Thursday, July 11, 2013

DIY RV & Journey. MH. CO Detector. Rotten Eggs. Thermostats. Rainy Trip. Escape Hammer. Toilet Bumper. Propane Tanks. Extend-a-Stay RV Propane Kit. Hollywood Bowl. Skylab Crashes.


For “tRaVersing Thursday, or RV Day:

An amazing RV journey for one family

“This is one of the coolest motorhomes ever. Doug Cuthbert built it for a total investment of $171,000 and then shipped it to Europe, where he, his wife and their three children set off on an adventure though 16 countries over 20,000 miles. Why doesn't an RV maker pick up on this design? We think it would be a big hit!”


Basic motorhome driving advice

“This is an excellent "quickie" discussion of what's involved in driving a motorhome, in this case a rental Class C motorhome from Cruise America. Although most experienced RVers are aware of these basic techniques, newbies will find this short video helpful. Still, veterans may learn a thing or two as well.”


From me:  When there is no traffic around, drive over to the right side of the lane until you see that the white line in your right mirror is just along the side of the vehicle.  Now look ahead, and see on your dash where that white line is on the road.  It might be where there is a seam, or at the base of a wiper.  If there is no distinguishing mark, put a piece of tape.  When you know where that spot is on your dash, you will know how close the vehicle is to the right side of the road. 

Oh, and while you are at it, mark the height of your vehicle on a piece of tape on your dash.  You never know when you will need to know that.


2Maintaining and testing your carbon monoxide detector
“Lightheaded? Confused? Have a headache? All unpleasant enough things, but also symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. And that's a very bad thing! Here is important information for RVers.”


Keep temps under control digitally

“When we first traveled in cool weather in our RV, we luxuriated in the coziness of the cabin heater. After decades of tent camping, we literally basked in a 70° F coach while gazing contentedly through the windows at the chilly world outside.

But our satisfaction was periodically interrupted. The cabin would come up to heat, the heater would shut off, and then the cabin would begin to cool down. And cool down some more. Eventually, when it got down to around 65° F or so, the heater would kick back in. So we'd find ourselves with oscillating periods of comfort and chilliness. On some really cold nights, this would happen about every 15 minutes or so. (We don't use air conditioning much, but the problem is the same there, as well.)

The culprit was discovered: an old-tech, mechanical bi-metal thermostat. These dinosaurs need a big temperature swing to mechanically trip the switch on or off. Researching turned up a bevy of digital-style thermostats which are sensitive to only one or two degrees of temperature change.

Not just any old digital thermostat will necessarily work. Different systems have different requirements, depending on how the heater and A/C are powered and controlled. Choices include programmability or simple manual settings. Our 2003 Itasca unit needed to be battery-powered but we didn't need programmability. We found a wiring diagram of the heater and air conditioner control circuitry online at Winnebago, showing us the correct control wires needed for hookup. The actual installation was quite simple.

Fan speed was an issue. Our coach has a two-speed capability, but most thermostats have only one. The choice was hard-wiring to only one speed, or adding a two-way switch (SPDT) to preserve the option. After experimenting with sound, efficiency, and battery drain, we found we preferred the LOW fan speed setting. It's now hard-wired.

While the new thermostat fit where the old one did, we opted to install a new base panel, made out of textured ABS. This stuff is wonderfully easy to work with, and it makes for a really professional, modern appearance as well.

Cold winter nights are now more enjoyable than ever, and our cabin temp stays within a couple of degrees of where we set it. Brings a real smile to our faces as the wind howls around us.”  By Greg Illes


RV Tips:

Beware if you smell rotten eggs in your RV

”LP gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. To assist you in detecting a leak, an odorant is added to it when it is manufactured. If you are not familiar with the odor of LP gas, the next time you go to a qualified fill station ask the attendant to let you smell it. Most people describe the smell as being similar to rotten eggs, or as having a garlic odor.” Tech Tips from Mark Polk

Backing up
“Practice backing up in an open parking lot using marked parking spaces as a guide. Try centering the trailer between the lines. Use your mirrors to make your adjustments.” From Bill's Hints

“Hang the keys to your RV or tow vehicle on the TV ceiling crank when the antenna is up. The next morning before you drive away, you will find the keys there — a reminder to retract the antenna.”

