Switched our hot spot device and kept our grandfathered Verizon Unlimited data plan

I want to take a minute and touch base on the topic of the new data hot spot device we picked up and the hurdles we had to get over before we figured it all out.

 For a lot of you who are far more techy than we are this may sound like a simple thing but for those of us that struggle through figuring this stuff out we are hoping this update may be of some help.

 And we won’t go into all of the different data plans we have had over the years but those of you that fulltime certainly understand the challenges involved in having enough data while on the road and especially for those that like to stream movies etc. (something we had never done in our lives until just a couple months ago by the way LOL!!)

 Ok, last year we switched our data plan to Verizon’s Prepaid Hotspot Data Plan (pUDP) which for $65 per month with the autopay discount gave us unlimited high speed data with no set data caps like you have with most “unlimited” plans. The only possible slowdowns we could encounter would be from what Verizon calls “Network Management” if we happen to be in a heavily congested area which at that time we could have our data slowed. *as a note we have not had any issues with this but we very seldom are in highly populated areas).

 The bad news is that as of May 2019 Verizon has retired their prepaid Unlimited Jetpack plan but the good news is that if you had the plan you are now in “grandfathered” status and for now as long as you keep your plan in good status and have no lapses will be able to keep it.

Now for the issue we ran into. When we switched to the Prepaid Unlimited Plan we bought a Ellipsis Hot Spot device that was suggested to us by Verizon and right from the start we had problems with dropped signals. So many that it was not uncommon to have a signal loss 2, 3 or even 4 times in the short period of maybe an hour at times which just frustrated the hell out of me. To be honest it plain pissed me off. And there was no ports on the Ellipsis to even add an external antenna to try and better the problem. It was just a bad devise for us.

 The simple fix in my mind was to just buy a new devise and be done with it but when I contacted Verizon they said that we could not buy a new device and have it activated without changing our data plan which meant we would lose our unlimited plan as we knew it and would have to deal with the dreaded data caps again. We were told that Verizon wants to ween everyone off that plan for obvious reasons.

 In an effort to get around the situation I called Verizon on the phone and we visited 3 different Verizon store locations just hoping we would get a different answer if we could just find the right person but we had no such luck. Every one of them told us that if we switched devises that we would need to also change our plan.

 About this time I decided to ask the question on a couple of the RV forums and see if anyone had any luck switching devices and some of the answers I got were promising and one person recommended that I check the Technomadia website and also the Internet for RVers and Cruisers Facebook page.

 Let me tell you, if you have not found the Tchnomadia website or the Rvers and Cruisers Facebook page yet be sure to check them out because they are a world of knowledge wrapped up into in a bow when it comes to data stuff and when a question is asked on the Facebook page you get no nonsense answers in a very timely manner.

 And the answer I got was to NOT go to Verizon to buy a new hot spot device but to buy one from a 3rd party of some sort, Amazon, Ebay or go to a bricks & mortar location like Best Buy and once you buy one simply switch the sim card from your current Hot Spot devise to the new devise and BAM, you are in business. (You just have to make sure the new device accepts the same size sim card as your old device and buy it outright with no plan attached).

 Once we did this there was no issues at all. You of course have to connect your devises like computers, tablets, TV’s or whatever else you normally hook up to your hot spot and put in the new password that comes with the new hot spot but that’s it, really pretty simple even for a non-techy guy like me.

 I opted for the Verizon 8800L hotspot device and at the time of this update we have had it for 2 weeks and have not had one single dropped connection so we are happy campers.

 And the 8800L has two external ports so that if we ever feel the need to use an external antenna we can, something we had no way of doing with our Ellipsis. And there is so much more information available on the screen and it’s so easy to navigate that it’s night and day compared to what we have been dealing with over the last year.

You just need to pop those to covers off each little hole to gain access to the external ports.

 There are other options obviously for hot spot devices so don’t just go by what we opted to get, in fact the 7730L was another highly tried & true recommended device and would have been our second choice but you just need to do your own due diligence in deciding which one looks and sounds good to you.

 We hope this helps someone not go through the agonizing process we did.              

