Thursday, January 10, 2013

RV Solar Panels. Class B’s. “Best RV for me?" High Altitudes. Bumper Clutter. Fulltime RVing. Synthetic Blocks. Nicotined RV! RV Tow Vehicle. Discovery of Oil. Cheapest Car.


For “tRaVersing Thursday or RV Day”:

Keeping solar panels clean -- with a little tilt?
“We've heard some chatter among RVers with solar panels. Seems some folks are very concerned about the effect that rain can have on panels. Aside from the fact that a rainy day isn't such a great day for producing power -- what with the reduced amount of light shining on the panels -- some are suggesting that rain water left standing on a panel could damage it. Is that true? Here are some thoughts.”


Why travel in a Class B motorhome?
“Mike and Jennifer Wendland of explain why they chose a Class B motorhome over a more spacious Class A or Class C model. There is some food for thought here for anyone shopping for an RV who is not sure which type is right for them. Watch their video.”


Class wars: How to narrow your RV choices

“Rich Miller, the Wanderman, writes about the process he went through before buying his current RV. The process he went through and the questions he asked himself and others, make for good reading for anyone who is trying to decide "what is the best RV for me?" Read Rich's article.”

--------TranStar 002 (Small)-1

From me:

Then there are the B+’s like mine, which are really Class C’s, but without the overhead bed, so they are more streamlined.


RVing at high altitudes.

3“Is an "altitude adjustment" in order?  A new RVer was studying his rig's appliance manuals and came across a statement that suggested his LP appliances might not work at higher elevations. How big of a concern is "at elevation" operation? Read more.”


Beware of bumper clutter
“Have you ever noticed RVs on the highway or in the campground loaded up with "stuff" on their back bumpers or attached to the ladders (or even step ladders attached to the rig)? Well, not only are these carry-alongs unattractive, they can be dangerous. Read what Jim Twamley wrote about this, and see lots of pictures to illustrate.”


Is fulltime RVing like an RV vacation?

imagesCAMJL6SZ“ Some folks, when thinking about fulltime RVing, reflect on RV vacations they've had and shudder: 'Fulltime RV? Not for me!'" But is comparing the fulltime RV lifestyle to vacation time spent in an RV a fair comparison? Not really -- and here's why.”


Why synthetic blocks under stored tires?

“Dear Gary,
In an edition of your RV Doctor Newsletter, you said to use non-absorbing, synthetic blocks under the footprint of the tires when parked on asphalt. Would you explain why?” --Don B., (North Las Vegas, NV)

Read Gary's response.


Offended by cigarette-smoking mechanic

“Dear R.V. Shrink:
We recently had some work done on our motorhome levelers. The service was quick and reasonably priced, the owner was a great guy who treated us very well, and I was very pleased as I paid and walked out to the motorhome to leave. There I found my wife who moved back in once the unit was brought out of the shop. She was not a happy camper. The motorhome reeked of cigarette smoke. It was a cold morning, but she had several windows open trying to air it out. My dilemma is I’m conflicted as to what to do. Should I complain to the business owner who was so nice, or let it slide? Even with this indiscretion I would highly recommend this place of business to other RVer’s. The excellent customer service otherwise is a rare occasion in the RV world. We try to preempt service oversights by putting down carpet coverings and upholstery covers because so many service organizations have no clue when it comes to entering vehicles and recreational vehicles.” --Nicotined in Nashville

Read the Shrink's response.  And the comments.


Bill's Hints. 

Trailer Brakes
“Without trailer brakes, if you brake hard in an emergency, you can expect to jack-knife, with a strong probability of overturning. Wet or frozen pavement almost guarantees it.” From Trailers Made Easy.


Tech Tips from Mark Polk

Be careful about weight when choosing an RV tow vehicle
“If you already have the vehicle that you plan to tow with, you need to find a trailer that is within the weight range of your vehicle. This was a common problem I ran into during my days as an RV sales manager. Customers would come in to purchase a travel trailer only to find out that their tow vehicle did not have a very good tow rating. It can be extremely frustrating to find the perfect travel trailer or fifth wheel and then be told that you can't tow it. On the other hand it can be worse if you go to a less reputable RV dealer and the sales person tells you that you can tow it! This happens every day, and this is why you need to be armed with the right information before you buy. Read more.”


Discount Camping Clubs: “All comments are negative
The list of dissatisfied customers who joined the RV Super Pages or the Ultimate RV camping clubs continues to grow. Both "clubs" are advertised heavily on the Web and promise half price camping. We have yet to see one positive comment from readers about either club. Based on this response, we urge RVers considering a membership to read these comments first.”


The RV Kitchen

“Eggs-zactly right eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner
Here's a yummy recipe that works anytime of day. 

Get the recipe.


Worth Pondering:   "My RV is the only place where I can find some peace and quiet." --Actor Paul Newman


On This Day:

Gusher signals start of U.S. oil industry, Jan 10, 1901:

“On this day in 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser was discovered at a depth of over 1,000 feet, flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. Following the discovery, petroleum, which until that time had been used in the U.S. primarily as a lubricant and in kerosene for lamps, would become the main fuel source for new inventions such as cars and airplanes; coal-powered forms of transportation including ships and trains would also convert to the liquid fuel.”


