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There’s currently a winter storm pounding the Northeast with snow, freezing rain and record low temperatures. That’s too bad. That’s also why you’ll find us in some Southwest desert come this time of year.

Happy Nü Year Camp Anza Borrego 2014

Before we fled Colorado to fly south this winter though, we got hammered with a fair dumping of our own.

Snoww on RV at Fort Collins. CO KOA

How to Protect RV Hookups in Winter Weather

Here’s a quick trick I tried to help protect exposed RV electrical utility hookups from damage caused by severe winter weather. It worked great during those Rocky Mountain floods of 2013!

DIY RV Power Service Hookup Rain Protection

You don’t need some costly gadget to keep your RV electrical cord connections from getting wet! Prevent sensitive electronics and costly surge guards in a few simple steps.

  1. Cut an old auto tire inner tube in half.
  2. Slide cord through tube.
  3. Plug in.
  4. Secure end of tube around outlet box.

This is a simple, cheap and effective way to create a weather-tight seal around the end of your cord. Doing so will help prevent potential damage to your RV electrical system caused by wet or frozen connections.

I cut the tube long enough to cover the 50-30 amp RV plug adapter we use at Jerry’s Acres. I then used Zip-ties to create a good seal around the utility box.

With a large enough tube, this should also work well with many inline RV surge protectors too!

What tips do you have for dealing with winter weather in your RV?

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Happy Nü Year One and All!

After a couple months visiting family and friends with far too much time on busy highways and in big cities, we finally arrived at one of our favorite southwest RV destinations on New Year’s eve. The peace and quiet of Anza Borrego would have to wait, at least a day or so…

Happy Nü Year 2014 Anza Borrego CA

It’s been three years since NüRVers first gathered in Quartzsite to ring in the new year, but it was like we’d seen some of these faces just yesterday. Other new folks became immediate friends.

Happy Nü Year 2014 Anza Borrego CA

One good thing about gathering with a bunch of like-minded technology enabled nomads is that someone is bound to have some insight or a spare piece of hardware should you find yourself having technical difficulties—which tends to happen fairly often on the road less traveled. And this group is filled with programmers, network engineers, developers and artists, oh my!

Happy Nü Year Camp Anza Borrego 2014

Rene and I our kicking the business up a notch, and have determined that 2014 is going to be a very productive year. So my first task after the revelry settled down a bit was to get us online. This can tend to bring surprises after remaining stationary for some time, and this New Year’s day was no different. I wirelessly accessed our MotoSat controller that morning to calibrate the dish since we last used it weeks prior, hundreds of miles to the North. No problem.

Minutes later, I went to raise the dish again and search for our satellite but no wireless network was to be found. Well with this group, there were nearly a dozen new networks, but not ours! I figured it may just be a channel ID conflict,  but I couldn’t access the Linksys WRT300N admin panel if I couldn’t get on the network so I wired in to the router. In doing so, I noticed the Wireless indicator was not lit. Great.

To make a long story short, resetting factor defaults and fudging about resulted in no wireless connectivity. I got us online with the dish, set Rene up with a cable, and went to ask the Man.

2014 Nü Year' Eve Party was A Formal Affair

Sam is one of our top go-to guys when it comes to tech questions. After explaining my troubleshooting steps, he had an official diagnosis:

The desert ate your router.

It doesn’t help questioning why it worked one minute and not the next. It doesn’t help that Verizon cellular service is serious lacking in this part of the Southern CA desert. And it doesn’t help worrying about waiting for General Delivery while trying to be productive.

What did help was that Sam also had a spare CradlePoint MBR95 wireless router he wasn’t using. In fact, he had been thinking of selling it! So I took it for a test drive.

To make a longer story even shorter! It works like a charm. The CradlePoint is a wireless 4G/3G router that let’s you connect a USB broadband modem, which we do not use since we have our Verizon MiFi for redundancy. But you can also connect any cable/DSL modem, or in our case the HughesNet terminal. Same gave us a deal, we paid him via PayPal on the spot, and we’re already working away on big plans.

Lessons Learned This Time:

Be prepared for the unexpected. If you rely on the interwebs to support your nomadic lifestyle, have redundant methods of connectivity and carry along any cables you might need in the event of a wireless emergency.

Ours is not to question why. Living this lifestyle, if something can go wrong, it eventually will. If something goes wonky that once worked just fine, don’t waste too many brain cycles trying to figure out why.

Know who to ask. By all means, know what to do in terms of general troubleshooting for any equipment you operate. But if ever in doubt, know where to turn for free advice. The NüRVers Facebook page and RV geek discussion forums are a good place to start!

Don’t panic. Whatever happens, take a moment to breathe and evaluate the situation. There is always a solution and the best is often the simplest.

Connect with good friends. Develop a core group of fellow traveling friends online and don’t spend too much time in between hooking up with them next time!

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Having been born in the wee hours of All Saint’s Day, I had increasingly hedonistic hallowed birthday bashes for the first 40 years of my life. Since hitting the road, Halloween in our RV has been rather calm. This year was different.

NuRVers Free RV Boondocking Behind Bally's Las VegasFor starters, we had a blast boondocking behind Bally’s for a week of fun on the Las Vegas strip with favorite NüRVer friends. The best part of that was the price—FREE! Why dry camp in a parking lot for a week?