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A short vist to Eugene Oregon

 Sunday (8/11) we lifted our jacks and made a move 167 miles north to the Coburg Oregon (just outside of Eugene) and hunkered down at the Armitage County Park for 4 nights.

 As a quick side note this was our first travel day with Diane following behind in her car. It will be different not having someone to chat with but we know of people that either just get on their phones with the hands free option and talk that way, heck even the entire travel day, but I’m thinking that won’t be us.

 I know Diane probably enjoyed it more than me because she had Bruce Springsteen blaring the entire trip I’m sure and even though I like Bruce I’m not NEAR the fan she is! On so many of his songs he gets stuck on a word or a phrase over and over and over,,,,, and over and over and over and I just want to smack the radio like it’s a broken record LOL!!! Ok, enough of that.

 Even though we like Eugene and the surrounding area the main reason we make a stop here each year is to visit with our friends of many years Lee & Coleen. Lee & I have been on numerous motorcycle journeys over the years and we have had some pretty good times as couples as well and we always have good laughs when we are together.

 Back in the day one of the things we did was to bounce from one couples home to another a couple times a month (with Lee & Coleen and a couple other couples as well) to play one game or another and that was great fun so now we make an annual visit to have a evening or two of games LOL!!

 It never fails that my cheeks end up hurting from laughing so hard, good times for sure.

 Of course we made time for a few other things while in the area, we made a trip (or two) to Trader Joes, We had to have a meal at one of Diane’s favorite places called Café Yumm’s, we went area rug shopping because Diane decided we needed a new rug to go along with our new home (our old one was only 6 years old and I was perfectly happy with it but ya have to keep mama happy LOL!!).

This shows our old rug.

This picture shows the new rug

And we hit our favorite golf shop called Fiddlers Green so I could get some new balls to lose and of course we always have to go for a walk along the river while in the area. Oh and we decided that because we would be traveling in separate cars we should get Diane a phone, she has always been one of those people who just didn’t think she needed a phone and we always just had 1 between the two of us for the most part which has really worked just fine. And we picked up a new Hot Spot device to replace the piece of crap Ellipse we had been using.

Diane is coming out empty handed.

 

 

 

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One of the places we hit I especially liked and not necessarily for the shopping but because of the building, the historic Farmer’s Union Marketplace at the corner of 5th and Olive Street in downtown Eugene that was built in 1923 and now houses a few different shops and the one that originally drew us to it was Mountain Rose Herb Shop where we bought some essential oils for our diffuser.

 Back in the day the building was owned by a cooperative of several hundred local farmers that used it as a place to jointly sell, process, exchange and buy materials.

 It’s the rustic wood floors, rough cut timbers in the walls and ceilings, the old grain bins, hoppers and chutes that are scattered throughout that really caught my eye’s as we walked around giving a glimpse back of what once was.  I just loved the way they worked around the history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps it up for this update, we once again enjoyed our short in the Eugene area and once again thoroughly enjoyed our time with Lee & Coleen and we are pretty sure that if we return to the west coast next year we will do it all over again.

 As a note I think we will do a separate update about our decision on what phone plan we opted for for Diane’s new phone because it was apparent that Verizon who we use for our primary phone was going to cost more than we cared to pay for a line that wouldn’t be used that much. And we will also talk about what we went through to get the new hot spot device because we are on the grandfathered true unlimited Verizon plan and didn’t want to lose it.

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Our short stay in Central Point Oregon

 As we mentioned in our last update we rolled into the Southern Oregon RV Park Saturday (7/27) where we spent 15 days. The longest you are supposed to be able to stay is 14 days but because we rolled in one day early and we happened to get a friendly person behind the desk we were allowed to squeak in 1 extra LOL!!

Our site

 Typically we roll into southern Oregon once per year to take care of the “real life” stuff but this year as it turns out we decided to make two stops in the area and this first 2 week stay was mainly to do those “real life” things and get them out of the way and make our second stay just fun stuff. We will see how that works out.

 We won’t bore you with a lot of the stuff like doctors, dentists, optometrists and haircuts but just know it was all a lot of fun LOL!!! We have been talking about doing these things while we are in Arizona during the winter because we spend so much time there instead of trying to cram everything into such a short period but we will see how that washes out in the future as well. It’s not so bad doing all of those “real life” things in a short period but if for some reason a follow up visit is required and it can’t be scheduled during our short stay it can toss a monkey wrench into things pretty easily.

