Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trip Planner. 50 State Sites. Inverter. BBQ While Set Up. Canned Goods. RV Furnace. Mouse Trap. Disabled Trailer. RV Tips. Plastic Pet Dishes.

Trip Planner:

State Travel Information:
Website Addresses and Phone Numbers for All 50 States

For a limited time, 600 Watt Inverter.

List price $99.99
Now only $39.95
600 Watt Power Inverter
1200 watt peak surge
A power inverter converts DC power into conventional AC power allowing you to use your favorite devices when an AC outlet is not available.

Simply connect an inverter to a battery source, plug your appliance into the inverter and you're set! There's a built in cooling fan for durability. It can run continuously at 600W and has a peak load capacity up to 1200W. Power inverters are often used in cars & RVs, however this inverter allows users to power items from a TV and a VCR to Xbox or a laptop.  Learn more or order.


Pre-prepare Tin Foil Meals for the Barbee

"A couple of our favorite foil-wraps can be prep-worked before pulling out, then on arrival, fire the grill and toss a packet on.
Go about the rest of your set-up business, and in a short time the appetizing aromas will signal the meal is ready. Best of all, there's not a lot of cleanup!
While traveling does bring out quite an appetite, once you land in camp at the end of a road day, who wants to fiddle around with a lot of meal prep hoopala? It's so much easier to cruise on into a McDoogies, but the nutrition is so questionable. Go some place with better nutrient values and less fat, you're apt to spend a bundle. What's the traveler to do?   Pull out the barbee and the tinfoil and let the meal almost fix itself.

Foil Wrapped Burger Bundles:
Toss a burger patty in the middle of a square of aluminum foil. Top it with slices of onion, potato, carrots, and chunks of celery. Dab on a small pat of margarine or butter, season with a pinch of garlic powder, and (if you have it) a few drops of "liquid smoke." Fold up the aluminum "bundle" to seal in the food good and tight. Poke the pack once with a fork and toss on the grill over medium heat. Cooking time will vary with the size and thickness of the hamburger patty, check it out at about 20 minutes, but may take longer. When the spuds can be poked easily, she's ready to eat. Be sure to keep the veggies on top, else they'll burn.  Alternatives? Surely: Ground turkey is a hit.

Painless Foiled Fish:
This is one of our favorites when traveling through Native Fishery areas when the folks are selling fresh salmon by the roadside. Starting with a good sized chunk of foil, lay the fish on the foil, skin side down. Butter the fish as you would a piece of toast and dash on lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap up the tin foil and fold over tight. Poke once with a fork and toss on the grill, medium fire. Thickness of the fish determines cook time: 10 minutes per inch at the thickest point a good starting point.

Alternatives?  Layer on mayonnaise instead.  Or olive oil.   Or apple sauce!  Wow! Clean Up: Toss the "pan" in the trash! "

Comment:   Friarjp said... "Great Idea! We have used it for years with the Boy Scouts. Each scout does his own cooking. Kids (and adults,too) love it. No cleanup. However, we do not poke a hole in the foil. You get better results with the meat and vegetables being steam cooked."

From Me: Don't forget to check the food with your food thermometer, before you eat it.  You don't want collywobbles!
More recipes at:
How long can you keep canned food in your rig?

"Do your food storage lockers hold hidden contents that were placed there shortly after your rig rolled off the showroom floor? And one day you're boondocking mucho miles away from the nearest Safeway and have this enormous craving for artichoke hearts?   So you dig through your food stores and voila! you discover a can of these delectable treats. The can is a bit rusted and the label peeling off, but hey. They're still edible, right?
It does raise the question, just how long can we keep canned foods before they either go completely off the chart or turn into something not so delectable?
The good news is that most food authorities say canned food will last for two years and longer. Even the two year figure, though, is completely arbitrary. In reality, if the can's seal is not broken it can last for many years longer.

How much longer? There was a recent report of a canned meat opened after 118 years and it was fine (canned meats can last the longest). The age of the can is not the big decider--after all, how long are you going to keep cans in your RV? Five years, ten years? Doubtful. The cans will likely outlast your RV.
But to be safe, if you follow these storage hints on food you intend to store for emergencies, or when you're trying to stretch a couple more days into your boondocking trips, you can eliminate your food safety concerns.
  • Write the date of purchase on the top of the can with a permanent marker.
  • Store in cool dry compartment. We RVers have to deal with bigger temperature swings than at home, but the cooler you can keep the cans the less chance they will have of overheating.
  • Low acid foods (soups without tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, peas) will last longer than highly acidic food (tomatoes, fruit, and foods with a lot of vinegar in them).
  • Before using, inspect the can for dents (a can with a large dent can have a broken seal even if you can't see it), bulging (a bad sign--throw these out immediately), and leaking (also throw out).
  • Never eat canned food that has a strange odor, color, or flavor, or that spurts when it is opened. Chuck it.
  • The Food Reference website states: "Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75° F and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe!"
In canned foods, preservatives are used to maintain quality. The canning process keeps it safe. If a product is correctly processed, it should remain safe until opened or the seal is broken. The U.S. Army has found that canned meats, vegetables and jam were in "excellent states of preservation" after 46 years. " From:

