Thursday, September 20, 2012

RV: Don’t Trust Your GPS! Propane Leak Detector. Manners? Thermocouple. Canned Foods. Herbs on The Go. Billie Jean King.

For “tRaVersing or RV Day”:

Don’t Trust your GPS!

“I love our GPS devices and wouldn’t travel without one, but we have learned some important lessons over our 9 years of RV travels with GPS devices. 

  1. Consult a paper map periodically, just to see if what your GPS is telling you makes sense.
  2. Review your day’s route in the GPS before you turn the key and start driving, especially the beginning – from the campground to the highway.
  3. Learn how to see the entire day’s route in your GPS before following it.  I’ve heard of people traveling 6 hours out of their way before they realized that the GPS was taking them to a different ‘Greenfield’ than their intended destination.
  4. Always call your destination and verify your directions, or read the directions from the RV Park’s website or directory listing.  The local park owners or staff know better than the GPS devices!  It’s that last mile that is the most problematic.
  5. Any time you find a routing issue that is not correctly identified in your GPS unit, communicate that problem to the manufacturer.  Garmin gives you a web form to report a map error.  Google Navigation has an option at the end of your route to specify ‘”Destination Not Here.”  Microsoft Streets and Trips uses Navteq maps.  Here is a Navteq form where you can report a map error.  Rand McNally units have a button to “Tell Rand.”  The more we all communicate with the manufacturers and map makers, the better the information will become.”  More at:


Man drives caravan 12km on wrong side of road

“A man in his eighties drives his car and caravan for 12km in the wrong direction along a busy motorway in Australia.”


Replacing an Outdated RV Propane Leak Detector

Posted by RV Doctor

“A previous LP gas detector in our RV had a third electrical connection that apparently connects to a wire that goes to a solenoid valve in the gas line to stop flow of gas if propane is detected inside the RV. I need to change this LP gas detector out due to age. The replacement models I've seen apparently do not make a gas detector that connects to a wire that controls the solenoid valve. Is it better to remove the solenoid valve from the gas line or to find an LP gas detector that does connect to a wire that controls the solenoid valve? If it is better to install a LP gas detector that will control the solenoid valve, what LP gas detectors are currently available to do this? Also, will I need to replace the solenoid valve currently in the gas line or only connect the new LP gas detector to the current wire in the RV to control the solenoid valve?” Morris W.

“Morris, I'm glad to hear you are aware that propane leak detectors, as well as carbon monoxide and smoke alarms all have a limited, effective life-time and should be replaced every five years or so. Many RVers, unfortunately, are not aware of this and quite likely there are many leak detectors out there that have been rendered ineffective due simply to age.

That said, it is not a requirement to have a safety solenoid valve in conjunction with the leak detector. An audible alarm is typical for many. Safe-T-Alert makes a direct replacement for the older CCI Controls leak detector, but if you still want the solenoid valve, you’ll have to purchase a whole new kit. In other words, the new detector is NOT compatible with the older solenoid valve. In this case, the Safe-T-Alert model you’ll want is Model 70-742-R.
If you just want to replace only the detector inside the coach, I recommend you totally remove the existing solenoid valve in the piping. You’ll need some additional fittings and it necessitates a timed pressure drop test after the removal, but this is the least expensive route to take.

Many people, however, feel more comfortable knowing that a solenoid valve will indeed shut the flow of propane off completely, but again, it is not a safety requirement.”



We are not as polite anymore

“Something has been happening to me over and over this trip that has got me thinking that we Americans are not as polite as we once were. Actually, it is something that has NOT been happening that has revealed this change in our behavior. Also, there is other evidence about our lack of politeness that you may have observed while purchasing something at a store.”



Be cautious about joining this discount camping club

“Looking for $10 a night camping or 50 percent off a campsite? Be cautious about signing up (and paying) for an online club that claims to provide such deals. Many RVers say it does not deliver what it promises. A Wilmington, Delaware firm that bills itself as as well as finds itself repeatedly denounced as a "rip off" and "scam" by RVers who say they've laid out money for a "membership." RV parks contacted by club members, according to many reports, have never heard of the service and refuse to honor the discounts.” Read more.