 Of course along with the “real life” appointments we had we also tossed in some fun stuff. Diane spent a day running around with her “our” friend Sherryl and Sherryl was kind enough to play chauffer to Diane for a couple of her appointments. Well they actually made a couple appointments together for haircuts & nails so it worked out well plus they tossed in some girl time. Of course Diane isn’t known for her picture taking so no pictures were taken at all.

 And we were able to get together with our close friends Rich & Chris for a lunch. They had a pretty busy schedule and were out of town some during our stay so we didn’t get to visit with them as much as we would have liked but I’m sure we will when we return in a couple months.

 Of course we tossed in some Pickleball. Even when Diane had a later scheduled appointment she was willing to kick back in a lawn chair at the courts while I played and then we would scurry off from the courts to her appointment, that way she wouldn’t be sweaty. She is a keeper!!!

Diane in the yellow top

 Also our friend Dan, a friend that we normally only see during our winter stay at Palm Creek, was up in Washington state and knew we were in Southern Oregon and decided to come down and play a few days of Pickleball, what a life we lead.

Dan & me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan and his wife Chris were headed back to Indiana before going south for the winter and had some time to kill so what better way to kill some time than going from town to town playing Pickleball, and if you can run across friends along the way to play with, even better.

This was in Medford. Most days we played there we had 6 courts full. That’s our friend Dan in the black Tee-shirt.

They were only in town for 4 full days and Dan and I managed to get out and play a few hours each and every day. And of course we all went out for a nice meal at the Texas Roadhouse before they left the area. Their visit was a nice surprise and one we hadn’t planned on during our stay.

 During our 2 week stay I think I played Pickleball at least 10 of those days and Diane not as many but she had a busier schedule than I did.

This was in Grants Pass at Fruitdale. Me in the green tennis shoes and our friend Brian in the Orange playing Brian’s wife Julie across the net and Dan.

This was in Grants Pass at Fruitdale. Me in the green tennis shoes and our friend Brian in the Orange playing Brian’s wife Julie across the net and Dan.

Dan & Me on the other side of the net. That was our first game of the day and they had us something like 7 to 1 but we got our act together and pulled off the win.

Dan & me on the other side.

 We were able to play at 3 different locations during our stay, Fruitdale Park and Morrison Centennial Park in Grants Pass and Fichtner Mainwaring Park in Medford. I’m sure when we come back for our month stay we will play at all of these locations and more.

This was a mixture of 3.0 & up play. This 1/3 of the courts being used that day.

This was in Medford on a day when 3.5 & up players gathered. A lot less people this day than any other.

This was Morrison Centennial in Grants Pass.

 Ok, now for the new addition to the family we eluded to in our last update.

 I’m pretty positive that we even talked about this being a planned thing way back when we were talking about switching from a Class A to a 5th wheel but just didn’t know exactly what the timing would be and to be honest I thought it would be in another year but things just started taking place and POOF, the next thing we knew we were the owners of a 2019 CRV AWD Touring edition SUV.

Diane’s 2019 CRV AWD Touring edition

 Yup, even though for the last almost 7 years of our fulltime life style I have been the primary driver and Diane and I have done 95% of all errands together there are those times that Diane runs off on her own to do something and she decided that she just didn’t want to deal with the big truck to do her running around.

 And even though I don’t mind driving and parking the big truck there has already been and no doubt will be those times that having a smaller vehicle to use doing things like going out to dinner, going to the store or places that just don’t cater to larger rigs having the CRV will come in handy.

 Plus let’s face it, the truck was not a cheap rig to buy and taking it out to run around on some of the back roads we like to drive to get to hiking trails or even some things we just want to see I didn’t cherish the thought of beating the truck up. Not that we want to beat up the CRV but you get what we are getting at I’m sure.

 And let’s be real, the truck gets in the neighborhood of 12 to 13MPG so far when running around and maybe even less when putting around towns and the CRV has gotten above 30MPG so far but now we are splitting hairs because of course there was the upfront cost, and insurance that would go a long ways buying fuel for the truck, we get that.

