Thursday, August 16, 2012

RV Oops! RV Awning. RV Aerodynamics. Costs for the Fulltimer. Yukon Gold. Babe Ruth. Elvis Presley.

For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day

Oop! Avoid damaging your RV (or worse)!“Insurance companies comment that "new" RVers often make claims within the first 90 days of rig ownership. The claims are those that make you shudder -- attempting to drive under a "low clearance" area with a high clearance rig. Not learning about "tail swing" until hitting a post at a fuel stop. Misjudging increased stopping distances and clobbering another vehicle. Here is a list (print it out) of ways to avoid making other mistakes that can cause you grief and severely impact your pocketbook.”


RV awning issues

Dear R.V. Shrink:
”My wife is always insisting that I roll the awning up when we go sightseeing or shopping for the day. I have camp all set up and would rather keep things covered. We witnessed an incident last year, watching an awning blow up and over a motorhome in an unexpected storm while the occupants were away. I think it was a fluke and not staked down as well as I do. I also have a middle support pole. Could you convince her she is paranoid? I hate rolling it up and down all the time.” --Polie Roller in Pocatello

“Dear Pokey:
I am not suggesting you should roll your awning up every time you leave your site, but I think I would err on the side of caution with your wife. An awning is nothing more than a sail on the side of your rig. Mother Nature has a way of getting your attention at the drop of a hat. I, myself, have seen several awnings ripped off. It takes minutes to roll one up when you leave for any amount of time and that same amount of time to drop it back down. If you lose it to a windstorm it will often cost you more than a few hundred dollars in fabric. Usually the hardware is bent and anchor bolts are ripped out, causing damage to your siding. You will also spend much more time dealing with your insurance company and awning installer than the few minutes it takes to roll it up.”--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Fuel economy: What really matters.

“Want to keep your motor fuel bills down? Tips abound, ranging from keeping the tow vehicle "tuned up" to adding swamp juice to the fuel tank. Driving a car is one thing, pushing a motorhome down the road--or pulling a big fiver--is another. Here are some things from the real world experiences of RVers to consider:

Is it weight--or something else?  Thinking about changing RVs and concerned about the heavier weight of your prospective RV? Think again. One RVer, using the same pickup as a tow unit, did comparisons of his fuel economy towing his travel trailer (8,000 pounds) versus his enclosed cargo trailer that he uses for work (12,000 pounds). Results? Doing "round town" driving with stop and go traffic and a lot of startups, his heavier trailer hits him harder in the wallet. But put them both out on the highway and there's very little discernible difference in fuel consumption. It doesn't look like weight has much to do with it.

What about "front surface area"? Our personal experience and that of other RVers answers this question in a hurry. We bought our current travel trailer as a pre-owned unit. The other folks had the rig set to tow behind a 4x4 pickup, so when we got it, it was a bit too tall for our liking. After a couple of trips we "flipped the axles" back to the factory height and got trailer about six inches closer to the ground. Our fuel economy immediately improved.
Other RVers report similar experiences. One says by "flipping the axles" on his rig, and raising his rig about six inches, he watched his fuel economy drop from ten miles per gallon to about eight and a half. He also reported increased transmission temperatures with the bigger "to the wind" profile of the trailer--to the point he blames a transmission failure on the change over.

Wind resistance is a huge factor in fuel economy--it's like adding a ball and chain. If fuel economy matters to you, when rig shopping, look for the least amount of front profile.

And what about speed? Here's one you can test on your own. Try keeping your rig at 50 or 55 miles per hour over a couple of tank fulls. Then compare the fuel consumption at 60 or 65 miles per hour. We think you'll prove to yourself that driving at a lower speed can make for a dramatic improvement in fuel economy, and help keep engine and transmission temperatures at a "happier" spot. In real terms, if you do a 250 mile per day haul, the difference in "road time" is only 40 minutes between a 65 miles per hour and 55 miles per hour.”  From:


From me:  When I had my Ranger truck, it said very clearly in the owner’s manual that the frontal air displacement of the towed trailer had to be taken into consideration.  It cited recommended towing weights for the different trailer heights, and that travel trailers with high frontal air displacement should only be towed for short distances.   First, I towed a Hi-Lo with it, and then a regular travel trailer, and even though the Hi-lo was longer and weighed more, I got a lot better gas mileage with the Hi-Lo, because of the better aerodynamics.


