Thursday, July 19, 2012

RV: No More Dumping! Explore Scenic Byways. Best Sites. Google Earth Blue Squares. Balance Trailer Tires. RV Skylight. Rosetta Stone. Spindletop Rescue Raided.

For “tRaVersing Thursday”:
Never Dump Your Holding Tanks Again!

The ZLD Unit

“Never having to dump your holding tanks again; it’s a boondockers dream come true! That is what Namon Hassef, the inventor of The ThermalTreat Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) Sewage Elimination System claims. Namon has developed a way to dispose of both gray and black RV waste using the heat of the RV exhaust system to vaporize waste. The resulting “exhaust” has no odor, liquid or solids to worry about. The press release touting the new product states, it is roughly 12” x 18” x 24” in size, weighs under 100 pounds and can process approximately 300 gallons per day. Unfortunately, the press release or website fail to state how long or how hard (think RPM’s) the RV has to run to accomplish this task. If it is a matter of idling the RV engine an hour a day, while you recharge the house batteries, sign me up. If it takes half a day driving at freeway speeds, than I will stick with “old fashion” dump stations. While the press release advertises this as, “a new way to dispose of RV waste” I wonder how many old timers out there can remember the revolutionary Sani-Tron that was introduced in the late 60’s using a similar process as this “new” system? Something new under the sun or the same old idea rediscovered? Time will tell.”           From:

Testing the ZLD

Advantages of the system include:

  • No odors
  • No liquid discharge
  • Energy recovery
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Small/lightweight
  • Operable worldwide
  • Operable in all climates and harsh environments
  • Quick start/stop or storage/use cycles
  • Plug-and-play design for replacement or repair
  • Potential water reuse
  • No chemicals required
  • No sludge to dispose
For more information, call 850.484.2700 or visit


Byways and Boondocking

Boondocking Along All-American Hwy 12 in Utah

American Byways is a great website for RVers and is especially useful for those of us that boondock in the western United States. The website lists National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads across America.

The website offers a wealth of information to the traveling public featuring the archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities available along each designated route. By clicking on one of the Byways you will receive a listing of all the things to see and do along the route as well as suggested itineraries, distance and travel times. Links for each attraction are provided for those wishing to learn more.

Since the majority of western byways meander through portions of public land, boondocking is quite often an option while traveling these byways with a RV. Sidebar links list the public land agency administering the land and quickly take you to their website, where with a little research you can locate their “dispersed camping” aka boondocking guidelines. It truly is one stop shopping for the active boondocker. Give it a try when planning your next RV outing.”


Texas Road Map - 7 regions of Texas

The scenic highways in TX are not listed there, maybe because there are so many with diverse areas.  They are listed here:    and here:

Texas state map reveals seven regions. Each
with different topography, scenery, climate and environment.


Tips to Maximize Boondocking Sites. or any site.

“You have arrived at a selected boondocking site and are ready to set up camp. Unlike a developed campground with a predetermined space in which to park your RV, you are likely to have many choices on where and how to position your RV in the boondocks.
Some considerations:

A Juniper Tree Provides Afternoon Shade

- Sun and shade: Will you want your rig in the sun to warm things up or in the shade to keep it cool? Maybe a combination of morning sun to warm your rig during brisk mornings and shade provided by a tree or hillside to cool your RV in the hot afternoon. In scorching heat it is best to face the patio awning to the south or west and to keep the refrigerator side of the RV faced north. For those of us with solar panels on the roof we may opt for full sunshine even in hotter climates.

- Communications: Is there cell phone service where you plan to park? Many times parking around a corner or over a rise will make all the difference. Look for cell phone towers on distant hills. A line of sight typically assures service. Steep hillsides and mountains along with trees are also of concern if you utilize a satellite for receiving TV or internet reception.

- Level: How hard will it be for you to level your RV at the chosen site? Will the entry steps be on the high or low side of the rig after leveling?
- Hazards: Is there anything that might damage your unit? Be aware of low hanging branches or dead trees that might fall during a windstorm. When parking along a steep slope beware of rocks that might become dislodged above you. Are there any ground clearance impediments that might inflict damage to the underside of your RV when maneuvering into the site?

- Drainage: Will your chosen campsite drain well if it rains? Which way (side to side) should the awning be sloped to keep rain away from the RV entry? If camping in the desert, will your chosen campsite be safe in the event of a flash flood?

Taking Advantage of the View

- Wind direction: Which way does the prevailing wind travel? Can you use it to your advantage? Things to consider are: smoke from a campfire, cooling the RV and using the RV to shield you from the wind when sitting outdoors. Aim your RV into the wind if high winds are expected.
- View: How can you maximize the view of your campsite? Many times it is as simple as parking on the highest place available or along the edge of a mountain stream or the perimeter of a high plateau. Aligning views with the RVs picture windows and your favorite seat is always a winning combination.
Just like real estate, good boondocking sites are all about location, location, location.  Enjoy!”


More on Google Earth

“The last two weeks we have explored the many useful applications of Google Earth. There is one more very useful feature I feel compelled to share. These are the pictures posted by other Google Earth users which show up as blue squares on your screen. They show scenic areas, forgotten locations and other places of interest. Sometimes they even depict boondocking campsites! Many of these areas are right where I plan to boondock providing me with more to see and do.

Example #1

If the blue squares aren’t already showing up on your screen, you will need to activate them by going to the lower left margin and finding “Layers”. Under layers you will find “Photos” (see example # 1), by clicking on the photos box, a check mark should appear in the box. You have now activated the photos allowing you to view the places mentioned above. When you find a grouping of blue squares on your screen, take note, they are screaming, “Pay attention, many others have found this unique place on earth worth sharing, maybe you should check it out too”!

Head of Rocks and a Gaggle of Blue Squares

For example, if you zoom in on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, you will see hundreds of blue squares as expected, but what about Head of Rocks along Hwy 12 in Utah? Never heard of it you say? Neither had I until I was cruising along Hwy 12 on Google Earth from my desk in Seattle when I stumbled across a gaggle of blue squares (see photo) located at N 37 44.989  W 111 27.186 . Clicking on one of them and then another quickly had me noting the area as a “must do” along our route.

Note: when you find an area like this to explore, be sure to capture the coordinates of any pull outs large enough for your RV. You will then know there is a suitable RV pull off and you have the coordinates entered into your navigational system to get you there. I recently used this method to stop and view a waterfall along Hwy 140 where guidebooks cautioned the lack of safe pull outs. Google Earth blue squares identified the waterfall, while zooming in allowed me to find a wide shoulder on an inside corner where our 50 ft of combined rig could and did safely park.

While I primarily use blue squares to discover scenic, hidden and relatively unknown places to visit, I occasionally come across pictures of boondocking campsites. Example of which I have posted here. N 35 19.019  W 115 32.833.  Some dispersed campsites can be more tent friendly than RV, so I follow the road from the campsite back to the nearest paved road via Google Earth to determine if it is somewhere I want to travel with the RV or not.

Final note: Since the pictures are posted by users and some users are geographically challenged, they may be posted where they don’t belong. Examples: I have found pictures of Zion National Park posted in Grand Escalante, slot canyons posted in the flat desert, mining ruins posted where there are none, etc.
Be sure and check out the blue squares when planning your next boondocking outing!”


Should I have my trailer tires balanced?

Tire balance may be one of the most hotly debated subjects among RVers. Motorhomers will agree, balancing tires on their rigs is critical--after all, it's a motor vehicle. But trailer tires? Perhaps the most frequent argument is: "I've never balanced my trailer tires, and I haven't seen a bit of difference. It's just a waste of money!"
Let's back up to why tires--in general--need balancing. Tires (and wheel assemblies) aren't perfectly symmetrical. There may be just a bit more weight here, or there. As the wheel assembly rotates, those slight differences can cause the tire to hop or wobble. Since this disturbance is caused by a lack of balance, the faster the wheel rotates, generally the worse the hop or wobble becomes.


In a car or truck, the driver may perceive the out of balance condition in the steering wheel. If the situation is severe, even the passengers may detect the out of balance condition. Since we rarely (if ever) carry passengers in a towed trailer, it's not likely to be noticed. But just because vibration and hop isn't noticed, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

An out of balance wheel that causes shaking, vibrating, or "tire hop," can have some nasty consequences: First damage comes in the form of tread wear, often seen in unusual tread wear patterns. The possibility of tread separation from the tire itself can't be ruled out, and tire separation at freeway speed can have some serious consequences -- we know, we "totaled out" a tow vehicle when a tire separated and tore apart a wheel well and did extensive body damage to one of ours.

Besides tire wear issues, out of balance tires can also negatively impact the axle spindle, wheel bearings, and suspension components on your trailer. Damaged spindles or bearings can lead to visually funny, but too often tragic, wheels coming off your chariot.
Finally, shake and vibration will be transmitted into the coach itself. Imagine having your kitchen cabinets hooked up to a paint shaker. Maybe the illustration is a bit extreme, but prolonged shaking and vibration can actually shake the interior components of your rig apart.
The few bucks charged for a dynamic spin balance on your tires can go a long way to reducing the bad consequences of out of balance tires.”


HOW TO: Access the Inside of an RV Skylight

“The clear plastic inner liner of our shower skylight has come loose on one side. To secure it back into place, we'll need to remove the entire inner liner and plastic surround. A couple of basic tools, plus a roll of double-stick tape, are all we'll need for this simple job.
While we have the liner and surround down, we'll inspect the inside of the skylight for any signs of leaking, clean it and check its overall condition.

After 7+ years in the sun, the outer shell of the skylight has become somewhat cloudy, and we want to keep an eye on it. If it should show any signs of cracking, we'll want to replace it before we develop a leak.
Opening up the skylight also provides an interesting view between the roof and the ceiling, giving us a look at how part of the RV was manufactured. It also allows us to clean the inside of the outer skylight, and the top of the inner liner, both of which are normally inaccessible.

Like many things on the RV, vigilance is our first line of defense in preventing problems. That's especially true where potential leaks are concerned. Finding water damage is not the way we want to learn that we have a leak, so we keep a good eye on the skylight and other possible sources of water as well.

Be sure to confirm that all methods and materials used are compatible with your particular recreational vehicle. Every type of motorhome, motorcoach, fifth wheel, travel trailer, bus conversion, camper and toy hauler is different, so your systems may not be the same as ours.
RV Geeks offers basic DIY (do it yourself) RV service, repair and maintenance tips from full-time RVers who have been handling most of their own maintenance since hitting the road in 2003.” by RVgeeks


RV Fire Safety is not a focus of my blog.

“However, I was sent a link to a news story about an RV fire that occurred not too long ago involving three fatalities and according to the report there was also a tire failure. Here is the link to the story. It was suggested by a reader that I use this as a topic for my blog.

The main reason I am writing about this tragedy, is to point out the importance of having plans in case of fire. You need a plan on what to do if there is a fire when you are parked and you need a different plan on what to do if the slides are in and you are traveling down the road.

Here is a new video from a friend Mac McCoy, that shows one possible plan that involves using the emergency escape window. Some of you may know him as "Mac the Fire Guy". Check his web site for where he is giving his seminar and fire demo and go see it.

One thing Mac mentions in his seminars on RV Fire Safety, when he covers the use of the escape window, is that some windows like the one in my Coachmen cannot be opened without breaking the window so you need to contact your RV manufacturer to confirm that a “Fire Drill” will not result in a broken, expensive window.”  More at:


On This Day:

Rosetta Stone found, Jul 19, 1799:

“On this day in 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles north of Alexandria. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The ancient Greek on the Rosetta Stone told archaeologists that it was inscribed by priests honoring the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, in the second century B.C. More startlingly, the Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been "dead" for nearly 2,000 years.

When Napoleon, an emperor known for his enlightened view of education, art and culture, invaded Egypt in 1798, he took along a group of scholars and told them to seize all important cultural artifacts for France. Pierre Bouchard, one of Napoleon's soldiers, was aware of this order when he found the basalt stone, which was almost four feet long and two-and-a-half feet wide, at a fort near Rosetta. When the British defeated Napoleon in 1801, they took possession of the Rosetta Stone.

Several scholars, including Englishman Thomas Young made progress with the initial hieroglyphics analysis of the Rosetta Stone. French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who had taught himself ancient languages, ultimately cracked the code and deciphered the hieroglyphics using his knowledge of Greek as a guide. Hieroglyphics used pictures to represent objects, sounds and groups of sounds. Once the Rosetta Stone inscriptions were translated, the language and culture of ancient Egypt was suddenly open to scientists as never before.

The Rosetta Stone has been housed at the British Museum in London since 1802, except for a brief period during World War II. At that time, museum officials moved it to a separate underground location, along with other irreplaceable items from the museum's collection, to protect it from the threat of bombs.” Video about it:



First thing, I was flabbergasted to find out that the Spindletop Animal Rescue organization 1/2 mile down the street from me, had been raided by the HSUS, .  The rescue had been keeping pit-bulls and other dogs in cruel conditions.  If you know of any dogs that were sent to Spindletop, please read the comments. There is info as to where they are now.

This news video starts by going along the same 2 mile country road that I travel going to and from the I-45, Calvary Road.  Then it shows the Animal Control trucks, HSUS horse trailers, the DA’s team’s truck, and a pallet of carriers being delivered that were donated by Petsmart. Those all had to be assembled.  After that it doesn’t really get to be interesting until minute 20.  The TX HSUS officer says a few words, and it shows many, many carriers containing dogs, on several trailers. Constable Hollifield tells the news camera about some of the living conditions there, the horrible health problems of some dogs who had been living in their own feces in small cages, and what will happen to so many animals.  At the end it shows the dogs each in a big pen, after they were unloaded from the carriers.  At least they are in better circumstances now.

On the Houston news it showed the former employee who turned them in because 38 dogs died from heat stroke and he had to bury them in a mass grave.  Hooray to him for reporting it.  All this was going on so close to me, and I didn’t even know it.  I am just mortified.

Claudia and I first came to this subdivision in 1984/5.  She had a 40’ weekend travel trailer down near the lake, and lived in Houston.  I bought a new shell house on 2 lots, finished it out, and my son Kevin and I lived in it until he had to go to a different school district.  So I rented it out, and eventually sold it.  I came back in 1994 after the flood had ruined my new house, which had just been rebuilt after a fire, the other side of Willis.  This was the highest place around and all I had to live in was an 18’ Class C.  Then I built these two dwellings here. 

So we used to pass that patch of land where Spindletop is, when it was just wooded acreage.  Some people bought that land and would camp in tents while they were building that house.  I always liked the look of that two-storey house as it has porches all around, like the house in “Giant”, the movie. 

That lovely house won’t be worth much now, as they found 80 dogs living in it, and the officers said the stench was terrible.  There were always a few straggly looking horses, donkeys, etc in fenced areas in the front, but we knew it was a horse rescue, and they would not be there long.  The dogs were kept way, way at the back of the acreage in a big building, and no one really knew they were there. I am so glad that their lives will be better now.

Jay and I went shopping, and I wanted to see where my doctor had moved to, at the south end of Conroe. The flyer they sent me in the mail had the wrong phone number on it!!  While we were on the south end of town, we wanted to stop at the Salvation Army Thrift Store, but it had closed down. That was a surprise, it has been there for as long as I can remember.  We went to two more thrift shops, Kroger’s, and then came home.

In the evening about 7.00PM we had another 20 minute downpour, just as I was thinking we weren’t going to have any rain yesterday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

It is a real shock to find out that something so bad was going on so close to where you live.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

Yes, and the more I find out the more upsetting it is. They got $9,000 for taking care of 2 dogs, that had been cruelly treated before they got there, and then those sweet dogs died of heatstroke in an un-airconditioned building. I have been in tears off and on all day.

Then there was another seizure of 249 animals up in Hunt County. When does the cruelty end?
The horror of it all has really made me very depressed.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.