 It really comes down to 3 things, Diane’s independence, having a smaller vehicle for our daily driving and saving on the wear and tear of the truck. We know there will be challenges at time having the second car at some campgrounds and we know having 2 rigs will mean travel days will not be as enjoyable but because we also know we are planning fewer travel days per year than we have over the last almost 7 years and because we plan to sit longer at most stops these are things we are willing to deal with and have made the change with eye’s wide open.  

I guess that’s it from here, on Sunday (8/11) we lifted our jacks and made a move a little farther north. More on that next time.  

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Our trek from Durango to Southern Oregon

 In our last update we mentioned that we kept extending our stay in the Durango area because we were having such a good time and every time we extended meant that the miles we would need to cover each day once we started our trek to Oregon would need to be longer because of reservations we already had in place once we reached Oregon. And that was ok, we were willing to do that.  

 So on Wednesday (7/24) we finally rolled away from the Durango area and started our trek to Oregon.

We made a stop just outside of Moab to stretch.

 On our first travel day we took HWY 160 to 491 to 191 and then eventually hit I-70 and took it west until we reached Salina Utah where we found a not so used fuel station across the street from a Love’s if I remember correctly where we spent the night.

 That gave us a 330 mile travel day and it was 90 degrees when we got off the road so it was a long day and we must have hit a dozen summit’s it seemed because it felt like we were always going up.

 Once situated we walked about ¼ mile to a Denny’s and ate dinner before heading home. We then kicked on the generator and air-conditioners to cool things down a bit, watched a movie and then called it a night.

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 Thursday morning (7/25) we got around and hit the road once again at about 8AM taking HWY 50 out of Salina until we reached HWY 15, then 50 again until we reached Ely Nevada where we caught HWY 6 and stayed on it until we reached Tonopah Nevada which turned it into a 400 mile travel day.

 The good thing about this day is that there were far less mountain passes to conquer so even though it was the second long day in a row and it was longer than the day before it seemed like a much shorter day, you know what we mean.

This was just a stop to use the restroom and to give out butt’s a break.

 Regardless of it feeling like a shorter day it was another hot one so we decided to get a spot in a campground for the night so we could run the AC and be comfortable without having to run the generator.

 We opted for a spot we had driven by numerous times over the years called the Tonopah RV and spent the night, easy off and back on the highway if you are ever going through this way.

Our spot in Tonopah Nevada for a 1 night stay.

Our spot in Tonopah Nevada for a 1 night stay.

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After an uneventful night of showers and a movie we were up and the tires rolling again at 9AM Friday morning (7/26) with no real destination for the night.

We ended up driving HWY 95 until we reached Reno where we jumped onto HWY 395 and continued into California until we reached Susanville where it turns into HWY 36 and then once through Susanville we switched over to HWY 44 and drove another 25 miles until we reached a nice rest area that is called the Bogard Visitor Center making it an easy 338 mile day.

 Behind the rest area is the Bogard Snowmobile Area that has a huge paved parking lot where we decided to spend the night and other than a couple rigs driving through after dark we had the place to ourselves.

 The rest area itself is very well lit but the area we stayed in has no lighting at all and that’s the only reason we can think of that no one else opted to park there and I will admit that there was one truck that drove round after dark that had me outside watching their every move because it seemed a little odd but they opted to move on. No cell service in that area could also be a concern so just be aware of your surroundings.

 We enjoyed a nice peaceful late afternoon and evening chillin outside in our chairs until after dark when we went inside to watch a movie and finally hit the hay for the night.

 I guess I could make mention that another gremlin reared its ugly head in our New Horizon on this stop so I will be looking into that when we get to a spot where I can empty the basement and get to where I think the problem is. This one sounds like a water leak when using the water pump while dry camping. Dang it, didn’t we belly up for what is supposed to be one of the best made 5th wheels on the market!! Oh well, no escaping the new rig gremlins regardless of what you buy I guess.

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 Saturday (7/27) we took a pretty leisurely approach to our morning because we only had 195 miles to cover until we reached our next destination and a chunk of that was unfortunately going to be freeway driving so we knew we would make good time and didn’t want to arrive too early.