Long term RV costs for the fulltimer

“When working out the "hows" and "what ifs" of fulltiming, most prospective fulltimers focus on costs like fuel, RV park fees, and the how-to of keeping up with medical. One person thinking about the lifestyle had a provocative question: What kind of costs will I have in keeping up the RV?

Sticks and bricks homes all have their points of long-term care: Reroofing. New flooring. Appliances that go belly-up. What about long-term care of an RV? After all, not everyone will have the financial resources (nor necessarily the desire) to replace their fulltiming RV every few years. What might you expect to "go wrong" if you keep the same rig for a decade or two?

Here are a few things to plan for:

Tires: Good for perhaps seven years, even if you don't drive too much. Most RV tires need to be replaced because of weathering while they still have plenty of tread left.

Roofing: While your sticks and bricks may need a new set of "3-tab asphalt shingles" happily, a well maintained RV roof can last a good while. Metal or fiberglass roofed RVs can practically go forever, while EPDM rubber roofs need far more care. Manufacturers will swear your roof should last ten years--yeah, maybe. Our experience shows coating it with Heng's Rubber Roof Coating can buy time. Regular maintenance of all seals is a MUST.

Appliances: While a propane range may last forever, microwave ovens, refrigerators, furnaces, water heaters, and air conditioners don't. We've replaced "RV" microwave ovens with low-cost alternatives from big box stores. Water heaters need regular maintenance to prevent the need for total replacement. Furnaces--well, our "park trailer" furnace ate a motor, but in our other rigs, we often don't use a factory furnace but put in a "blue flame" style heater. Costs a lot less to feed, and less moving parts to poop out. Air conditioners can't be "recharged," and if a major component goes, plan on a full replacement.
RV refrigerators are an Achilles heel. Run off level, they can terminally clog up. Even with care, cooling units can go south. Before you buy a "new" refrigerator, ask about the comparative cost of replacing a cooling unit. If you're good at do-it-yourself, you'll find replacing your own cooling unit much less expensive than a new 'fridge.

Flooring: Carpets wear out, and if it's a color that shows dirt, RV carpet can look shabby in a hurry. We replaced our original carpets in a 1980's era fifth wheel with a Pergo-like laminate and loved it. Happily the small footprint of an RV translates into less expense than replacing a whole "house full" of carpet in a sticks and bricks home.

RV peculiar stuff: Plan on investing in new roof vent "covers," or lids. The UV will eat them up, and they'll crack and subsequently leak. It's an easy do-it-yourself project if you don't mind heading up on the roof. Less than $20 each if you shop around.
We've had some problems with crank-up TV antennas, sometimes the gears catch and chew themselves up; occasionally UV will eat away at the coaxial cable, ruining the signal, usually at the point in the whodunit when you'll learn whodidit.

Drive train: If your rig is a motorhome, you'll have all the things that your car does that can go wrong. Alternators, radiators, fuel pumps, all those little costly trinkets that bring a smile to a mechanic. Keep the oil changed, do your maintenance, and set aside money. The same is true for those that tow their fulltime home around.

How does it break down? If you're the kind of person who likes to stay on top of maintenance in your ground-based home, and carry that spirit over to your full time rig, it's likely that living in a fulltime RV will actually cost you less than keeping up a mid-sized home. And you won't need to worry about mowing the grass. One of the happiest days of my life was when I threw out the lawn mower.”  From:


On This Day:

Gold discovered in the Yukon, Aug 16, 1896:

“While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada's Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.

Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim--Carmack's brother-in-law--actually made the discovery.

Regardless of who spotted the gold first, the three men soon found that the rock near the creek bed was thick with gold deposits. They staked their claim the following day. News of the gold strike spread fast across Canada and the United States, and over the next two years, as many as 50,000 would-be miners arrived in the region. Rabbit Creek was renamed Bonanza, and even more gold was discovered in another Klondike tributary, dubbed Eldorado.

