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Old 02-05-2017, 10:44 AM   #29
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Help me understand this problem, aren't both tanks "open vented" to the roof already ?
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Old 02-05-2017, 12:36 PM   #30
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Tom

I cant help as much as an Aspire owner can and am sure that they will chime in with some very good advice and experience. Also, not sure what coach you are thinking about. However, I think that I know this. We had at least one coach that replaced his 4 standard AGM batteries with the new tall AGMs that are almost twice the ampacity and capacity that the 8 AGMs have in the Anthems. They are taller and fit into the same spaces as the current batteries. My memory is that they are just a little less in capacity than the two banks of 4 batteries have on the 8 battery coaches. I think that VoltDoc can straighten us all out on this modification (although he is an Anthem owners). Hope that helps and is fundamentally correct.

Gary
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #31
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Tom,

I have heard that two additional L-16 batteries are supposed to be an option on the 2018 Aspire so if you plan to boondock much it might be a wise investment. With 4 L-16 batteries you should be able to make it through the night without running the generator.
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:54 PM   #32
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LESSONS LEARNED – PART 2 -- For the Record

Well, the ENTEGRA@QUARTZSITE Gathering is over now and what a year it was. We ended up with 48-49 coaches attending although at some point we had 56-58 registered before we lost 9 coaches (by my count) due to sudden family emergencies, sudden medical emergencies, etc. I hope that all those emergency situations resolved well and everyone is in good shape, but it was a significant loss of coaches for various reasons. I thought I would amend the list of items that I called “Things Learned” last year and update it with a revised and expanded list of things learned based on our experience over two years. I will try to add the new things learned in a different color. The list from 2016 will be in black and the modifications/additions from 2017 will be in red (hopefully).


1. Quiet hours were not a big deal although that might not always be true. Our encampment was done where there was a lot of room..... we did that intentionally so we would have room for unanticipated arrivals. Our location was ideal.... hard ground, small pebbles/rocks. Some other areas were on sand or dirt and so could be a lot of dust. Our rigs really do kick up the dust when they travel over dirt. We were spaced far enough apart and far enough away from non-Entegra people that people ran their generators any time that it was necessary. I put the genny on AutoStart every night and found that I usually made it all night with no problem until the coffee pot kicked-on to brew coffee at 7:00 and triggered the AutoStart to fire up the Genny. This whole generator start issue was a major point of anxiety for a number of coaches. The Aspire owners, in particular, worried about this a great deal. The BLM “rules” clearly say that generator run noise cannot cause a problem at any time, and there are “quiet hours” from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, and Aspire owners knew a-priori that their lower battery capacity meant that it was rare for them to be able to make it beyond 3:00 or 4:00 am without the Genny starting, so we worried about noise complaints. We also had at least one Aspire that used 2 CPAP machines all night that thought that their genny might need to run all night. My guidance was that I did not think that it would be a problem. If one asks the “rangers” (actually the work-campers who manage the “ranger station”, you get told quite unceremoniously that quiet hours are absolute and there will be no genny running after 10:00 pm, so it is best not to waste time asking them…. You get “chapter and verse”. My strategy was to talk to all the neighbors, not part of our group, and give them a full explanation of what we were doing and if they had a problem to come find me or call me on the phone, and that appeared to be enough, plus some good spacing between our Gathering and their locations, that we did not have any complaints and problem.

2. Our exact GPS location this year was 33 degrees, 37', 03.0" North, and 114 degrees, 12', and 37.3" West. I did not publish a GPS lat/lon position this year as with an anticipated upper 50ish number of coaches, I was genuinely concerned that our position last year would not accommodate the number of coaches anticipated. 575Driver nicely camped at the location we used last year a couple of weeks before our Gathering this year and provided details on available space for us and while we anticipated parking coaches in a long, narrow ellipse, until I got there and was able to “claim turf”, I had no confidence on where we would be able to capture enough space to make the Gathering work, or what parking system we would use to accommodate the number of coaches (upper 50s) we anticipated. We were lucky….. we were able to capture enough space to make it work in the same location as last year.

3. Potable water was readily available if you needed it, as were dump stations. We passed both on our way to our location. There were about 8-10 water spigots in pairs (maybe 10 total) to feed two RVs at a time to take on potable water. There was no shortage.

4. There were two "wet" dump stations (non-potable water available to wash after dumping). Near the end of the RV show portion of the time period, it appeared that many of the people leaving were leaving with full tanks or didn't want to drive with the extra weight, and the line for the dump stations would grow to 15 units and maybe 2 or 3 hour wait. However, if you dumped early (before 8:00am) or late ~ after 5:00pm, there was no line at all and time through the process was minimal. 12 to 4 could be a very long wait. A few of our coaches needed to dump before they left. Not sure how many felt the need to dump on the way out. I would guess 4 or 5 left the ellipse to dump and return to their position and maybe 5 did something new this year…..they used the “Honey Wagon” service to empty their black and gray tanks while still at the Gathering. Five of the owners went together to get the “honey wagon” and for a fee of $35 each, had the honey wagon man from Blythe, CA service their coaches. The process went easily I am told. . I personally left with black tank still at about 60% (after 13 days) and dumped at our first RV park after we left (Saddle Mountain Park in Tonopah (about 70 miles east of Quartzsite).

5. There were about 10 dumpsters and the BLM people kept them empty.

6. There was a dry dump station but that was for the people that were using "blue boy" portable dump units to empty their black tanks. It was amazing to see the hundred different ways that people had devised to pull the blue boys over to their dump station.... this was mainly the really long term campers.