 Once on the road we continued on HWY 44 until we reached Old Station and then switched over to HWY 89 and drove it until we reached McCloud where the 2 lane highway drive we love so much would come to an end and we jumped on I-5 and headed north.

 As we approached McCloud we noticed that the view we were so accustomed to seeing of Mount Ashland was obstructed by smoke, something the west coast has been known for over the last few years. It seems a man caused fire near Canyonville Oregon was the cause.

You can just make out Mt. Shasta if you look close.

This is headed north on I-5, still in California

We rolled into the Southern Oregon RV Park at the fairgrounds in Central Point about 1PM and as luck would have it our site was empty and we were able to move right in.

 The plan was to spend 15 days in Central Point, a good spot to base from to take care of a few appointments we had scheduled. Oh, and a new addition to the family came about during our stay but you will need to come back to see what that was.

 That’s it for now.        

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Spending a little time in Durango

As we mentioned a couple updates ago Monday (7/13) we will lift our jacks and move 60 miles east from Pagosa Springs to Ignacio Colorado where we had reservations at the Sky Ute Casino RV Park for 8 nights, which we extended to 11 nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ignacio is located about 25 miles outside of Durango and even though it’s not right in Durango it is the nicest RV park around by far and it’s located only 6 miles from our friends Tom & Dianne who we haven’t seen in a couple years.

 We have stayed at the Casino before and this makes about the 3rd time we have visited the area in a RV and we have been through on motorcycle trips as well so I guess we must like it because we keep coming back.

 Of course staying at a RV park that is attached to a Casino means that we had to spend some time inside testing our luck. I think we spent a couple hours in the casino about 5 different nights during our stay and ended up only down $80 between the two of us so we will chalk that up to some pretty cheap entertainment.

 And we went into Durango a number of days and did a range of things including the touristy stuff like walking the streets and popping in and out of various shops along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And eating at a couple new spots we hadn’t been before and a couple of those spots we had the pleasure of enjoying the company of our friends Tom & Diane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also attended the local Farmers Market which we always enjoy doing and this time even more because again, we did it with Tom & Diane.

 On two different mornings we went into town so we could get a little exercise by walking a few miles along the Animas River Trail.

 On each occasion we spent a little time watching rafters navigate a set of rapids close to where we parked each day at the Animas City Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We could see that they obviously set up some gates that we imagine are used for some type of Kayak event that would be fun to watch if we ever end up in the area while it’s happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with all stuff we already mentioned we were able to spend some time with our friends Tom & Dianne at their new home.

 We met Tom & Dianne while we were both living the fulltime RV life style but they have since started a new chapter in live and have a nice spot in the country between Durango and Bayfield to call home. They seem very happy and of course we are happy for them.

 During our stay in the area we had to battle some of the “New RV gremlin” ordeals that always pop up when you get a new rig which of course was frustrating but we won’t go into that at this point, we will go into detail about it when we write a separate blog update about all that stuff. But I will say that some of the things that are happening are not what we expected to have happen from what is considered to be one of the highest end 5th wheels on the market.

 One day while walking the River Walk trail we both agreed that Durango was one of those special places that we could easily spend a month or two if it wasn’t for one major drawback, the town does not support Pickleball LOL!! Yup, we said that, and it’s just one of those things we want to have if we ever plan to spend any length of time at a location.

 Durango has a lot going for it, it’s a college town so you have the “full of life” feel you get from a college town, the downtown area is alive and well with plenty of quaint restaurants and pubs to explore, there are plenty of physical activities like hiking, biking and rafting to keep you busy, it sits at an elevation of 6522ft so it never really gets that hot and the list goes on and on but yup, no real Pickleball.

 Ok, so we say no real Pickleball but in all fairness they do have indoor Pickleball but that just doesn’t cut it for us, outdoor is where it’s at. And again in all fairness they did just get approval from a middle school in town to put lines on 2 tennis courts and use temporary nets for some outdoor play BUT those courts are slated to be torn out next year and they plan to make that area a turn around and loading spot for the school buses. And when that happens there go the outdoor Pickleball courts.

