Stuff we've found very useful. Dumping. Storage. Coffee. Leveling.
After doing a lot of research, we recently purchased a 2015 Itasca Navion 24M from Mike Thompson RV in Colton CA. We were attracted to it by: (1) the Mercedes Sprinter chassis with good fuel mileage, solid build quality, long service intervals, and so on. (2) The 24M floor plan was really attractive for our needs. We travel with 2 adults, a standard poodle, and a golden retriever. Having the considerable amount of open floor space, especially when the slide is out and the sofa bed is folded up makes moving around much easier than in any of the other Sprinter-based Class B or Class C RVs we looked at. Of course, the slide itself was a plus. (3) The rear bathroom was a major selling point. I'm a hefty guy and many RV toilets--even in 40 foot diesel pushers--lacked sufficient (how to put this delicately?) knee room when sitting. The 24M has plenty. Plus, the shower accommodates as well. (4) The short length makes driving the Navion a snap and (at least for now) eliminates the need for a toad. (5) The swiveling cab chairs and auxiliary table expand you living arrangement options a lot. (6) Good storage space, especially the rear closet in the bathroom. (7) Our RV came without the cab bed, which gives a nice open area that makes moving between the cab and coach easier.
We're storing the Navion at Benchmark RV in Sun Valley, CA. Very professional, very helpful, valet service. Not the warmest and fuzziest guys, but we like them a lot anyway.
We're just back from our first shakedown cruise to Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton. We wanted someplace close to home in case anything went wrong and we'd always wanted to go to the Hitching Post (Sideways notwithstanding). We really liked both. My Yelp reviews are here.
Lessons learned: We did not do a sufficiently thorough inspection when we picked up the RV after buying it and missed several nagging minor problems. Latches not working quite right and so on. Hopefully they'll all be covered by the warranty. My next RV will get a much longer inspection.
Upon arrival at Flying Flags, we opted not to hook up the cable TV, city water, or sewer. This made it much easier the next day to unhook and drive over to Solvang. (Nice town but crowded and seriously kitschy).
Speaking of sewer, the black water and grey water tank meters proved ineffectual. When we left on Sunday, they still showed empty but when I dumped the tanks there was quite a lot of waste. As for the first time I ever dumped sewage, the less said the better.
The refrigerator took a long time to get cold, but when it did it ran fine. Is there a way to speed up the process other than maxing out the temperature control (I guess I should say, minimizing it)? Conversely, using both the electric and LP water heater elements meant we had hot water almost immediately. Once the water was hot, I turned off the LP element and had plenty of hot water the rest of the way.
I hooked my iPhone up to the TV using a lightening to HDMI adapter. Worked great at showing videos.
Our Navion has a sofa bed with foam mattresses instead of the old air mattress. As others have noted, there is a metal rod in the fold of the bed that is uncomfortable. Anticipating that, we bought 3-inch thick Wamsutta mattress pads and Travel Sack bags for both beds. They provided more than adequate cushioning. Storing them is a bit of a PITA, however. We still haven't found an ideal place for the full size pad that goes on the sofa bed. We're currently putting it back in the plastic container in which it came and stowing that in the shower during the day.
We averaged 15.5 MPG roundtrip with a mix of highway, backroad, and in-town driving. Total of about 250 miles, counting side trips. Still tracking down rattles, but the slide and the stove seem to be the main culprits. Still, there were a lot fewer rattles than I expected. Drives like a breeze. If you can drive a large SUV, this is no problem. Plenty of power for entering the highway and so on. Easy to park.
I'm not happy with the infotainment/GPS sat nav. It's too low in the dash, so you have to take your eyes off the road to use it. There is a huge amount of glare that makes it hard to read. It's a magnet for dust, fingerprints, and dog hair, which makes the readability issues even worse. The backup camera is pretty much useless. I am unable to figure out how to get voice navigation instructions without having the radio on.
As regular readers know, I've been resisting travel for several years due to the combined miseries of enduring TSA groping and suffering from a bad back. With the considerable improvement of my back in the last year or so, however, I've gradually been easing my way back into travel. And now I'm busting out in a big way. Next Month Helen and I are off to New Zealand, where I will be the 2014 Visiting Cameron Fellow at the University of Auckland Faculty of Law.
The Auckland Law School is delighted to welcome Professor Stephen Bainbridge to New Zealand in May, as the visiting Cameron Fellow for 2014. ...
Stephen and his wife Helen will be visiting New Zealand from 10 May until 3 June. ...
