Thursday, May 9, 2013

Save "Your" Site? Propane Leak. Easy Hitching. RVing Tips. First Mother’s Day. "Hello Dolly".


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV day:

How to "reserve" your newly occupied campsite

“Everyone's been there, perhaps many times. You found a good campsite, but you need to leave for a while. Whether it's getting some groceries, going sightseeing, or just driving that annoying half-mile back to the entrance to register, you have to leave that (great or last) site vacant. Other campers are trouping by, eager for a vacant site. So how do you save "your" site?

If you only need to register, your traveling partner can stay behind. But if you're both going out for an hour or the day, some other method is needed. Typically, a camp chair or a cooler will suffice to "mark your territory", but these aren't always noticed or heeded. I recall a time when we pulled into a site and got all situated, and the real occupant pointed out to us his "marker", a camouflage jacket draped over the far picnic bench, virtually out of site of where we were. Poor technique, but we didn't argue.

A really useful item to use for reserving your site is the collapsible traffic cone. These are sold in various auto and RV stores (and of course Amazon), for use as safety/emergency markers (a very good item to have handy in a roadside breakdown). They come in sizes from around a foot high, to more than two feet high, and they collapse into a 2-inch-thick square which packs away very nicely.

The cones are high-visibility orange, plus they have reflective bands which are easily seen at night (very useful when you arrive back at camp late and have trouble finding your own site). They also have that "mystique" of officialdom, and tend to garner a bit more notice and respect than the odd piece of camp equipment.  They have weighted bases, so they won't blow away in a stiff breeze (unlike camp chairs). And at $10-15, if some rude traveler does make off with them, it's not a major economic event.

Put one or two of these in the entrance to your campsite, and you will have to pick them up before you re-occupy the site. Using this technique, you'll never leave them behind.”  By Greg Illes


Disconcerting propane leaks on RV, Posted by RV Doctor

Dear Gary,
”My one-year old travel trailer developed severe propane leaks around both service pigtails leading to the trailer's 30# propane tanks. This was discovered after the very first filling of tanks and then remounting them. In one year the original vinyl hose became hardened and was spinning on the hose barbs connecting to the central regulator/tank switch assembly, despite the swaged-on collar…..The manufacturer (from China, it looks like), must have substituted this hose for the proper LPG hose. Is this legal?” 

Read the remainder of the question and Gary's response.


Safely tow your trailer or fifth wheel with easy set up

“Safe and proper towing requires the driver to maintain control of two vehicles. Huskey Towing Products has produced a video that shows step-by-step demonstration of its system that begins with a technique for leveling the trailer, determining coupler height, recording the tow vehicle fender well elevations, and then monitoring the effects of tongue weight on the hitch ball as distributed by the WD system.”


Save power when watching TV

"When boondocking, I turn down the brightness of my TV's. Most LED, and LCD TV's have a power saving setting which essentially slightly darkens the picture. You can get the same power saving results by turning down the brightness on any TV, then turn the contrast up slightly to improve the picture. This will work for tube type TV's as well. The reduction of brightness reduces the power the TV draws extending that precious battery life!"  By Joe Brignolo


Check your battery shutoff switch

"If you have a battery shutoff switch as I do, make sure that switch is ON. More than once I have started the troubleshooting process only to find that switch in the OFF position. Inadvertent operation of that switch when looking for the compartment lights or curious children/grandchildren could leave you in the dark."  By Joe Brignolo


How to keep things from falling out of your RV cabinets

“Tracy Lehr has a tip about how to keep the contents of your RV cabinets from falling out after a day of bouncing around on the highway.”  Cedar looks nice and smell great, too.


Save money at RV salvage grave yards

“Old RVs have to die somewhere and most of them do it at RV salvage yards around the U.S. Whether you're restoring a classic Scamp trailer or trying to fix your RV air conditioner, these RV grave yards are the best sources for used parts.

Before you turn to the manufacturer of your broken RV part be sure to visit these online directories of used RV parts emporiums:

Gypsy Journal's RV Surplus and Salvage Outlets

RVers Corner RV Salvage, Used RV Parts Surplus RV Parts Suppliers Used RV Parts and Manuals

The power of the Internet means you don't even have to physically visit the RV grave yard to acquire your part. Many of these suppliers will fulfill search requests, including Paramount Auto Body, a Reno-based business that carries used RV parts from sinks to awnings. To help expedite your search include accurate measurements and photos of the part you need in your email to the company.

