Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clean RV AC. Barter for Campsite. Blocking RV. Taking Kids Camping. Polio. Lent. Donating.

For "tRaVersing or RV Day":

It's been over 80 deg. here, so it is time to get the ACs ready for summer:

Performing air conditioner maintenance on your RV

"Want your RV air conditioners to last longer and work more efficiently? Routine maintenance is the best way to prevent having to fork out over $1,000 for a replacement.
Some RV air conditioner systems have a valve that allows the unit to also act as a heater. During colder months RVers tend to use these types of AC units just as much as they would during the summer.
If you’ve never performed air conditioner maintenance or if you haven’t done it for a while you may want to considering doing so when weather permits.



Cleaning your air conditioner is straight forward. First remove the cover retaining screws.


Pull the cover off and remove any large pieces of debris like twigs or leaves and then blow out the heat exchanger fins with compressed air.


Clean the inside cover with a mild detergent and replace it.
Wasps like building nests under air conditioner covers and their nesting material can plug up the unit.

Inside your coach be sure to remove and clean the vent cover and filter. I recommend doing this once a month during heavy usage.



Using a vacuum with a brush attachment or a soft brush clean the louvers inside the unit. Do this at least once a year.

This is a photo of a unit that had to be replaced because it was not properly maintained.

A dirty heat exchanger causes the compressor to work harder and longer and significantly shortens its life span of the unit."



And while you are up there, Rubber roofs need regular cleaning

"Rubber roofs on RVs should be cleaned three to four times a year and depending on where you park or store your RV it may need to be cleaned more often. Regardless of the type of rubber roof you have, NEVER use any cleaners or conditioners that contain petroleum solvents, harsh abrasives, or citrus ingredients. These types of cleaners can cause permanent damage to any rubber or vinyl surface. Most manufacturers of rubber roofs recommend you use a medium bristle brush and a non-abrasive cleaner.   For light cleaning you can use warm water and a mild detergent like Dawn dish washing liquid. Hard to clean areas like stubborn stains caused by leaves, sap, mold or mildew may require a second treatment. Use caution to prevent the cleaners from getting on the sides of the RV. ALWAYS rinse the sides, front and back of your RV before rinsing the roof to prevent streaking or damage to the finish on your RV. NOTE: Anytime you are working on the roof of your RV - exercise caution! A slip or fall could result in serious injury or even death." Tech Tips from Mark Polk.


Bartering for your campsite

"In the days of yore (that means a long time ago), barter was the accepted method of trade. If you had something of value your traded it with someone else who had something of value that you wanted. With the invention of currency, barter died a slow death.

However, with today's tight economy and budgets slashed to the bone, barter has started to make a comeback. And it just might work for traveling RVers struggling to keep campground costs manageable. Look around as you enter a campground for areas that seem neglected, or jobs undone. Ask the owner, manager, or ranger if you can trade out a night (or more, depending on the job) for your talents in taking care of postponed or neglected maintenance or other job that needs doing.

This works better in state parks, campgrounds on public lands, and some smaller private campgrounds. If you can trade your talents for something they need, you've got a deal. For them it's a Win-Win situation--especially if they have empty campsites. The cost to them is negligible, and they don't have to pay someone to do the job. Parks are usually quite accepting of volunteer labor.

The areas could include gardening, mechanical maintenance, building a website, repairing fences--and many more ideas. Be creative and observant and you never know what you may workout. I once spent five months in a South Georgia state park for free by helping with various campground chores that the rangers had no time for, relieved the campground host on her days off, participated in Civil War re-enactments (that was fun), and built them a website. Cost to me: $0.     From:


Block your RV jacks?

"It seems in the RV world there's always more than one way to look at something or do something. Here's one more for your ever-expanding list: Using blocking under your jacks.
Travel trailer and fifth wheel users, most all have stabilizer jacks, even if for fifth-wheel folks most often they only have a pair (at the rear). Travel trailers may have multiple sets of stabilizers, certainly on the corners, and perhaps other pairs stretched out along the body. The whole purpose of stabilizer jacks is as it sounds: To stabilize the rig for the comfort of occupants while the trailer is parked.

Roll into any RV park or campground and here's where the "more than one way of doing something" becomes apparent. You'll find trailers with their stabilizers "down" and some will be directly onto the ground, while other RV users will place a wood (or plastic) block or blocks between the stabilizer and the ground. What's the difference?


For those who swear by using blocking, there are several reasons. First, the less a stabilizer jack is extended, the more stable it tends to be. Cranked out to full length, stabilizers tend of be a bit wobbly. Second, cranking down a stabilizer with a small foot pad can damage asphalt pavement--we know, we've done it. Even concrete can be scarred by a stabilizer foot pad. Third, jack foot pads sometimes sink into mooshy ground, and a larger block helps to prevent that. And fourth(and perhaps the most popular reason): If you stick blocks between the ground and the stabilizer you don't have to crank the jack down as far, nor crank it up as far when you leave. Call it generally laziness, we'll own up to it.

2There are those who contend that carrying blocking to stick under your jack pads is a waste of time, and adds weight to the load. Then there are those who worry that if blocking used, particularly under fifth wheel's "landing gear" or under a travel trailer tongue jack, that the rig may slip off the block causing damage. We've used blocking under both of these situations; yes, we have experienced the slip problem. But that happened when we failed to chock the trailer wheels before running the jacks out. Happily we didn't suffer any damage, but the possibility is real.

What to use for blocking? Dimensional lumber ("two by" stock) works well for most folks. We have a 6 x 6 block we use under our tongue jack. Some use plastic leveling blocks that they would otherwise use under wheels for leveling. We've also seen one RVer's landing gear blocks built out of stout 3/4" plywood, built into boxes. Not sure how well they hold up to moisture, but they were lighter than a corresponding size of dimensional lumber.
Whatever you choose to use (or not use) it's wise to chock your trailer wheels before you unhitch. That means a chock behind and in front of the wheels. If if you "think" you know which way the ground is running, double chocking will prevent nasty surprises."     By Russ and Tina DeMaris.


Taking Kids Camping Is a Lot More Fun for the Kids When Things are Kept Simple

"Taking the kids camping in the RV sounds like it should be fun and exciting. A family vacation. A summer trip with Grandma. Keep it simple for sweet memories. Complicate things and it can turn sour.

You know that I'm a huge fan of RVing. We lived full-time in a recreational vehicle of some kind or another for 14 years. We just got back from an eight-month RVing trip. I thrive on RVing, traveling to new places, re-visiting our favorite places, and spending months on end in one of our recreational vehicles.

But, it hasn't always been that way.  My parents rented an eight-foot pickup camper when I was a kid. I was about nine years old. We took it on a family vacation from Minnesota to Oregon and back. There were six of us on this trip: my aunt and uncle, my parents, my teenage sister, and me. My mother, aunt, sister, and I rode in the camper. My mother cooked while we were going down the road. She made elaborate, full meals, involving multiple stove burners and the oven. I spent the entire trip worried she was going to catch the place on fire and that that would be the end of us.

Mother enjoyed orchestrating this trip so much that when we returned home, my parents bought a ten-foot pickup camper. As long as it was parked in our farmyard and I could use it as a playhouse, I was a happy camper.  But, we often took it to fishing lakes, to the county fair, or on other trips. Yes, we were camping together and making family memories. Sour memories.

What I remember about these excursions was the work involved and how complicated it all was. Packing and checking lists to make sure we had everything with us. Making menus and cooking for days ahead of time. Planning and coordinating the activities, to make sure every minute was filled with some scheduled activity.

Somewhere I'd gotten the idea that camping was supposed to be fun. But it wasn't this kid's idea of fun at all. It was all too hectic, too hurried, and too overdone. And besides, there were still beds to make (with square, hospital corners), dishes to do, and timetables to keep.   By the time I was old enough to make my own travel plans, RVing or camping was out of the question.

When you take kids camping or RVing, keep it simple. Make it a laid-back trip. Serve simple, easy to fix meals. Don't try to pack too much in, either materially or event wise.

How much more fun it would have been if we'd simply roasted hot-dogs. Or had bologna sandwiches and potato chips. Yes, it was the seventies, but what kid ever yearned for a meal of molded lime Jello with artfully arranged pears slices, dainty ham roll-ups with mushroom sauce, and escalloped vegetable casseroles? My advice for camping with kids is to opt for one dish meals and go heavy on the finger foods.

