Thursday, April 18, 2013

Used RV’s. RV Mirrors. Hand Wash. Shower's Temp. Alaska by RV. Ants. Dino Bones. Know your States. Solar Basics: Batteries Part 2.


For “tRaVersing Thursday, or RV Day”:

Why a used motorhome is a better value
Courtesy Motorhomes of Texas

“When buying a big motorhome the question is: buy new or used? If you want the best overall deal the hunt will be among the "previously enjoyed" RVs. Here’s why:

People trade in their units for different reasons: Newer or improved equipment, TVs, heating systems, room slides, bigger or more efficient engine, more room, smaller size, etc. The list is long but the most popular reason is simply wanting a NEWER unit. Winding up with a unit that was traded because it was a problem or "lemon" is unlikely. Not all owners maintain their unit to the same degree, but most owners care for their RV better than the average.

Worries about buying a bad unit can be minimized by buying from a reputable dealer. The dealer will take steps that ensure that all major components function as designed. The "debugging' process of a new unit is often more frustrating to the first owner than the issues found in a properly prepped and detailed pre-owned RV.

There are just as many used units to choose from as new. While "new" dealers will say "You can’t spec out and build a used unit," most new unit buyers pick one off the dealer's lot. Few actually ORDER a new unit.

When the papers are signed and the "new" unit becomes "used" depreciation rears its ugly head. You don’t even have to turn the ignition key. It’s used and now worth considerably less. Why? Let's say a dealer buys a new unit from the manufacturer and pays $100,000 and then sells it for $115,000. Now, if the next day you decide you want to sell back your once-new but now "used RV," you won't get $100,000. The dealer can buy another "new" one for that. To make a profit, he'll need to buy it from you for considerably less. The price will vary by dealer, but in our scenario let's say the dealer feels that for the unit to be competitive with similar new units he'll need to sell it for $100,000. To cover overhead and a salesman's commission, he'll offer you $85,000 — a $30,000 loss in just one day! That outlook gets worse the longer you've owned the coach.

Now apply the same scenario to a used motorhome. If the wholesale value of the used unit was $100,000 when the dealer acquired it, it will still be worth that the next day, week, or month. It will devalue over time but the new one would have also suffered more depreciation over time. The used RV buyer only loses whatever profit the dealer made to begin with in this example.”


How to set your RV mirrors for safety

“Why setting your RV's mirrors properly is important, and how to set them for maximum visibility.”


How to rig a simple outdoor washing station.

“Tracy Lehr, who you may remember from the RV Today TV show, shows you an old Girl Scout hand-washing trick. This is great if you have kids or grand kids along: let them wash their hands outside the RV without tracking dirt inside to do it.”


A convenient way to control your shower's temperature. Save water, too.

“ENTER THE GROHE GROHTHERM-3000 SERIES of thermostatic control valves. These are available from plumbing supply houses, and even from Amazon. It's a well-made European product that works well for retrofit applications. This model has all of its control valving on the shower side of the wall — virtually no space is required behind the wall, and it will fit almost any existing RV. Furthermore, the Grohe also has a built-in shower-hose connection, making it even more compatible.

In addition to providing guaranteed comfort, the temperature-controlled shower will also save water. You will not have to spend "water time" adjusting the temperature, nor will you have to wait that extra half-gallon to make sure the hot water is there. Since the valve has built-in back-flow prevention valves, there is no necessity for that water-wasting trickle when you shut off the water to soap up; you just turn the flow handle off. It even has a "soft-start" feature which prevents surges and temperature fluctuations.

Installation can be a three- to four-hour DIY project, with the cost around $300. The valve is somewhat heavy, and you'll want to add a reinforcing piece of plywood to the outside of your shower stall. A new backing place can be made from a piece of 1/2" white polyurethane. If you do have a lot of space to work with in your own RV, you might prefer one of the more residential styles for your shower. You can find these from providers like Delta and Moen, among others.”


A simple way to conserve water when you're not hooked up

“When you're boondocking or camping somewhere where you are not hooked up a water source, it's important to conserve water. editor Chuck Woodbury shows you a simply way to both stretch your supply of water and save space in your holding tanks.”


Help children avoid getting burned

“Show children where the water heater and furnace vents are located and explain to them how hot they get. Keep children away from these vents, they can cause serious burns and injuries. Don’t allow children to turn any hot water faucets on. Hot water temperatures can be extremely high if not set properly.” Mark Polk,


The secret to traveling to and from Alaska by RV

“Filmmaker John Holod offers tips about traveling to and from Alaska with an RV, including a money-saving travel secret you may not know.”


What will you do when your RV is invaded by ants.

“So what do you do when your RV is invaded by these unwanted pests? For starters, you need to investigate where they are coming from and how they are climbing on board.

It's quite possible I have two varieties of ants shopping for food in the RV. Without going to the hardware store and purchasing a commercial ant bait I decided to use talc to discourage further invasion.

I also sprinkled some around Barney's dog dish so he doesn't have to compete for dinner.  The baby powder (talc) did the trick. No more ants. Amazing.”   More at:


Dino Bones in New England.  Roadside Geology for RVers

Dear Doc Rock,
     “My family had a great road trip to the western US last summer. The kids (7 and 10) became rabid dinosaur nuts after seeing fossils at Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado. What a fabulous place to visit. Fossil bones were being excavated right in the visitor center.
     Did dinosaurs only live in the western part of North America. Is their anyplace close to our home in New England to see dinosaur fossils?”    Read answer at:


Know your States

“This is a fun game for travelers....  See how you do....”


Solar Basics: Batteries Part 2

“Last week, we looked at an analogy to help explain solar power and batteries. .There were several questions that came out of it that I thought we should address, so here is Part 2.

Q How Many Solar Panels Should I Have?”

With solar, more is much better!! But I know you want more information than that so here are my recommendations:

Survival: 45 Watts; You can just barely charge your laptop, cell phone, and have one very small light.

Barebones: 90 Watts; You can charge your laptop, cell phone, lights plus a fan and other devices.

Adequate: 135 Watts; You can charge your laptop, cell phone, lights, as much as you want plus maybe have a compressor refrigerator.

Comfortable: 200 Watts; This is what I recommend. It gives you plenty of power and you can usually buy a 200 watt panel for less than the price of any of the smaller panels You can charge your laptop, cell phone, lights, fans, refrigerator, microwave, rice cookers, TV and almost anything a frugal person would want. I am not frugal. In the winter it was not adequate to run my Satellite TV dish and receiver. But it had always been enough up until then.

Abundance: 300 Watts; basically, you can use as much power as you want within reason including an electric bike.”  More at:


On This Day:

San Francisco earthquake, Apr 18, 1906:

“The first of two vicious tremors shook San Francisco at 5:13 a.m., and a second followed not long after. The quake was powerful enough to be recorded thousands of miles away in Cape Town, South Africa, and its effect on San Francisco was cataclysmic. Thousands of structures collapsed as a result of the quake itself. However, the greatest devastation resulted from the fires that followed the quake. The initial tremors destroyed the city's water mains, leaving overwhelmed firefighters with no means of combating the growing inferno. The blaze burned for four days and engulfed the vast majority of the city.

In the face of significant aftershocks, firefighters and U.S. troops fought desperately to control the ongoing fire, often dynamiting whole city blocks to create firewalls. On April 20, 20,000 refugees trapped by the massive fire were evacuated from the foot of Van Ness Avenue onto the USS Chicago.

Despite the utter devastation, San Francisco quickly recovered from the great earthquake of 1906. During the next four years, the city arose from its ashes. Ironically, the destruction actually allowed city planners to create a new and better San Francisco. A classic western boomtown, San Francisco had grown in a haphazard manner since the Gold Rush of 1849. Working from a nearly clean slate, San Franciscans could rebuild the city with a more logical and elegant structure. The destruction of the urban center at San Francisco also encouraged the growth of new towns around the bay, making room for a new population boom arriving from the U.S. and abroad. Within a decade, San Francisco had resumed its status as the crown jewel of the American West.”



I was all wet, including my hair, and in my bathrobe when Jay unexpectedly showed up on his ATV.  He wanted to work, he was supposed to work on a man’s roof, but the man wasn’t there.  So I gave him a job to do outside while I dried myself off and dressed.  Then he re-hung the cellular blinds in my bathroom that Ray had washed.  Even on a little stepladder Ray and I couldn’t do it.

Then we went to give Mikey his pills. I believe Sam must also have Alzheimer's as he got really upset about a light bulb that didn’t work and slammed his door shut as I was giving Mikey his canned food on his porch.  I made a hasty retreat, as I didn’t know what would come next.

When we got back here, Jay helped me with some more cleaning.  He cleaned all the air filters, air cleaners and the ceiling fans, too.  I washed Misty’s living room bed, which is under the coffee table, and all my smoky clothes from the day before.  Then I vacuumed the living room carpet, and sprayed the germicidal spray all over it.  I am bound and determined that my new kitty doesn’t catch anything from Terry-cat's stay here.

When I went to Sam’s to give Mikey his pills in the evening, I was a little apprehensive, as I didn’t know what kind of mood Sam would be in.  If he had still been belligerent, I was ready to leave the pills there, and let him get on with it.  Though, I don’t know if I could have done that, as Mikey would be the one to suffer, as he has to have those meds.  Sam can’t see well enough to see if Mikey has spat them out.  But Sam was over his ranting, so things were back to normal. 

It was another lovely ‘windows-and-doors-open’ day.

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