Fire extinguishers tip

“Check your RV fire extinguishers regularly — at least once a month. Take it off the rack, check the pressure dial to make sure it's in the "good" range. Turn "powder" or "dry chemical" extinguishers upside down and thump them on the bottom to loosen up the chemical — if it settles and hardens in the bottom, your extinguisher is useless.”

Slide-out seals
”Some RVers swear by regular treatment of slide-out seals. They say treating them a couple of times a year will help protect them from drying out and cracking. Check with your RV owner's manual for recommended treatment agent.”

The RV Radio Network. “A club of RV enthusiasts who enjoy amateur radio.”


How to care for an RV after a rainy getaway

“The universe is known to have a perverse sense of humor. For weekend RVers, it generally manifests itself in providing five wonderful, sunny days during the week and then puckering up and raining when you finally get to take the rig out for the weekend. If this is your sad situation, how do you care for a "wet" RV when you come home?

Before putting the rig back in storage, start praying for a dry day. When the sun shines (or at least, the rain stops), roll out your awning and let it dry out. This little bit of air time will discourage mold growth, prevent staining, and keep your shade-maker smelling fresh.

Pop-up owners, you've got a similar need. No, it won't hurt to "implode" your pop-up to bring it home. If you've got a barn or tall garage, pop open the unit and open the door and curtains for a complete air-out. Better, this should be done under the sun, if possible. So by all means, when Sol appears get cracking.

Even hard-sided RV owners will find a little "after-the-trip" work will make things far more pleasant for the next trip. Crack a roof vent and a window or two, letting a little cross-flow ventilation remove the built-up moisture that accumulates with use. If you won't be RVing for awhile, be sure to drain down the fresh water holding tank.”


This inexpensive device could save your life.
Keep one in your car and RV

“It can happen in a split second: For whatever reason, your car or RV is forced off the road and into the water. Once the vehicle begins to sink, the outside water pressure makes it impossible to escape through a door. So how do you get out? You break a window! You won't do it with your fist; but this $15 device will do the job, and more.”

From Me:  I keep a hammer under the seat of each vehicle, but this looks better, as it cuts jammed seat belts.


Protecting your RV’s bathroom door

“Most RV bathrooms are cramped; some are just barely big enough to turn around in. This frequently means the bathroom door will bang against the toilet or other fixture when it’s opened. Bang hard or long enough and eventually the door could be damaged. Making a buffer to protect the door and toilet is a quick and easy process.

Start by assembling the tools and materials needed to build the buffer: half-inch self-adhesive stripping tape, a tape measure, spray paint, and scissors or box cutter. We used automotive stripping because that’s what we had on hand, but you can buy weather stripping tape at any hardware or building supply store. The tape usually only comes in gray or black, but you can easily spray paint it any color you want.

First, use the tape measure to measure around the toilet at its widest point. If the shower door will hit the toilet when it is open, you’ll want to use a longer strip of tape to protect that side, too. Next, cut the tape to the desired length. Spray-paint the tape and let it dry. Peel off the adhesive backing and position it around the toilet bowl. Apply pressure so it will stick to the toilet.   Your door and toilet are now protected.”  By Cheryl Probst


How propane tanks on towable RVs work

“To be safe, take a couple minutes to understand your RV's LP gas system. This video will discuss how the system works and how to turn the gas on properly.

In this short video from Walnut Ridge Family RV, learn about the propane tanks on a towable RV and how they work:”


How To Install Extend-a-Stay RV Propane Kit

“Set up a continuous gas supply for an RV without having to move and refill a permanent propane tank. Watch step by step instructions on how to connect to an outside propane cylinder using the Extend-a-Stay Propane Kit from Marshall.”