7. The $40 BLM fee covers you for 14 days on BLM land. For $180, you can a total of 7 months (like ~ October to April) it would take a hardy camper to want to stay here during the summer months. I assume that most of the long-term people there were fall, winter, and spring people and gone by late spring. People generally kept to themselves. The Monaco people came over to visit us and view the display coaches and we went over to their circle to see some demos of the engine fire suppression systems.

8. There was some strange "territoriality" among some of the long-term campers. They would gather desert stones and define a large area of desert that they apparently considered "theirs" and even chewed one of our group out for their leashed dog violating their turf, complete with a lecture to the interlopers about lack of respect for "property rights"...... apparently they lost the fact that this was all government land, they owned nothing, they had no “property rights” and there were specific rules against fences and ownership of land (maybe these were variants of the Oregon bird sanctuary people......) They didn't come over to join our bonfire..... . This year, I personally made contact with all the coaches/RVs close to us and told them our plans and the ramifications. I fully intended that we would need to block both ends of our ellipse to accommodate the number of coaches we had (and thereby block the road (actually a path)) but we showed everyone that we would leave enough space for them to get around us on either side and would not impede their exit or entrance. The biggest initial problem was with a single young lady who lived alone in her RV and felt we were encroaching on her “turf”. She worked late hours and was afraid that we would make it impossible for her to reach her RV and I assured her every night that I would guarantee that she would have safe passage to her location and gave her my number to call anytime 24/7 and that seemed to resolve the issue. Quartzsite RVers are a pretty laid back bunch and if you let them know what you are doing and for how long, and make sure that we don’t interfere with their enjoyment, that has seemed to resolve the issue.

9. The weather was beautiful while we were there, everyday. Clear blue skies, day temp from 65-75, no rain and very dry. If you have a cold, expect to cough longer and harder than you have ever coughed in your life with the dry conditions. I managed to get bronchitis while there and needed to buy a Vicks Vaporizer to humidify the air to keep from coughing my guts up (seemingly) when I coughed. New experience for me compared to living down in the Deep humid South. Well, call it climate change, or simply Mother Nature exacting her retribution, but the weather this year was nothing like last year!!!!!!! In contrast to last year, we had one day of solid rain, and virtually every day had stiff winds (15 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 rocking and rolling all coaches). Heavy coats were needed virtually every day. The last day maybe it was OK for lighter coats and clothes. Everyone we talked to who either lived in Quartzsite or was there a long time said that this was the coldest, rainiest December and January they have had in the years they could recollect. This was confirmed by the real BLM ranger who said the weather really “sucked” this year. As things would have it, it is now the week after the Gathering and the weather this week is what we had all last year….. Daily temps in the low to mid 70s, bright sunshine, no rain, moderate cool nights. Wow, our AquaHots got a workout this year. In the future, bring warm clothes and jackets and make sure the AquaHots are working well.

10. I suggested that coaches bring and use Gen-Turi “stacks” for the Gathering as given the number of coaches, I anticipated we would have to space coaches at the distance that is used in the dry-camping area of groups like an FMCA or Good Sam rally and when close spaced, there is a real potential problem with “gassing” your DS neighbor with your generator exhaust. I surveyed everyone attending and asked how many would be using Gen-Turi systems before the Gathering, and the feedback showed almost exactly 50% planned to use Gen-Turi-s and 50% not using them. Well, apparently several people understood that my suggestion was virtually a command because many more than 50% arrived with them. I had decided to park all the Gen-Turi coaches upwind from the prevailing NW wind (the strong winds were actually from the south as much as the NW). I put the Gen-Turi coaches upwind so that their exhaust would vent 13-15’ high and not bother the non-Genturi coaches on the other side of the ellipse and the non-genturi coaches would exhaust low but blow away from other coaches. We found, that with the stiff wind this year, I got no complaints from any owner about the exhaust of a neighboring coach. Gen-Turies were not really needed since we had sufficiently wide spacing between coaches. If we got up to 30 coaches (and needed the spacing of the Monaco group, it might be more important) but my sense is that it is cold enough in January that there aren't people sitting out next to the coaches or with windows open, and therefore not "gasable". Gen-Turis are a good idea anytime dry camping in close proximity of other coaches. For anyone who dry camps in warm weather, however, they are virtually a necessity. Two of our coach owners made their own very nice Gen-Turi stacks for less than $20.

11. Any reasonable restaurant in Quartzsite is packed during any standard meal time. We ate in the coach almost all the time except I snuck out to a Carl's Jr. several mornings while Dee slept for a monster biscuit. Otherwise, we ate at a fast food restaurant one lunch (packed, long waiting line), and at Silly Al's Pizza joint for dinner and beer. Silly Al's is definitely the place to go as there was ALWAYS a line to get in. Its a big place and they move them in and out, but there was ALWAYS a line. Excellent Pizza, Reasonably priced, and the pitcher beer was good and cold. Also first year ate at the Quartzsite Yacht Club.... fish and chips.... pretty good... reasonably price, locals doing bad karaoke. Other than that, good food in the coach.

