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Everything posted by Buzzy

  1. Reed and Karen, I applaud your enthusiasm! I agree we have purchased a great fiberglass trailer! Sometimes it can be a challenge to maintain a positive mental attitude and you do that better than most. I would like to take a moment to add an observation. Last summer when I took delivery of my Ollie, Tommy served as the OTT Customer Services Manager. He understood the value of tracking customer concerns and identified issues related to the factory assembly, the component quality or the customer training. He participated in the delivery day training, was an active member of our Forum and the key interface between the customer and the factory. I remember vividly how Tommy added value to me and future owners as he understood two key issues that surrounded me and other owners last summer. At the time, we were being challenged by the complexity of the Blue Sky controller/monitor as well as the Andersen weight distribution hitch. We resolved our Blue Sky issues, but our efforts highlighted the need for gear which would help owners feel more successful. Although I love my Blue Sky gear, I believe the transition to Zamp gear is best for improved customer service. On the Andersen WDH issues, it was clear we needed guidance from the Andersen company, so Tommy brought Sage to our Forum. As an Andersen technician, Sage brought great insights. I understand key personnel can come and go within any organization, but the function of a Customer Services Manager transcends individuals and helps existing and future owners. Now this is not the first time I have stated this observation. In the interest of attempting to emulate the superb positive mental attitude demonstrated by Reed and Karen, I will reflect on a saying my mother taught me as a young man. She said, “Buzzy, you cannot give an organization something it does not want”. Perhaps our collective knowledge is something OTT does not want. Like yourself, I will use 2017 to simply help owners as well as prospective owners and go camping! Sounds like worthy goals indeed! ???? Buzzy
  2. Hi Matt and Helpers, Thank you guys for all your great work. Our Forum appears to be working very well! Buzzy
  3. Reed, Karen and Overland, Thank you for the link. It is now on my Amazon wish list. Overland, I would guess you might be an architect. It would make sense based on your various postings. There was a time when I had a desire to design science buildings for colleges and universities. That never happened, but I still love to visit science buildings at various universities. Hey some guys tour baseball parks. To each his own! Buzzy
  4. John, I never laughed so hard when I read your term for the propane tank enclosure. :) Interestingly, Airstream uses the term "Nose Cone", as in a lear jet, to describe a similar enclosure on their future Nest fiberglass trailer. John, you might not want to consider a new career in marketing. :) Buzzy
  5. Thank you for the valuable comments/ideas! Not sure I saw a pic of the aluminum platform steps mentioned in the quote above. Reed and Karen, do you have info on where to purchase? Randy and Overland, I agree a wheelchair will have to be excluded from the trailer. Just not enough room especially with a big sloppy dog (Buddy) in the mix. This week the rehab facility will begin shaping the stump for a prosthesis. The prosthesis selection may be a couple weeks away. I will know more next week. The hope is a choice which has some flexibility will be selected versus a peg leg. We do not need to accomplish 5 mile hikes, just freedom of movement in and around Ollie. I really like seeing some of the grab handle selections in the pics posted by Reed and Karen. I may need half a dozen! I also like Randy's suggestion of replacing the toilet seat! One challenge may be the timeline. I want Ollie to be ready and accommodating prior to the first trip. Also I have spring camping trips in the pipeline, they may need to be rescheduled. Not a problem since Ollie is all about family. (Interestingly, three years ago I guided an above knee amputee on a 14-day ocean kayak expedition where we had to dodge bears and sea lions. My state park camping trips in Ollie will be a real “walk in the park” in comparison. Hey, where there is a will there is a way!) I always thought there might come a time when our Forum would benefit from a section entitled “Adaptations for Medical Conditions” so we can all keep camping in our Ollies as we age. ???? Buzzy
  6. For me cooking/camping is all about being outside. If rain is in the forecast, I set up a tarp over the outside kitchen. I do love using an oven and especially creating delicious pizza. With a good pizza oven and a handy laser thermometer, a whole world of outdoor oven creations is possible. I have good luck using the Camp Chef line of products. I own their pizza oven attachment as part of the modular system. I simply use the propane quick connects on Ollie and I am cooking with gas and a happy Ollie camper. The Camp Chef website has great cooking ideas, such as the buffalo chicken nachos utilizing a cast iron skillet and the pizza oven. Catch the drools! ???? Buzzy https://www.campchef.com/camp-stoves/14-cooking-systems/pro-60-deluxe-two-burner-stove.html https://www.campchef.com/stove-accessories/outdoor-ovens/artisan-outdoor-oven-accessory.html https://www.campchef.com/recipes/buffalo-chicken-nachos/
  7. As I look ahead to a most outstanding camping season, I will be incorporating a new goal into my plans. I have a family member, age 77 year young, with an above knee amputation of his left leg. I want him to feel camping in Ollie is a treat, not an obligation. Do any of our Forum members have experience adapting their Ollie for use by an amputee? I will be acquiring the Fiamma Privacy Room to increase living space and engaging a medical team of therapists to inspect Ollie from end-to-end so we can identify any barriers. I would like to bring any owner observations to the planning process. Nothing quite as great as the been-there-done-those comments. Buzzy PS – I realize a 28 foot Airstream would give us more space, but I really do not want to go there. ????