 I am happy to say that I was able to go in and play for a few hours one day, I would have gone in more but unfortunately the courts had just opened 2 weeks prior to us getting there and we just didn’t know about them until a couple days before we had to leave. But the play was strong and I ran into a couple guys that also winter at Palm Creek and that I have played with before so that was fun.

 All in all we had a great tie once again in Durango and something tells me we will be back .

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Our new Berkey Filter

In a recent update we talked about the fact that we take water quality pretty seriously and about the water softener we had installed in our 5th wheel, so I thought we would go a bit further and talk about another thing we added to our life style pertaining to water quality and that’s a Berkey water filter.

 When we lived in a sticks & bricks we pretty much knew what our water quality was and there was no guessing what we were putting into our bodies from one day to the next and we were lucky to always have good water (Not that it couldn’t have been better with a Berkey now that we look back).

 But even when living in a house we always seemed to run our drinking water through a Britta water filter and did so for years. Now we don’t know exactly how much water we drink each day and of course it varies but between drinking water and making coffee we use roughly 2 gallons per day that we ran through a filter.

**Ok now for fun let’s look at some rough numbers and use 8 years to play with even though I know we used a Brita for many more years than that. So we bought our Britta pitcher for probably $25 and we ran roughly 2 gallons per day though it so in 8 years we ran about 5840 gallons through the Brita, and we know these are very rough numbers.

 Brita recommends that the basic white filter that we used be replaced every 40 gallons so we used roughly 146 filters over the 8 years. Now we paid about $3 for each filter if we bought them in packages of 6 so we spent about $438 on those darn filters plus the $25 for the original pitcher.**

 Those numbers are all fine and good and we probably didn’t actually spend that much over those 8 years and you know why? I’ll tell you, probably because we didn’t replace the filters as often as we should have which in turn means we were not getting the purest water all the time which defeated the whole darn purpose. Sort of like why we went with a plumbed in soft water system in our 5th wheel, because I found myself not doing regenerations as often as I should have.

 Then the next chapter of our life came around when we went fulltime RVing and because for the most part we moved from location to location almost every week we REALLY had no real clue what type of water we would be subject to from one spot to the next.

 The natural thing for us to do was to bring the Britta along with us and make sure we ran all of the water coming into the RV through two water filter’s before it came out of our faucets and then to run our drinking and cooking water through the Brita and that’s what we did for a while until we reached a location that even doing that had us wondering about what we were putting into our bodies so we started buying bottled water for drinking.

 You see the Brita was fine for us when we knew we started with pretty good water but if you do your research (just a bunch of reading numerous articles) you realize that the Britta is limited in what it can really do when purifying water. It’s pretty good at removing chlorine, lead and mercury but as far as covering the full spectrum of nasty things you wouldn’t want to drink, they fall short, leaving behind things like asbestos and other bacteria that can make it through to your glass.

I was ok with buying bottled water for a long time, it wasn’t expensive (it never is when you just get nickel & dimed but over years it added up) and it sure was handy to just keep bottles in the refrigerator and grab one and go when needed but it wasn’t a perfect world for a few reasons. #1, you always had to make sure it was on your shopping list, #2, it took up valuable storage space which is always a concern while RVing, #3 now we had a Britta AND bottled water taking up space in the refrigerator and #4 and what ultimately became the biggest issue was the empty plastic bottles once used.

 If you have read our blog for any length of time you have no doubt read that I will recycle if it’s easy and I’m happy to do so but Diane on the other hand is a recycler gone wild it seems and living the fulltime life style places to recycle are not always convenient which meant that we at times carried far too many bags of plastic bottles along with us until we found a place that would take them and I won’t pull any punches, that caused some stressful moments between us, but we did it because ultimately I knew it was the right thing to do. You just can’t deny the problem too much plastic waste is causing in our world.

 Finally I think we have it figured out and after much research we purchased a Berkey water filter and stopped buying bottled water and stopped buying filters for the Britta and have even safer water to drink and boy, what a positive change this has been in more ways than one.

