Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lil Snoozy. Boondocking. Solar? License. Tankless Water Heater. Antifreeze. Broken Laptop? Dry Trees. Doctor. Bargains.

New lightweight trailer:

The most advanced, forward-thinking small travel trailer design since the inception of campers.

"Finally a small camper with tons of elbow room. It's bright and airy inside, with huge windows. It has a queen size full-time bed. Not a bed that is sometimes a dinette. Big kitchen. Capable of being towed by a small truck or even a mid-sized family car. The fiberglass construction of the Lil Snoozy small travel trailer improves durability and makes maintenance simple."
Dimensions : Over All: Length 17ft 3in, Height 7ft 5in, Width 7ft 11"   Weight with average equipment is 2100LBS    803-655-5336
Why do only 1 in 4 RVers boondock?

"We boondockers find camping outside of campgrounds as normal and comfortable as the rest of our RV lifestyle. When we need to start looking for a campsite for the night, we start looking for side roads leading off into who-knows-where more often than we pull out a campground guide.

We plan our trip routes through national forests, along two-lane roads, over scenic byways, and across BLM land rather than head for popular areas along Interstate highways known to have lots of campgrounds and RV resorts.

In fact, less than 1 in 4 RVers boondock, preferring to stay in organized campgrounds. I'm not sure of the reason, but I would guess that it is for convenience.
Why else would RVers prefer to pay their hard-earned money for an organized campground rather than stay at a free or cheap campsite?   Or be shoehorned in with other campers when you could have lots of space and privacy instead? And why prefer a campground with the constant din of other campers, running vehicles, screaming kids, barking dogs, and late night 20-something partiers around a campfire--when you could have peace and quiet and solitude and a view of Mother Nature?
One other reason, I suppose, is that most RVers are sociable types and like meeting other campers and being part of a campout community. And the amenities, like access to a swimming lake with a lifeguard to watch the kids, park campfire programs with entertaining Ranger talks, RV resorts with Wi-fi, cable TV, heated swimming pools, hot tubs, recreation rooms with programs, games, TV, and potlucks, proximity to cities, restaurants, golf courses, shopping--oh, and electric, sewer, and water hookups.
Staying in campgrounds is much more convenient, also, and they are easier to find than boondocking spots. You can locate them in campground guides and online, along main roads and highways, with signs for easy access in and out, have hook-ups so you don't have to monitor your state of battery charge and your water and waste tanks, and you don't have to drive down a dirt road and get your rig dusty.
These conveniences and amenities must be more important to most RVers than the physical open space, private campsites with few if any neighbors nearby, scenic settings with long views, star-filled skies not dimmed by campground lights, access to hiking trails and wild areas, the sound of rustling leaves or a babbling brook instead of vehicles, kids, and dogs, and little or no cost that boondockers value.

Or is boondocking in the wilds--not including dry-camping at a Walmart--just too much of an unknown, alien to most RVers normal way of camping, or does camping out in a natural environment not appeal to them? Not that I would like all RVers to suddenly discover boondocking and I find all my favorite places occupied."
Boondocking tips with Bob Difley.

Can you cost justify a solar system for your RV?
"Could you use $3,000 to buy and install a solar charging system for your rig? You can either raise the money or payoff the initial cost in a year or less by boondocking just two days a week for a year.
Assuming an average campground cost of $20 to $30, two nights a week average of boondocking for a year would save between $2,000 and $3,000, more than enough to cover the cost of a sun-powered solar installation. And the double perks of the installation would (1) Enable you to boondock longer, and (2) provide free electricity with no maintenance costs."

RVing cross country?  Watch out for law quirks.
"You've got a state-issued driver license, right? So you're "OK" to drive your rig in any state, right? That's a qualified, "Maybe." Each of the 50 states have an understanding with one another: Lawfully licensed drivers from other states may drive in all other states. But there are quirks that can affect RVers - -and other motorists -- that you may not readily recognize." Read more.
Choosing a Tankless RV Water Heater "I am trying to compare tankless RV hot water heaters. The two I found are the Girard and Precision Temp. The Girard has less BTUs and states that to increase heat you need to decrease volume, which sucks for taking a shower. Is the Precision Temp unit the same? I am a full-timer and travel to and stay at winter locations. Phil W. (Rapid City, SD)P..."      More Link
This applies to RV's too.

Why Replace your Automobile Antifreeze?

"Normally I would be discussing RV antifreeze used to protect the water system in your RV or boat from freezing, but today I want to talk briefly about automotive antifreeze.
If I were the CEO of an automotive antifreeze company my entire focus would be on the need to regularly flush the coolant system and add new antifreeze to the vehicle cooling system.

I would do this for two reasons.
1) From a business standpoint I would do it to increase revenue. The average consumer doesn’t relate changing antifreeze in their vehicles like they relate to changing the engine oil on a regular basis. If they were educated on the benefits of changing the antifreeze in their vehicles my company profits would soar.

That brings me to reason number two.
2) The coolant system of any vehicle performs a very important job; to prevent the heat producing engine from overheating and quite possibly seizing up. When you don’t flush and replace the antifreeze periodically rust, scale and corrosion can build up in the radiator and engine coolant passages, and eventually result in an overheated engine.

Let’s talk a minute about what a vehicle coolant system is intended to do. First of all, if an engine did not have methods for transferring the heat that is produced through combustion and friction the hot metal parts would melt down and seize up.
Heat that the engine produces is basically removed through the exhaust system and through the cooling system. All heat producing sections of an internal combustion engine need to be cooled, including the combustion chamber, heads, cylinder walls and the engine block itself.
The way this is done is by circulating coolant around these heat producing areas of the engine. The coolant picks the heat up and releases much of it as it circulates through the vehicles radiator.
Water does a good job helping to cool an engine but it has some drawbacks. Most importantly it freezes quickly during cold winter temperatures. Water can also cause certain metals to rust and corrode over time.
This is why the water in a vehicle cooling system is mixed with what we refer to as antifreeze. Glycol antifreeze does several things to help your engine:
1) It helps to lower the freezing point of water.
2) The corrosion inhibitors that are added help prevent scale and rust build-up in the cooling system.
3) It provides protection against boiling in the hot summer months.
4) Antifreeze helps keep the engine operating at its most efficient temperature regardless of operating conditions and outside temperatures.

When we don’t flush and replace the antifreeze at recommended intervals these chemicals start to break down and cannot perform the job as effectively as new antifreeze can. Just like used engine oil breaks down and needs to be replaced for maximum lubrication and cooling performance.
How many of you have ever witnessed a vehicle sitting along the side of a road with steam billowing out of the engine compartment from overheating? I cannot count the number of times I have seen this. Many times the cause is due to the failure of a part within the cooling system. If a radiator hose, heater hose, water pump, thermostat or fan belt fails the result is an overheated engine.
Or, if the coolant system hasn’t been flushed and the antifreeze replaced for several years the result is an overheated engine. The bottom line is periodic inspections of the cooling system components, and flushing and replacing antifreeze at recommended intervals will add years of life to the vehicles engine and prevent untimely breakdowns.
Keep in mind that glycol antifreeze is poisonous to humans and pets and that it needs to be disposed of properly. You should follow the guidelines in your vehicle owner’s manual for flushing and replacing antifreeze and make sure you are using the proper type of antifreeze recommended for your particular vehicle.
Remember, getting here is supposed to be half the fun! Add the vehicle cooling system to your pre-trip inspection if you don’t already include it." Happy RV Learning,  Mark Polk

Laptop Fixes:

"Laptops live a rugged, rough-and-tumble lifestyle. Their very nature means they'll usually need to endure long road trips, an occasional spillage from all sorts of liquids, and a drop at least once or twice in their lifetime. Because today's laptops are getting smaller and thinner, many users believe that when something goes awry, their only course is to take it in to a professional for an overpriced fix. Sometimes this is the
case; but sometimes one can save money with a little initiative and elbow grease.
Read on to learn how to fix the most common laptop issues at home.

Damaged Charger Cords

Laptop charger cords certainly take a lot of abuse. They get curled up, packed away, pulled this way and that; is it any wonder why they get frayed out and out of whack? Luckily, a charger cord that's coming undone is super easy to fix. For this fix, you'll need silicone sealant and painter's tape. If you have sensitive skin, protective gloves will protective you from any discomfort.

A quick fix is to roll electrical tape around the damaged portion of the cord, but a more permanent solution is to use silicone sealant, which can be purchased from any hardware
store. First off, lay down a piece of painter's tape (sticky side down) to protect your working surface. Place the cord on it and squeeze out the sealant over the damaged part. The cool thing about the painter's tape is that the sealant won't stick to it and it peels off easily once you're finished. Allow the silicone sealant to dry for about two hours before using.

Cracked Laptop Case

Unless you have a military-grade laptop or are extremely careful, a couple high altitude drops on a laptop's corner will probably put a pretty good crack in the case. If the drop is severe enough, a chunk can even be taken out of your shiny laptop. Ouch.

Repairing cracks in your notebook's case requires epoxy putty to use as a filler. You can get epoxy putty at any hardware store and it usually sells for about $6 USD a tube. A caveat: avoid the quick-setting type of putty, as it may harden before you're done with your fix. Make sure that the crack portion is free of any debris. The putty comes in two components wrapped around each other like a double helix. Cut a small piece off and mash the two components together. The mixture of the two components induces a chemical reaction that'll harden the epoxy.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear protective gloves before entwining the two epoxy pieces. When the epoxy turns gray it's time to apply to your laptop's case.
Apply the putty to the cracked part and work it in. Use something flat (an expired card, a ruler, etc.) to level the putty so it's not obvious. Wait an hour or two for the putty to dry. Next, you can use sandpaper to smooth out the dried putty out and apply model paint so the repaired section is not so glaring.

Malfunctioning Fan

Computer's that use fans to cool them off are essential.
Without a way to cool your laptop's important components--CPU, hard drives, video card, et al.--things will burn up and you and your laptop will be none too happy. A malfunctioning fan can also be very noisy. A DIY fan repair is not hard at all.
Before you got out and get a new fan, see if you can fix it first.
A can of compressed air goes a long way. The thin straw that comes with these cans can get into your hardware's tight crevices to clean out any debris and dust that may have accumulated on your laptop's fan, diminishing its efficiency.
Stick the straw inside one of your laptop's vents and squeeze the trigger on the can to give a good burst of air. You may even want to open up your laptop to give it a better cleaning inside. Some laptops give you access to their internals by removing the keyboard. Consult your computer's manual. Take a look at the internal fans; see if you can lift some of the
grime and dust that may have collected. Give it a spin with your finger. If you still hear the noise or if the fan's
blades resist, it may be time for a replacement."


We didn't have another drizzle in the morning, so the trees still aren't getting enough moisture.
The Texas Forest Service has put out this video about how to take care of our trees during this drought:

It was doctor day.  The night before, I had put a paper bag in front of the shelf where the coffee fixin's are, just so I wouldn't forget.  I don't use the regular non-dairy creamer, as it is full of High Fructose Corn Syrup and chemicals that you can't pronounce.  Non-Fat Dry Milk is just that, dry milk, so that is what I have.   The non-fat part isn't why I buy it, as everyone needs some of the right kinds of fat.  Often I will add a little Half-and-Half, if I have it.  Or have Café au lait, which is coffee with hot milk in it.  But the sweetener seems to be the key to a good tasting coffee for me.

The alarm was set, but I woke up ahead of time.  Early morning emails and black coffee just don't seem to go together.  That is my quiet time for savouring the two cups of caffeinated coffee that I drink each morning.  The cats didn't get any time on the screen porch, I just fed them and Misty, then got ready. 

Oops, I spelled savour the Brit way.  It is because I still have Savourmix on my mind.  During the war in England, meat was rationed, but to make sure we got enough protein, there was a product called Savourmix, which wasn't rationed.   It was made out of ground nuts and spices.  You mixed it with something, probably not egg or milk as they were rationed, too, and fried it.  It was so tasty, it was a treat for me.  I had been hoping that the almonds that I ground up to make the almond  "polenta", would taste something like Savourmix did.  It could, if one knew the right spices to add.

Jay had said that he wanted to go with me.  He likes to go into Conroe.  I called him twice, but he didn't answer his cell phone.  Knowing that Misty needed her walk-about before I left for a few hours, I took her down there in the Puddle Jumper.  Jay came to the door in his robe, and asked if we were going to work.  I asked him if he was getting ready, he looked blank, so I said it is Wednesday.  He said no it's not, it's Tuesday.  I had to look at my cellphone, surely I hadn't planned all this early morning fiasco for nothing!  Sure enough it showed that it was Wednesday. Jay went in and checked somewhere, and came back out, then said yes, it was Wednesday, and that he couldn't get ready in time.  Misty and I came home, then I left in the van.

The black coffee wasn't too bad, but I was looking forward to having some good coffee after the doctor's vampire had taken my blood for the cholesterol test, so I took some with me in a little Thermos.  It had creamer in it, but I was also looking forward to buying the Xylitol sweetener, and using that in it too.  I even took a little spring clip with me to close up the package, but then I thought better about opening it in the van, and drank it unsweetened.  I would have been better off just taking some juice.

The doctor's visit went well, as far as they go. He gave me the orders for my mammogram and a bone density test.  But he also wants me to have a colonoscopy,  UGH!!  I don't take any medicines, but my blood pressure was a little higher this time.  Last time it was 125/65 but today it was 132/74. 

I stopped at Lowe's to exchange something.
Talk about being in the right place and the right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time!! 

The only place I could find what I needed was in one of the 'scratch-n-dent' shopping carts, and it wasn't marked with a price.  When I asked at the desk how much it was, he said that I had to buy the whole cart for $10 to get it.  The other thing I needed was in the 'scratch-n-dent' shopping cart next to it.
So I bought both cart fulls.  They even sent someone out to help me load it all in the back of my van.  There were 390 items, some marked down to $15.00 each.  $1,700.00 retail worth of goods, and I got both shopping carts for $20!  So many varied items, that I can't even begin to list them.  One was a shell-colored hanging ceiling light, exactly the right color for the shell decor in my bathroom.
As for the items that I don't need, it would take forever to list them all on eBay.  I can see a bunch of them in my next yard sale, or donations to a thrift shop.

A quick stop at "Herbal Connection" for the Xylitol, as it is cheaper on Wednesdays.  Even then it was $11. for 2.5 lb.  But it is sweeter than sugar, so you use less, but what price is one's health…. 
People should be more aware of the dangers of consuming Nutrasweet and Equal (aspartame), Splenda, High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar.

Dangers of aspartame and Splenda:

For more information about the toxicity and history of aspartame
Need more proof?


No stops at thrift shops, or Walmart, just HEB and Kroger's, then I came home.  Now, after all this, HEB started carrying Nectasweet, which is another saccharin sweetener which tastes OK to me.

Oh, it was so good to have a cup of decaf with the Xylitol, with my lunch.  It was the best cup of coffee I have had for many a day.

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