12. Due to my concern about finding enough turf to handle all of us, I asked owners not to arrive before Friday AM. I asked a small group of owners to serve as a parking committee, come early and help me lay out the parking pattern which would accommodate the number of coached we anticipated and occupy our “turf” . There was supposedly an I-10 rest area with 5 or 6 Entegra coaches parked for Thursday night to arrive Friday morning. It ended up being a very smart move to not let people arrive before a specific date as I initially tried to make the ellipse as small as we could get it, parking coaches so that there was 3’ between coach slides when “out”. However, we were told by several people who saw us setting up that the ranger had forced their group to adhere to the “15’ between coaches: BLM “rule”“ and actually got out a tape measure and forced coaches to move to achieve that spacing. A quick emergency meeting with the Monaco leader indicated that the ranger had already visited them, and as long as there was reasonable spacing (“enough space between coaches with slides out to drive a car”), the ranger had no problem with their configuration.. So…., the parking committee then changed all the spacing to provide 13 between coaches (excluding slides) and the ranger visited us and checked our parking permits carefully and had no problem with our spacing. It would have been a major PITA if we had 20 coaches parked already when we realized we were too close. The coaches began to stream in at 9:00 am Friday and we parked about 32 coaches that first day. I would hear from one owner arriving to the ranger station and by the time I got there to lead them into our Gathering site, there would be 3 or 4 additional coaches there too. It was amazing to park as many coaches in one day as we did on Friday and Saturday.

As anticipated, people came and went. The common time to gather was the nightly bonfire. This was both atmospheric and needed as it got quite cool (e.g. cold) sitting out. People started gathering about 4:30 and were in full sway by 5:00. It got dark shortly after 5:00 and by 6:00 seemed to us Southerners to be as dark as mid-night at home. By 8 ish, all but the hardy bonfire people had moved to their coaches for dinner or TV. A few hardy souls would continue to drink whatever they had and chat but by 9:30-10:30, all were gone and the fire would burn itself out. )

13. Light (NO, medium to heavy) jackets were "de-riguer" at evening and morning.

14. We ran the diesel Aqua-Hot every night to keep the coach cozy. I think that this was universal. This year, I personally needed my “annual” AH service performed and one of the most experienced AH tech I know (Lloyd DeGerald) was at Quartzsite again this year (he is there every year) and I arranged for him to service my coach. I also announced him being there for me, and asked if anyone else wanted to have annual service performed. I believe we had 12 coaches decide to have Lloyd perform annual service which led to a group discount of $20 per coach from his standard fee. Two coaches had serious problem. One had the dreaded "brown sludge” buildup that Brobox has talked so extensively about” and one coach owner had been unaware that he could not simply add Cummins radiator fluid to his AquaHot system and had contaminated all his Century (yellow/green) boiler fluid. Both of those coaches needed to have their entire boiler fluid systems cleaned out with distilled water and then refilled, which took something like >30 gallons of distilled water and then an equal amount of new boiler fluid. By the end of the Gathering, everyone’s AquaHot was purring like a kitten. Lloyd did very well for a day, and a bunch of owners had their AH’s serviced by one of the good guys.

15. Darryl was definitely the guy to buy wood from. This fellow provided a huge pile of beautifully appropriate wood for the fire, dry, and caught fire with little coaxing If Darryl is doing wood still next year, this is the "go to guy". I had been told that Darryl had more wood than anyone could need, and that was probably true until Mother Nature decided to give southern Arizona an unusually cold winter, which never crossed my mind. Well, when I called Darryl, his words were that he had very little wood and I told him we would take everything he had. He delivered 2 truck loads first and thought he might have a third truck load, so we took his supply down to bare ground and we burned through all of it trying to stay warm….. this was definitely an usually cold winter, which simply says, “It can happen, plan for it!”

16. 100 gallons of fresh water was more than enough for the whole encampment unless long hot showers were needed daily. I noticed no body odor from anyone and hope that was true for me..... .. Owners used water conservation methods (catch the cold water before the hot water and use it for something else (rinsing dishes, etc), and took “Navy Showers” and virtually everyone made close to a full week (and Dee and I 2 full weeks)) on the tankage we brought”

17. Don't come with the expectation that this is a resort camping experience, because it isn't. The town is not much, and the show is low average as an RV show. Entegra@Quartzsite was pretty much what we had hoped it would be.... meeting other owners, talking coaches, getting advice and information, doing some repairs from people who have been through whatever it is. If you don't enjoy sitting in the middle of the desert, taking it easy, and talking with other coach owners, then this is not the event for you. But if it is, then this was a lot of fun. We had at least 3 coaches who had never done a trip before, and many more than that who had never dry camped for a week before. Some didn’t understand that you can actually live fairly comfortably in these coaches when you are not connected to 50A service. Virtually everyone learned they could do that. The owners who were on their first trip really learned a lot about their coaches…. Some female pilots were making their first solo drive (with hubby in another vehicle for example) and everyone reported lots of learning around the campfire, owner to owner. That is one of the biggest pluses of this type of event…. Owner to owner contact and owner to owner advice, learning, growth.