Testing an RV thermocouple

“While "modern" technology is making inroads into the RV lifestyle, there are still a few diehards out there. Among them -- standing pilot water heaters. Yep, on these little water warmers you don't flip a switch to turn on the heater, you have to light a pilot light that when heat is called for, ignites the main burner. There are more of these old dinosaurs around than you think, and if you have one, you may hit the "pilot light won't stay lit" problem.” Read more.

From me:  If you have the old type water heater, you can just leave the pilot light on and still have hot water without using up so much propane.


The basics of dumping your holding tanks
"The RV Geeks write: "Dumping your RV's black & grey tanks might seem like a no-brainer, but we can't tell you how many times we've seen people who could use a little help with the basics. Properly dumping your RV's holding tanks requires a few simple procedures to help keep things odor-free and running smoothly." Read more and watch a video.


“The travel trailer modified for use by Elizabeth Taylor while filming Cleopatra recently sold for $50,000. In an ironic twist, the trailer was damaged to the tune of $100,000, allegedly by actress Lindsay Lohan -- starring as Elizabeth Taylor.” See photos of the iconic trailer.


Damage inside the dressing room trailer.Liz Taylor 'love nest' trailer trashed during filming of Lindsay Lohan movie.

Los Angeles (CNN) -- “Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra "love nest," where her romance with Richard Burton started, was trashed while it was on loan for filming of Lindsay Lohan's "Liz & Dick," the owner of the dressing room trailer said.

Fox Studios spent more than $75,000 in 1963, about a half million in today's dollars, to create an environment fit for the queen Taylor was playing. She rested away from the set between roman columns with walls and ceilings hand painted in the style of Cleopatra's era.”      See more and pictures at:


Bill's Hints   

Fresh water hose
"When done with your fresh water hose, coil it up and screw the ends together tightly to keep out bugs and dirt while it is stored. Flush it thoroughly before use." From Trailers Made Easy.


My Napkin Holder Contrivance -- It Works!

Since we often forget to bring napkins to the table, I installed a shelf under the table with a napkin holder attached with Velcro.



Tech Tips from Mark Polk

Essential checklist items for your RV

Now that you have your RV home we need to discuss what you will need for the RV before you go on your first trip. Your RV dealer probably gave you an RV starter kit when you purchased the RV. This is usually made up of the basic essentials and in many cases is not sufficient for what you may encounter. For example if the starter kit included a 10-foot sewer hose you will be disappointed when you discover you need a 20 foot hose to reach the campground sewer connection. This checklist is not all-inclusive, but will provide you with what I refer to as the RV essential items to get through just about any situation you may run in to. Read more.


How Long Are Canned Foods Safe.  University of Wisconsin

Canned foods, whether in tins or glass jars, won't keep forever. Commercial canners work under tightly controlled conditions with careful sanitation and just the right heat and timing periods, but there are still limits to how long food quality can be preserved. Home-canned foods, processed under less carefully controlled conditions, may have even shorter storage lives.

There are several factors that limit the shelf-life of canned foods. First, cans or metal lids on glass jars can rust. When rust is deep enough, tiny holes open in the can or lid that may let spoilage agents in. Shipping accidents that dent or crush cans also cause container problems.

Then there is can corrosion. In all foods, especially high-acid foods like canned tomatoes and fruit juices, the food continually reacts chemically with the metal container. Over several years, this can cause taste and texture changes, and eventually lower the nutritional value of the food.

High temperature over 100 degrees F are harmful to canned foods, too. The risk of spoilage jumps sharply as storage temperatures rise. In fact, canned goods designed for use in the tropics are specially processed. Even at prolonged storage temperatures above 75 degrees F, the rate of nutrient loss in canned foods increases. Light can cause color changes and nutrient losses in foods canned in glass jars.

Never use foods from containers with these spoilage warning signs--loose or bulging lids on jars; bulging, leaking or badly dented cans, or foods with a foul odor.