  8. Reed and Karen, Do I see an awning for the dinette window in the top picture? Did I miss info about that modification? Looks great! Buzzy
  9. StoicJim, I share your newbie to owning a travel trailer status. Last June, when I took delivery of my Ollie, I had never owned a travel trailer nor had I learned to tow a trailer. Three months prior to June, I took delivery of my Ford F150. Prior to that I had never owned or driven a truck. Despite my lack of experience, I knew this journey would be a good fit for me. For what it is worth, I set two over-arching requirements for myself and my journey which I would not compromise. I sought to purchase high quality equipment. My Ollie met the criteria. More importantly, all my decisions on equipment selection and procedures would need to stress safety. Safety for me and the loved ones who would join me on my travels. I quickly found the focus on safety brought great joy to my journey. My decision-making suddenly had a solid foundation and it all made sense to someone like me who lacked experience. Whether it involved a decision regarding a weight distribution hitch, a tire pressure monitoring system, proper torque on lug nuts, using a digital laser infrared IR thermometer, they all met the goal of achieving the highest safety for my RV camping trips. I understand each prospective owner has personal preferences. Those preferences can apply to whether you select an Elite II versus an Elite and which tow vehicle. I would recommend you use safety as your guiding principle and you will tend to make wise decisions. Keep in mind, the decisions you make early in your journey will set the framework for many of your later choices. From my experience, it can be heart-warming when a loved one looks at the final collection of all your decisions and says, “You did good, I feel safe!” Safe journey my friend! Buzzy
  10. Canoe12, The little pup (Buddy) is wonderful. Thank you for asking! I posted pics in the images section of my profile. He is growing like a weed. Buzzy
  11. Hi Canoe12, I understand your concerns. For what it is worth, I can share some of my experiences. · I did not receive any photos of my Ollie during the build process. I think that was common with Ollies built prior to June 2016. As the sales office got busy (A good thing!) that action stopped from what I could determine. · Although it would be good to think the sales staff and factory staff have regular interactions and communication, that may not be happening. At least that was the impression I received during my build cycle. · Please understand a custom-built TT is very much like a custom-built house. You may discover a few “Oops!” during your delivery day. Because that may happen, it is always best to allow at least two full days to determine what might need fine tuning. · I completely understand the added complexity being a long-distance buyer adds to the equation. In many ways, OTT is a small company with a local view. They do build a damn good trailer and they seem to be able to sell on a national level in-spite of the current processes. · My recommendation is to inspect your Ollie from top to bottom and use a methodical process for checking each system. The factory staff are great and they will rectify any errors! · The process outlined above worked for me although my purchase cycle was a real nail biter! Buzzy
  12. Hi Matt, Thank you for all your good work. Just one thought. Kelly in the sales office might want to consider an email notice which she would send out to all the owners and prospective owners regarding the great news on the "new and improved" forum platform. Most members who might have dropped out would probably appreciate the heads-up. It sure doesn't hurt. Buzzy
  13. Malcolm, First off, congratulations on reaching your goal of retirement. That is a major milestone in life. I began my retirement two years ago, and I understand the rewards and challenges which lay ahead for you. By the way, I have always enjoyed reading your thoughtful postings. As you contemplate new ways to acquire and share knowledge, I hope postings on our Forum will become routine for you in your “golden years”. ???? Seriously, I can list at least a dozen topics I am hoping you will consider. Many of your experiences could aid both prospective and existing owners. I would love to hear about your experiences during your purchase cycle, your delivery day, your interior décor plans, your first three planned modifications, your planned camping trips, etc., etc. You could demonstrate how Forum members do not need to be experienced Ollie owners to add content. You just need to speak to what you know best, which is your own unique experiences. It is the richness of shared experiences which adds value. From that collection, we each harvest ideas which enhance our Ollie camping. Will you enhance my camping? ???? Will you give it a go? Buzzy
