Thursday, August 29, 2013

“Other Half” Driving? Hitching a 5er. How To Level RV. RV Shower. Whiten A Sink. Vent Cover. Dometic Power Draw. Bed-lifting Struts. RV Tips. "Pre-owned" Units. Chromecast. Inca Atahuallpa. Katrina.


For “tRaVersing Thursday” or RV Day:

Can your "other half" handle the rig?

“Though becoming more balanced among couples, more men still drive their RVs than women. If you are the female half of a couple, imagine if you were out in the boonies and the driver were to become ill?

You would have to learn how to drive the rig quickly — and at a most difficult time while under extreme stress. Don't wait for that moment to happen. Start learning to drive the rig now, and then share the everyday driving to stay in practice.

Don't limit yourself to learning just how to drive: There are other things the regular "pilot" does to get the rig ready to travel. Do you know how to disconnect the power and water systems? Raise the automatic levelers? Hitch up the rig? All these are important aspects of getting under way with your RV. You and your other half should draw up a checklist together, and thoroughly practice "how-to-dos" before the need arises.

If you are the male driver, start giving your other half driving time — along with constructive and helpful assistance, and encouragement. If you can't provide the support and the temperament to make it work, hire a driving instructor. Do it.” by Bob Difley


Hitching a fifth wheel trailer and weight capacities.

Demonstration on how to properly hitch a fifth wheel trailer to a truck.


How to Level Your RV.

“Step-by-step instructions for leveling a camper. Proper techniques include slideroom out first and then leveling left to right, using an arm's length to gauge enough space for slideout to open, and putting down stabilizer jacks after the camper is successfully leveled.  This video is highly recommended for all RV owners for proper care of their unit.”


Getting your RV shower ready to roll

“An RV shower is different from your shower at home. First of all, it moves. But, equally important, when dry camping your water supply is limited so you need to conserve it. In this video, the RV Geeks show you how to set up your shower to meet your needs on the road. (And here are the two links to the products mentioned in the video: The showerhead. The soap dispensers.)”



How to whiten an RV kitchen sink

“Here's a quick, easy tip from the RV Geeks about how to whiten a Corian or similar solid-surface kitchen or bathroom sink. Whether in your RV or in your house, this simple technique will rejuvenate even the dingiest and most discolored sink.”

From Me:  You don’t have to send off for Oxyclean. It is at the Dollar General and other stores.


How to install an RV roof vent cover

“In this video from Trailer Life, learn how to install an RV roof vent cover. These vents increase ventilation and air flow all year-round. Watch our step-by-step RV vent cover installation guide.”


Reduce unwanted power draw on your Dometic RV refrigerator

“Many of the Dometic refrigerators have a heat strip in the door frame at the top of the refrigerator section. This is intended to reduce the formation of condensation and wetting the seal — but the strips draw 12 watts of battery power when the refrigerator is turned on.

Some Dometic models have a semi-hidden switch to disable this, but many of the models like mine (DM2652LBX) don't. The strip is wired in parallel with the interior light circuit. Others have snipped the wire behind the light. Since I camp fairly often in damp environments, I like to have a functional heater when on shore power.

There's an easy solution to the issue — the heater and interior light are wired to the circuit board in back of the fridge through a single spade lug connector. I just disconnect the connection when I'm going to dry camp for more than two nights. This provides an additional benefit: disabling the interior light, keeping the refrigerator 12-volt power draw to an absolute minimum.

Here's how:
1. Open the exterior refrigerator access cover. Locate the wiring diagram. The diagram on mine is pasted to the burner cover. Disconnect the 120-volt power before proceeding.

2. Find the control board. It is usually under a black cover on the left side of the unit. To remove the cover, loosen the screw on the top and then use a screwdriver in the slots on the side to pop the tabs loose. Be careful not to break any wires or the cover.

3. On the wiring diagram, locate the interior bulb and climate control heating element (not the 120-volt heating element or the fridge won't cool!) Mine was the one connected to terminal #2. (This is where the screwdriver is pointing in the picture.)

4. Disconnect the spade lug and put it somewhere where it won't short anything out.

4.a. Optional: Put an SPST switch in-line between the spade connector and the circuit board.

5. Close up the control board cover and restore 120-volt power to the unit. Turn the refrigerator on and make sure the bulb is dark and the area where the strip is doesn't get warm.

6. Close up the exterior hatch. Make sure the drain hose is routed to the proper place.

Doing this modification reduced the refrigerator draw on my batteries from 1.6 amps to 0.6 amp when the gas valve is open, and 0.2 amp when it is closed. This modification saves 24 amp-hours per day when dry camping!”  By Neal Weber


RV Tips:

Inverter sucks power
“Using an inverter to provide "shore power" from batteries on your RV? Even when not pumping full power, an inverter still uses power, and if things like your TV or other equipment are "off" they may really still be eating power. All that "parasitic" loss can chew up your batteries. If your inverter has an option of a remote switch, spend the money and install it — you'll thank yourself in the future.”

Generator log book
“Keep a log book for your RV generator. Track the time for service intervals like oil and (if applicable) filter changes.”

Trim and molding screw replacement
“Is your exterior trim and molding held on with screws? Are they looking like "rust magnets"? Take samples of that corroded hardware down to the hardware store and replace with new stainless steel. Don't want the stainless look? Stick them in a block of styrofoam and spray the heads with glossy paint to match your trim.”

Fire starter tip
“Need fire starters? Reader Seann Fox sends us a suggestion from The Old Farmer's Almanac: Start with dried pine cones. Melt old candle stubs in a double-boiler. Dip the pine cones into the hot wax. Let dry, perhaps on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Store in a can when dry. The wax helps the pine cones burn long enough to help get your fire going. For special effects, soak the dried pine cones for 24 hours in a solution of 1 pound Epsom salts to 1 gallon water. The treated dried cones produce a myriad of colors in the campfire.”

Learn about current conditions in the USA: stream flows, drought areas and flooding. Water Watch.

Making underutilized space in an RV useful
“RVers don't have the luxury of squandering space as frequently as in a roomy stick house. So, it's important to utilize all the spaces in your RV. Tools, devices and spaces in an RV that can be used in multiple ways are critical. For example, whether a class A,B or C motorhome, the driver position often becomes underutilized space after the day's driving is complete. Here is a way to make it useful.”

Save money on toads, tow bars and accessories by buying them used.
“Prices for towing equipment aren't cheap. The price of a new tow bar, braking system, and especially a tow car itself, can bust the proverbial bank. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a centralized place where you could shop for used tow equipment and toad cars? Ah! But there is! Here's a website for all toad pullers to put in their bookmarks:”

Take a step — or two —  up with a ladder extension
“Getting up on your RV's ladder can be a physical accomplishment, and getting down off the last step can be a jolt — sending an irate message to your back. Why not make life easier — and safer — with a ladder extension. See how.”


Campground "size limits"
“Don't let campground "size limits" scare you away. Check at the registration booth and see just how the size is determined, and if there are longer sites available. Can you unhitch your tow vehicle and park it next to your trailer or in an overflow site? At times, size limitations are based on park roads that may be too tight for longer rigs — best to check before driving in for a look-see.”  Tech Tips from Mark Polk 

Slow down to save tires. “High speed on a really hot day severely stresses tires.  Slow down to reduce the stress, especially if you are fully loaded.”   From: Bill's Hints

Summer days are salad days — Sweetpea Salad
This is a nice change from the same old salads, especially when you’re boondocking and the lettuce is gone. Get the recipe.

The oldest rocks in the USA  “How old are the oldest rocks in America, and where are they? How can I see them?” —Jim Oldman, Houston Read Dr. Rock's answer.

On the last day of an RV trip.  “If you are hooked up to water and sewer, it's a good idea to wash your tables, counters, floor, fridge and other places inside your RV. If you wait until you get home, when you may not be hooked up, your water will likely be limited and you'll end up draining water into a holding tank which you'd probably prefer to stay empty.”


More security for RV bed-lifting gas struts 
“Many RV beds double as storage units: Pull the mattress board up and down inside, under the mattress, is an open space for hiding stuff. Most of these utilize gas struts or "gas springs," as they're sometimes called. Originally popular for keeping hatchbacks open on cars, these clever devices soon found their way into the RV industry.

The problem with gas springs is that if you have just a bit too much weight on the mattress — say a big stack of blankets — or the spring begins to lose it's strength, life can get a bit complicated. We store our canning equipment and jars under our bed, and at times we have to actually climb under the bed to retrieve items. Imagine that old mattress coming down on top of you.

You could replace the gas springs, but if too much weight is a factor, replacing with the original spec springs won't gain you the lift you need. Replace them with springs having greater lift force will work — until springtime rolls around and you lighten the weight on the mattress and those stronger springs may hold the bed up when it should be down. Or maybe the springs work well enough, but you'd like a little extra security when poking around under the bed.

