Free National Park entry days for 2012“Visit the National Park system on several fee-free days at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees.
Mark your calendar for these fee-free dates in 2012:
* April 21-29: National Park Week
* June 9: Get Outdoors Day
* Sept. 29: National Public Lands Day
* Nov. 10-12: Veterans Day weekend
Here's a tip: many of your 397 national parks never charge an entrance fee, so start planning your visit!”
Be careful while driving an RV over steep mountain roads“A motor home or truck pulling a good-size trailer can run great in most areas of the United States, but it can be a different story once you start traversing mountain ranges in some of America's national parks.
Before leaving home be sure brakes are in good working order. Many mountain highways and roads have six percent or greater downgrades that require the RVer to maintain a safe speed while perilously driving down a grade at ever increasing speed.
The air gets thinner at higher elevations and an RV's engine loses its ability to produce maximum power. This also results in a corresponding drop in generator output wattage. Different engines react in varying ways.
Diesel engines are able to handle the fuel injection requirements at higher altitudes while gasoline engines do not have that luxury.
Use lower gears and your exhaust brake to save your regular brakes. Don’t wait until you are going too fast to engage the exhaust brake. Turn it on at the top of the grade. Allow plenty of room between you and guy ahead of you. Passing trucks while going uphill is a chore since you are both going slow. Allow plenty of time and distance to pass a truck going uphill.
In an attempt to make mountain driving safer R&R Publishing Inc. has been collecting information about mountain passes and steep grades since 1993. Over 85,000 copies of Mountain Directory West and Mountain Directory East have been sold. The books have been expanded and upgraded periodically and contain the locations and descriptions of over 700 mountain passes and steep grades in 22 states.”
The books are available at http://www.rvbookstorecom/
CB radios are still a popular way of communicating while on the road
“A lot of us use cell phones for communicating while on the road, but the CB radio still has its place in the RVing world.
By listening to channel 19 (the unofficial trucker’s channel) you can get updated information on road conditions, emergencies and speed traps. You can't do that with a cell phone.
There are rural areas in the U.S. where cell phones don't work, but the CB radio can still provide great communications in case of an emergency. Channel 9 is designated as an emergency only channel. Many police and emergency services agencies monitor it 24/7. Thus, you have a pretty good chance that someone will hear you if you call for help.
CBs are also great when traveling with a group. Channel 13 is the unofficial RVers channel even though most RVers stay tuned Channel 19 because it's so popular.
There are many types of CB radios in all price ranges. For about $50 you can get a basic 40 channel unit such as the Cobra 19DXIII 40-Channel Mobile Compact. If you want a radio with bells and whistles for about $145 you can get one like the Cobra 29 LTD BT 29 LTD with Bluetooth Technology. There are also CB units that have weather radios built into them.
The type of vehicle you have will determine what kind of CB antenna you need. If you are planning to install one on a fiberglass roof you will need a no ground plane antenna. For a non-fiberglass RV or towing vehicle there are all types other antennas to choose from.
For more information stop by electronics stores such as Radio Shack, camping service centers or truck stops that generally stock radios, antennas and accessories.”
RV slide-out rooms have both inner and outer seals (I also refer to them as gaskets, but seals is probably the more accurate word). They keep the slides sealed against the elements whether they are extended or retracted. Keeping them working smoothly is a quick and easy once-a-year maintenance item... probably the simplest task on our annual spring cleaning list! lol
As always, read your manufacturer's book, first.
Keep RV Refrigerator clean while in storage
“It is not uncommon to go into a used RV's refrigerator, or one coming in for a spring spruce-up, and find the refrigerator full of mold and mildew. Not only is this unpleasant, but it's unhealthy, and can be downright dangerous for people with allergies.
Keeping the refrigerator clean is an important part of refrigerator maintenance. Regular use not only keeps moisture in the interior of the fridge, but food particles invariably remain inside too, which is a mold attractant. Clorox (or similar) cleaning wipes are a great way to wipe the fridge down quickly to help keep it clean.
When its time to shut down the fridge for awhile, be sure and leave it OPEN. In order to prevent growth, the inside must be clean and dry, and fresh air help to accomplish the latter. All current model refrigerators have a special lock, which allows the door to be fixed in an open position for ventilation. This is great while the RV is parked, but won't hold the door adequately while the vehicle is in motion. In the RV aftermarket, there are devices designed to hold the doors open which may be better. These can be found at Camping World or your local RV parts supplier.
Substantial water accumulation may occur if the fridge has been on for a long time and develops frost which melts. This is especially a concern for fulltimers. All that moisture must be removed from the freezer. Frost that melts off the refrigerator compartment fins should drain to the outside of the fridge. Once all the standing water is removed, allow the fridge to dry, then clean it using a household cleaner like Spray Nine, Windex, or the wipes I mentioned before.
Once the interior of the fridge is completely clean and dry, it is safe to close the refrigerator doors securely. Leaving a new box of baking soda inside, I am told, works well to absorb any remaining odors.