  14. Steve, That is great news concerning a possible replacement for the WordPress platform. The current performance can be very discouraging, especially for new users. I am sure OTT understands how our Forum is more than simply a platform for exchanging ideas. It forms the basis for a community. RVing in many ways is a community based activity. We enjoy sharing ideas across a whole spectrum of camping activities and styles. For many owners, the community involvement aspects are as important as owning an Ollie. Although our Forum is special in many ways, it is not unique. As new or existing members experience continuous system issues, they may just move on to another community. Perhaps to a larger community with more ideas. I believe it is the ideas which draw members into the community. If posting or exchanging ideas is cumbersome at best, there is no reason for involvement. Once we stabilize our Forum platform, we might begin a discussion regarding Forum content. Great content, which is thoughtfully organized for easy retrieval, can elevate our Forum. As a case in point, I really appreciate the new category Jason has created entitled, “Oliver Technical Service Bulletins”. I am also looking forward to the day when OTT creates a category containing the OTT videos. Posting in those sections would always draw me into our Forum. It might be wise to reach out to our members to determine what draws them into our Forum? What do they seek? What format do they prefer, text/photos/video? Maybe we would benefit from a designated “library” of word documents, videos, maybe interior design photos, etc. As we integrate ideas regarding content and format, I bet some members might enjoy focusing their energy over refreshing the content for a designated category. Just a few thoughts. Buzzy
  15. Hi StoicJim, First off, welcome to our Forum. The short answer is, maybe. The weight of an Elite II is dependent on the options selected, your camping gear and any contents to your fresh water, gray or black tanks. In my case, I average an Ollie weight of 6,000 pounds each time I go camping. I also like to navigate mountainous terrain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as well as the Green Mountains of Vermont. I wanted a tow vehicle which could get me to my camp sites and back home with plenty of towing and braking power. For me, it was more a matter of feeling safe on the road. My current tow vehicle meets all my requirements. Buzzy
  16. Overland, I have honestly not observed the driving characteristic you reference above. Over the years, I have owned a whole variety of luxury vehicles and my F150 is my all-time favorite. I tell my buddies the only way anyone is going to get my F150 away from me is if they pry it out of my cold dead hands!! (Interesting image?!) So, I may not be the best person to ask regarding a critical evaluation. ???? Sorry! Buzzy
  17. Overland, Permit me to add a few additional comments which may relate specifically to your unique build. I have enjoy following your creative ideas to bring additional functionality to an off-road capable Ollie. Your ideas could be very helpful to OTT in their process of continuously evolving their product. As I was reading the postings which captured your ideas, I kept reflecting on my experiences to add minor “enhancements” to my build process. At the time, I quickly realized the challenge was not can the factory fabricate the request, but can the request translate into an invoice and factory work order via the sales staff. If so, can the sales staff evolve the product so future buyers have the new options available at an agreed upon price. Although the linkages can seem trivial to a buyer like yourself, do not underestimate the challenge this can create for a small company like OTT and their ability to integrate the change into their sales, manufacturing and QA cycles. Hope this is helpful. Buzzy
  18. Overland, For what it is worth, I can share a few of my experiences during the order cycle up to the delivery day. It might be important to remember the sales office and factory are physically separated and may appear at times to be separated in their lines of communication as well. For any prospective owner, obtaining an accurate invoice which lists all your options is an important first step. In my case, Anita did a superb job in that regard. At the time, the invoice was an Excel document with two separate tabs. One tab showed the owner what they agreed to buy and the other tab showed the factory what they would need to build. It would be important to verify both for accuracy. During my purchase cycle, the Excel document “evolved” into three separate parts. The third tab contained a “QA” document for the quality control process once the trailer was built. Keep in mind, the sales staff may not educate the potential owner regarding the Excel tab concept nor regarding their obligation to verify the accuracy of the documents. Please keep in mind, my observations may not reflect current process. However, any build requires a process and it would be to your advantage to determine the process currently in place. One other important observation I would like to share. During my purchase cycle, I felt the sales office was very well versed in both verbal and electronic communication. At the time, I was unable to determine if the lines of communication between the sales office and the factory were as clear. That feeling of uncertainty continued until I arrived on delivery day. I will add the communication did appear to have taken place. As a result, my delivery day was excellent and my trailer was delivered as requested. Buzzy PS - So....will you be buying a 2018 Raptor? What color?
