Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stained RV Gaskets. "Beam me up, Scotty." “Uncool” Fridge. RV Tips. RV Closet Space. CA SR 49. First World War. PT-109 and JFK.


For “tRaVersing Thursday” or RV Day:

Stained RV Window Sealing Gaskets

“Is there anyway to clean the white rubber-like gaskets around the windows of my RV. They are stained from mildew or something. Thanks for any information you can give me.” Mary Ann, (Houston, TX)

“Mary Ann, depending on the actual material those window gasket seals are made from, I have a couple suggestions to try. First, Simple Green might work and it’s the most universally available product to try. If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ve had good success with Protect All Products. If the gaskets are truly rubber, I’d try their Rubber Roof Cleaner or their Black Streak Remover. Depending on the age of the gasket material and how long it’s been stained, it may take some elbow grease!
If the staining is mold or mildew, after cleaning, you can saturate a rag with bleach to carefully wipe down the gaskets to kill the mold.”  Posted by RV Doctor


"Beam me up, Scotty." Those handy walkie-talkies

“Everybody knows about walkie-talkies — we've seen them ever since Kirk and Spock showed us how they work. But in the last several years, these handy devices have really come into their own. They are smaller, handier, more powerful, and lower in cost than ever before.

For the RVer, a walkie-talkie set can be a real boon. How about parking the rig in that tight campsite? One person on the outside with a walkie-talkie can give directions and warnings to the driver without having to shout, open windows, make hand signals, run back and forth, etc. Trying to caravan with a friend in another rig? Give them a W-T and you will be able to talk to each other up to a mile or two apart, without cell phone coverage or using up your cell minutes. You can even take one along on a solo hike away from camp, to keep in touch or for that unforeseen emergency. The opportunities are limited only by imagination. At one RV park (with lousy cell coverage), the laundry room was a quarter-mile from our site so we stayed in touch with the hand radios while the washers and dryers hummed away.

Today's higher-end W-T units come with other useful features such as weather radio reception and NOAA weather alert service (very useful when you're out of cell/Internet coverage). You can even get a walkie-talkie which uses the CB frequency, but most walkie-talkies typically use other dedicated FM channels which are less crowded.

Looking at the product "hype," it's unfortunate that the manufacturers brag about "36-mile range," because these are FM radio devices and range is limited to line-of-sight. The true effective range in most practical situations is likely to be a couple of miles, and less in hilly terrain. But that is still quite useful — just don't expect "Star Trek"-style performance.

Parked in their charger, walkie-talkies don't take up much space, and the units can stay tucked away in a cupboard or drawer until you need them. You can get a complete setup (two hand units, a charger, two ear-set cords) from Target, truck stops, Best Buy, Amazon, and many other locations, for anywhere from $30 to $60, depending on features. For this cost, how could you not have such a useful tool?” By Greg Illes


Got an "uncool" RV refrigerator?
Diagnosis may be easier than you think

“Do you have an RV refrigerator that's not keeping its cool? We often make service calls for this very reason – and often the call wasn't necessary. Why? Many times a customer could make their own diagnosis. Here are a couple of things to look at before calling the service tech, or dragging your RV to the dealer.

First, check the controls on the front of the refrigerator. These are properly called an "eyebrow board" or "upper board." Is the board getting power? You'll know it if any of the lamps or indicators on the board are lit up when the power switch is on. If the upper control board has power, you'll find your problem on the back of the refrigerator. Do your checking behind the vent lid on the rig's exterior wall.

Locate the burner unit. This is the tube where your propane flame heats up the cooling unit and where one or two electrical heating units are found. If the burner is working with a hot flame, you can be sure the refrigerator controls are working. If after a few hours' operation you find your fridge still isn't cooling, it is almost invariably that the cooling unit has lost its charge. Feel the cooling unit — if it's very hot to the touch but still not cooling, it's possible you'll hear gurgling noises or notice a yellow coloration on and around the burner tube.

Gurgling and/or yellow on the burner tube are dead giveaways the cooling unit has leaked. The same is often true for a hot cooling unit with no cooling — a "leaker." The only decision to make at that point is whether you want to spend the several hundred bucks to have a new cooling unit installed or whether to replace the fridge. If the RV is just sitting stationary, it's a simple (and less expensive) task to replace the fridge with a small electric household model. Replacing the cooling unit is doable but requires a good bit of labor. In the event you are thinking a completely new refrigerator, keep in mind a replacement will normally set you back "north of a grand."  By Steve Savage, RV Mobility Service


Random RV Tips

”When using a public shower
, like in a state park, always turn on the hot water before getting undressed. Sometimes, there will be no hot water. And if it's a cold morning or evening, you will feel pretty stupid standing there naked with nowhere to go. Of course, if you are brave and have the cold tolerance of a polar bear, jump right in. Brrrrrrr! Good luck!”

Fresh Water??

“Filling up your fresh water tanks when at the dump station? Be wary of using any hose at the station for the task. Some just don't think sanitarily and may use any hose present to clean their sewer hoses – or worse. If a "potable" faucet is available, then use your own fresh water hose; but first, consider cleaning the faucet threads with a shot of alcohol or hand sanitizer. Don't forget to clear the water out of your hose when the job's done, and thread the two fittings of the hose together to keep out bad-boy bugs.”

Water system quick check

”Setting up your RV? Check for water leaks the Jim Schrankel way: "When we are getting set up, before I hook up to city water I turn the water pump on to check for leaks. Listening to it cycle and stop, then remaining stopped, tells me the plumbing connections made it through another trip. Better a little pump-pressured water on the floor than a 60-pound-plus gusher from the city water source." Thanks, Jim!”

Trailer brakes
“Without trailer brakes, at highway speeds stopping distances will be greatly increased.”   From Bill’s Hints

Run your fingers on your tires

”Periodically run your hand along the tread section of your tires. Do this carefully because you may find that misalignment can cause those tires to develop a rough – or even sharp – surface. Tire wear can often be felt before seen, and getting things fixed can save you big bucks in tire replacement costs.”

RV Roof Maintenance Tip
”Safety first! Be extremely careful whenever you are working on your RV roof. You can be seriously injured from a fall. You have to get on the roof of your RV to properly clean and inspect it for any damage or potential water leaks. The first step is the ladder you use to get up on the roof. If your RV does not have a ladder on the back to access the roof, it probably is not designed to be walked on. In this situation it may be necessary to use a couple pieces of plywood or particle board to help distribute your weight on the roof. Even if the RV is equipped with a ladder to access the roof, you need to walk lightly when you’re on the roof and be careful.” Tech Tips from Mark Polk

”Grizzly bears in Glacier National Park have a wide variety of food sources, including glacier lily bulbs, insects and berries. They may also make an early season meal of mountain goats that were swept down in avalanches over the winter.”

RV tire pressure

“Walter Cannon, of the RV Safety and Education Foundation, explains the importance of keeping RV tires properly inflated, and how to best do it.”

Keep your RV's exterior looking good between washings

“The RV Geeks show you how to do a quick exterior cleanup of your RV to keep it looking good between washings. As long as you haven't driven in the rain since the last time you washed it, this quick tip will spruce up your rig in about 10 minutes or less.”


What’s the Secret to RV Closet Space?

“Lately on our Facebook page we’ve been talking about RV storage space. We love our 25-foot Airstream Classic travel trailer. It’s comfortable, cozy, and has been a wonderful home on wheels to us in a variety of adventures. But one thing it’s not… is spacious. We don’t have a lot of storage space.

Forget about measuring storage space in terms of square feet. We need to talk about square inches. Maybe even millimeters (if you can stomach the metric system). Every little bit matters.

What’s the secret to making the most of the space on hand? This is a pressing topic for most RV travelers, especially those who go on extended long term trips.

These hangers are great for RV travel - they are THIN and also NO SLIP (so clothes don't fall to the floor during travel).

These hangers are great for RV travel - they are THIN and also NO SLIP (so clothes don't fall to the floor during travel).

First of all, it’s important to only pack items that you need and/or will really use. This is harder than it sounds. In fact, this is one topic that has (gasp!) created some husband/wife relationship friction in our RV travels. We’ve made some memorable mistakes in the packing department.

Suffice to say that we’ve both been guilty of bringing items on our trips that ended up being unnecessary. Some large, some small. Even after years of taking our Airstream on long term journeys, we still make mistakes.

The problem is that it’s hard to determine exactly what is necessary until you get out there. Every trip takes on a life of its own. Sometimes we do a lot of biking; sometimes the bikes go unused. Sometimes I use certain camera gadgets and tripods; on other trips, they spend most of their time stuffed under the bed. If you’re camping at a local park, it’s not a big deal. If you’re camping 2000 miles from home, it can be a pain.