18. This was my idea so I can blame no one else but me. As the organizer, last year we offered nothing to attendees other than camaraderie and a new experience. For that return, there was no fee and virtually nothing promised. I thought we could pull off more and it was my idea to serve two meals and charge owners for the cost of meals (an average of $10 per meal per person) and the wood for the bonfire, so this year there was a fee and a commitment to feed as many pilots and copilots as decided to participate. Well, when the number of coaches rocketed past 30, my idea started to take on more ominous proportions. After exploring catering options and finding nothing that seemed like a good prospect to me, I found a vendor we had eaten at before, at the show last year who could handle the number of meals (~ 120 based on our initial numbers) for one “bring in the food” meal, and we came up with the idea of a “Brats and Burgers” meal as the second meal. The first “catered” meal offered two meat choices each with two bar-B-que type “sides”, and the second “Brats and Burgers” meal would need a bunch of grills and participants willing to do the cooking to generate enough brats and burgers over a brief interval to feed everyone at virtually the same time. Actually, I think both ideas worked as well as we expected with the help of ~ 10 coaches who baked half steamer trays of potato casserole and grilled the Brats and Burgers, but in the opinion of a bunch of the owners attending, and of Dee and Me also, Dee and I spent a lot of our time at Q this year getting ready for those meals and making them happen, and we personally probably spent more time getting ready and then carrying out the meals than it was probably worth. The general consensus was that while the meals were fine, maybe they were too much to try to do in the middle of the Arizona desert and maybe all meals next year could be a “structured pot luck” (certain items needed and certain people committed to provide a specific type of food). One of our copilots organized one or one-and-a-half pot luck meal (the half meal being a happy hour meal) on other nights which were well received. If “structured” a little more, this might be a good as we need.

19. I filled my diesel tank right as I arrived in Quartzsite and then filled it again on the way out of town. Consequently, I had a “total-diesel consumed” amount which was nothing but diesel AH usage and generator run time. Now, since it was unusually cold at Quartzsite this year, this is probably an outside figure, but I had to run the genny about ~ 5 hours total a day (2 hours in the morning plus 3 hours before bed each night plus genny on any time we were using the microwave or convection oven…… and my total fuel consumption was 62.5 gallons, but remember that I was there 13 days (roughly 5 days more than most people). The admonition to fill the diesel tank on the way in is the needed strategy.

20. We have a number of organizations to thank and acknowledge. 1.) While Entegra Coaches’ presence last year was notable by its absence, I am reasonably sure that it was due to the late date of trying to put together the first annual gathering last January, and the fact that it overlapped fully with the TAMPA Supershow. I was pretty disappointed that they seemed to “not care very much” that we were trying to do something for coach owners, so I pushed Entegra and ECOA brass to make a bigger commitment this year. Of course, our size also greatly expanded and we planned much further ahead. First, Joyce Skinner said she would try to provide a tech for a tech-talk during the Gathering and she came through by sending Don Brubaker out for ~ 2 days. Don, in turn, spent virtually all the daytime hours in those two days talking to owners, helping where he could, and generally being a very nice guy to everyone. He seemed to try to dedicate himself to visiting with everyone, and he did do a tech talk for the group. 2.) Then Pat Bauer, at ECOA, notified me we would also get Pat Carroll who is the head design person at Entegra for roughly a day at some point, and Ken Walters, the new person who hold the title of VP for Jayco Motorized which is essentially Tadd ‘s ‘replacement’. Well, we got one of those two. Pat Carroll spent pretty much a day in total with us, talking, listening, and I think, having a good time. Pat conducted a ~ 2 hour long feedback sessions where he canvassed owners for design things they liked, didn’t like, could do without, and/or found missing. Pat was well received and he did a great job. Ken Walters was in the final analysis not able to make a showing but maybe we can get him next year. 3.) Paul Evert RV dealer (in the “person” of Curt Curtis) brought two 2017 Anthem coaches to the Gathering for display and was scheduled to show two Cornerstones another day, but it appears they might have been selling those coaches when they were due to be shown off to us, and they cancelled the “show and tell”. Curt Curtis and Paul Evert RV also kicked in some funds to support the Gathering, as did Entegra. 4.) Finally, Pat Bauer indicated he would cover any “overage” Dee and I might experience in the gathering and was very supportive (and listened to me unhappily “vent” about how we Gatherers felt “abandoned” by Middlebury). ECOA was very supportive by letting Gatherers register through their web site and dealing with the financial stuff (also, thanks go to Mario LaCute, ECOA treasurer) who put in a lot of time to make this all work out financially.

So, there you have it. I am sure that others who attended learned some other things, so please contribute and add to the "knowledge base", and see you next year. My sense is that virtually everyone had a good to great time. Even though Dee and I worked our butts off this year, the best part of the Gathering is the people who come and the attitudes of the owners in having a good time….. not a “pain in the patoot” in the bunch of attendees. We met and are now friends with a lot of great people. To the newbies who were first timers, and the returning attendees from last year, what a cooperative and accommodating group of people you all were. WOW! Everyone was willing to throw in and do whatever we asked to make it a success. THANK YOU ALL !!! You made Quartzsite 2017 a huge success !!


Gary and Dee – “WagonMasters” 2017 ENTEGRA@QUARTZSITE GATHERING
Thank you Gary and dee. Read your 2017 quartzite info. Very helpful. We are hoping to buy a 2016 aspire or anthem before January 2018, because we would like to join you next year.hope to see you. Steve
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Old 02-05-2017, 01:55 PM   #33
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I have an Aspire with 4 of the old lead-acid batteries. I could not last through the night in Quartzsite. I averaged 4.5 hours on my batteries before the AGS kicked in. That said, my batteries were severely abused by the dealer before I picked it up, and again by a repair shop. I feel that they are down to about half of their capacity when new. A new set of batteries will be in my future before long.
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Old 02-05-2017, 02:11 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Gary.Jones View Post
LESSONS LEARNED – PART 2 -- For the Record

Well, the ENTEGRA@QUARTZSITE Gathering is over now and what a year it was. We ended up with 48-49 coaches attending although at some point we had 56-58 registered before we lost 9 coaches (by my count) due to sudden family emergencies, sudden medical emergencies, etc. I hope that all those emergency situations resolved well and everyone is in good shape, but it was a significant loss of coaches for various reasons. I thought I would amend the list of items that I called “Things Learned” last year and update it with a revised and expanded list of things learned based on our experience over two years. I will try to add the new things learned in a different color. The list from 2016 will be in black and the modifications/additions from 2017 will be in red (hopefully).


