Gillette Wyoming – FMCA Rally and Devil’s Tower National Monument

FMCA Rally

Pre-Rally Upgrades

We arrive in Gillette on Sunday the 15th of July for an early set-up because on Monday we have our new sensors getting installed.  See the post here about the sensor installation.  Tuesday we got our tanks washed out then the 98th FMCA Rally starts Wednesday.

The Rally Begins – Here’s a typical day:

DJI 0129
FMCA Rally – Gillette Wyoming

Wednesday July 18th

LED Troubleshooting

Our first seminar Jeff attended is on LED lighting taught by Gregg Wilson.  Just about the first question out was how many folks have LED lights in their coach, and Jeff’s hand shot up.  The next question was how many have LED lights that are flickering?  Again, Jeff’s hand shot up.  We have a number of interior and exterior LED lights that are flickering that we got from M4 RV Lighting.   We went with M4 because some of the more popular blogs we follow have used the lights from this company.  Jeff is interested in getting some troubleshooting tips to diagnose the flickering.

Flickering Usually Means HEAT

Most often LED lights flicker because they get too hot, and inferior lights handle heat poorly.  Sure enough, the lights that we are having problems with are the enclosed Valance lights at the ends of our cabinets in the living area.  The light is enclosed in a triangular area 10″ x 10″ x 10″, so it is not like the lights are in a small space, but they don’t get any circulation.

Gregg designs, builds and sells LED lights that he has designed for the RV environment.   The second set of lights are in the ceiling above the bed – again the rear ceiling gets less circulation than the front and is more susceptible to more heat.  We elected to replace these lights with LEDs that have more directionality and are designed to allow more airflow around the light.  In addition, we picked lights that are shielded to create less interference for TVs and amateur radios.

External LED lights – A PROBLEM!

Our other lights that flicker are running lights on the outside of the coach.  Gregg informs us that there are no LEDs certified for use on the exterior unless they are fully encapsulated, and pass IP65, IP66 or IP67 standards for water proofing.  Replacing a conventional running light with an LED is not legal and will likely not work in the long-term.  Sure enough, most of these lights have been flickering since day 1.  Next job is to replace these with original style light bulbs.

Porch Lights

We also purchased two LED motion detector porch lights.  Jeff had already replace the porch light by the door with an LED version, because want to have motion detectors for our porch lights especially while boondocking this was a good find.  Since they are a) not running lights and b) enclosed there should be no issue with these lights.  That project will be on a future blog post & video.

Orthopedic Principals and Applications

Christine went to the Orthopedic seminar, which was a good seminar as they talked about key stretches to do, especially when sitting hours during travel days.  They also discussed keeping as limber as possible as we age because let’s face it… we are all getting older.

Extended Warranty

Next, we went to an Extended Warranty presentation by US Warranties.  It was an interesting seminar for us because our original extended warranty that we got when we purchased Lola is expiring in August.  We got several key take-aways:

  • Does it include roadside assistance?
  • Does it include towing?
  • Is there Trip Interruption services
  • Senior Citizen & Military Discounts
  • Does it include Consequential Loss Coverage (when an item that is covered damages other parts)

More on our experience shopping for extended warranties soon!

Other Notable Seminars

Freightliner Fireside Chat

Jeff attended the Freightliner Fireside Chat in Massachusetts 2 years ago and decided to attend this rally’s version.  A representative from Freightliner RV manufacturing gave an interesting overview of some of the newer technology being used in current Freightliner RV chassis.  In addition the standard Fireside Chat discussion is about basic chassis technology, troubleshooting and maintenance (as much as you can squeeze into an hour).

Griots Detailing 101

One of the things we like about the FMCA rally is that seminars are either general information (not vendor specific) or product oriented (vendor specific).  Detailing a Coach 101 was a product specific seminar from Griots (Griots Detailing 101 from Griots Garage).   Cool products at a premium price.  Check out the link to Griots for some of their cool stuff.

Air Brakes

The seminar on Air Brakes is presented by RVSafety.com.   I took some notes, but could really have used a hand-out.  There is a full course available from RVSafety on testing Air Brakes.  I did find an article on testing Air Brakes at Family RVing website.  Scroll down to the Pretrip Brake Inspection.  Also a basic Understanding Air Brakes from the same FMCA author.

Tire Knowledge

Roger Marble has been working with tires his entire life.  He spent many years ‘in the pit’ on race courses and ‘in the lab’ at a major US tire manufacturer.  Check his blog-site for lots of information on RV tires.  This seminar was focused on tire failures and the forensics involved in determining the root cause of the failure.  Fascinating, but probably a bit too in depth for our more practical needs.  His website and his contributions on forums is invaluable.  Guess it is important to have your tires checked on a regular basis.

Detail an RV in an Hour

This seminar was a combination general information and product specific.  The non product specific portion of the seminar covered microfiber cloth manufacturing and quality and how to tell if you are getting a good microfiber cloth.  The instructor from Almost Heaven Microfiber  also talked about the advantages of using poles instead of ladders to wash and wax your RV.   For the product specific portion of the seminar he displayed a variety of products including microfiber cloths of different texture for various tasks, poles to attach the cloths to as well as different wash and wax products.  We ended up stopping by the booth and picking up a heavy duty pole, some spray wax for between full wax jobs and a variety of microfiber cloths.

Boondocking 101 & 102

Two full seminar sessions by Dave Helgerson all about boondocking safety, resources and planning.  Because this is a very detailed subject matter too much to cover for this blog entry  we will devote some quality time to create another video and blog just on what we learned about Dave’s boondocking teachings.

Devils Tower

On Friday we take a break and drive to Devil’s Tower – the nation’s first National Monument.  It was a nice drive with the dogs and a nice break from all the learning we are doing at the FMCA Gillette Rally.

Video

Pictures

Happy Trails!

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