  19. John, If my Ollie hull suffers any damage, I will be heading to a good marine outfit for repairs. We have many very talented technicians who work with fiberglass and service the boating industry. You might consider the wealth of talent in and around Puget Sound. Buzzy
  20. I would like to extend a big thank you to Larry and all the moderators for your help with our Forum. I do agree the Oliver factory is top-notch and the trailers are head-and-shoulders above the competition. I am continually amazed at how an Ollie is sturdy and well built. I understand OTT will need to focus on the continuous quality improvement in component product selection, cost containment and multi-national marketing. That is a full plate for any small corporation. I have come to accept there may be no OTT staff involvement in our Forum. I also realize they have limited IS resources and that may affect our Forum usability. I will add how some of us are long distance owners. With no dealer network, a long distance owner and prospective owner can have different needs. I am not a frequent user of the services the factory provides, nor do I reconnect with the factory via the annual rally. For me (us), the Forum is a life-line to assist in maximizing the use of my Ollie. I believe our Forum provides not only a benefit to existing owners, it could provide insights to OTT marketing staff in how communities are formed and product loyalty is maintained. As OTT grows, they may find a dispersed network of owners could be their greatest asset; however, that goal must be nurtured in a decentralized fashion. Unfortunately, I have not seen any evidence that knowledge and/or experience exist within the OTT organization. Too bad, so sad! Now back to planning my summer camping trips. Buzzy
  21. Canoe12, This past winter I stored my Ollie outside where the solar panels could provide power to the batteries. Since I did not remove the fuses for the stereo or TV they, along with the carbon monoxide detector, were parasitic power draws. The draw was near 5 to 6 amps per day. If the solar panels were not completely covered with snow, they were restoring my batteries to full each day. Since I use AGM batteries, which are sealed, I have no concerns for adding water. I realize many owners store their Ollies inside, but I wanted to understand more about the solar system over the winter. I also wanted to see if my Ollie was problem free during a winter season. So far, the solar system has worked incredibly well and I noticed just two minor problems. The first involved a tendency for the lock on the door (Not the deadbolt, that is fine.) to freeze. I used a special lock lubricant, recommended by John D., and the problem is resolved. I also have the black streaks from the porch light gaskets. I plan to resolve that issue in May. For me, the winter season with Ollie outside was just a continuation of my field testing. I purchased an Ollie not just because it is well designed and well manufactured. I also believed it would be durable and hold up well to my four season New Hampshire weather. So far, I have not been disappointed! Buzzy
  22. The neighborhood family mentioned above stores their trailer outside all winter next to mine. They have been experiencing all kinds of problems. They saw me the other day and said, "We have been admiring your Ollie. Once the kids are older and no longer seek to go camping, we would love to own an Ollie. Just the two of us and our big sloppy dog!" It is interesting how many campers aspire to be Ollie owners. Buzzy
  23. Canoe12, You will love the field testing with your Ollie. It can truly challenge your analytical skills. I might recommend a few guidelines to help weigh your trips toward success. Like yourself, I need to provide a continuous supply of power for a family member who is on life sustaining oxygen therapy. The medical equipment requires AC power. I have come to categorize equipment and/or actions as either essential or non-essential. At the same time I aim for high levels of enjoyment and not a feeling of making do with less. I do not use my microwave. I pop my popcorn over a campfire. I do not use my TV, I play Bananagrams at the dinette. I do not use the porch lights. I prefer to admire the fireflies. I run the furnace, but I love to snuggle under a comforter. My suggestion, is to try and bring joy to camping without utilities. I typically book five days and four night with an understanding we may need to break camp if the power levels drop to near 50% of my AGM capacity. Even while dry camping in mostly shaded sites, I was able to power my Ollie for the duration of my trips. And we had a blast each and every time! Buzzy
  24. John, You should speak with Jason regarding the potential for converting from Zamp to Blue Sky at a later date. I would guess the cost could be significant. I understand for most Ollie owners the rational in deciding between PWM and MPPT technology is primarily based on battery life. I actually take a different approach. I base the decision on the location and style of camping I have chosen for my Ollie. I want my camping to be exclusive to boondocking. But more importantly, it will be based in campgrounds which are heavily forested. Most of the state campground sites in New England and Canada have mostly or partially shaded sites. During the winter I have the sun low on the horizon. In essence, year round I am challenged to pull as much power as I can from the limited availability of sun on my array. It is my camping which drives me to the MPPT technology. I encourage all future and potential owners to think about where and how they plan to camp and figure that knowledge into your decision-making. Buzzy
  25. A point of clarification. 90% of my array is covered with snow. The 10% not covered is providing the power. When I purchased my Ollie, it was delivered with Zamp solar panels with a Blue Sky controller and a Blue Sky monitor. Zamp controllers were not being installed by OTT back in June of 2016. Yes, the panels are the main reason for the recharging of my batteries. However, the Blue Sky controller appears to be doing a fine job taking limited power and recharging my batteries. It might be useful to know, since last June I have only connected my Ollie to shore power on three occasions. One was to re-boot my controller after it had shut down and the other two times was to complete demos for prospective buyers who wanted to see the AC in operation. For me, camping is all about understanding my solar gear. :) Buzzy
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