If you're lucky enough to be located near a used RV parts supplier be sure to take the old part with you. RV parts often look identical until placed side-by-side. You'll want to wear a hat and sunscreen too since RV salvage yards are usually outdoors. Carrying some hand cleaner in your vehicle will also be useful since you'll be digging around dirty old relics. Once you find the RV part you need you might even have the opportunity to haggle with the owner for a better price. It never hurts to ask for a discount as long as you're respectful.” By Rene Agredano


Night lights, again. . .

"A couple of problems with the stick-up lights: Battery powered nightlights are battery hogs, and many people don't want a light on fulltime when camping. Instead, when boondocking, use a $6 infrared sensored LED battery nightlight which last for months and months of usage. They remain off until they see you move. You can enjoy the darkness many of us prefer when RVing, and the light will turn itself on when it sees you moving in the dark and off when you're done." By Wolfe Rose


Make sure you know this when buying a tire warranty

“RV tire safety expert Roger Marble offers advice about one very important thing to know when buying a tire warranty, whether for a car or RV. Your warranty could prove worthless if you don't pay attention to this.”


Wifi courtesy in the RV park

‘No one is more insufferable than he who lacks basic courtesy.” – Bryant H. McGill

“By nature, RVers rub elbows with a lot of different folks, and too often, we find those who truly are insufferable. Happily, most RVers have developed courtesy in the lifestyle. We don't fire up our generators at 5:00 in the morning to brew a cup of coffee. We make sure our campsite is at least as clean (or better still, cleaner) when we leave as when we arrived. Holding tanks are dumped at dump stations, not in the storm drain. But after hearing a discussion among some upset RVers, there may be an area of RVing courtesy that needs a little attention: Internet usage. Read more.


Improve your RV's FM radio reception

“In these really "high tech" days, the thought of FM radio may seem a bit "quaint." Still, saving money is far from quaint, and those free FM radio signals are a lot cheaper to draw in than satellite radio. But one RVer recently asked us how he could add an antenna to his recently-purchased FM radio.

Many think "crank up" RV TV antennas are perfect for bringing in FM radio signals. Why so? In the "old days" of analog signals, the FM radio band rode in between TV channels 6 and 7. It's still there, the trick is to coax the signal out of your coax — short for coaxial cable.

If your TV is hooked up to your TV antenna, then you'll need a splitter. This little device allows you to add one more receiver to a single antenna connection. It's best to look for a TV-FM splitter, and you'll find one on the Internet, like this one.  You'll also need a couple of additional pieces of coax cable with the appropriate fittings. One piece will attach to the "jack" that allows your TV to attach to the antenna, the other will go from the splitter to your FM radio. You'll have to figure out just how long these two pieces of cable will be by looking over your own situation.

A look at the back of your FM radio will help you determine how to hook up the coax cable. For radios that allow the use of an external antenna, you'll either see a fitting like that on the back of your television where the round coax fitting screws (or slides) on; otherwise you'll find two small screws, side by side. If you've got a coax fitting, you're set to go: simply connect up the coax fitting. If you find the "two screws" style, you'll need one more attachment, a Radio Shack purchase.

Called a "matching transformer" this little guy acts as a go-between from your two screws to the coax cable. Screw the one end into the coax fitting; the clips slide under the screw connectors on the radio.

With your FM radio connected up to the coax, turn on your TV antenna amplifier and prepare to be wowed by more stations than you thought possible. All of them free!

A final note: Some RV TV antennas make use of an "FM trap" that is designed to block overpowering FM signals from interfering with TV reception. Look over your antenna manual to see if your antenna has a trap (some that have traps have an option to turn them off or on). Lost your manual? Give the splitter a try (just keep your receipt to take it back if you find your antenna has a trap).”    By Russ and Tiña De Maris


The Statue of Liberty, closed since Hurricane Sandy, will reopen July 4 after a huge repair effort.


Cost effective RV camping

“Spending weekends at home can be boring. There really isn't much to do, but on the other hand you don't have a lot of time before the weekend is over and it’s back to work again. How about a quick weekend RV getaway close to home?”


Quiet, Please.

“If you prefer quiet RV parks, when calling ahead for reservations ask if there are any railroad tracks close by. Same with busy streets or airports. Many RV parks are on inexpensive land, and sometimes it's because they are in noisy locations like railroad tracks. If trains run often, it can be difficult to sleep.”