RV furnaces
"Are you kidding, Doc? Think about RV furnaces when it's 95-degrees outside? The short answer, of course, is yes! Now is the time to consider the maintenance aspects of your heating system. Just like it's a wise RVer who performs air conditioner maintenance in the winter, so is the RVer who performs the necessary maintenance on the RV furnace during the summer.
The last thing you want to do is wait until you actually need heat, only to find that the furnace is not up to snuff, right? Proactive preventive maintenance is one of the keys to successful RVing!

To learn what you can do to keep RV furnace issues from ruining your next fall or winter getaway, check out my consumer-oriented furnace maintenance recommendations. If you have any questions, quips or comments about your heating system, feel free to contact me by filling out this form on the RV Doctor website or by emailing me directly."  RV Furnace Maintenance - Beyond the Scope
A little more technical detail for you!
FYI  The two major manufacturers of RV furnaces today are Atwood and Suburban. Click on the links below to visit their websites:   Atwood      Suburban

Tech Tips from Mark Polk:
"Put some holding tank treatment in the gray water holding tanks too. When the gray tank is empty add some water, and the holding tank treatment, to the sink drains to help keep the gray water tank free of odors. I add some dishwashing liquid to the gray water tank periodically to assist with breaking down the grease and keep the holding tank clean."

Positive Attitude on Negative RV Rodent Problem
Worried about mice getting in your RV wiring?
"This is a common problem and can become expensive and frustrating very quickly next time you go to use your rig and find a mouse nest in your converter or on your engine block. Rodents are attracted to the coating on the many miles of wire that travel through a rig, creating electrical shorts. If that is not enough reason, they just plain like to chew stuff.

What you need to do is put that energy into a quick and easy recycling craft project. Get a couple 5 gallon plastic buckets, a few empty cans and a length of wire. Ones like coffee cans with lids work best.  Punch a hole in the bottom center of the can, and the top center of the lid.  String the wire through the holes and twist it off on both sides of the bucket top. Fill the bucket with RV antifreeze. (Or just soapy water.)
Spread some peanut butter on the cans and strategically place your new mouse trap in and/or around your rig. You can tape a stick up to the bucket to make it easy for any rodents that desire a little peanut butter.
They will step out on the cans which will quickly spin them off into the water/antifreeze solution and quickly drown. This is much more humane than poison, much quicker and continues to work all season, even if you are not there. "

Disabled RV? D-I-Y flasher system makes you visible

"The thought of a disabled RV, sitting helpless beside the road, isn’t a pleasant one. Compound the issue by making the breakdown at night and the idea is that much more unpalatable. Flipping on the hazard lights is a good idea, but imagine that your disabled rig is a travel trailer, and you need to take the towing vehicle away, leaving the trailer beside the road. Now your options for making your RV visible are reduced–no tow rig, no flashers.
With a small investment of time and a few bucks, you can construct a module that will allow you to disconnect your tow rig and let your trailer battery to flash its own running lights. Not just the tail lights – the tail lights plus the rig’s clearance lights, making your rig even more visible than if you were plugged into your tow vehicle and using the hazard flashers.
Parts required:
1- 7 pin RV socket (female)
2- crimp connectors, female blade style (size to match pins on flasher unit)
1- heavy duty 2 connector flasher unit (Grote 44810 or equivalent)
6″- 14 gauge stranded electrical wire (insulated)
Cut wire into two equal lengths.  Strip back insulation on one end each wire to meet requirements of crimp connector; at opposite end enough to place around screw connector on RV connector.  Crimp one connector on each wire.
Disassemble RV connector.  Attach one wire to the the #4 (”black”) connection.  It would be good to “flag” the wire connected to the #4 connection for easy identification.  Attach the other wire to the #6 (”green”) connector.  Reassemble RV connector, taking care that the innards of the connector go back into the shell of the RV connector in proper alignment.  The wires with their attached crimp connectors should be passed out through the rear end of the RV connector.  In our pictured wire assembly, we added ring terminals to the end of the wires, and we screwed the ring connectors to the appropriate points inside the RV connector.
Next, connect the spade connectors to the hazard flasher observing polarity.  The wire connected to the #4 terminal of the RV connector should connect to the “power” or “battery” side of the flasher; the wire connected to the #6 attaching to the “load” side of the flasher unit.
To finish up the module, use electrical tape to cover the exposed flasher unit pins and the crimp connectors. Tape the flasher unit to the side of the RV connector with a few rounds of electrical tape to keep it firmly in place.
Using the flasher module
Simply unplug the trailer connector from your tow unit, and the plug in the flasher module.  Provided you have a charged “house” battery in the RV (and it is directly connected the charge wire on the connector) your marker lights and tail lights will now flash brilliantly.
You may have already seen suggestions on simply plugging a hazard flasher directly into your trailer electrical connector.  Will it work?  Maybe–but for how long is another issue.  Heavy duty flasher units need correct polarity to work correctly.  For example, the Grote flasher unit sold by your friendly CarQuest dealer has a “load” and a power supply side.  Hook it up in reverse polarity it will work–but the company tells us it won’t last. The only way to “plug in” a flasher unit directly into a trailer connector and make the marker lights flash is to plug it in with reversed polarity.  While the Grote unit will flash for a while, but it will prematurely fail.  Other units may not work, or will self-destruct.
Another drawback of the “plug it in directly” method is ensuring that you do manage to plug it into the correct pin positions.  We don’t know about you, but fiddling around in the dark (in the rain, sleet, snow, etc.) with the potential of high speed traffic whizzing by, just isn’t an idea we relish."