The “use it or lose it” analysis must apply to every item on board, from food, to clothing, to electronics, to toiletries. Don’t really need and/or intend to use it? You probably should leave it at home. At the very least, you don’t need to bring many duplicates of items. It’s all too easy to overpack.

The problem of overpacking is not simply one of added weight (more weight on board the RV is bad), but also added clutter. Once you exhaust the available storage space, items end up lying on the couch, stuffed behind the couch, scattered on the and floor, and wherever else they may find a home. It makes for a less pleasant living environment.

What about closet space? We have two closets, and they range in size from small to smaller. It stands to reason that we can’t pack too much inside those closets. We can either bring less stuff, or bring smaller stuff. If we find a way to gain any space advantage in the packing process, we celebrate.

Case-in-point: we now have our Airstream closets stocked with ultra thin “no slip” velvet clothes hangers. These fall into the “bring smaller stuff” category.

Every millimeter matters! Airstream camping is like football - it's a game of inches.

Click the pic for more info on these space-saving hangers.

At first glance, it may seem a little silly to worry about the size of clothes hangers. But we are talking about an RV here, and every millimeter matters. The thin flat hangers are a nice upgrade over the usual thick round plastic hangers that are now in fashion.

These hangers serve two purposes. First of all, they are indeed ultra thin – like 1/5 of an inch thin. So you can stack 40 or 50 of them together into a small space. It’s a modest but significant improvement.

Second, these hangers are “no slip” because they’re covered in some sort of grippy pseudo velvet. This is a wonderful feature for an RV, because clothes typically get bounced and jostled when the RV is traveling down the highway. If hangers are not “no slip,” inevitably some of the clothes slip off the hanger and onto the floor. It’s a bummer when all of your clean clothes are lying amidst your shoes at the bottom of your closet.

There’s no magic solution to the RV storage space quandary. It’s an ongoing battle against weight and clutter that we all must fight. If you can find a product like “ultra thin no slip clothes hangers” that gives you a space advantage, it makes sense to utilize it.

Now, if only they made ultra thin bicycles and barbecue grills…” From:  by C.S. (Sean) Michael  (


California State Route 49

“One of my favorite highways is California State Route 49, which stretches from near Lake Tahoe in the north to near Yosemite in the south. In between, it passes through rolling hills with oak and pine trees and through the mining towns from the California gold rush.

The highway is numbered 49 to honor the 49ers, the wealth-seekers who swarmed here in 1849 after gold was discovered in Coloma. It's a slow two-lane route through California's "Gold Country" and an easy drive in all but the very largest RVs, which may find a rare stretch of it too curvy to negotiate without a little nail biting.

Nevada City, to the north, is the prettiest of the towns. It was once the third-largest city in California. Its neighbor, Grass Valley, was home to the giant Empire Mine, the region's largest gold producer. Today, visit Empire Mine State Park and its beautiful grounds and walk into the main shaft. Nevada City is studded with Victorian homes, many fine restaurants, and the state's only public gas-lit streetlight system. Coloma is an hour drive south. Here, in 1848, James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill, sparking a frantic western migration of mostly single men. Sacramento and San Francisco sprang to life in this period. Coloma is a state historic park today. An RV park is right across the American River. Farther south, little Amador City, with its 200 residents, is California's smallest incorporated city. Take a photo of "Pig Turd Alley," which, seriously, is named for a reason (ask a local).

The mostly two-lane highway continues south through Sutter Creek and tiny settlements like Chinese Camp — some near-ghost towns. A few miles south of bustling Angels Camp, detour one mile (in a car, not an RV) to visit the tiny cabin where Mark Twain wrote "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," the story that launched his literary career.

There are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds along the route. In the far north beyond Nevada City, choose from beautiful Forest Service campgrounds beneath pines, cedar and Douglas fir. The Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley (with hookups), under tall pines, is a great place to stay. Visit Lower Sardine Lake outside of Sierra City, one of the most magnificent alpine settings in America, but little known. Near Angels Camp, detour 25 miles to Calaveras Big Trees State Park and camp in one of the most majestic groves of redwoods in the world. Stay a few days soaking up the splendor, and walk the one-mile trail beneath a canopy of the world's largest and oldest living things.

