Thursday, November 17, 2011

A few more "favorite things"

Ah the holiday shopping season is here again!  I've been noticing the UPS man starting to make daily stops to the cul-de-sac this week (or, as my brother likes to call him, "Brown Santa") -- a sure sign that the annual shopping frenzy has begun.  Have all the good little RVing girls and boys made their holiday wish lists for Brown Santa yet this year?

I treated myself to the newest craze on the Skinnie Winnie Yahoo Group site-- a pair of Bilstein shocks! (something seriously demented about a middle-aged woman dreaming of filling her Christmas stocking with...of all things...heavy-duty shock absorbers!)

But the men on the Forum all seem to rave about how well they eliminate the "rock and roll" a View typically makes whenever it drives slowly over a curb, so I can't wait to get them installed and give them a try!

Last April, I did a Favorite Things post of my fabulous folding leather ottoman, my full-bed sized camp mattress, and my bargain $7 Crock pot.  Recently, some readers have been asking to see some of the other favorite things I've commented on, but have yet to post pictures of.  So, here's my next round of "favorite things"....just in case you need a little something else to add to your wish lists!

LED TV with Clamp Mount Arm

I hated the 19" Jensen LCD TV that came with my View.  It was heavy (29 lbs) and mounted at an angle that only worked well if you were standing to watch TV (and who does that?!!).  So, when the Jensen died a quick death last year, I bought a great super-thin Vizio 22" LED TV ($249, and only 8 lbs!).  I had an old Ergotron clamp-mount computer monitor arm, so initially used that:

While that solution was rock-solid and gave me the dual option of mounting it to the dinette table to use it as a laptop monitor while working, the arm was too heavy-duty for such a lightweight TV.  I liked that the TV could now tilt and swivel for better viewing angles, but it still seemed too high up to view comfortably (especially when seated at the dinette).

So, I then found a lighter weight Ergotron arm that could also be used upside down.  This also came with a clamp mount, but I found that it's grommet screw fit right into one of the screw holes from the original Jensen TV mount, so I decided to mount it that way instead.  This solution, not only lowered the TV to a comfortable viewing angle, but it now allowed the shelf to be used for holding my Dish satellite TV receiver!

An added bonus, is the ability to swivel the TV around so that it can be viewed out the dinette window from the outside-- instant outdoor movie theater!

In travel mode, I store the Satellite receiver in the cabinet next to the shelf.  I keep the TV mounted on the arm, and simply wrap a couple bungee cords around it to keep the arm from extending.  Now over 5,000 miles of travel-- so far, so good!

I love that the TV also has Internet apps and a built-in Wifi receiver.  From my 3G Mifi cellular hotspot, I can watch a Netflix movie, a Flickr photo slideshow, or listen to Pandora and Rhapsody music services through my TV connected to my RV speakers.  Geek out!  

Table-Mate Folding Table:

When I showed my ottoman in the April post, I forgot to show the folding table I often use with it-- the Table-Mate Classic ($45).  Ok, granted, the plastic "fake woodgrain" top looks a little cheezy, but this thing is super strong, lightweight, folds flat, and has no sharp corners or edges.  Best of all, you can prop your feet up when using it.  The perfect tray table when doing laptop work from the reclining swivel seat. So comfy!

Sodastream Soda Maker:

I've never been a coffee drinker, and always used to hate dragging those big 2-liter pop bottles from the store (especially when camping).  So, when I discovered the Sodastream home soda maker ($99) a few years ago, I was thrilled!  In addition to their online store, they now sell these at Bed, Bath, and Beyond stores, and other retailers, making it fast and easy to get refill carbonator bottles and soda syrups in what ever metro area I happen to be driving through.

This is an ideal system for RVs.  No electricity required.  No heavy bottles or cans to store (just the small syrup bottles and the 1-liter soda bottle), and lots of interesting flavors besides the traditional Cola, Root Beer, 7up, and Dr. Pepper choices.  Best of all, you'll always have freshly carbonated soda-- no more "flat" stale pop!

This summer, I was hooked on their Strawberry Kiwi Green Tea and mixed it with just regular (rather than carbonated) water -- very refreshing!  I like that their soda mixes have a lot less sodium than traditional sodas.  It's also fun to create your own more natural mixes, such as carbonating some fruit juice.  If you like sodas, treat yourself to this tasty system!

So what's on your RVing "Wish List" this holiday season?


  1. I was just looking at TV's in Wallyworld yesterday wondering which would be good for in my RV. I decided I shou;ld wait till I knew a little more about it, so your post is very timely for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this! I will have to check out that Skinny Winnie Yahoo group as well.... Have a great weekend!

  2. Great post about the TV and more. I have been looking for a small TV that has the internet apps on it but until now, I haven't found one. I just bought this TV on eBay and will look for that mount. Thanks!

    If you put s few small tabs of 3m dual lock under the sat receiver, you wouldn't have to store it during driving. It's the same stuff that holds an "EZ PASS" to your windshield. Find it on ebay for around $3.

    I installed those exact same HD bilstien rear shocks on our View this summer. It took about an hour for the whole job and I didn't even need to jack up the RV.

    With only 16k miles on our 08... the original shocks were totally useless. Winnebago seems to be cheaping out on the shocks they use.

    The new Bilstien HD shocks help with the sudden, loud BAM and SLAM of driving over expansion joints and other raised road surfaces BUT... they don't --> noticably <-- help with the rock and roll that the View is famous for. If you're buying them just for that, I think you'll be disappointed.

  3. We wanted Bilstein shocks for our View but the local Camping World swore there were none that would fit so we bought Koni's. Of course the same Camping World couldn't install the awning they recommended we order.

    You have added greatly to our Christmas list - especially the ottoman with table.

    Thought I'd let you know that this week we removed the dinette upholstery from the cushions and washed all 4 pieces in a front loading washer on gentle(in 2 loads). We let them air dry and they went back on the cushions perfectly. No shrinkage and no wrinkling whatsoever.

  4. Great post. Thanks so much for the info on the TV mount.

  5. Great info on the tv mount. Since I am a sports addict, I am thinking with a Class C of mounting that type of arm to my 46" Samsung so it swings out in the bed area above the cabin. In the Thor Chateau model they have their overhead built that way with a drawer sliding out for a single bunk.

    Great info....also, thanks Don about the shocks information.

  6. Lynne did you get your rear shocks installed? Did you notice a difference in the swaying?

    I installed my Ergotron arm today. I eneded up buying a different arm by mistake but it seems like it will work out just fine. Here's a link to the post. I mentioned your set up in my posting. I hope you don't mind?

  7. Also worth mentioning... the TV you bought (and it's larger 26" big brother are no longer being made by vizio. Their replacements (221 & 261) do not have the internet apps. What a bummer! I have tried to find another brand new, currently made 22 - 26 inch TV that has internet apps but I haven't found any.

    If anyone knows of a new TV being made now with internet apps, please post about it. I'd rather not go to ebay or amazon and buy a used or refurbished older model.


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