Stephen’s Fellowship is funded by Auckland alumnus Tim Cameron, a litigation partner in the leading New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, and his wife Kathy. Stephen’s Fellowship is the third Cameron Fellow the Auckland Law School has welcomed. In 2010, Professor Jim Ryan, a specialist in constitutional law at the University of Virginia, was the inaugural Cameron Visiting Fellow, followed by Professor Carol M. Rose, an American authority on individual property rights in 2011.
While there I will be giving a number of talks, including a public lecture on (regular readers will have guessed) Director Versus Shareholder Primacy in New Zealand Company Law as Compared to U.S.A. Corporate Law.
I'm grateful to the University of Auckland law faculty and Tim and Kathy Cameron for this wonderful opportunity.
From the WSJ:
The small regional jets once loved because they replaced rickety, noisy, slow turboprops have multiplied into the majority of domestic airline flights in the U.S., and are now seen as some of the least desirable airplanes. Travelers accustomed to riding in a full-size jet instead find themselves on planes with tighter seating, lower ceilings and fewer amenities for flights as long as four hours.
Regional-jet service has grown over the last 10 years to be the backbone of much of domestic air travel, even if it is impossible to stand up straight in the bathroom. ...
Russell Huffman, a tech company sales vice president on the flight, joked that airlines have "done a good job figuring out the right amount of misery people will put up with."
Wrong. At least as far as this camel is concerned, the airlines and TSA have figured out the right amount of miserable straws to break his back. I'm not scared of flying. I just fraking hate it so much that it'll take a death in the family to get me on a plane these days.
But I have discovered trains with sleeper compartments. And I'm hoping to use them to get back into the academic speaking circuit starting next year.
People are so used to air travel meaning delays and invasions of basic privacy that we’re willing to travel in less convenient, more dangerous ways to avoid the hassle. From Bloomberg Businessweek:
There is lethal collateral damage associated with all this spending on airline security—namely, the inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.
You realize that there is very little evidence that the TSA makes air travel safer. You get that, right? The shoes, the liquids, the random bag searches that uncover dildos and G.I. Joe weapons — none of that is actually helping. The TSA is one big rock that promises to prevent tiger attacks; you’re supposed to think it’s working just because a tiger doesn’t show up in your backyard to maul you.
Mystal then moves to the crux of the problem:
Maybe it’s the law school in me, but I think the problem is that there is no one particular interest group that TSA is picking on. There’s no “legal defense fund” that represents people who have been violated by the TSA. Hell, we don’t even have a Gloria Allred of TSA claims. We don’t have anybody whose job is to legally protect us from the TSA.
TSA’s greatest strategy has been to violate all of us. Not only Arabs or only poor people or only gun owners or only people who dislike watching their children molested. It turns out, there are no lawyers for “Americans.”
And so the TSA-ists win.
TSA reportedly exposed breasts of Rep. Ralph Hall’s teen grandniece, called it ‘accidental’; Update: TSA internal report released, blames girl’s ‘loose fitting’ dress
If they'll do it to a relative of a member of Congress, what won't they do to the rest of us?
Reports abound of arbitrary and abusive treatment by overzealous agents, a litany of intimidation that includes attractive women singled out for extra "examination," unnecessarily aggressive pat-downs and, perhaps most commonly, verbal abuse toward passengers who exhibit any sort of indignation for what they perceive as harsh or unnecessary measures.
The worst fears of many air travellers were confirmed last week in a court finding related to a 2011 incident in Norfolk, Va. A former agent of the Transportation Security Administration, a federal department founded shortly after the 9/11 attacks, pleaded guilty to stealing $520 from a passenger. The theft, of course, is bad enough (and all too common, as we'll see in a moment). But according to statements from the agent, John W. Irwin, he did so partly as a means to punish a traveller he felt was giving him attitude. ...
As for the outrageous theft by the people who are supposed to be ensuring our security, it apparently goes on all the time. Not only cash, but phones, iPads and laptops frequently fail to make it back into passengers' luggage. Since 2003, nearly 400 TSA agents lost their jobs due to theft.
Of course, TSA lying propagandists like "Blogger Bob" would have you believe that the TSA is run by angels making our lives safer and better each and every day.
BLUE ON BLUE INTERCONTINENTAL HIGH-SPEED RAIL FAIL: “For decades the environmental movement has used [the National Environmental Protection Act] and its [California Environmental Quality Act]-like state equivalents, to block key energy development and infrastructure projects. Seeing Obama’s signature transportation initiative killed by this same tactic is some sweet poetic justice.”
(Headline inspired by this presidential malapropism.)
How could anyone who's dealt with TSA and the airlines in recent years root against high speed transcontinental rail? The prospect of luxuriating in a comfortable sleeper cabin while the train races across the continent at blazing speed seems so attractive to this increasingly aerophobic traveller. Indeed, if I thought he could make it happen, I'd vote for Obama in a minute.