California Route 49 is nearly 300 miles from top to bottom. Take at least two days to drive it, or stay a week or longer and enjoy it properly. Best time to visit: spring and fall, when the temperature is mild and the tourist traffic lightest.”  By Chuck Woodbury


On This Day:

First World War erupts, Aug 1, 1914:

“Four days after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Germany and Russia declare war against each other, France orders a general mobilization, and the first German army units cross into Luxembourg in preparation for the German invasion of France. During the next three days, Russia, France, Belgium, and Great Britain all lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and the German army invaded Belgium. The "Great War" that ensued was one of unprecedented destruction and loss of life, resulting in the deaths of some 20 million soldiers and civilians.

By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany. In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies' favor. Bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with an imminent invasion, Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in November 1918.

World War I was known as the "war to end all wars" because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict--the Treaty of Versailles of 1919--forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II.”


PT-109 sinks; Lieutenant Kennedy is instrumental in saving crew, Aug 1, 1943:

“On this day in 1943, a Japanese destroyer rams an American PT (patrol torpedo) boat, No. 109, slicing it in two. The destruction is so massive other American PT boats in the area assume the crew is dead. Two crewmen were, in fact, killed, but 11 survived, including Lt. John F. Kennedy.

After five hours of clinging to debris from the decimated PT boat, the crew made it to a coral island. Kennedy decided to swim out to sea again, hoping to flag down a passing American boat. None came. Kennedy began to swim back to shore, but strong currents, and his chronic back condition, made his return difficult. Upon reaching the island again, he fell ill. After he recovered, the PT-109 crew swam to a larger island, what they believed was Nauru Island, but was in fact Cross Island. They met up with two natives from the island, who agreed to take a message south. Kennedy carved the distress message into a coconut shell: "Nauru Is. Native knows posit. He can pilot. 11 alive need small boat."

The message reached Lieutenant Arthur Evans, who was watching the coast of Gomu Island, located next to an island occupied by the Japanese. Kennedy and his crew were paddled to Gomu. A PT boat then took them back to Rendova. Kennedy was ultimately awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, for gallantry in action.

The coconut shell used to deliver his message found a place in history—and in the Oval Office.  PT-109, a film dramatizing this story, starring Clift Robertson as Kennedy, opened in 1963.”



In the morning, when I was ready to start our work day, Ray said that he would be delayed for 45 minutes.  Good, that should give me time to bathe and dry Misty.  But he was early, so Misty was still wet and he had to wait until I had finished brush-drying her, then I let her go back to bed.

As we haven’t re-screened it yet, we decided that all the framework inside and outside of the screen porch, would look so much better if it were painted white, instead of the bare treated wood.  This porch is 12 years old and all the wood is dusty, so it should be pressure washed first.  It was obvious that we needed to clear everything off the screen porch to paint, and because the contractors are supposed to come back next week to re-do the roof that Jay put on there.  The table, all the plants and the racks would get in their way.

Pugsy 1st.Sep.2008 001 (Small)[1] We wanted to put the screen porch’s table in the vintage motor home, “Pugsy”, as it has a big wide back door, as well as the normal side one.  But we had to move stuff in there first.  Some items were discarded and some were stored elsewhere to make space for the table in that motor home’s big wide aisle. 

But, when we were moving the table sideways to go through the screen porch’s doorway, the bottom leg kept on bumping my shin, due to me being height-challenged. There was no way I could help carry it all the way to Pugsy.  We tried to take the leg off, but it was put on before the Formica top and we didn’t want to ruin that.  So temporarily, it got as far as my living room and I have blue marks on my legs.  OK, back to what we were doing.

imagesCAJIWWJII handed the many potted aloe vera plants out to Ray, who made six trips to the back patio with them in the little red black wagon.

The baker’s racks which hold the plants, were all moved out of the way.  Now that there is more room on the screen porch, the work can begin.

With everything out of there, we finished re-installing the rest of the windowsills, but it was too late to start pressure washing yesterday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Maybe you need to take a break and take "pugsy" for a camping trip. When was the last time you did that?

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

I haven't taken Pusgy anywhere since the 90's. It is a Class A, and I can't drive it anymore due to my depth perception. Too much space between the mirrors!! My son has used it a couple of times since then, though.

The one I like to drive is my Class B+, it is like a Class C but without the cabover bed, so it is more streamlined. I haven't taken it anywhere recently either!!

I can't get away much, as I have foster animals which have to be available for prospective adopters to meet at anytime.

Happy Tails,and Trails, Penny