Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pups. Anode. LP Tank. Leaks. RV Tips. Solar Light. Backing Up. Oldie's Care. Cargo Trailer. C-O-L-D.

Before we talk about RV's, this has only 3 days left:
We the People
We the People
"We submitted a petition last month asking the President to crack down on unlicensed puppy mills by closing a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act regulations."
We petition the Obama administration to:

Crack down on puppy mills.

"To prevent the suffering of dogs and puppies in puppy mills, will the President act to close the current regulatory loophole and require large-scale, commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to be covered by USDA’s Animal Welfare Act regulations, including minimum standards for humane care and treatment? This will help to protect consumers from unknowingly buying sick puppies from inhumane facilities and help to eliminate the horrible conditions in large-scale puppy mills.
We are determined to make this one of the top petitions on the White House website and need your help to get as many signatures as possible before the Oct. 23 deadline."
Add Your Name    Please  Sign this Petition
Only a few more days to tell the President you care about dogs -- sign the petition today!   Thank you, from the puppies.

Replace Anode with Drain Valve?
Posted by RV Doctor
"I was told that it is best to drain your hot water tank after each excursion, therefore I replaced the anode with a petcock. I now drain the water out but am curious as to the soundness of this plumbing exchange. Any advice would be appreciated." Gary G., (Monessen, PA)

"As far as draining after each trip, Gary, a lot depends on how often your excursions actually take place. Personally, I would only drain the water heater in preparation for winter storage, a lengthy period of non-use, when servicing the water heater or when chlorinating the fresh water system. Or perhaps when you encounter some foul water during a trip.

But, remember the anode in the water heater is a necessity when the heater is in use, but only for Suburban and the older, American Appliance brands of water heaters. Water passing through the tank creates an electrolysis that will literally attack the tank from the inside. The anode is the sacrificial component that prevents the tank itself from becoming damaged. If you still want to drain the tank, simply remove the anode/drain plug.

On the older American Appliance heaters, the anode had a separate connection on the rear of the heater, plus they were originally equipped with a drain cock anyway. I realize it is probably easier to drain with the valve, but it's more important to have that anode in the tank. In the long term, it will be worth the extra time it may take to drain the heater between trips. 

As a side note, I’ve seen some mis-information posted on  online blogs recently and wish to clarify when to replace the anode. Suburban recommends replacing the anode annually or when the rod has about 25% of its original size left. Heavy travelers may need to replace the anode more than once per year, but typically, once per camping season usually suffices. If you are a full-timer or travel often, check the anode at six-month intervals and replace it when it’s 75% deteriorated."

RVer struggles to get horizontal LP tank filled

"An RVer in Quartzsite, Arizona ran into an interesting problem recently. His mid-1990's truck camper came equipped with horizontal LP cylinders, as many truck campers and a few travel trailers do. Needing a fill-up, he trotted the empty container into one of the town's major LP gas retailers."

Exempt horizontal cylinder with non-OPD valve. R&T DeMaris photo.

"On arrival, the attendant told him he couldn't have the horizontal cylinder filled because it was not equipped with an OPD (overfill protection device). OPDs were mandated under National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines as of 2002. The guidelines are considered "law" by many state authorities, and direct that all propane cylinders between 4 and 40 pounds propane capacity be equipped with the OPD valve. You'll know if your cylinder has one, the handle of an OPD is triangular in shape.

It's understandable that many propane vendors are wary of refilling "illegal" cylinders, but it's also a shame that some are ignorant of the whole law. Those same NFPA guidelines also state specifically, "The 2001 edition of NFPA 58 modified requirements to exempt horizontal cylinders manufactured before October 1, 1998, from requiring OPDs." "
More at:
Stop small leaks before they become big problems

"A small leak in your pressure water system can cause big problems because often you cannot see the leak since the piping is hidden out of sight in lockers or under a floor.
Check your system for leaks by running the water pump with everything turned off and listen for it to cycle on and off. If it does--you have a leak.
Look for wet spots inside cabinets and other hidden places. Check all fittings and tighten as needed. An inexpensive basin wrench (photo) makes this job easier. Once you stop a leak keep the area open to air circulation to dry it out. "

Don't forget the final walk around

"When a fellow instructor, while waving goodbye to the rest of us, pulled out of his campsite when the Rally was over, we all had a good laugh to see the electric cord dangling along behind. But it served as a reminder: No matter how experienced you are, you can always forget something.

To avoid this embarrassment--and potential damage--walk around and through your rig as the last thing you do before climbing into the driver's seat--always. It's common to get distracted as you go through your checking out procedure and overlook something. And don't forget to look up--that's where your TV antenna might still be up. "

RVing Tips
From me:  Take the ignition key off your key ring, and hang it on the antenna handle, and make it a reminder to do your walk around.    You can't drive off without it!

Put paper plates between your pans to keep them from scratching as you travel.

Build shelves in your closets to hold Rubbermaid tubs, baskets, or other storage containers, to keep things contained.

Rolling your clothes, instead of folding them, helps prevent wrinkles and can make it so they fit in RV overhead cabinets better.

Caring for your RV slideout:
How do you keep your slideout happy? A little bit of maintenance and forethought will go a long way to making sure your RV experience doesn't get unhappy when your slideout room won't slide like it should. Learn more.

A common sense caution to WASH POP CANS before drinking out of the can. Some may have various pesticides on can tops to control pests in storage. Some people have got sick from touching the top of cans with their mouth. This is a repeat but worth mentioning again. 
(This happened to me. There was something on the can which made my mouth, lips and throat swell, it started immediately, and I was rushed to an ER.)

