Thursday, September 12, 2013

Can You Afford To Become A Fulltime RVer? Portable Waste Tank. JFK Marries Jackie. Nikita Khrushchev. Lacey V. Murrow Bridge.


For “ tRaVersing Thursday” or RV Day:

Can you afford to become a fulltime RVer?

fulltiming“Almost every new RVer or former weekender dreaming about going fulltime asks the question “How much does it cost to live fulltime in an RV?” The answer is, pick any number and you will find someone who says that is what it costs. And they’re right–for them.

However, that is probably not the best question to ask. Try rephrasing the question to “I will have a net income of (fill in the blank). Will this be enough to cover the RV lifestyle as I define it?” And that, of course, implies that you have to first define the RV lifestyle before you can cost it out.

What does costing it out entail? This question is very individual, which only you–and your traveling companion or spouse, if any–can answer. So get out a piece of paper or open a  new document on your computer and answer these questions first:

  • Is your RV paid for or will you have to factor payments into your budget?
  • What does insurance cost per month?
  • Is your RV old or new? An old RV will require more dollars budgeted for maintenance and repairs?
  • Do you have a residence that will require maintenance or will provide additional income by renting?
  • Are all your financial obligations paid off or will payments–other than monthly usage of credit cards–have to be factored in?
  • Add in health insurance and prescription drug plan premiums, and average monthly co-pays.
  • Add in cell phone costs, a gift budget, hobby costs, and anything else that will be recurring expenses.
  • That was the easy part, numbers that are simple to come up with and are fairly accurate. Now the harder part.

Food costs. This includes cooking in and eating out. What are you willing to establish as your eating habits in your new RV Lifestyle? Will you be content to eat out one a week, or are you accustomed to eating out frequently? The difference is huge in what your food costs. Restaurants = high, cooking in with fresh farmers market fare and local food = low.

Camping. Are you comfortable with and enjoy boondocking on public lands or do you prefer campgrounds? Again a huge difference. RV resorts with golf, activities, rec room, full hookups, internet = expensive.  Boondocking in the national forests and on BLM land = cheap to nothing. If somewhere in the middle, decide on how many nights a month you will stay in campgrounds and at what price level are you comfortable with and how many nights boondocking. Keep to whatever plan you work out.

Fuel: Make a plan on how much you will spend on fuel each month. Stopping for only one night and then moving on and a “I want to see it all now” agenda = expensive. Staying in one place for a few days or a week and exploring the local area = cheap.

Urges, whims, habits. Are you willing to part with some of these that you exercised when your income was higher and your pocket was full of cash (or credit cards)–or are you unwilling to change?

Define a dollar amount for emergencies–whatever figure you are comfortable with.

This is only a start. Write out every part of your preferred RV lifestyle as you define it or how you want to live it, then put dollar amounts to it, then figure out what that lifestyle will cost.  That will be your personal plan and will not apply to anyone else. From there you can alter it to: (1) Reduce some part of it to fit your income, (2) Continue working until you have what it takes to pay for your defined RV lifestyle, or (3) Figure out how you can add to your income by part time or seasonal work, running an income producing website or online business, campground hosting to reduce your campground costs, or caretaking.

Whatever you decide, if you can stick to it – that is what it costs.”  From:  by Bob Difley


Taking care of your portable waste tank

“One of the more useful tools for boondockers who like to 'hunker down for a spell,' and not move the rig is the "blue boy," or portable waste transport tank. Nothing more than a plastic tank, usually equipped with wheels, one simply hooks their sewer hose to their rig's dump port, the other end to a similar fitting on the blue boy, and discharge your tankage into your rolling receptacle for transfer to a nearby dump station.
Oh, but it were that simple. And for the most part, it is.

But there are a few tricks that will make your experiences with using a blue boy a lot easier, and in some cases, less messy.
First, blue boys come in various sizes, and of course, the bigger they are, the bigger the price. The largest of the blue boys typically come equipped with two ports--one at the "top" of the tank, the other on the side. The latter, equipped with a blade valve like the one on your RV, is for dumping. Smaller tanks without this blade valve have to be stood on end to dump. This writer once "stood up" a 15 gallon model and found he had back muscles he wasn't previously familiar with. After obtaining a 20 gallon version with the blade valve, back strains were a thing of the past.