Use sleeping bags. And, don't worry if a little sand gets inside them.   Keep scheduled activities to a minimum. Let the days unfold as they will. Kids camping don't need to have every minute programmed for them.   Leave plenty of time to relax. Watch whatever there is to watch -- clouds in the sky, birds in the trees, and ripples on the river. Take time to be outside, to enjoy the great outdoors.

Keep it simple.   The kids you take camping will love you for it. They'll grow up looking forward to spending time RVing with you. And, they'll look forward to taking the next generation of children camping.  RVing with kids doesn't need to be -- in my opinion shouldn't be -- complicated." From:


Worth Pondering:  "Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." –Confucius


On This Day:

Children receive first polio vaccine, Feb 23, 1954:

"On this day in 1954, a group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receive the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk.

Though not as devastating as the plague or influenza, poliomyelitis was a highly contagious disease that emerged in terrifying outbreaks and seemed impossible to stop. Attacking the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system, polio caused muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death. Even as medicine vastly improved in the first half of the 20th century in the Western world, polio still struck, affecting mostly children but sometimes adults as well. The most famous victim of a 1921 outbreak in America was future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then a young politician. The disease spread quickly, leaving his legs permanently paralyzed.

In the late 1940s, the March of Dimes, a grassroots organization founded with President Roosevelt's help to find a way to defend against polio, enlisted Dr. Jonas Salk, head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. Salk found that polio had as many as 125 strains of three basic types, and that an effective vaccine needed to combat all three. By growing samples of the polio virus and then deactivating, or "killing" them by adding a chemical called formalin, Salk developed his vaccine, which was able to immunize without infecting the patient.

After mass inoculations began in 1954, everyone marveled at the high success rate--some 60-70 percent--until the vaccine caused a sudden outbreak of some 200 cases. After it was determined that the cases were all caused by one faulty batch of the vaccine, production standards were improved, and by August 1955 some 4 million shots had been given. Cases of polio in the U.S. dropped from 14,647 in 1955 to 5,894 in 1956, and by 1959 some 90 other countries were using Salk's vaccine.  

A later version of the polio vaccine, developed by Albert Sabin, used a weakened form of the live virus and was swallowed instead of injected. It was licensed in 1962 and soon became more popular than Salk's vaccine, as it was cheaper to make and easier for people to take. There is still no cure for polio once it has been contracted, but the use of vaccines has virtually eliminated polio in the United States. Globally, there are now around 250,000 cases each year, mostly in developing countries. The World Health Organization has set a goal of eradicating polio from the entire world."



February 22, 2012 - "Here's a challenge: where is the tradition of Lent found in the Bible?"

Transcript at:


I knew it was going to be warmer, so I dressed in a tank top with a cotton shirt over it, and light weight pants.

After the dogs' walk, Jay and I headed to Conroe.  First stop, unloading the paper recycling at the local school.  Then on to St. Marks Thrift shop where we left two boxes of yard sale donations. I bought a AA battery-operated CD player for 50c.  It has a place for a 12v. cord, and I have lots of those.  So maybe we can have some nice music in the van, as I still haven't been able to find an 'oldies' radio station.    We took a quick look around the Angelic Thrift Shop when we donated a large box of stuff there, but didn't buy anything.  Another quick, fruitless look in the Unique Thrift Shop when we donated a 8'x10' red rug and a sack full of re-useable plastic bags to them. 

By then it was warm enough that I had to take my shirt off.   Claudia's prescriptions at Walmart were supposed to be ready at 11.00, but it was 12.30 before they were done.  Big time waster, as neither of us needed anything there.  We ran the AC in the van on the way home.

My Red Maple tree put forth leaves about a month ago, then we had a freeze and they dropped off, but Spring seems to have sprung again, yesterday.


Karen and Al said...

Thanks for the tip on cleaning the rv a/c unit. It has been on our to-do list.

strukelt said...

Understanding that everyone has a different way of accomplishing a task is something that you quickly learn when you are in the RVing world. Thank you very much for the tip on why to put wood under the rv stabilizer jacks! I had always seen people do things such as this at campgrounds, but I never really knew why. I just recently purchased two trailer tounge jacks from for my RV and cargo trailer. They turned out great!