 Sure, the upfront cost of a Berkey seemed high as we picked up a case of bottled water for what, $2.99 for a case of 36 or so. And it seemed high as we bought 6 filters for our Britta at around $18 for 6 but even if you base everything solely on money if you figure it all out the Berkey would have been the cheapest way to go in the long run AND we would have been drinking safer water the whole time. We may be slow learners but eventually we figure it out LOL!!!

 Berkey filters come in a range of sizes and for us the Travel Berkey fit the bill both physical size wise and the amount of water it could run through per day. The Travel Berkey holds 1.5 gallons of water and can filter approximately 2 gallons per hour according to what their web site says (we have found that it filters a little slower than that but then again we don’t even use the 2 gallons per hour obviously so it’s not a problem) and the unit is 7.5″ round X 19″ Tall so it fits perfectly on our counter and it’s attractive to boot.

 The Travel Berkey we purchased cost $280 and came with 2 Black Berkey Filters that is good for 6000 gallons of purified water and 2 PF2 filters that take care of fluoride.

 OH WAIT!!! Did something just click? Does the reason I used 8 years to run the numbers on the cost of using a Britta all of a sudden make sense? Yup, in 8 years with the Britta we ran roughly 5840 gallons of water through our Britta at a cost of roughly $438 for filters alone, now that $280 for a Berkey that will purify 6000 gallons of water before ever needing a new filter sounds cheap doesn’t it LOL!!! AND you have safer water to drink and use.

 Ok, we have mentioned safer water with the Berkey a couple times now and we are not scientists and don’t have a bunch of high tech equipment sitting around to do our own tests obviously but I sure have read a bunch of articles and test results and watched more you-tube video’s about water filters than I care to admit and some of these videos seeing people take buckets of murky pond water and running it through their Berkey and having it tested only to find that murky pond water very drinkable were pretty impressive and also something that we will not be trying LOL!! But I guess it is good to know that if we ever had to, we could.

 I will also admit that when reading test results we saw that the Berkey removed a number of things from the water that we knew were bad like Arsenic, lead, Mercury, copper and pesticides but then it also removes about a gazillion other chemicals and micro-organisms that you’d have to be a scientist to understand, things that we didn’t even know existed LOL!! Well we won’t even get into things that deep.

 BUT if you want to check out a independent lab test that WILL go into detail just click on this link and be prepared to realize how many chemicals are in the water that you never knew were, or maybe we don’t want to know LOL!! https://www.berkeyfilters.com/pages/filtration-specifications

 Heck, Berkey filters are even used to purify non-drinkable water in third world countries by relief organizations like UNICEF, the Peace Corps, Missionary organizations and the Red Cross so that means something in itself.

 We have been using our Berkey for a few months now and as you can tell we are pretty darn happy with it. We also bought a couple Camelbak water containers that we carry with us while hiking and for other activities which have also helped cut down on our use of plastic bottles.

 Ok, full disclosure, we contacted Berkey to ask if we could get a one-time coupon to offer any of our followers a discount if anyone decided to purchase a Berkey and mention our blog but instead they said they would make us Advocates and would give us a token in return if anyone went to their web-site through our blog and made a purchase.

 Well that’s not what we had in mind but hey, if you have been on the fence about ordering a Berkey and found any value in our update about water filtration and are going to purchase a Berkey anyway we would appreciate it if you would click this link,   https://www.berkeyfilters.com/ that will take you to the Berkey site and then make your purchase.        

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Onboard RV Water Softener

 We wanted to take a minute and talk about one of the additions we made to our home on wheels that we really like and wish we had done sooner, a plumbed in water softener.

**(note: at the end of this update if this product is something you may be interested in the developer agreed to offer a discount to anyone mentioning that they saw this on our blog. FYI, WE GET NOTHING IN RETURN and want nothing) so look for the discount code.)**

 Since hitting the road 7 years ago we have been using a On-The-Go portable water softener and even though it certainly did the job it just became cumbersome storing it on travel days and setting it back up when we reached our destination.

 Then there was the issue of that portable tank sitting in the sun in hot weather and all that water inside the tank getting so hot that it was almost impossible to mix in enough cold while taking a shower for example to make the water tolerable. Of course we could just run the water long enough to run the hot water from the softener through the system but that was a big waste of water.