To store canned food wisely, follow these guidelines:

  • Store them in a cool, clean dry place where temperatures are below 85 degrees. A range of 60-70 degrees is even better.
  • Store canned hams in the refrigerator for use within six to nine months.
  • Low-acid canned foods may be stored in a cupboard for as long as two to five years. For top quality use before one year.
  • Use high-acid foods within 12 to 18 months. Foods stored longer will still be safe to eat if the cans show no signs of spoilage or damage,but the foods may have deteriorated in color, flavor and nutritive value.



How to Make A Vertical Garden - CHEAP


- Hanging pocket shoe organizer /store.
- Pole and attachments ( curtain pole or pipe fittings, screws).
- Strong metal saucepan or utensil hanging hooks
- Compost of a good quality moisture holding type.
- Selection of plants or seeds... e.g. mixed leaf salad, herbs, sorrel, peas, mini tomatoes.
- Piece of wood 2"x2" as long as the width of the pocket store to keep the base of pockets away from the wall.
- Trough planter to catch drips.     Instructions at:


On This Day:

King triumphs in Battle of Sexes, Sep 20, 1973:

“On this day in 1973, in a highly publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, top women's player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men's player. Riggs (1918-1995), a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn't handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media event, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King's achievement not only helped legitimize women's professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women's rights in general.

King was born Billie Jean Moffitt on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California. Growing up, she was a star softball player before her parents encouraged her to try tennis, which was considered more ladylike. She excelled at the sport and in 1961, at age 17, during her first outing to Wimbledon, she won the women's doubles title. King would rack up a total of 20 Wimbledon victories, in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, over the course of her trailblazing career. In 1971, she became the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in prize money in a single season. However, significant pay disparities still existed between men and women athletes and King lobbied hard for change. In 1973, the U.S. Open became the first major tennis tournament to hand out the same amount of prize money to winners of both sexes.

In 1972, King became the first woman to be chosen Sports Illustrated's "Sportsperson of the Year" and in 1973, she became the first president of the Women's Tennis Association. King also established a sports foundation and magazine for women and a team tennis league. In 1974, as a coach of the Philadelphia Freedoms, one of the teams in the league, she became the first woman to head up a professional co-ed team.

The "mother of modern sports" retired from tennis with 39 Grand Slam career titles. She remained active as a coach, commentator and advocate for women's sports and other causes. In 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open, was renamed in King's honor. During the dedication ceremony, tennis great John McEnroe called King "the single most important person in the history of women's sports."”



Jay called at 7.30AM to say that he was going back to work in Houston.  I had been expecting that, as he makes more money there.  But when he has more money, he spends more on beer, and get’s into trouble.   What a waste!

I had some food scraps that needed to be given to some critter who needed them.  Usually I throw them out at the end of Lot 3, but this time I took Misty down to the big boat ramp at the lake, and threw the scraps to the fish and ducks.  Taking Misty for a walk, isn’t a walk, it is a ‘Sniffing Stroll’.  She hadn’t been down there for a while, so she had to investigate every post and blade of grass.  The lake still isn’t as high as it used to be years ago, and there is a new island of tall weeds blocking our view of the main body of the lake.  But, we had to let Houston have a lot of our lake  water during last year’s drought, so maybe it will rise again when it gets caught up.

When I picked up Jay on Tuesday, I also bought some ear medicine for Mikey at the vet.  I can’t trust Sam to take care of Mikey’s ears, so I stopped there on the way back from the lake to do it.  Hopefully, I can get his ear’s yeast infection under control, and Mikey will get some relief.  I am not letting this tube out of my sight!

The other night I saw a black cat across our road, and I said to Ray, “Blackie’s across the street, again”.  He said no, Blackie was already put to bed in his utility room.  So he set the trap, but all he caught were fire ants.  This stray black cat was seen over here again, so last night I cleaned the old food and ants out of the trap. 

Then I sprinkled Comet all around it, just like RVers sprinkle Comet or Ajax around their tires to stop ants from getting in their RVs.  I had saved some meat scraps for the trap, and as soon as Blackie had been put to bed, I set the trap again.  It is still dark outside, so I just checked with a flashlight.  My efforts were halfway successful, no ants, but no cat, either.  Oh, well, maybe another day.

No comments: