Category Archives: VLOG

RV Upgrades and Modifications

If a Winnebago engineer stepped onto our Micro Minnie 1706FB he or she might not recognize it. I have made many modifications to it, some myself, some with the help of professionals, in order to make it more comfortable, more reliable, more like home.

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One of the fist upgrades I did was installing a Fantastic Vent. All RVers seemed to rave about them, and while it doesn’t turn the inside of the RV into a category 3 hurricane, it does freshen up things quite a bit on cool nights. It is however useless in the south Florida summer, even at night. I make a video of the installation.

  • Solar Energy

My second RV modification was a Solar system. I got a 100 watt kit from Renology which came with everything I needed to install it. All I needed to buy extra was the roof sealant. The main reason I wanted to get this, besides off grid camping, was not having to disconnect my battery every time we planed to leave the RV parked for more than a week. I also made a video of that upgrade.

  • Dinette Replacement

We also replaced our dinette with two folding tables. This however is still very much a work in progress. We might go for a sofa in the future or perhaps something even more flexible. Stay tuned for that. Here’s that video, a playlist because there are two parts.

  • Other Modifications: Wardrobe closet, TPMS and Water Heater

Finally, last month I did three major upgrades and modifications to Minitini: the Trailer. The first one was removing the TV set, and ripping apart the cabinet behind it. That gave us enough room to build a small wardrobe closet. That was something that our trailer hadn’t come with from the factory. I also bought and installed a tire pressure monitoring system, which is something I should have done from day one for safety. Better late than never, right? Finally I got the dealer to replace my faulty Atwood on demand water heater. I could have put up an uphill fight trying to get the to cover it under warranty. I decided my time is more valuable than that and decided to take the plunge on atop of the line, state of the art piece of German engineering.  We went with a Truma AquaGo. I hope it will provide us with many warm showers in the future. Here’s the video of all this latest upgrades.

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My CAMERAS and OTHER GEAR

Main camera: Sony FDR-AX33 
Action camera: Sony FDR X3000 
Additional action camera: GoPro Hero 3 White Edition 
Field Audio Recorder: Zoom H1 
Drone: DJI Mavic Pro

CONVENIENCES and UPGRADES

TireMinder TM55c-B Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Fit System 3891 Deluxe Universal Clip-on Trailer Towing Mirror 
Fantastic Vent 
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit Champion Power Equipment 75537i 3100 Watt RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator with Wireless Remote Start 

IN MY BASEMENT

Weber 51010001 Q1200 Liquid Propane Grill, Black 
Weber 6557 Q Portable Cart for Grilling 
Coleman Outdoor Compact Table 
Coleman 333264 Propane Fuel Pressurized Cylinder, 16.4 Oz 
Quik Chair Folding Quad Mesh Camp Chair – Blue 
Camco Mfg Inc 44543 Large Stabilizer Jack Pad with Handle, 2 Pack 
Bulls Eye Level RV Appliance and Game Table Leveler Motorhome Level (Mini Level)
Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers, (Pack of 10) by Tri-Lynx
Camco 39755 RhinoFLEX 6-in-1 Sewer Cleanout Plug Wrench
Cartman 14″ Cross Wrench, Lug Wrench
Rubbermaid Cooler, 10 qt., Red (FG2A1104MODRD) 
Trailer Aid Tandem Tire Changing Ramp 
Camco 40043 TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector 
Progressive Industries EMS-PT30C Portable EMS RV Surge Protector – 30 Amp

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Meeting “The Wynns”

Meet the Wynns

They are now somewhere in the Caribbean, sailing the blue waters, but not long ago they were here in South Florida and we got to meet them. I am, of course talking about Nikky and Jason “The Wynns”  Former RVers and now sailors, they have one of the most successful YouTube travel channels. I’ll admit I could relate to the much more back in their RVing days, but it is still very entertaining watching sail around the world particularly the learning process.

The Meetup

I made a quick video about the meetup they had at the Lauder-ale Brewery, and here’s a video of that.

Delray Beach and Boca Raton

A couple of weeks ago we decided to return to Delray Beach and Boca Raton to explore the area a little more.

RV repairs and updates

Right before this trip I decided to take advantage and do a couple of maintenance tasks I had been meaning to make. First was removing and eventually replacing one of the Winnebago decals which had become pretty badly cooked by the scorching south Florida sun and was starting to show its age. Second, the latch that holds the door open has started to disintegrate in Florida heat and should no longer work.

After that we departed for Delray Beach and stayed at the same RV park where we stayed last time: Del Raton RV Park. The name is a nice play on Delray and Boca Raton, as the Park stands very close to the city limits of both towns. I spent the day working on some videos, barbecuing some burgers, and catching some rays at the beach.

Boca Raton

In the afternoon we visited downtown Boca Raton, mainly an upscale shopping and dining center called Royal Palm Place.

It was a short, yet fun weekend and I hope you like our video of it.

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Video gear I use
Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder
Sony Action Cam FDR-X3000 Wi-Fi GPS 4K HD Video Camera Camcorder with Flat Surface & Helmet Mounts + 64GB Card + Battery + Case + Flex Tripod + Kit
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Ultra Music Festival – Miami, Florida, USA

Ultra Music Festival

In this week’s video we are doing something a little bit different. We managed to get some tickets to Ultra, which is this huge electronic dance music festival that happens in Miami every year in March. EDM fans from all over the world come to listen to the biggest DJs playing the latest hits. There are nine different stages playing different varieties of electronic dance music.. The DJ stands up high, like a priest, as to the more hardcore fans this type of music is akin to a religion, and there is something to be said for the messages of love in in some of the lyrics. It is also a spectacular show of lights and sounds.
I am going to give you an introspective behind the scenes window into what the festival really looks like. It is not as crazy or even crowded as you are lead to believe by the images on TV, unless you want to go to the crowded areas.

Click on image for video
Ultra Background

Ultra Music Festival has its roots here in Miami dating back to 1999. It was names after Depeche Mode’s album “Ultra”. It originally took place at Collins Park in Miami Beach, but as the festival grew, they moved it Bayfront Park, in downtown Miami. In 2016 attendance was 165,000 fans.

Miami Carnival: Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho, Spanish for Eighth Street, which is where the festival takes place, was founded in 1977 by a group of Cuban-Americans, and it closes the Miami Carnival festivities. It is nowadays organized and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana and although it is a far cry from its heyday in the 80’s and 90’s it is still one of the largest street festivals in the world, with over one million people attending each year. The festival has broken many records, the most notable in 1988 when it made it to the Guinness Book of World Records by forming the world’s longest conga line with almost 120,000 people. Originally 24 blocks of SW 8th Street became a sea of people dancing, with food and drinks stalls, and 30 stages with live entertainment. In 2017 they only closed down 15 blocks of 8th street and there were only about 10 stages. It is still definitely something to see if you are visiting south Florida in early March. One thing to note if you are a visitor is to leave before sundown. Things can get a little rowdy and occasionally violent as some people get drunk and tend to misbehave. Otherwise enjoy this Pan-American  apotheosis of flavors and sounds.

The Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve


In this weeks video and blog post we are going back to the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve to do a couple of things we haven’t done before.

We are staying at Monument Lake which is one of the few places this time of the year with any site available. We’re visiting in February at the peak of snowbird season.

In the video and blog post I use Everglades and Big Cypress interchangeably because they are very similar ecosystems. Big Cypress my favorite of the two areas is, as the name suggests a lot more wooded. The first activity we attempt is to walk a short section of the Florida trail. In South Florida, besides alligators, pythons, panthers, great blue herons, and anhingas, the most abundant member of the animal kingdom is the mosquito. The mosquitos are relentless on the Florida trail. I was under the impression that the winter was the non mosquito season. I was obviously greatly misinformed. It has also been an unusually hot and humid winter.

After our epic fail at the Florida Trail, we decide to the next best thing, which is a loop road that goes pretty deep into the Big Cypress National Preserve. This is truly the highlight of the trip, and the highlight of the loop road is the Sweetwater Strand. In the strand, which is like a river crossing the swamp, we can see all kinds of different birds and the heavy vegetation provided by the taller Cypress tress, makes it feel a lot cooler than the rest of the area. We see all kinds of different birds, and plenty of gators, some of them perhaps too close for comfort.

On the next day we visit Shark Valley, which is one of the most popular and famous places on the Everglades National Park. The is a loop trail where you can ride a bicycle and if you are lazy like us, there is also a tram. The tram is noisy and uncomfortable, and very much overdue for an upgrade. There is an observation tower at the far end of the road. The views are fine, but I guess my expectations were so high that I end up a little underwhelmed. We plenty of wildlife as well. The tour is presented by an elderly couple, and it is full of anecdotes and valuable information.

The culinary highlight of the trip is Joanie’s Café, in which the swamp platter which includes gator bites and frog legs is a winner.

Stay tuned for another compilation video coming soon about the 3 or 4 mail things to do in The Everglades National Park, and the Big acupressure National Preserve.

Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, and Clearwater Beach, Florida

This week we are visiting Tarpon Springs, a historic Greek community built by the sponge industry, Dunedin and its popular causeway, pleasant downtown and historic microbrewery, and Clearwater, one of the best beaches of the Sun Coast of Florida.

We begin our trip by driving to the northernmost point of Pinellas County, and the Sun Coast for that matter: Tarpon Springs. A great number of Greek immigrants arrived to the area during the 1890’s to work on the emerging sponge industry, thus today it has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. It is known as the sponge capital of the world because of its beginnings.

In the historic downtown we encounter one of the main landmarks here: the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Completed in 1943, the cathedral replaced a church from 1907. It was built with marble from Greece, Czechoslovakian chandeliers and it has 23 stained glass windows.

Next we go to the historic sponge docks, to find something to eat.

The Sponge Docks is the area where the sponge industry originally began and helped build this Greek community. It is nowadays very commercialized and touristy with places like the Spongeorama. We eat at the famous Hellas Restaurant and Bakery, family owned since 1970.