In his 9/11 memorial speech, which I thought was generally well done, President Obama proclaimed that "America does not give in to fear." In response to which, however, I can't help but wonder why I can't get on an airplane without a TSA agent practically conducting an anal probing that would make a little green alien man proud?
It's bad enough that the TSA as a whole ignores the spirit of the Fourth Amendment, but now at least one TSA agent has decided to ignore the First Amendment.
I am massively troubled, if not horrified, by the idea that a woman who feels sexually assaulted [by a TSA agent] based on what happened above ends up being threatened for saying she felt violated. Talk about adding insult to injury.
I wonder what old TSA Blogger Bobblehead will say about this one?
The government has warned airlines that terrorists are considering surgically implanting explosives into people in an attempt to circumvent screening procedures, according to U.S. officials.
There is no indication of an immediate plot, but the new information could lead to additional screening procedures at the nation’s airports. Existing scanners would not necessarily detect bombs implanted under a person’s skin, experts said. ...
A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, Nicholas Kimball, said that passengers flying to the United States are likely to face additional screening measures.
"These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same activity at every international airport," Kimball said. "Measures may include interaction with passengers, in addition to the use of other screening methods such as pat-downs and the use of enhanced tools and technologies."
Presumably, any woman with fake boobs can now expect a thorough groping. But why stop there? Why not anal probing? Seriously, how much more bullshit are we going to accept from the TSA? At what point do we stand with Ben Franklin and say that "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety"?
I practically got strip searched by TSA agents when traveling last week, which makes this story all the more aggravating:
Authorities are looking into a shocking security breach that took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week. Investigators say Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, a Nigerian, boarded Virgin America Flight 415 to Los Angeles without a valid passport or identification, using an expired boarding pass for a flight the day before that belonged to someone else. Officials say Noibi got through security and was able to board the plane. No one noticed until the flight was airborne when a flight attendant realized Noibi was sitting in a seat that was supposed to be vacant.
Of course no TSA agent noticed. They're too busy groping the junk of 95 year old cancer victims to bother reading boarding passes.
It's bad enough that we have to put up with ever more intrusive TSA security theater. The fact that it doesn't work just adds insult to injury.
The Transportation Security Administration stood by its security officers Sunday after a Florida woman complained that her cancer-stricken, 95-year-old mother was patted down and forced to remove her adult diaper while going through security....
"While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner," the federal agency said. "We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."
Jean Weber told CNN's Fredricka Whitfield on Sunday that the security officers may have been procedurally correct, but she still does not believe they were justified, especially given her mother's frail condition. "If this is your procedure -- which I do understand -- I also feel that your procedure needs to be changed," she said.
How much longer are we going to tolerate living in a police state where this sort of absurd security theater takes place? I simply don't believe TSA makes us safer. What makes us safer are secure cockpit doors and passengers who will no longer stand by like sheep when terrorists strike. The rest is all costly bull sh*t.
On Friday, government officials anonymously claimed that "a rushed examination" of the "trove" of documents and computer files taken from the bin Laden home prove -- contrary to the widely held view that he "had been relegated to an inspirational figure with little role in current and future Qaeda operations" -- that in fact "the chief of Al Qaeda played a direct role for years in plotting terror attacks." Specifically, the Government possesses "a handwritten notebook from February 2010 that discusses tampering with tracks to derail a train on a bridge," and that led "Obama administration officials on Thursday to issue a warning that Al Qaeda last year had considered attacks on American railroads."
If I were the sort of fellow who enjoyed inventing good conspiracy theories, I'd be inclined to suggest that the train "intelligence" is a TSA ruse to get its gropers into train stations, so they have a whole new venue in which to fondle our junk.
The reality, as The New York Times noted deep in its article, was that "the information was both dated and vague," and the official called it merely "aspirational," acknowledging that "there was no evidence the discussion of rail attacks had moved beyond the conceptual stage" In other words, these documents contain little more than a vague expression on the part of Al Qaeda to target railroads in major American cities ("focused on striking Washington, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago," said the Sun-Times): hardly a surprise and -- despite the scary headlines -- hardly constituting any sort of substantial, tangible threat.
But no matter. Even in death, bin Laden continues to serve the valuable role of justifying always-increasing curtailments of liberty and expansions of government power. ... So Al Qaeda breathes the word "trains" and Schumer jumps and demands the creation of a massive, expensive and oppressive new Security State program to keep thousands and thousands of people off trains.
We ought to be using OBL's death as an opportunity to rethink the security state, not using it to justify expanding the role of government in our lives.