll need to visit it later as my van still has some insect debris on it from our last trip.

That's about all I can think of right now, that we take with us to make life easier.

Mike.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

WOW....you guys are super!
thanks Marko for all the great "shopping" tips. Very helpful.
and thank you Mike for all your knowledgeable travel tips. Really helps to get advice from the "pros"! Knew I came to the right forum!
Another question:
We will be traveling around BC this summer & fall and then into the US for some warmth in winter months. We prefer provincial/state parks and small mom/pop operations to the larger resort type rv parks.
Trying to figure out the simplest and least expensive way to stay in communication with family members(all in BC) as well as have a means to call for help in case of an emergency. At this point I do not have a cell phone or a laptop. We keep life simple!
Having said that, I am open to getting one or the other.
Ideas? (Like your Starbucks card suggestion Mike, for keeping up with email.)
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: New to a "B"!

If you have a Hotmail or some other email id already, you could try what I did and get a mini-laptop or netbook just
to keep in touch by email. They're just smaller laptop computers. I got mine at Walmart for $329+tax.
It's an Acer netbook. Has built in wifi and connects easily to Starbucks wifi hotspots. It came loaded with
Windows XP Home. For phone contact, you could do what Hallibagger does, and get a cell phone from a US
Walmart with a prepaid/pay as you go plan, and just add cards/airtime to it when needed. You'll pay long
distance and airtime but it's cheaper than roaming. When you get it, let your contacts know the number.
I don't recommend using a Canadian cell phone down there, as the roaming charges are ridiculous.

Good luck.
btw, compared to most on here, I'm still a rookie too. I just have too much time on my hands.
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