Out next point of interest is Wall Springs Park. In the 1920 the park and the natural spring used to be a health spa known as Health Springs. There’s an observation tower and the park is overall a nice relaxing place with Spanish moss draped trees and a boardwalk, but there’s nothing really unique about it.

Next we continue towards the City of Dunedin. First we stop by the Dunedin Causeway, which takes you to Honeymoon Island State Park. It seems to be a nice place, where what seems to be mostly locals, come to relax, fish, paddleboard, or just chill by the beach.

In Dunedin propper we encounter the Pinellas Trail which goes through downtown, and goes all the way from Tarpon Springs to Saint Petersburg. The city stands out for its unobstructed views of the Intercoastal Waterway, which we’ll see soon enough, and for the absence of any chain stores or franchise restaurants. Everything seems to be local, which is a good thing. There’s also Florida’s oldest craft microbrewery, established in 1995. Yeah, way before craft beer was popular. It is called, appropriately enough, Dunedin Brewery.

Our final stop is Clearwater, which is supposed to be one of the finest beaches in Florida, so we’re dying to check it out. Too bad we forgot to bring our bathing suits. We are going to get there just in time for the sunset, and apparently they have some kind of sunset celebration like they do in Ft. Myers, and Key West. It is called Sunsets at Pier 60 Daily Festival. They do have street performers and friendly pelicans.

I hope you enjoy this week’s video and see you on the road!

Saint Petersburg, Florida

This weeks travel video is the second installment of the Tampa Bay series, which takes us to Saint Petersburg, Florida.

After exploring a short section of the Pinellas Trail, we drive to Downtown St. Pete, as it is locally known. We take a leisurely stroll on Demens Park, eyeing the numerous sailboats, and small aircraft flying from nearby Albert Whitted Airport, the birthplace of scheduled commercial flight. We can see downtown Tampa in the distance with the now demolished St. Pete Pier in the foreground.
The next stop is at the city nutmber one tourist attraction: The Salvador Dalí Museum. It holds the largest collection of Dalí works outside of Europe and outside of Spain, and also the second largest collection of Dalí’s master works, the very large canvas that took over a yes each to complete. There’s also a somewhat gimmicky but way cool virtual reality presentation in which you get to go inside some of Dalí’s more famous paintings.
The Museum left us hungry so we eat at the lively Central Avenue, where the is a plethora of choices. We end the day by cruising along the avenue, and driving by the Historic Roser Park district of the city.

RV Dinette Removal and Replacement Project

Ever since we acquired our Winnebago Micro Minnie 1706, christened Minitini, we’ve had two main sources of dissatisfaction. The first one you probably know about if you follow my videos at rvvlog.com, which forwards to my YouTube channel TravelingRobert. Our Atwood OD50 on demand water heater has been less than stellar to put is mildly. Our other source of grief has been the uncomfortable dinette, which kind of barely converts into a twin bed, but is far from an optimal solution. I finally decided to try my hand at woodworking and come up with a more comfortable and flexible solution.
The first part of this metamorphosis involved a lot of unscrewing, but a couple of hours later the old dinette was completely removed.

The next part of the project involved making some kind of cabinet or enclosure to hide the unsightly wheel well, which besides being unattractive looking is made of the flimsiest metal, just a step up from aluminum foil. So I measured twice, went to Home Depot, and bought some wood to tackle the project.
My original idea involved a large folding two-pane table, which could be used in the folded position and then expanded if needed. Luckily we stumbled upon this table from IKEA which takes us 80% of the way there. It is a smaller folding wall table which is practically unusable un the folded position, but we came up with the idea of having two of them for even more flexibility.
One major challenge was fastening the tables to the wall. Our trailer, like many other RVs, has what they call laminate walls. They consist of two thin sheets of some hard material and no studs to be found. The thin ¼ inch material was unlikely to hold the weight of the tables plus whatever we put on them. After much research, I figured the best solution was to fasten a larger piece of wood to the wall first, In order to distribute the weight among more wall anchors.
To this nice setup we added two office chairs, also from IKEA and we are still on the fence about installing the armrests for fear that they might become too bulky. As you know inside a small travel trailer every inch counts.
Check out the following video in which I go into more detail.

The Drive to Tampa Bay, and Madeira Beach nightlife

If you like driving videos, this week’s installment will be the one for you. We are going to go back in time to the beginning of our recent trip to Saint Petersburg and Tampa, in which we eventually visited the Florida RV Supershow.

In this video we day view what I’m calling the tri-camera setup, which is still very much in beta. I have place another two cameras on the trailer to give you different views of the road. One is on the side and one looking backwards. Eventually I want to have cameras looking in every direction, maybe even a 360° setup.

We get to see the Alligator Alley from a whole different perspective as well as the famous Sunshine Skyway bridge.

After the long drive, we leave the trailer at our campsite at the St. Pete/Madeira Beach KOA, and decide to go to John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk for a couple of beers and dinner.

Over the next few days we explore the area quite a bit, but that will be the subject of the next few videos. Until next time, thank you for watching and see you on the road!