Why, for the Zombie Walk of course…

 NuRVers Die for Zombie Walk Las Vegas 2013

After a few more days of finding bargains on the strip, then came Halloween on Fremont Street. Pictures, as they say, speak louder than words…

The highlight of Halloween this year, had to be the people-watching. And there’s no better place than Vegas, with its fair share of freaks—from the scantily clad to the downright creepy…

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Here’s a very quick video of another fun art project from our travels…

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Marfa Texas Tethered Aerostat Radar Surveilance BalloonIn the middle of nowhere on the way to Big Bend National Park, you may miss the Prada Marfa Store if you blink. The first time we saw it fly by, we had a classic double-take moment. I was actually more focused on the UFO in the distance, which turned out to be a Tethered Aerostat Radar surveillance balloon.

There is no door, but complete with pricey pumps and a placard describing the artist’s intentions, the Prada Marfa store has stood along this remote stretch of West Teaxs two-lane for eight years.

If you want to see it, you better hurry up!

Texas DOT Determines Prada Marfa Store Is Illegal

Texas lawmakers and the media are now claiming the installation is little more than an illegal roadside ad. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) has issued an order to remove the structure, calling it a billboard that does not fit permitted specifications.

Designed by Artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset to resemble a Prada storefront, with the intention of it slowly disintegrating in the harsh West Texas climate, the small structure sits on private land in Valentine, Texas. This small tourist attraction has definitely drawn the attention many, and certainly brought visitors to the remote area, perhaps even helping to spawn the growing Marfa, Texas Art Scene.

Prada Marfa Texas Art Installation Highway 90

While she did not commission the project herself, Miuccia Prada approved the installation prior to its construction in 2005. Celebrity visits have resulted in a photo shoot of Beyonce at Prada Marfa, a write-up about Marfa in GQ magazine, and worldwide attention upon this stretch of highway often referred to as a godforsaken part of Texas—otherwise known only for its mysterious lights phenomena.

And that might be exactly why the “store” may soon be shut down. Locals have complained about the roadside art project, and apparently don’t take kindly to big brands putting up “billboards” along their back roads. This isn’t the first time a major brand has been chased out of town. A Marfa, Texas Playboy art project was the first to come under fire by the TXDOT. It appears that Prada Marfa will follow suit soon.

What do you think? Ads or Art?

Wyatt Ray Dawg Wears Prada

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If you ever have the chance to take a short detour for some vaguely interesting attraction while traveling the back roads in some remote part of America, take it. You never know when you might be that way again, and if you pass it up, you’ll never know what you missed. This was the case for us in Marble, Colorado approximately 6 miles off highway 133 on our way from the North Fork Valley to Denver.

Historic Marble Colorado Quarry Site

A trip to the historic Yule Marble Quarry site is especially a must for anyone who likes seeing heavy equipment in action. We pulled up just in time to watch a crew load and unload 15+ ton blocks of marble using a Komatsu WA600 Wheel Loader. Translation: One big frackin’ forklift!

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If you’re not that interested in manly machines—talk to the woman apparently in charge of the loading area—don’t worry, Marble still has much to offer in terms of historical interest.

Marble Colorado Quarry Site

The marble deposits discovered here in the late 1800s resulted in development of the town and quarry site which has been the source of marble for the Lincoln Memorial, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and San Francisco City Hall among many other architectural masterpieces throughout the world. Today an Italian company operates the quarry, in this small Colorado town of only 131 residents, shipping most of the massive blocks overseas to produce marble tile for the Saudi Arabian market.

Marble Colordo Quarry Site

Tours of the quarry itself are no longer available, but the chambers where marble has been extracted for hundreds of years are said to be so massive they have their own weather systems. A short self-guided walking tour of the old marble mill site, however, is well worth the visit.

With the quarry operating year round, there’s a good chance you’ll catch activity in the loading area. In our short visit we watched them load one block onto a flatbed semi truck (yes, just one), and offload the block in the video above. As we left another truck was coming down the mountain with another load.

Marble Colorado Quarry Site

Fair Warning: If approaching Marble on 133 from the south, don’t be fooled by the pass. The last descent is very steep with a gnarly hairpin turn at the bottom, immediately after which you must exit to the right, taking Route 3 into town. Another important warning; pay attention to the signs! Marble is a very small town with narrow roads. Turn right toward the Quarry Site on Third street and immediately park in the gravel area to your right. Do not proceed over the bridge! That road leads up to the quarry itself.

Marble Colorado Quarry Site

As we were about to leave, a car pulling a pop-up trailer neglected to heed the many large red and yellow “Active Loading Area” signs and proceeded to approach the bridge as a large truck was coming down the hill with another big block of Yule Marble. The workers we met at the site are nice and knowledgeable, and I’m sure they are used to dealing with visitors, but let them do their job.

Marble Colorado Quarry Site

Marble Colorado Quarry Site

After seeing the modern marvel of heavy machinery manipulating massive blocks of marble, walking the steps of the old mill site was, well, marvelous in itself. It makes one wonder just how they did it back then, when it still seems to be such a challenge today.

There is a Marble museum in town which we missed since we had our trailer and were on a schedule to get to Indian Hot Springs for a well deserved soak after workamping all summer. But who needs a museum anyway, after a front row view of such diesel powered industrial equipment at work?

Marble Quarry Site Colorado Gear

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