From me: This wasn’t the first discovery of oil:

The Story of Oil in Pennsylvania

Drake's Well.“The most important oil well ever drilled was in the middle of quiet farm country in northwestern Pennsylvania in 1859. For this was one of the first successful oil wells that was drilled for the sole purpose of finding oil. Known as the Drake Well, after "Colonel" Edwin Drake, the man responsible for the well, it began an international search for petroleum, and in many ways eventually changed the way we live.

Philips and Woodford Wells, Tarr Farm


Woodford and Phillips wells, Tarr Farm, 1861

click here to enlarge and learn more about this picture

The first oilmen
For hundreds of years, people had known about these seeps in western Pennsylvania. In fact, there is strong evidence that Native Americans, at least as far back as 1410 AD, had been harvesting the oil for medicinal purposes by digging small pits around active seeps and lining them with wood. European settlers had for years been skimming the oil from the seeps and using the petroleum as a source of lamp fuel and machinery lubrication.

Why Titusville?
Why did Drake choose this spot to drill for oil? Well, the number one beacon was the many active oil seeps in the region. As it turns out, there had already been wells drilled that had struck oil in the region. The only problem was, they weren't drilling for oil. Instead, they were looking for salt water or just plain drinking water.

When they struck oil, they considered it a nuisance and abandoned the well. At the time, no one really knew what to do with the stuff if they found it ....more”    More at:


World's cheapest car debuts in India, Jan 10, 2008:

“On this day in 2008, at the New Delhi Auto Expo in India, Tata Motors debuts the Nano, billing it as the world's cheapest car: The anticipated price tag is around $2,500. Tata, India's largest automaker, called the four-door, bubble-shaped mini-vehicle (it was just 5 feet wide and 10 feet long) the "People's Car" and declared that it would be a vehicle for families who previously hadn't been able to afford a car. (At the time, it wasn't uncommon to see an entire family precariously packed onto a single motorbike.)

Tata received more than 203,000 pre-orders for the Nano--a strong number, especially considering that at the time there were only about nine cars for every 1,000 people in India. However, because Tata was only able to produce an initial run of 100,000 Nanos, the cars' first owners were chosen by lottery. The Nano was initially sold only in India, although Tata said it eventually intended to launch the car in other parts of the world.

Tata Motors is part of the Tata Group, one of India's largest and oldest business conglomerates. And Tata does not just make inexpensive cars: In March 2008, the company purchased the venerable British brands Jaguar and Land Rover from the Ford Motor Company for $2.3 billion.”



The penny dropped!  It isn’t a bad fuel pump on my motor home, it is the starting battery.  I had used the momentary switch that ties the front and back batteries together to start it, and as soon as I let go of that, the MH quit.  A motor will die with a bad battery.

It was time to go into the next town and be able to cross items off my shopping list.  Jay, all better, went with me so that he could pick up a few groceries for his mother.  The cold weather had gone, and now it was just light jacket weather and damp. The forecast was for heavy rain, but it was just drizzling. 

Jay took the front battery out of the MH and loaded it in the van.  We stopped the feed store so I could buy local farmer’s free range eggs, at the water company to pay our bills, and then went to the Interstate Distributor on Hiway 75.  They replaced battery that I had bought from them with a larger one, free.  That was nice of them.

After dropping off the paper recycling, we looked in one thrift shop, found nothing, and then went to Baskin's Western Store.  Jay wanted a leather holder for his cell phone, but they were a little too proud of theirs, $30 and up.  Then I waited outside in the van while Jay went into a $6.99 barber shop and had his hair cut in record time.  His regular barber was too busy.

As we were passing Unique Thrift Shop, one we hardly ever go to, we thought we would at least look around.  They were in the middle of remodeling and had moved their goods into a house behind the store. Everything was on sale at 25 cents each.  At first, neither of us could find anything we wanted, but in the lobby we both found several articles of nice clothing.  I bought a plum and cream cozy padded “Snug” rain jacket with a hood, several red blouses, and a pair of blue pants.  The rain jacket came in handy, as it started to pour just as we were leaving the shop, so I used the jacket as an umbrella, as mine was in the van.  We had to run the air-conditioning, just to keep the windows from steaming up.

I had some things to donate to Angelic Thrift Store and even with my umbrella, I got soaked.  I wished I had one of those ‘hands-free’ umbrellas that sits on your head.  There were torrents falling off their roof into big puddles, so my feet got wet, too.  In the store I found a small glass and brass chandelier, $8, for my dining room.  I think it will look better than the one I have now.  Jay bought a New-In-Box leather phone holder for $1.50!

It was still teeming down rain, and we just didn’t feel like stopping anywhere else in Conroe, so the van, with wipers going full blast, carefully sloshed through the rivers on the freeway to our town’s Kroger.   We bought our groceries and came home.  I was soaked all the way through, and quickly changed before I even unloaded the van.

I had some things to return to Walmart, but knowing that they would have their air-conditioning on, I was too wet to do that yesterday.




1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

That was great you got a new battery at no extra cost. BTW, I have been to the site of Drake's well. Of course it was many, many years ago.