"Klondike Fever" reached its height in the United States in mid-July 1897 when two steamships arrived from the Yukon in San Francisco and Seattle, bringing a total of more than two tons of gold. Thousands of eager young men bought elaborate "Yukon outfits" (kits assembled by clever marketers containing food, clothing, tools and other necessary equipment) and set out on their way north. Few of these would find what they were looking for, as most of the land in the region had already been claimed. One of the unsuccessful gold-seekers was 21-year-old Jack London, whose short stories based on his Klondike experience became his first book, The Son of the Wolf (1900).

For his part, Carmack became rich off his discovery, leaving the Yukon with $1 million worth of gold. Many individual gold miners in the Klondike eventually sold their stakes to mining companies, who had the resources and machinery to access more gold. Large-scale gold mining in the Yukon Territory didn't end until 1966, and by that time the region had yielded some $250 million in gold. Today, some 200 small gold mines still operate in the region.”



Babe Ruth dies, Aug 16, 1948:

“On August 16, 1948, baseball legend George Herman "Babe" Ruth dies from cancer in New York City. For two days following, his body lay in state at the main entrance to Yankee Stadium, and tens of thousands of people stood in line to pay their last respects. He was buried in Hawthorne, New York.

The Babe also made headlines by his charitable actions, such as visiting sick children in hospitals. In 1935, he retired from baseball, having hit a record 714 home runs in his career. In 1946, Ruth was diagnosed with throat cancer, but doctors could do little. Early the next year, treatment ended. On June 13, 1948, a uniformed Ruth appeared at Yankee Stadium one last time to retire his number. On August 16, he died of cancer at the age of 53.”



Elvis Presley dies, Aug 16, 1977:

“Popular music icon Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tennessee. He was 42. The death of the "King of Rock and Roll" brought legions of mourning fans to Graceland, his mansion in Memphis. Doctors said he died of a heart attack, likely brought on by his addiction to prescription barbiturates.

By the mid 1970s, Elvis was in declining physical and mental health. He divorced his wife in 1973 and developed a dangerous dependence on prescription drugs. He was also addicted to junk food and gained considerable weight. In the last two years of his life, he made erratic stage appearances and lived nearly as a recluse. On the afternoon of August 16, 1977, he was found unconscious in his Graceland mansion and rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was buried on the grounds of Graceland, which continues to attract fans and has been turned into a highly successful tourist attraction.”



After Misty and I had our walk down at Jay’s which is closer to the lake, Jay and I went shopping in the next town.  We took a quick look-see in some thrift shops, but just bought a few little things.

We priced the air conditioners in Lowes, as Jay needs a new one.  It’s not urgent, even in this heat, as he usually stays at his mother’s next door to his house.  I priced the shingles, as I need to have a bundle on hand when we install a turbo that got blown off during the last hurricane. They were $33, would have to be special ordered and it would take 14 days to get them.

So we went to ABC Building Materials and bought the shingles for $27 and picked them up right there.  That is where I had bought the shingles when we built the house.  They are 30 year architectural shingles, in a color called ‘Harbor Blue’.  The old ones on the roof don’t look so blue anymore.

Jay had a doctor’s appointment, but when we got there and found out how long he would have to wait, he just blew that off.   He was hungry, so we ate a roast beef sandwich at Kroger’s deli.  I hadn’t gone grocery shopping last week, so I spent more than usual, a whopping $55 this week.   But I bought 5 boxes of cone coffee filters for $1.00 each, I try to stock up when there is a bargain.  

Also, I had to buy some cans of puppy food, and as we didn’t want to stop at Petsmart, I bought some not too marvelous Pedigree canned food there.  But I mix it with their good Duck and Venison ‘Taste of the Wild’ dog food and brown rice, so I think they can suffer through it for a few days.


Dizzy-Dick said...

I liked that first article on how RVs get damaged.

abbottaric said...

I read an interesting article and a lack of maturity in the diagnosis of heart failure and this information also increase the widely accepted definition
to maintain my knowledge on the spot thanks...
carpet cleaning london