And I started finding myself not doing regenerations as often as I really should have. Part of the reason was because I just flat got lazy a few times and at other times it just wasn’t convenient at the campground we were at. Salt water is produced when doing a regen and running salt water onto grass or into areas with vegetation just isn’t a good idea. (Our new system runs the water into our grey tank during the regen)

 Anyway like we said, the On-The-Go was a fine unit but for us after dealing with it for so long it just wore out its welcome.

 So after some extensive research I happened across a unit that I felt would be superior to others I found and after speaking with the developer of the product more than once my feelings were cemented and we bought a unit from Jim at Motor Coach Water Filtration.

 We felt that because we just bought our new home on wheels it was a perfect time to make this purchase, we take water quality seriously and water softness (or hardness) is a big part of water quality, especially when you take into consideration so many parts of the country have hard water and how it effects the plumbing throughout the RV and all of your appliances including the water heater, faucets & shower heads, toilet jets and drains. And it helps control water spots (calcium deposits) and soap scum on your dishes and shower doors and effects the way your detergents perform and the way your soap’s and shampoo’s even perform.

 The system we bought has an automatic controller head that counts the water usage and performs the regeneration process as needed. In our case once our preset number of gallons used is reached we have the regen happen at 2AM in the morning when we are most likely not going to be up using water.

 The regen process goes like this, It first backwashes the resin beads in the softener, then the controller draws the salt brine into the softener and it sits for a bit while the brine removes the hard water ions that have coated the resin beads, then the softener is rinsed with fresh water and it’s ready to be used again.

 And of course if we want to run the regen process before the preset gallon amount is reached we can push a couple buttons and have it regen immediately or that night at our pre-set 2AM. And as we mentioned earlier, the water used during the regen goes into our grey tank so we don’t need to worry if it’s harming any vegetation or leaving a salt film on the blacktop.

This is the same process water softening systems are performing in residential homes and businesses around the country with success so why not do the same thing in a RV.

 Of course the meat and potatoes of any water softener system is the controller. First off during my research I found that there are three main controller head manufactures in the USA, Fleck, Autotrol and Clack and the system we purchased uses the Clack controller.

 The Clack and the Fleck valves use similar technology and use a single piston, which is the only moving part in the system and the Autotrol valve uses valve disc technology where the discs are opened and closed by a camshaft.

All of these valves seem to be very popular and have their pros and cons and you probably can’t go wrong with any of them but for extended use what I read is that replacement parts for a Fleck is far more expensive and I’m not real crazy about the extra moving parts in the Autotrol controller so I’m happy the unit we have uses the Clack head.

The system is almost “ALMOST” fully automatic. We do have to refill the brine tank with Solar Salt once and a while. We are not sure how often that will be for us and it really depends on where we spend time around the country and how hard the water is in those places but from what I have read I’m guessing we will refill the tank twice per year roughly, the brine tank holds about 10lbs of salt. That’s about as automatic as you can get. And the system is so quiet when it does it’s regen that we never hear it.

 The unit doesn’t take up much space either, we had a small box built for it to sit in and the dimensions of that box are 14” x 24” and about 6” tall.

 Along with the things I mentioned above that helped us decide on what unit we wanted I have to say that Jim (the co-owner of Motor Coach Water Filtration) has always been very responsive to my emails and has answered the phone almost every time I called him, even on a weekend which made me feel bad LOL!!! Even though the call’s I made and emails I sent were mainly during our research stages it makes us feel confident that if we do even need to contact them with any issues I’m sure we will get the same type of customer service.

 I only wish we would have jumped on board with a plumbed in unit long ago. Now the only thing I wish we would have done is plumbed in a more extensive filter system because I still need to set out 1 whole house filter before it goes to the single plumbed in filter on board. But that can be fixed when we find the right system.

 With that said, if you are considering a water softener for your RV I would highly recommend contacting Jim and have a chat with him.

 And as we mentioned at the start of this update if you contact Jim either by phone or email and tell him Dave & Diane sent you his direction he will offer a 5% discount and free shipping in the lower 48.

Jims contact info is: (phone) Jim Roberts (239)-776-6002

                                 (email) jim@motorcoachwaterfiltration.com

 

Ok, that’s it for this update,

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