To ensure your Fridge FREEZER IS WORKING properly, put an ice cube in a small cup in the freezer – check it whenever you open the freezer door.    If all is well, the cube will be in its original form, but if the freezer has quit for a period or it’s not working properly, the cube will melt into a frozen puddle versus a cube. If that happens, check your food. Re-freezing frozen food is unhealthy plus its taste/ texture suffers with an increased risk of spoilage due to micro-organisms.
_____________   This link works
The best of Jim Twamley:
Lighted inspection mirror is a handy RV tool
Jim writes: "Do you remember the spy tubes that allowed you to look around corners? I loved these gadgets when I was a kid. Spy tubes had two mirrors aligned at right angles allowing you to 'peek' around corners. Until now, I've borrowed Mrs. Professor's hand held beauty mirror if I needed to inspect something mechanical. I was always careful to wipe the grease off before returning it to woman land. . . but I don't have to borrow her mirror anymore." Learn why.

RV backing? Get on same signal "wavelength."

"If you've recently gotten into RVing, you know that backing your RV into a spot can be one of the most frustrating experiences in life. The same is true for your long-suffering assistant, the one who tries to help you back a rig in. It's possible that back-in RV spaces are one of the leading causes of marital strife for RVing couples. But it doesn't have to be this way, if you're both on the same signal "wavelength."

Take a few minutes when you're both calm and away from stress. Talk about and come to an agreement on what hand signals mean what and how to apply them. Take some time to actually practice them before one of you has to get behind the wheel.

In practice, the one giving signals must always be in plain view of the driver. If the signal giver is out of view STOP backing and wait until they come back into view. We had an unnerving experience just the other day when pilot lost site of signal giver, the rig on a grade slid back, and narrowly averted smooshing the signal giver. Not good!

Using both hands is helpful, and the "pointer" hand always points the way the rear of the RV should go.
Back Up Left
Back Up right
Back Up Straight
Some have found using walkie talkies or even cell phones to be somewhat useful for guiding rigs in. We've tried that, but find that hand signals are usually a bit less ambiguous. And don't be afraid to simply stop, get out of the rig, and take a look at the situation.
Our thanks to the Santa Clara County, California Fire Department for the illustrations."   By Russ and Tina DeMaris
Leaving fulltiming to care for loved ones
"We came to visit Mom last May and planned to stay only the summer then head south as we have for the last nine years. But after being with her for a month or so it was clear that her Alzheimer's had progressed to the point that we just couldn't leave her on her own." So come the heartrending words from former fulltimers.

Their words are not isolated, as the older ones among us work their way down the road of life, many younger ones are being called in to care for their needs in their final days.

How do you cope with coming in from the road to care for loved ones? Everyone's situation is different. One of our mothers had been happily living in an assisted-living apartment. We kept regular phone contact with her when out of area, and made frequent visits when in the area. Then one day, we received a phone call from the facility management demanding we come and move Ruby for her, 'Failure to cooperate with the staff.'

What we found was appalling: Rather than being deliberately stubborn, the poor woman had suffered an extreme response to a previously unknown brain tumor. We spent six weeks of back-and-forth driving until the inoperable tumor claimed her life. For others, like the couple whose experience tops our story, have a much longer running scenario. For them, going off the road seemed their only choice. But do you give up your rig, move in with mom or dad? Buy or rent a house, take them in? Try and live in the RV all together?
Rest of article at:


Didn't hear from Jay, he knows he messed up, and probably sleeping it off, or doing a bunch of chores for his mother to get back in her good graces.
For the first time in ages, Ray and I wore long sleeves to work on the cargo trailer.  Now that the trailer is back from having the bumper welded on straight, we could start to put all that back together.
First, Ray painted the new weld to stop it from rusting.  The wooden ledge that we made to go between the bumper and the trailer, still fit fine, so we bolted that on.

The main metal trim piece that goes across the back under the cargo door, was screwed back on.  We screwed the left piece of the perforated ridged trim beside the door, and when we went to screw the right side on, that's when it dawned on us that the left side wasn't right, it was inside out, so we took it off.  Also, there was nothing solid to screw it to, just the metal siding.  So we hummed and ahhed for a while, found some very thin wood trim, but that didn't look right.  Then we came up with a different plan, cut some other metal pieces, but didn't have time to install them.

Then the temperatures took a nose dive and it is supposed to be 38° tonight. 
Bobbiecat-at-her-window I turned my bathroom radiator on for old Bobbiecat, as her arthritis might flare up if she gets cold.  That's where she hangs out most of the time, looking at the traffic out of the window.

Pebbles Pebbles was too interested in me plugging in the radiator in the grooming room, I hope she doesn't play with the cord.

Strange how the two littermates can have such different personalities. 
Precious-9-11 Precious just minds her own business, and is as good as gold, whereas Pebbles gets into everything. 

There are three big windows in there, so I pulled down the insulated shades, to try to keep out the the cold.  Pebbles had one up by morning.

The radiator in my bedroom couldn't be plugged into the wall outlet near it, more things have been added since last winter, including the digital box for the cable TV.  I can see a six-way strip being used there, so that the heater can be plugged into the wall outlet.  But for now, I used a heavy duty 8' extension cord and plugged it into a different outlet.

My big 220v. heater for the living room is still in my attic, we hadn't expected this.  But I am hardly ever in there anyway.

At 6.53 this morning it was 36° here on Lake Conroe, and 48° in Houston.  So the forecast on the Houston news doesn't work for here, 40 miles away.
As I don't get on step ladders when I am alone in the house, if I known it was going to be this cold, I would have asked Ray to help me get a comforter out of the top linen cupboard.

It is supposed to be in the 70's later in the day.

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