Thursday, July 12, 2012

RIP Ernie: RV Repairs. Gaskets. Battery Desulfator. Toad Charge. Tag Axles. Poo-Pourri. Tranny Fan. Shower Head. Prettiest Campsite? Medal of Honor. First Marine.

For “tRaVersing, or RV Day”

Ernest Borgnine dies at 95.

“The oldest living winner of the actor Oscar died Sunday at 95 of kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The actor was the subject of the 1997 documentary "Ernest Borgnine on the Bus," which followed a trip he took around the country.

Ernie describes how he fell for the lure of the open road behind the wheel of The Sunbum: he got hooked at an RV show at Dodger Stadium.  Don Rickles said how about getting a beach house at Malibu? Ernie said “No way, I'm hitting the open road in my bus!”


Reducing repair and maintenance costs

“….However, after gulping and swallowing after being presented with repair bills I decided to do as much as I could to avoid, or at least reduce, the amount I pay out to expensive repair shops. This calls for an anecdote. We were boondocking at Tecopa Hot Springs in the California desert when out forced air heater went belly up.  The elevation was about 1,300 feet and in January got quite cold at night, colder than we wanted to put up with without a heater.

So we drove into a large repair shop in Las Vegas, a drive of about an hour and a half. I explained the problem to the service writer who analyzed the situation as common in heaters and it would be a five minute job to replace whatever it was he said needed replacing and they would get on it right away. I had no longer become comfortable in their waiting room when they informed me that the repair was finished.

I was elated at the fast service, and the short length of time it took to fix, until I got the bill. They had charged me two hours for troubleshooting and analysis, explaining that they were a flat rate shop and though they were reasonably sure–and confirmed–what the problem was in a minute, they still charged the two hours in case they had been wrong in their initial analysis.  The five minute job cost me over two hundred!   So:

  • Learn to do the simpler repairs yourself. Diagnosis is the key. Pick up a good repair and maintenance manual (Bob Livingston writes the industry standard manual).
  • If you feel you can do the job, think of the nearly $100 an hour charged by repair facilities and it could be the inspiration you need?”

    More at:


    How to make any size replacement gasket
    “RVs often have many small or obscure parts that you won't find on the average Home Depot or Auto Parts store shelves, or even in stock at an RV dealer. This situation sometimes leads to creative solutions for the Do-It-Yourselfer, especially when RVing in remote areas.” Read more and watch a video.


    Extend the life of your RV batteries

    “Save money by extending the life and health of your RV batteries with the BATTERY LIFE SAVER desulfator. Learn more and support RVgeeks by visiting our sponsor.
    Use the coupon code "RVGEEKS" when ordering, and get a 10% discount on ANY product on the Battery Life Saver Website — including batteries, inverters, battery chargers and much more.”

    Keep your dinghy's battery charged while towing

    “Did you know that when you tow a dinghy behind a motorhome, the auxiliary braking system can deplete the vehicle's battery? Here's a kit you can install that will keep the battery charged.  “Toad Charge” will keep the battery of your towed vehicle charged while it’s being towed behind your motorhome. This is a great idea because many auxiliary braking systems deplete the battery while towing.”   Take a look.


     New Highway Bill Exempts RVs from Axle Regs

    “The Federal Bridge Formula had previously set a maximum gross axle weight of 20,000 pounds for a vehicle's single rear axle, while buses, although similar in design to RVs, had a single rear axle weight exemption of up to 24,000 pounds. With the passage of the conference report of the surface transportation bill, RVs now also have that exemption.

    As a result of the weight exemption, a second rear axle does not need to be added to an RV. A second rear axle would add about $10,000 to the cost of the vehicle, without adding any perceivable value to the purchaser of the vehicle.  Therefore, the exemption will help RV manufacturers produce RVs and allow dealers to sell more affordable RVs, supporting the RV industry and creating jobs.”


    “Freshen your RV toilet before you go with Poo-Pourri
    Let's face it, walking into a bathroom right after it was just used by someone else can sometimes be a. . . well. . . a not-so-pleasant experience (as in STINKY!).  Spray the Lu before number two and no one will ever have a clue.” Check out this short commercial.


    Tranny Fan.

    “Installing a supplemental fan for a transmission oil cooler
    Rich Miller, the Wanderman writes: "At some point in its life, my coach had a supplemental transmission oil cooler installed. This is a good thing. If you "cook" your transmission oil, bad things will happen. The fluid is cheap, your transmission isn't. On a recent trip driving through some mountainous terrain, I noticed my transmission temperatures were higher than I'd like." So what did that mean? He installed a supplemental fan for this transmission oil cooler. Find out how he did it.”


    A major improvement over the old shower head.

    “RV shower head improves water pressure without using more water.  Is a shower in your RV unsatisfying because of low water pressure? How about a new shower head that delivers a whopping three times more water pressure without increasing water consumption. Sound impossible? Read more and see why this may be a very good thing for you.”


    After Camping in 48 States … is THIS our Prettiest Campsite?

    “Over the past few years, my wife and I have taken our travel trailer into each of the lower 48 States. We’ve traveled tens of thousands of miles. We’ve camped just about every place we could park.

    We seen special places. We’ve enjoyed beautiful campsites in the Rocky Mountains and the Florida Keys and British Columbia.

