Fun Times in Petaluma!

So here we are, livin’ the dream, full timing at the Petaluma KOA for a month. Our first weekend just happened to coincide with a TCT rally (Tin Can Tourists) at the park.  It was packed with vintage trailers with lots of folks talking trailer talk and selling odds and ends a lot of which were old antiquish knick knacks.  There were some pretty cool trailers from years gone past and one stretch limo cruised through (I heard someone mention it was a ’56 Chevy) piloted by a fellow co-worker of mine, Ken Williamson, who has a talent for restoring old cars.

Nice ride, Ken!
Bring back the 60’s?

These are just a very few of what was on display, there were probably 100 +/- vintage trailers showing off their stuff, many were rescued from dump sites and trailer graveyards.  These folks are definitely talented restorers.  All in all it was a fun weekend.

Next up was a visit to the local pumpkin patch, Adobe Pumpkin Farm on E. Washington St. @ Adobe Rd. in Petaluma.  Jenn and Gustavo brought our grandbaby,  Maximus the Gladiator, for a visit and we all went to the farm.  Max is 10 months old and on the brink of walking, so he had a blast with his “assisted-walking” around the hay stacks, pumpkins, and animals at the petting zoo area.

Maximus on the move with Mom and O-Ma.
I know Max is thinking, “Just how am I going to get this pumpkin into my mouth, it sure looks tasty!?”
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Riding in style!
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O-Pa, O-Ma, and the little eating machine.
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A family Jack-O-Lantern!

And now, for the latest installment of fun. We decided to go ahead and get a satellite dish system for those out-in-no-man’s-land places we may encounter.  And I preface this with I am THE MOST incompetent fix-it person to walk the face of the earth (wiring: is that connection a 110 V or 111 V?)  The install is for a 2012 Cougar 5th Wheel.  We chose the Dish network service, a Dish  receiver, and the Winegard Carryout satellite antenna.  We purchased all through the Camping World dealer over in Vacaville.  We then embarked on a nightmare of a journey trying to get the whole system set up and operable.  Once we got back and opened the receiver box, we found it was a re-stock from a prior purchase (plastic bags opened, batteries other than the stock batteries were set in the remote). We chose to continue with the attempt at setting the system up.  In our research on-line, reading comments from numerous other RVers regarding satellite systems, and reading the enclosed manuals that came with the equipment, I did not know if connecting thru the trailer cable system was going to work.  So priority #1 was to see if we could set it up and receive signals.  I direct cabled the antenna to the receiver to the TV and HDMI’d the receiver to the TV.  We followed the instructions for set up but when we fired up the receiver, it was in the middle of a six step set-up, stuck on step 5 some sort of check for ethernet connection. Oh boy.  2 FULL days of burning minutes on our cell phones with tech support for both the receiver and Winegard, transfers from one level of tech support to second and third levels of tech support, we got NOTHING.  We took the receiver back to Camping World and swapped it with one that we confirmed was NEW-in-the-box.  We then returned and started over. Once we fired up the receiver, again we had issues with acquiring signal, after following the instructions and going through the 38 tests.  Jeanne, the brains of this outfit, got frustrated and followed the instructions to re-set the factory settings on the receiver.  Once done, after a couple of phone calls to Dish to get the box activated, we finally were able to get signal.  Our next chore was to try to figure out how to wire the system through the trailer’s existing wiring.  Jeanne contacted Keystone (manufacturer of the Cougar) and got the satellite wiring diagram e-mailed to her.  This illustrated the method of hooking the satellite antenna to the exterior cable connection (which is actually labelled “satellite prep”) and then removing the short “jumper” coax cable from the wall behind the TV and connecting coax cable from the top of the jump to the “satellite in” jack of the receiver and another cable from the bottom of the jump to the “out to TV” jack of the receiver.  Holy Smokes! Success!  We have Satellite TV!  HD no less!  There were a couple of related minor issues in this 3-day fiasco.  We were telling the salesman at Camping World about our issues with the first receiver and he told us that being able to set up the receiver on our own was not possible, that “a lot of people” have had the same issues as us.  He said the receiver “HAD” to be set up to one’s home satellite system to get programmed properly, or brought into the store and programmed there.  How wrong he was.  And we had an issue with the HDMI cable jack in the back of the TV.  The TV is mounted on a steel bracket inside the entertainment cabinet at the back of the trailer.  There is a small, about 5″ circular hole in the center of the bracket through which all the cables pass through from the TV to the DVD/stereo/power plugs.  Unfortunately, the 2 HDMI jacks are about 1″ wider than the circular opening and there is less than 1″ of space between the bracket and the HDMI jacks on the back of the TV.  The HDMI cord that came with the receiver has standard fittings that are in-line with the cable which is fairly thick.  These fittings do not fit between the TV and the bracket.  We went to Best Buy and picked up a “Rocketfish” HDMI cable which had a thinner cord, one standard sized fitting and the other end a shorter fitting that would fit where the standard one would not.  the standard fitting was labelled “TV” and the short one labelled “Source”.  The salesman at Best Buy assured us that we could use that cable reversed, the short fitting for the TV.  How wrong he was.
So, back to Best Buy to swap out that cable for one we found that had both fittings in the small version. So much for trusting sales people, EVER AGAIN!  I think they are all conspiring to mess with my head! Now where’d I put my Thorazine?

Now that we were successful with the satellite, it is a big “thumb’s up” for satellite vs. park cable service.  The picture is incomparable and being able to choose your own entertainment package is the only way to go.  Too bad a tech challenged person such as myself had to suffer that torture, reminded me of rooting for the Giants in this past NLDS.  Life goes on, and GO GIANTS!

About rvrrat520

Recreational wanderers just livin' the dream while we can still get vertical.
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