On This Day:

Hollywood Bowl opens, Jul 11, 1922:

“On this day in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl, one of the world’s largest natural amphitheaters, opens with a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Since that time, a long, diverse list of performers, including The Beatles, Luciano Pavarotti and Judy Garland, have appeared on stage at the Hollywood Bowl. The venue has become a famous Los Angeles landmark and has been featured in numerous movies.

As the official summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl has hosted such famous conductors as Arthur Rubinstein, Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Horowitz, along with opera singers Jessye Norman, Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo. Dancers from Fred Astaire to Mikhail Baryshnikov have graced the stage, as have entertainers including Abbott and Costello, Al Jolson, Billie Holiday, Garth Brooks and Elton John.

When the Hollywood Bowl opened, its stage was a wooden platform with a canvas top and audiences sat on moveable benches set on the hillsides of the surrounding canyon. In 1926, a group of Los Angeles architects built the Hollywood Bowl’s first shell. Since that time, various architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright, and Frank Gehry, have made improvements to the venue’s structure and acoustics. Today, the Hollywood Bowl seats nearly 18,000. Its paid attendance record of 26,410 was set in August 1936 for a performance by French opera star Lily Pons.

As a Los Angeles icon, the Hollywood Bowl has been featured in a number of films, including A Star is Born (1937) and Beaches (1988). In one particularly memorable appearance, in the film, Olly Olly Oxen Free (1978), according to the Bowl’s official Web site, “Katharine Hepburn, having refused a stunt double, lands a hot-air balloon herself in front of the Hollywood Bowl stage during a performance of the 1812 Overture.”"


Skylab crashes to Earth, Jul 11, 1979:

“Parts of Skylab, America's first space station, come crashing down on Australia and into the Indian Ocean five years after the last manned Skylab mission ended. No one was injured.

Launched in 1973, Skylab was the world's first successful space station. The first manned Skylab mission came two years after the Soviet Union launched Salynut 1, the world's first space station, into orbit around the earth. However, unlike the ill-fated Salynut, which was plagued with problems, the American space station was a great success, safely housing three separate three-man crews for extended periods of time.

Originally the spent third stage of a Saturn 5 moon rocket, the cylindrical space station was 118 feet tall, weighed 77 tons, and carried the most varied assortment of experimental equipment ever assembled in a single spacecraft to that date. The crews of Skylab spent more than 700 hours observing the sun and brought home more than 175,000 solar pictures. They also provided important information about the biological effects of living in space for prolonged periods of time.

Five years after the last Skylab mission, the space station's orbit began to deteriorate--earlier than was anticipated--because of unexpectedly high sunspot activity. On July 11, 1979, Skylab made a spectacular return to earth, breaking up in the atmosphere and showering burning debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.”



Jay called and said that he was bored staying at home and wanted to come up and do something, so Misty and I went to get him. 

Ray isn’t too crazy about heights, so I had Jay get up on a ladder and remove some trim off the screen porch.  The contractor wants to re-roof the screen porch a different way so that it will match and plane with what he is going to do over my front porch.

New-fence-getting-primedRay started to prime the new board fence in front of my front door, until he ran out of primer. 

We rolled up the tools early, as I was going to lunch with Lynette, Greg, and Arlene.

On the way to Cracker Barrel, which is halfway to Conroe, I stopped in our town and bought some more primer.  But I was still early.  Lynette and Greg arrived and we sat outside chatting while waiting for Arlene.  Then a text came that she was already inside at a table and waiting for us.  I had looked inside when I arrived but hadn’t seen her.  We must have gone different ways around all the aisles of merchandise on the way to the dining area.  That place is big, and it was really busy.


We were there for ages, and the last of the lunch crowd to leave.   We had a great get-together and lunch, with hugs all the way round when we had to leave.   You never know when you will see fulltimer RVers like Lynette and Greg again.  It might be a while before they come through here again.

Then I came home and got the Grooming Room ready for Midnight and her kittens to arrive today.

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