RVing Tips:
Traveling with an RV on days with bad weather is not only stressful, it can be downright dangerous. Rain makes the road slick. Wind can blow you all over the place. Plan your schedule with enough leeway that you can sit back and let the weather calm down before hitting the road.

Don't use your cruise control on twisty, wet or icy roads. and:

If your RVing takes you fishing in salt water, rinse your hooks in fresh water and dry them before putting them away.

If you have a cash register receipt on your RV counter or table and it gets wet, and the ink transfers and leaves a stain, try removing it with ordinary rubbing alcohol.

If you travel with a thermos bottle of coffee or tea with you, you've probably come across the dilemma of how to get the stains out of the bottom of the bottle. Here are two solutions. Fill the thermos partway with water. Then, add either a couple Alka Seltzer tablets or denture cleaning tablets. Let the solution set for an hour or so to work.

While all the bells and whistles on a fancy RV may be fun, a more basic RV is less expensive to buy, is usually easier and less expensive to maintain, has fewer things to breakdown, and when it does break down is usually easier and less expensive to fix.


One thing that bugged me about my 'new' KitchenAid 4-cup Coffee Maker was that when you poured the coffee out of the carafe, it would dribble on the counter.  It makes excellent coffee, as the water temperature is different from regular coffee makers, so I wanted to keep it. 
Internet to the rescue….I looked at the reviews and found out that others have had this problem, and the solution is to partly open the hinged top when pouring.  It worked.  Why did it take me so long to find that out!

The kittens were drinking out of a hanging plastic water bowl in their big cage, and I knew this was bad.  See:               
Also when they were let loose in the house they would go straight to drink out of one of the enamelware water dishes throughout the house.

PETCO Plastic Bird Cage Cups
The hanging one was put in there so they wouldn't spill their water.  We use those for the display cages on Adoption Day, as they are only there for four hours twice a month. 
Quite-content-in-their cage

I knew I had to find something better.  I found a big wide-based blue china bowl, so I hope they can't tip it over, or won't dunk their toys in it.
They don't play in their cage, as they know that they will be loose in the house for most of the day.  They scamper all over and then settle down for a nap. Pebbles, Prime,Precious taking a nap.
But Pebbles knocked down one of my crystal glasses off the back-lit shelf, and broke it.
They were steadied with poster putty, but now I will have to get some museum gel.
My van must have thought I had abandoned it, as I hadn't been anywhere for days.   The kittens needed more canned food as they weren't crazy about what I had bought them at Kroger's the other day. 
Also, I hadn't had a cup of my usual brand of coffee for a few days, as I was so disgusted at the new price raise that I bought a cheaper one.  Of course it didn't taste as good.  I really enjoy a couple of cups of good-tasting coffee first thing in the mornings, that's my special time.

Really, I just needed to get out of the house, so I thought I would drive the four miles to the new Kroger store.  Jay wanted to go with me.  At least we got some air- conditioned exercise as that store is so big, and we don't know where everything is yet.  The afternoon temperature wasn't in the 100's as it has been, it was down to 99° !
They were still offering samples of fruit, meat and cheese.  One meat sample, 'Boar's Head Jerk Turkey' was really spicy, so Jay warned me to stay away from it.  But I try to stay away from processed foods anyway.

This time I bought a better brand of canned cat food, so the kittens are happier now.  Still not what they really wanted, they prefer good organic canned cat food, they know what's good for them.

But I just didn't feel like driving to Conroe's Petco or Petsmart, as I will be there on Saturday anyway for Adoption Day.

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