Here's an easy fix — an add-on support rod  that will definitely hold the mattress up. Buy a length of 3/4" PVC pipe from the hardware store. Visualize the pipe as a rod near the open end of the mattress box (opposite the hinges). Using this pipe as a "prop," you can hold the bed box open easily and safely. But what's to keep your prop from slipping out? A set of closet rod flanges — one installed on the inside lid of the bed box, the other screwed to the floor — will serve to hold both ends of your new prop rod and keep it from slipping out at the wrong time. Best to find a closet rod flange set where both pieces are completely closed, like the photo, rather than the type with the opening to slide the closet rod down into.  It's a cheap, quick, and easy fix.”  by Russ and Tiña De Maris

Motorhome shopping?
Check out the "previously a rental" market

“In the market for a motorhome? There are plenty of manufacturers who'd like you to look their way. Problem is, brand-new motorhomes are definitely pricey, and they loose a lot of value the moment you step on the accelerator the very first time and drive them off the lot. For some shoppers this means hitting the used motorhome market. Among the host of sellers who'd have you buy their rigs are "pre-owned" units that lived their first life as rental units. Read more.”


Is Google Chromecast the answer to TV in an RV?

“My wife and I recently bought a Google Chromecast ( for use in our RV. As tech gadgets go, these things are CHEAP – only $35, cheaper than Roku and Apple TV. They are selling so fast, supplies are limited – most people are placing orders to get in line for shipment.

Is Google Chromecast the answer to TV in an RV? (Click the pic for more info.)What is a Chromecast? It’s a tiny device that allows us to stream video content from our phone onto our TV. It’s intended to take Netflix and YouTube video from a phone or tablet onto the big screen.

Chromecast is useful in an RV for several reasons. Since many RV parks these days do not offer cable, we often find ourselves watching Netflix streaming video. Instead of just streaming to a phone or iPad, wouldn’t it be nice to watch it on the TV? That’s the idea behind Chromecast.

Supplies are limited! Chromecasts are selling like hotcakes. (Click the pic for more info.)Setting up a Chromecast is not as easy as we would like. While the box and packaging are very streamlined in an Apple sort of way, the actual setup was not. First we had to install an app onto our iPhones. That part was easy enough, but when we tried to complete the setup the app kept crashing. Hmm, perhaps this was an Apple/Google conflict?

We finally got Chromecast to connect with our phones and the streaming began to work. It’s quite simple – when watching a video on Netflix, for example, clicking a small icon instantly streams the video to the TV.

Due to strong sales, Chromecasts are hard to find in stores. Your best bet in getting one may be to order from Amazon – they ship ‘em out as their supplies are replenished.”  by C.S. (Sean) Michael


On This Day:

Pizarro Executes Last Inca Emperor, Aug 29, 1533:

“Atahuallpa, the 13th and last emperor of the Incas, dies by strangulation at the hands of Francisco Pizarro's Spanish conquistadors. The execution of Atahuallpa, the last free reigning emperor, marked the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.

Buckling under an assault by the terrifying Spanish artillery, guns, and cavalry (all of which were alien to the Incas), thousands of Incas were slaughtered, and the emperor was captured.  Atahuallpa offered to fill a room with treasure as ransom for his release, and Pizarro accepted. Eventually, some 24 tons of gold and silver were brought to the Spanish from throughout the Inca empire.

Although Atahuallpa had provided the richest ransom in the history of the world, Pizarro treacherously put him on trial for plotting to overthrow the Spanish, for having his half-brother Huascar murdered, and for several other lesser charges. A Spanish tribunal convicted Atahuallpa and sentenced him to die. On August 29, 1533, the emperor was tied to a stake and offered the choice of being burned alive or strangled by garrote if he converted to Christianity. In the hope of preserving his body for mummification, Atahuallpa chose the latter, and an iron collar was tightened around his neck until he died.

High in the Andes Mountains of Peru, the Inca built a dazzling empire that governed a population of 12 million people. Although they had no writing system, they had an elaborate government, great public works, and a brilliant agricultural system.”


Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc on Gulf Coast, Aug 29, 2005: 

“On this day in 2005, Hurricane Katrina, the most destructive hurricane ever to hit the United States, makes landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast, near New Orleans, Louisiana. Katrina, which formed over the Bahamas on August 23, was the third major hurricane of a particularly severe 2005 season.  The storm caused massive devastation in and around the city of New Orleans and major damage elsewhere in Louisiana and along the coasts of Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.  In all, more than 1,800 people died, 1 million more were displaced and 400,000 lost their jobs as a result of the disaster.”



Ray came over and spent the morning painting the posts on the screen porch, now we can install the new screen wire.

Misty and I went to get Jay, as it was shopping day.

First stop was to unload the paper recycling and donations at St. Mark’s thrift shop.  Jay bought some knick-knacks for his house, and some sneakers.  After a couple more stops and a look in a couple more thrift shops, where Jay bought some really nice boots and I bought a like-new purse, we got to Lowe’s.

It seems that they don’t stock many of the comfy padded toilet seats anymore, the only one they had was a cheap white one, and I need a good quality one in ivory.  I couldn’t find some of the other things I needed either.

It was getting hot, humid and late, so we didn’t even get to a grocery store yesterday.

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