    We’ve experienced eyesores. (Although we appreciate ‘overnight parking’ Walmart parking lots and truck stops, these places usually aren’t scenic – unless you happen to love asphalt.)

    We’ve seen a lot of mediocrity. Many otherwise decent campgrounds are a little too crowded, or need a few more trees.

    After all of these years, I thought we’d seen it all.

    I snapped this pic a few minutes after unhitching our Airstream. Isn't this a dream campsite? Click the pic to visit our Facebook page - where we'll tell you all about it!Then we took our camper out for a spring shakedown cruise and photo shoot. And guess what? We found one of the prettiest sites we’ve ever had.  The funny thing is that we didn’t have to haul our camper 3000 miles to find this spot. It is located in a state park only a few miles from our home!

    The lesson? You don’t need to travel long distances to find beauty in these United States. Wherever you may live, you can find scenic places to camp nearby. Take a look at the beauty in your own community. It may surprise you.”   From:


    On This Day:

  • Medal of Honor created, Jul 12, 1862:

    “President Abraham Lincoln signs into law a measure calling for the awarding of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress, "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." The previous December, Lincoln had approved a provision creating a U.S. Navy Medal of Valor, which was the basis of the Army Medal of Honor created by Congress in July 1862. The first U.S. Army soldiers to receive what would become the nation's highest military honor were six members of a Union raiding party who in 1862 penetrated deep into Confederate territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia.

    In 1863, the Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration available to all members, including commissioned officers, of the U.S. military. It is conferred upon those who have distinguished themselves in actual combat at risk of life beyond the call of duty. Since its creation, during the Civil War, almost 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in U.S. military conflict.”


    First Marine wins Medal of Honor, Jul 12, 1965:

    “Viet Cong ambush Company A of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, led by U.S.M.C. Lt. Frank Reasoner of Kellogg, Idaho. The Marines had been on a sweep of a suspected Viet Cong area to deter any enemy activity aimed at the nearby airbase at Da Nang.

    Reasoner and the five-man point team he was accompanying were cut off from the main body of the company. He ordered his men to lay down a base of fire and then, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, killed two Viet Cong, single-handedly wiped out an enemy machine gun emplacement, and raced through enemy fire to rescue his injured radio operator. Trying to rally his men, Reasoner was hit by enemy machine gun fire and was killed instantly. For this action, Reasoner was nominated for America's highest award for valor. When Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze presented the Medal of Honor to Reasoner's widow and son in ceremonies at the Pentagon on January 31, 1967, he spoke of Reasoner's willingness to die for his men: "Lieutenant Reasoner's complete disregard for his own welfare will long serve as an inspiring example to others." Lieutenant Reasoner was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam.”



    A prospective customer and I had been emailing back and forth about a couple of over-bed (hospital) tables that I have for sale.  As he lives in a different town, but was going to be in Conroe on Wednesday, I offered to meet them there. Nothing had been confirmed so Jay and I went shopping on Tuesday, so Jay could pay his water bill on time.  Well, yesterday morning, the guy finally let me know that he would be in Conroe as planned.  

    It was pouring down rain, so Misty and I donned our raincoats and went to get Jay as he wanted to go with me.  His mother’s car is still in dry dock, so he hasn’t been out of the subdivision much.  The man wanted to see both tables, so we loaded them in my van.

    The road at the bottom of the hill was flooded, but a little car went through the high water ahead of me, so I knew my van could make it.  But I still went through the water very slowly in first gear, so that the engine would stay revved up, and be less likely to stall.  Some silly sod going the other way thought he should go through the water like a speed demon, and flooded his out!  If you go fast the water splashes up over the engine and makes it quit. The northbound I-45 freeway was stacked up, due to accidents from the rain.  Fortunately, the people going south, like us, were more cautious.

    It was still raining when we met the man, so we parked under Walmart’s gas pump canopy to conduct our business, but he just bought one of the tables.  A quick stop at Lowes and a thrift shop, but didn’t see anything to bring home. 

    Another quick look in Kroger’s to see what was on sale there, and we each bought some things from the clearance area.  Then we went to Petsmart.  I had taken with me a lot of expensive canned food and some special dry food that I had bought for Bobbiecat, who is now laid to rest.   Prime, my young foster cat, doesn’t need to be eating senior food, so I traded it for some food for her and Misty, and I have a store credit for the rest.

    It was raining the whole time we were out, and we were glad to have our brollies at each stop.  [British Shortening and alteration of umbrella.]

    It was still raining on the way home, but the road was no longer flooded, but of course, as soon as we got home, it quit for the day. 


    Dizzy-Dick said...

    Glad you sold at least one of the tables and got home without getting flooded out. Both my wife and I enjoyed the clip of Ernest in his Provost. Now that is a top of the line RV for sure.

    LakeConroePenny,TX said...

    Thank you for your comment, DD.

    Now that I have pictures of the second table up in the ad, it shouldn't take too long to sell, I hope.

    I prefer the bus conversions for their safety factor. They just feel solid and safe. If one should ever roll, it hardly hurts it, not like a regular motorhome which lays there a twisted mess of metal and splinters. Twice I was a Fulltime RVer, and each time it was in Bluebird busses.

    Happy Tails and Trails, Penny