1. Quiet hours were not a big deal although that might not always be true. Our encampment was done where there was a lot of room..... we did that intentionally so we would have room for unanticipated arrivals. Our location was ideal.... hard ground, small pebbles/rocks. Some other areas were on sand or dirt and so could be a lot of dust. Our rigs really do kick up the dust when they travel over dirt. We were spaced far enough apart and far enough away from non-Entegra people that people ran their generators any time that it was necessary. I put the genny on AutoStart every night and found that I usually made it all night with no problem until the coffee pot kicked-on to brew coffee at 7:00 and triggered the AutoStart to fire up the Genny. This whole generator start issue was a major point of anxiety for a number of coaches. The Aspire owners, in particular, worried about this a great deal. The BLM “rules” clearly say that generator run noise cannot cause a problem at any time, and there are “quiet hours” from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am, and Aspire owners knew a-priori that their lower battery capacity meant that it was rare for them to be able to make it beyond 3:00 or 4:00 am without the Genny starting, so we worried about noise complaints. We also had at least one Aspire that used 2 CPAP machines all night that thought that their genny might need to run all night. My guidance was that I did not think that it would be a problem. If one asks the “rangers” (actually the work-campers who manage the “ranger station”, you get told quite unceremoniously that quiet hours are absolute and there will be no genny running after 10:00 pm, so it is best not to waste time asking them…. You get “chapter and verse”. My strategy was to talk to all the neighbors, not part of our group, and give them a full explanation of what we were doing and if they had a problem to come find me or call me on the phone, and that appeared to be enough, plus some good spacing between our Gathering and their locations, that we did not have any complaints and problem.

2. Our exact GPS location this year was 33 degrees, 37', 03.0" North, and 114 degrees, 12', and 37.3" West. I did not publish a GPS lat/lon position this year as with an anticipated upper 50ish number of coaches, I was genuinely concerned that our position last year would not accommodate the number of coaches anticipated. 575Driver nicely camped at the location we used last year a couple of weeks before our Gathering this year and provided details on available space for us and while we anticipated parking coaches in a long, narrow ellipse, until I got there and was able to “claim turf”, I had no confidence on where we would be able to capture enough space to make the Gathering work, or what parking system we would use to accommodate the number of coaches (upper 50s) we anticipated. We were lucky….. we were able to capture enough space to make it work in the same location as last year.

3. Potable water was readily available if you needed it, as were dump stations. We passed both on our way to our location. There were about 8-10 water spigots in pairs (maybe 10 total) to feed two RVs at a time to take on potable water. There was no shortage.

4. There were two "wet" dump stations (non-potable water available to wash after dumping). Near the end of the RV show portion of the time period, it appeared that many of the people leaving were leaving with full tanks or didn't want to drive with the extra weight, and the line for the dump stations would grow to 15 units and maybe 2 or 3 hour wait. However, if you dumped early (before 8:00am) or late ~ after 5:00pm, there was no line at all and time through the process was minimal. 12 to 4 could be a very long wait. A few of our coaches needed to dump before they left. Not sure how many felt the need to dump on the way out. I would guess 4 or 5 left the ellipse to dump and return to their position and maybe 5 did something new this year…..they used the “Honey Wagon” service to empty their black and gray tanks while still at the Gathering. Five of the owners went together to get the “honey wagon” and for a fee of $35 each, had the honey wagon man from Blythe, CA service their coaches. The process went easily I am told. . I personally left with black tank still at about 60% (after 13 days) and dumped at our first RV park after we left (Saddle Mountain Park in Tonopah (about 70 miles east of Quartzsite).

5. There were about 10 dumpsters and the BLM people kept them empty.

6. There was a dry dump station but that was for the people that were using "blue boy" portable dump units to empty their black tanks. It was amazing to see the hundred different ways that people had devised to pull the blue boys over to their dump station.... this was mainly the really long term campers.

7. The $40 BLM fee covers you for 14 days on BLM land. For $180, you can a total of 7 months (like ~ October to April) it would take a hardy camper to want to stay here during the summer months. I assume that most of the long-term people there were fall, winter, and spring people and gone by late spring. People generally kept to themselves. The Monaco people came over to visit us and view the display coaches and we went over to their circle to see some demos of the engine fire suppression systems.

8. There was some strange "territoriality" among some of the long-term campers. They would gather desert stones and define a large area of desert that they apparently considered "theirs" and even chewed one of our group out for their leashed dog violating their turf, complete with a lecture to the interlopers about lack of respect for "property rights"...... apparently they lost the fact that this was all government land, they owned nothing, they had no “property rights” and there were specific rules against fences and ownership of land (maybe these were variants of the Oregon bird sanctuary people......) They didn't come over to join our bonfire..... . This year, I personally made contact with all the coaches/RVs close to us and told them our plans and the ramifications. I fully intended that we would need to block both ends of our ellipse to accommodate the number of coaches we had (and thereby block the road (actually a path)) but we showed everyone that we would leave enough space for them to get around us on either side and would not impede their exit or entrance. The biggest initial problem was with a single young lady who lived alone in her RV and felt we were encroaching on her “turf”. She worked late hours and was afraid that we would make it impossible for her to reach her RV and I assured her every night that I would guarantee that she would have safe passage to her location and gave her my number to call anytime 24/7 and that seemed to resolve the issue. Quartzsite RVers are a pretty laid back bunch and if you let them know what you are doing and for how long, and make sure that we don’t interfere with their enjoyment, that has seemed to resolve the issue.

9. The weather was beautiful while we were there, everyday. Clear blue skies, day temp from 65-75, no rain and very dry. If you have a cold, expect to cough longer and harder than you have ever coughed in your life with the dry conditions. I managed to get bronchitis while there and needed to buy a Vicks Vaporizer to humidify the air to keep from coughing my guts up (seemingly) when I coughed. New experience for me compared to living down in the Deep humid South. Well, call it climate change, or simply Mother Nature exacting her retribution, but the weather this year was nothing like last year!!!!!!! In contrast to last year, we had one day of solid rain, and virtually every day had stiff winds (15 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 rocking and rolling all coaches). Heavy coats were needed virtually every day. The last day maybe it was OK for lighter coats and clothes. Everyone we talked to who either lived in Quartzsite or was there a long time said that this was the coldest, rainiest December and January they have had in the years they could recollect. This was confirmed by the real BLM ranger who said the weather really “sucked” this year. As things would have it, it is now the week after the Gathering and the weather this week is what we had all last year….. Daily temps in the low to mid 70s, bright sunshine, no rain, moderate cool nights. Wow, our AquaHots got a workout this year. In the future, bring warm clothes and jackets and make sure the AquaHots are working well.

10. I suggested that coaches bring and use Gen-Turi “stacks” for the Gathering as given the number of coaches, I anticipated we would have to space coaches at the distance that is used in the dry-camping area of groups like an FMCA or Good Sam rally and when close spaced, there is a real potential problem with “gassing” your DS neighbor with your generator exhaust. I surveyed everyone attending and asked how many would be using Gen-Turi systems before the Gathering, and the feedback showed almost exactly 50% planned to use Gen-Turi-s and 50% not using them. Well, apparently several people understood that my suggestion was virtually a command because many more than 50% arrived with them. I had decided to park all the Gen-Turi coaches upwind from the prevailing NW wind (the strong winds were actually from the south as much as the NW). I put the Gen-Turi coaches upwind so that their exhaust would vent 13-15’ high and not bother the non-Genturi coaches on the other side of the ellipse and the non-genturi coaches would exhaust low but blow away from other coaches. We found, that with the stiff wind this year, I got no complaints from any owner about the exhaust of a neighboring coach. Gen-Turies were not really needed since we had sufficiently wide spacing between coaches. If we got up to 30 coaches (and needed the spacing of the Monaco group, it might be more important) but my sense is that it is cold enough in January that there aren't people sitting out next to the coaches or with windows open, and therefore not "gasable". Gen-Turis are a good idea anytime dry camping in close proximity of other coaches. For anyone who dry camps in warm weather, however, they are virtually a necessity. Two of our coach owners made their own very nice Gen-Turi stacks for less than $20.

11. Any reasonable restaurant in Quartzsite is packed during any standard meal time. We ate in the coach almost all the time except I snuck out to a Carl's Jr. several mornings while Dee slept for a monster biscuit. Otherwise, we ate at a fast food restaurant one lunch (packed, long waiting line), and at Silly Al's Pizza joint for dinner and beer. Silly Al's is definitely the place to go as there was ALWAYS a line to get in. Its a big place and they move them in and out, but there was ALWAYS a line. Excellent Pizza, Reasonably priced, and the pitcher beer was good and cold. Also first year ate at the Quartzsite Yacht Club.... fish and chips.... pretty good... reasonably price, locals doing bad karaoke. Other than that, good food in the coach.

12. Due to my concern about finding enough turf to handle all of us, I asked owners not to arrive before Friday AM. I asked a small group of owners to serve as a parking committee, come early and help me lay out the parking pattern which would accommodate the number of coached we anticipated and occupy our “turf” . There was supposedly an I-10 rest area with 5 or 6 Entegra coaches parked for Thursday night to arrive Friday morning. It ended up being a very smart move to not let people arrive before a specific date as I initially tried to make the ellipse as small as we could get it, parking coaches so that there was 3’ between coach slides when “out”. However, we were told by several people who saw us setting up that the ranger had forced their group to adhere to the “15’ between coaches: BLM “rule”“ and actually got out a tape measure and forced coaches to move to achieve that spacing. A quick emergency meeting with the Monaco leader indicated that the ranger had already visited them, and as long as there was reasonable spacing (“enough space between coaches with slides out to drive a car”), the ranger had no problem with their configuration.. So…., the parking committee then changed all the spacing to provide 13 between coaches (excluding slides) and the ranger visited us and checked our parking permits carefully and had no problem with our spacing. It would have been a major PITA if we had 20 coaches parked already when we realized we were too close. The coaches began to stream in at 9:00 am Friday and we parked about 32 coaches that first day. I would hear from one owner arriving to the ranger station and by the time I got there to lead them into our Gathering site, there would be 3 or 4 additional coaches there too. It was amazing to park as many coaches in one day as we did on Friday and Saturday.

As anticipated, people came and went. The common time to gather was the nightly bonfire. This was both atmospheric and needed as it got quite cool (e.g. cold) sitting out. People started gathering about 4:30 and were in full sway by 5:00. It got dark shortly after 5:00 and by 6:00 seemed to us Southerners to be as dark as mid-night at home. By 8 ish, all but the hardy bonfire people had moved to their coaches for dinner or TV. A few hardy souls would continue to drink whatever they had and chat but by 9:30-10:30, all were gone and the fire would burn itself out. )

13. Light (NO, medium to heavy) jackets were "de-riguer" at evening and morning.

14. We ran the diesel Aqua-Hot every night to keep the coach cozy. I think that this was universal. This year, I personally needed my “annual” AH service performed and one of the most experienced AH tech I know (Lloyd DeGerald) was at Quartzsite again this year (he is there every year) and I arranged for him to service my coach. I also announced him being there for me, and asked if anyone else wanted to have annual service performed. I believe we had 12 coaches decide to have Lloyd perform annual service which led to a group discount of $20 per coach from his standard fee. Two coaches had serious problem. One had the dreaded "brown sludge” buildup that Brobox has talked so extensively about” and one coach owner had been unaware that he could not simply add Cummins radiator fluid to his AquaHot system and had contaminated all his Century (yellow/green) boiler fluid. Both of those coaches needed to have their entire boiler fluid systems cleaned out with distilled water and then refilled, which took something like >30 gallons of distilled water and then an equal amount of new boiler fluid. By the end of the Gathering, everyone’s AquaHot was purring like a kitten. Lloyd did very well for a day, and a bunch of owners had their AH’s serviced by one of the good guys.

15. Darryl was definitely the guy to buy wood from. This fellow provided a huge pile of beautifully appropriate wood for the fire, dry, and caught fire with little coaxing If Darryl is doing wood still next year, this is the "go to guy". I had been told that Darryl had more wood than anyone could need, and that was probably true until Mother Nature decided to give southern Arizona an unusually cold winter, which never crossed my mind. Well, when I called Darryl, his words were that he had very little wood and I told him we would take everything he had. He delivered 2 truck loads first and thought he might have a third truck load, so we took his supply down to bare ground and we burned through all of it trying to stay warm….. this was definitely an usually cold winter, which simply says, “It can happen, plan for it!”

16. 100 gallons of fresh water was more than enough for the whole encampment unless long hot showers were needed daily. I noticed no body odor from anyone and hope that was true for me..... .. Owners used water conservation methods (catch the cold water before the hot water and use it for something else (rinsing dishes, etc), and took “Navy Showers” and virtually everyone made close to a full week (and Dee and I 2 full weeks)) on the tankage we brought”

17. Don't come with the expectation that this is a resort camping experience, because it isn't. The town is not much, and the show is low average as an RV show. Entegra@Quartzsite was pretty much what we had hoped it would be.... meeting other owners, talking coaches, getting advice and information, doing some repairs from people who have been through whatever it is. If you don't enjoy sitting in the middle of the desert, taking it easy, and talking with other coach owners, then this is not the event for you. But if it is, then this was a lot of fun. We had at least 3 coaches who had never done a trip before, and many more than that who had never dry camped for a week before. Some didn’t understand that you can actually live fairly comfortably in these coaches when you are not connected to 50A service. Virtually everyone learned they could do that. The owners who were on their first trip really learned a lot about their coaches…. Some female pilots were making their first solo drive (with hubby in another vehicle for example) and everyone reported lots of learning around the campfire, owner to owner. That is one of the biggest pluses of this type of event…. Owner to owner contact and owner to owner advice, learning, growth.

18. This was my idea so I can blame no one else but me. As the organizer, last year we offered nothing to attendees other than camaraderie and a new experience. For that return, there was no fee and virtually nothing promised. I thought we could pull off more and it was my idea to serve two meals and charge owners for the cost of meals (an average of $10 per meal per person) and the wood for the bonfire, so this year there was a fee and a commitment to feed as many pilots and copilots as decided to participate. Well, when the number of coaches rocketed past 30, my idea started to take on more ominous proportions. After exploring catering options and finding nothing that seemed like a good prospect to me, I found a vendor we had eaten at before, at the show last year who could handle the number of meals (~ 120 based on our initial numbers) for one “bring in the food” meal, and we came up with the idea of a “Brats and Burgers” meal as the second meal. The first “catered” meal offered two meat choices each with two bar-B-que type “sides”, and the second “Brats and Burgers” meal would need a bunch of grills and participants willing to do the cooking to generate enough brats and burgers over a brief interval to feed everyone at virtually the same time. Actually, I think both ideas worked as well as we expected with the help of ~ 10 coaches who baked half steamer trays of potato casserole and grilled the Brats and Burgers, but in the opinion of a bunch of the owners attending, and of Dee and Me also, Dee and I spent a lot of our time at Q this year getting ready for those meals and making them happen, and we personally probably spent more time getting ready and then carrying out the meals than it was probably worth. The general consensus was that while the meals were fine, maybe they were too much to try to do in the middle of the Arizona desert and maybe all meals next year could be a “structured pot luck” (certain items needed and certain people committed to provide a specific type of food). One of our copilots organized one or one-and-a-half pot luck meal (the half meal being a happy hour meal) on other nights which were well received. If “structured” a little more, this might be a good as we need.

19. I filled my diesel tank right as I arrived in Quartzsite and then filled it again on the way out of town. Consequently, I had a “total-diesel consumed” amount which was nothing but diesel AH usage and generator run time. Now, since it was unusually cold at Quartzsite this year, this is probably an outside figure, but I had to run the genny about ~ 5 hours total a day (2 hours in the morning plus 3 hours before bed each night plus genny on any time we were using the microwave or convection oven…… and my total fuel consumption was 62.5 gallons, but remember that I was there 13 days (roughly 5 days more than most people). The admonition to fill the diesel tank on the way in is the needed strategy.

20. We have a number of organizations to thank and acknowledge. 1.) While Entegra Coaches’ presence last year was notable by its absence, I am reasonably sure that it was due to the late date of trying to put together the first annual gathering last January, and the fact that it overlapped fully with the TAMPA Supershow. I was pretty disappointed that they seemed to “not care very much” that we were trying to do something for coach owners, so I pushed Entegra and ECOA brass to make a bigger commitment this year. Of course, our size also greatly expanded and we planned much further ahead. First, Joyce Skinner said she would try to provide a tech for a tech-talk during the Gathering and she came through by sending Don Brubaker out for ~ 2 days. Don, in turn, spent virtually all the daytime hours in those two days talking to owners, helping where he could, and generally being a very nice guy to everyone. He seemed to try to dedicate himself to visiting with everyone, and he did do a tech talk for the group. 2.) Then Pat Bauer, at ECOA, notified me we would also get Pat Carroll who is the head design person at Entegra for roughly a day at some point, and Ken Walters, the new person who hold the title of VP for Jayco Motorized which is essentially Tadd ‘s ‘replacement’. Well, we got one of those two. Pat Carroll spent pretty much a day in total with us, talking, listening, and I think, having a good time. Pat conducted a ~ 2 hour long feedback sessions where he canvassed owners for design things they liked, didn’t like, could do without, and/or found missing. Pat was well received and he did a great job. Ken Walters was in the final analysis not able to make a showing but maybe we can get him next year. 3.) Paul Evert RV dealer (in the “person” of Curt Curtis) brought two 2017 Anthem coaches to the Gathering for display and was scheduled to show two Cornerstones another day, but it appears they might have been selling those coaches when they were due to be shown off to us, and they cancelled the “show and tell”. Curt Curtis and Paul Evert RV also kicked in some funds to support the Gathering, as did Entegra. 4.) Finally, Pat Bauer indicated he would cover any “overage” Dee and I might experience in the gathering and was very supportive (and listened to me unhappily “vent” about how we Gatherers felt “abandoned” by Middlebury). ECOA was very supportive by letting Gatherers register through their web site and dealing with the financial stuff (also, thanks go to Mario LaCute, ECOA treasurer) who put in a lot of time to make this all work out financially.

So, there you have it. I am sure that others who attended learned some other things, so please contribute and add to the "knowledge base", and see you next year. My sense is that virtually everyone had a good to great time. Even though Dee and I worked our butts off this year, the best part of the Gathering is the people who come and the attitudes of the owners in having a good time….. not a “pain in the patoot” in the bunch of attendees. We met and are now friends with a lot of great people. To the newbies who were first timers, and the returning attendees from last year, what a cooperative and accommodating group of people you all were. WOW! Everyone was willing to throw in and do whatever we asked to make it a success. THANK YOU ALL !!! You made Quartzsite 2017 a huge success !!


Gary and Dee – “WagonMasters” 2017 ENTEGRA@QUARTZSITE GATHERING
I believe this is the longest post I have ever seen call "Guinness".
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Old 02-06-2017, 06:49 PM   #35
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Thank you Gary for your helpful post on quartzite 2017. It was very informative. We plan to be there next year. We are Steve and connie from kansas. One problem . We haven't got our entegra yet . We want to buy a 2016 aspire or anthem rbq from a private seller who is looking to trade up or no longer rving, but with not much success. We want to go private ,because of the initial sales tax crunch. There aren't many owners in kansas,but we are willing to travel to buy. We currently own a 35' winnebago adventurer,but not necessarily trading, trying to sell outright. Gary ,thinking maybe you or dee had a campfire conversation or a connection with someone interested in selling ? Hope you can offer us ideas on our upcoming purchase. Thank you for all your hard work. Steve.
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Old 02-06-2017, 08:23 PM   #36
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Steve

Actually, I dont know anyone who is right now trying to sell privately. I am aware of several who are right in the early stages of trading in their coaches at NiRVC or MHS.

However, I would guess that you already know this, but have you tried looking at RVTrader at www.rvtrader.com. I know quite a few owners of Monaco and Entegra owners who have bought and sold their rigs via that site. If you havent looked at it, you might give that a try.

However, If I hear anything, I will direct it your direction.

Gary
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Old 02-07-2017, 04:52 PM   #37
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Hi guys,
Thanks.
We are really down to an Aspire or Anthem. Each have their strong/weak points.
It may come down to possibly upgrading batteries and adding solar.
Makes you suspicious that most new coaches of any brand probably have had their batteries abused by careless dealers.
This year is our go/no go as far as health. 2018 will be toad, house on market, coach. We are ready for the change and tired of WI winters.
DSL 417 told me a while back that if I had an itch to scratch it. Working on it. Lol.
Tom
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