One last thing for you seasonal campers who leave your unit at the campground. I have seen it happen many times... the power in the park goes down, but because there is no battery and the LP gas is shut off, the fridge shuts off and doesn't restart. Two weeks later when you return to the RV..Yikes! Rotten meat smell doesn't come out of the fridge easily! Make sure you have a good battery on your rig (if applicable) and leave your LP gas on, if you're going to use your RV fridge while you're away.
With just a few steps, your RV refrigerator is ready for yet another RVing adventure!”
Changing transmission fluid is not as complicated as it seems“If you can change oil you can change the transmission fluid and filter.
Besides new fluid, you need a transmission maintenance kit that consists of filters, gaskets and rings.
Here are some instructions to get you started:
- Don't drain the fluid if you are only changing the filters.
- If you are draining the fluid make sure it is at operating temperature.
- Remove the drain plug from the control module.
- Remove the cover bolts.
- Remove the filter covers.
- Remove all the O-rings and replace them.
- Install the new filter.
- Reinstall the covers into the control module, press them up into place until they are seated. Don't use the bolts to draw them into place as this can damage the covers or strip the threading in the bolt holes.
- Reinstall the bolts and torque them to proper strength. If you don't have a torque wrench, just tighten it very hand tight with the appropriate box wrench. If you were to use a socket with a long handle you can easily over-torque and therefore strip bolt holes.
- Refill the fluid.”
Sometimes a road sign like this would really help!
“Have you ever driven down a road for awhile and then realized it was not the road you thought it was? What a pain! Sometimes you have to back track a long way. When this happens, you might wish that a sign like this would have been posted early on the route.
Thanks for Lawrence Spooner who spotted this sign. He wrote:
"On a recent jaunt through Utah to visit most of the National Parks in the state we stayed a few days in Panguitch Utah, near Bryce Canyon. Highway 89, which goes south through the town makes a 90 degree turn east at the one major intersection. However the street, and later the road, continues south as another route, and soon climbs steeply into the hills as a twisty road to eventually come to Cedar Breaks and a ski area at an elevation of about 10,000 feet. Apparently a lot of people miss the turn in town and end up on this road instead. If you are driving an RV (or transport truck) this could cause a great difficulty as there are hardly any places to turn around until you reach the top and the going is steep and difficult for all but smaller vehicles."
As a result, he says, just outside of town just before this road starts its climb, this sign is posted. Adjacent to it is a large gravel turn-around area so RVers and truckers can reverse and get back on the right road.”
RV travel with children can be tricky when it comes to safety“Traveling safely with children in an RV, no matter how well behaved they are, can be challenging because motor homes are rarely ideal for transporting kids.
Child safety is vital in RV traveling.
Unrestrained passengers as well as luggage, and other items within an RV can be extremely hazardous in case of an accident. Loose items such as dishes left in a sink, cameras, furniture, books and even pets can easily become deadly missiles. And the lack of seating positions with safety belts or seating positions that face rearward or side facing can also create problems. Child restraint systems should never be installed in RV seats that do not face the front.
Here are a few tips to consider:
Check the driving compartment and driver’s manual to determine which vehicle seats are appropriate for installing a child restraint system. Unlike Class A’s, the smaller Class B and Class C units are built on a conventional truck or van chassis, so the cockpit shares the structural and safety features of those vehicles.
Consider using a trailer instead of a Class A motor home because child restraint systems have a better chance of being properly installed in the conventional vehicle that is towing the trailer.
If the family is towing a passenger vehicle behind the RV for jaunts around destination areas, consider driving this vehicle separately instead, and transporting children in it.
Make sure that all occupants stay buckled up while the RV is moving and that there is enough seating to properly accommodate all occupants."
Lint can cause an RV dryer to stop working“Splendide washers and dryers are installed in a large number of motor homes and larger trailers, but simple things can cause the units to malfunction.
The company supplies their units to various RV manufacturers with a duct filter that should be installed outside the dryer. This removable filter is designed to trap the lint so that it doesn't pile up inside of the ductwork. The problem is that most RV manufacturers do not install the duct filter because it would add to the overall length of the washer-dryer combo.
RVers often find that lint will pile up and will need to be eliminated. The first hint of a problem usually begins when a dryer doesn't do a very good job of drying clothes. The way to resolve the problem is fairly simple.
Begin with setting the unit on "dry" and allow it to run for a few minutes. Then open the door and take a small object such as wooden pencil or screwdriver and place in door latch slot to make contact with the "door closed" switch. The dryer will then start up again. If the air is hot, then the duct is plugged with lint. If the dryer air is cool or cold, then you have a more complicated problem.
A quick way to eliminate the lint is to remove the vent cover and flapper. Then gently pulled out the vent and remove the lint from the hose and flapper/screen.
It's a good idea to remove lint on a regular basis, and before it causes problems while on the road.”
Midwest home to nation's first tribal national park
“In a first for the US, a first-nation's group, the Red Cliff Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa has opened a national tribal park. The Frog Bay Tribal National Park now opens to the public access to views of the Apostle Islands, and walks through what some describe as, "primordial."
At 89 acres, the park is far from the largest public access in the country, but it is a first. There are no other tribally owned or controlled parks open to the public, says the National Park Service. The primordial dub comes from the parks natural canopy, provided by hemlock, pine, spruce, cedar, and others. This boreal forest is a rare treat in Wisconsin.
But get out from under the trees, visitors will find a quarter mile of sandy beach to walk on. Rare views of the Apostle Islands, them spiritual home of the Lake Superior Chippewa can be seen from the beach. Dubbed the Apostle Islands by a French historian, there are 22--not 12--islands in the chain.
The tribe purchased the property from a private landowner who couldn't bring himself to log the charming parcel. The tribe is looking to purchase other lands adjacent to the park to protect the area watershed. Come next spring tribal crews will start to build trails in the park, with access to the public from Frog Bay Road in the nearby town of Russell. An official opening is anticipated in August.”
Draining a motor home's air tanks is a simple, but necessary procedure“Draining or bleeding the air tanks of an RV is a reasonably simple, but necessary procedure.
One common misconception is that the main purpose of draining air tanks is not to remove the moisture from the system, but really to test the integrity of the system. If the air drier is doing its job there should be very little, if any, moisture exiting the tanks when the manual tank drains are operated. If you do see excessive moisture coming out it is time to service the air drier.
Normally you would pull and then release the tank drain lanyards. Any moisture within the tank will settle to the bottom and be expelled. However, some procedures go a step farther and tests the check valves within the air tanks. This requires complete draining of the tanks rather than a brief spurt.
The following procedure is required to test the check valves between the tanks. Note that there are two physical air tanks on some systems. One tank, however, is divided into two partitions to form both the wet tank and primary tank. Thus, in effect, there really are three tanks.” The test procedure is here: http://rvtechtips.blogspot.com/2012/01/draining-motor-homes-air-tanks-is.html
Why you should replace your house battery with golf cart batteries
Golf cart batteries (right)
“Your rig came with a standard 12-volt deep cycle battery to power your RV's electrical requirements when not hooked up to electricity. By replacing it with two 6-volt golf cart batteries, wired in series, you will gain more than twice the usable amp hours (due to the higher density of the golf cart batteries) and they can be discharged much deeper than the 12-volters.
This will give you more power for a longer period of time when camping without hookups, which is when you need it. And better yet, the 6-volt batteries will last longer before needing replacement--in most cases from five to seven years--or more--if taken care of properly.”
On This Day:
NASCAR legend Lee Petty dies, Apr 5, 2000:
“On April 5, 2000, Lee Petty, an early star of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and the patriarch of a racing dynasty that includes his son, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, dies at the age 86 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Lee Petty won more than 50 races during his career, including three NASCAR championships, the first driver to rack up that many championship titles. He also won the first-ever Daytona 500, held in 1959.
Lee Arnold Petty was born March 14, 1914, in North Carolina. He worked as a mechanic before starting his professional racing career in his 30s. His first NASCAR race was in June 1949 at the Charlotte Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina (the track closed in 1956). Petty won his first NASCAR (then known as the Grand National Series) championship in 1954, and captured the title again in 1958 and 1959. On February 22, 1959, he defeated Johnny Beauchamp in a photo finish at the just-opened Daytona International Speedway in Florida to win the first-ever Daytona 500. The 500-mile race was so close that Beauchamp was initially declared the winner by William France, the owner of the track and head of NASCAR. However, Petty challenged the results and three days later, with the assistance of news photographs, he was officially named the champ.
In 1961, Petty was seriously injured in a crash during a qualifying event at Daytona. Following the crash, he drove in a handful of races before retiring in 1964. Petty's son Richard (1937- ) became one of the greatest drivers in racing history, with a record 200 career victories, seven NASCAR championships (only Dale Earnhardt won as many times) and a record seven Daytona 500 victories. Richard Petty's son Kyle (1960- ) was also a NASCAR driver. Kyle's son, Adam, was the first fourth-generation driver in NASCAR history; he died at the age of 19 on May 12, 2000, after crashing his vehicle during a practice run at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.”
Tonight, at sundown, Passover is being observed all over the world.
(1 Corinthians 5:7-8  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. See All...).
Should Christians Observe Easter or Passover?
Transcript at: http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-daily/doctrinal-beliefs/should-christians-observe-easter-or-passover
Jay wanted to go with me as he had to go to traffic court last night, and he didn’t know if he would get thrown in jail. He was with some drunk guys at Kroger’s, and they had started fighting in the parking lot. Jay had stayed in the truck. He isn’t a fighter, but as he was with them, he got ticketed, too, even though there was no breathalyzer or blood test done. So he was considering yesterday as his last day of freedom. He wanted to eat ‘his last meal’ at The China Buffet, so we enjoyed lunch there.
It is close to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, so we stopped there, too. Jay bought a flat screen computer monitor for $10, and I bought a larger one for $20, which I am now using on my new computer. It is 4” wider than my other monitor, so it will take a bit of getting used to. We tried Jay’s out, and it works great, too.
The court didn’t keep him as he pleaded not guilty, so it will go to trial another day.