Odor from toilet?

"Black water smells getting back into your RV? Turn off water to the toilet and empty the bowl of all water. Keep your foot on the "empty" valve and rub Soft Scrub on the rubber ring at the bottom of the bowl and across the flapper valve. Now apply petroleum jelly to the rubber ring. Be sure to wear gloves! We do this about every three weeks on the road." By Jim Hazard


Cutting Board Cuties

"Use larger plastic food container lids (like those on cottage cheese or whipped toppings) as small cutting boards. They're lightweight and can either be tossed out or disinfected by using a spray bottle with non-diluted white vinegar. Not only does the vinegar disinfect cutting boards, it also kills bugs on countertops and elsewhere around the rig. Said to be as effective as bleach, it's an environmentally friendly alternative." By Gale Green


Ultra Fifth-Wheel Quick Pins take hassle out of fifth wheel landing adjustment

"For us as fifth-wheelers, one of those 'days-end' chores on the road wasn't something we cherished. Bending over and fiddling around with the landing gear hitch pins, particularly after dark, wasn't something the pilot looked forward to. Likely as not, there'd be a hassle trying to see the pin hole, or worse yet, dropping the greasy thing into the dirt, all of which could lead to emitting less-than-desirable language." But maybe one company has solved this problem. Read more. By Russ De Maris


A Benchmark Atlas may change your view of the road
“The Benchmark series of atlases have long been favorites with wanderers, and with good reason. Covering the 11 western states, these tabloid-sized books are a wealth of information and far richer than the typical road atlas. Each one covers one state, and the information is generally provided as two sets of maps: recreation view and landscape.

The recreation maps are large-scale, grand-view depictions of terrain and land-use, with major highways and arterial roads; Landscape maps are topo-style, smaller-scale, with secondary roads, campgrounds, contour lines for elevation, and so forth — exactly the kind of detail needed for serious exploration (or just for finding that great out-of-the-way campground).” By Greg Illes      More at:


On This Day:

Woodrow Wilson proclaims the first Mother's Day holiday, May 9, 1914:

“On this day in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson issues a presidential proclamation that officially establishes the first national Mother's Day holiday to celebrate America's mothers.

The idea for a "Mother's Day" is credited by some to Julia Ward Howe (1872) and by others to Anna Jarvis (1907), who both suggested a holiday dedicated to a day of peace. Many individual states celebrated Mother's Day by 1911, but it was not until Wilson lobbied Congress in 1914 that Mother's Day was officially set on the second Sunday of every May. In his first Mother's Day proclamation, Wilson stated that the holiday offered a chance to "[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."”


An unlikely challenger ends the Beatles' reign atop the U.S. pop charts, May 9, 1964:

“Following the ascension of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to #1 in early February, the Beatles held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for three and a half solid months—longer than any popular artist before or since. Over the course of those months, the Fab Four earned three consecutive #1 singles (a record); held all five spots in the top five in early April (a record); and had a total of 14 songs in the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-April (yet another record). But just when it seemed that no homegrown act would ever stand up to the British invaders, one of least likely American stars imaginable proved himself equal to the task. On May 9, 1964, the great Louis Armstrong, age 63, broke the Beatles' stranglehold on the U.S. pop charts with the #1 hit "Hello Dolly."

Of course it wasn't Louis Armstrong the young revolutionary, but Louis Armstrong the late-career light entertainer who knocked the Beatles from the top of the pops. By the early 1960s, Armstrong's most important and influential work was already behind him, yet his famous charisma and ebullient personality were still enough to lift a show tune like "Hello Dolly" to the #1 spot on the pop charts—and over the Beatles--on this day in 1964.”



Well, my new old cat, Holly, is still hiding in the linen cupboard in my bathroom, and she hasn’t eaten or drank anything since she arrived here.  She is really traumatized.  Poor baby!  Cats cannot go without food for very long, they get something called Hepatic lipidosis, or ‘fatty liver disease’. 

It was shopping day, so I went into the next town to pick up a few building supplies and groceries.  Ray worked on the camping-cargo trailer while I was gone.  Jay had to go somewhere with his mother.

Kenya said that I should just leave Holly alone for 24 hours, with food and water, of course.  So I will be using the other bathroom for that time. She will have to go back to her foster mom for a couple of days to get her to eat, if she doesn’t start eating here by noon today.

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