If you're boondocking within a short distance of a dump station, say at a long term visitor area in Quartzsite, you'll find many RVers simply hitch their blue boy to their bumper and tow it to the dump station. That's good if you're on a paved road, as blue boy wheels don't stand up well to beating a tattoo through potholes and rocks. If the latter describes your road conditions, you're stuck either "ramping" the loaded blue boy up onto a truck bed for transport, or by creatively combining the blue boy with a new undercarriage: You'll find a lot of hand trucks sold in Quartzsite for the express purpose of becoming a new carriage system for blue boys.

But how do you dump a 40 gallon tank into a 20 gallon blue boy? Start by dumping black water in the tank. Each blue boy is equipped with a small capped opening to release air. Some RVers equip this opening with a "bobber" like device that sends up a flat as the fluid level in the tank rises. Others simply look closely to see the rise in the liquid level through the port. Beware! A fast dump can give you more than just, "Mud in your eye!" Once the first "load" is taken care of, return to the RV, and dump the next load.

At this point, you may find that in practice, some undesirables (solids) are still hanging around in your black water tank like errant Klingons, waiting for the Enterprise. A backflush is in order! If both your gray water and black water tanks share a common discharge port here's the ticket: With the sewer hose disconnected from the blue boy, but still connected to the common dump port, raise the blue boy end of the sewer hose HIGHER than the level of your RV waste tanks. Open the black water valve, leave it open, and quickly open the gray water valve, allowing a rush of gray water to force its way into the black tank. Close the gray water valve, then the black water valve, and with oh so much care, reconnect the dump hose to the blue boy. Now reopen the black water valve and dump the black/gray backflushed liquid into the tank. This should have dislodged the "Klingons."

It's a bit of a trick, and one best done with a medium length hose and an assistant, if one should happen to be available. Usually it take a substantial bribe to get your mate to help you with this one.”  By Russ and Tiña De Mari of RV Boondocking.


From me:  When you have full-hookups, don’t keep the gate valve open and keep running your black water straight through.  Eventually, you will have the dreaded, very difficult to remove, ‘black pyramid” in the middle of your black water tank.


On This Day:

John F. Kennedy marries Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island, Sep 12, 1953:

“On this day in 1953, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, the future 35th president of the United States, marries Jacqueline Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island. Seven years later, the couple would become the youngest president and first lady in American history.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy was born into a prominent New York family in 1929 and grew into an avid horsewoman and reader. In 1951, after graduating from George Washington University, Jackie, as she was called, took a tour of Europe. That fall, she returned to the U.S. to begin her first job as the Washington Times-Herald's "Inquiring Camera Girl." Shortly afterward, she met a young, handsome senator from Massachusetts named John Kennedy at a dinner party in Georgetown.

They dated over the next two years, during which time Jackie mused at the idea that she might actually marry a man who was allergic to horses, something she never thought she would have considered. In 1953, the two were engaged, when Kennedy gave Jackie a 2.88-carat diamond-and-emerald ring from Van Cleef and Arpels.

"Jack," as Kennedy was called, and Jackie married on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island. Jackie wore an ivory silk gown made by Ann Lowe, an African-American designer. The Catholic mass was attended by 750 guests and an additional 450 people joined the wedding reception at Hammersmith Farm. The couple danced to the Meyer Davis Orchestra's version of "I Married an Angel." Davis also performed at Jackie's parents' wedding and at Kennedy's inaugural ball.”


On the same day:

Khrushchev elected Soviet leader, Sep 12, 1953:

“Six months after the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev succeeds him with his election as first secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.”


New floating bridge opens in Seattle; I-90 stretches from coast to coast, Sep 12, 1993:

“On September 12, 1993, the rebuilt Lacey V. Murrow Bridge over Lake Washington opens in Seattle. The new bridge, which was actually the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 (the westbound lanes cross the lake on a separate bridge), connects the city and its eastern suburbs. It replaced the original Murrow Bridge, the first floating concrete bridge in the world, which was destroyed by a flood in November 1990.

In December 1938, Washington governor Clarence Martin and Lacey V. Murrow, the director of the Washington Toll Bridge Authority, broke ground on what would be the largest floating structure in the world: the Lake Washington Floating Bridge, also known as the Mercer Island Bridge, between Seattle to the west and Bellevue, Washington, to the east. (It was renamed for Murrow in 1967.) At the time the bridge was built, it carried US Route 10 across the lake; a few decades later, that highway became Interstate 90. The bridge was a Public Works Administration-financed project designed to give work to unemployed Washingtonians and to make the towns across the lake from Seattle more accessible to suburban development.

When the bridge opened in 1940, the Seattle Times called it "the biggest thing afloat." It was almost two miles long, contained 100,000 tons of steel, floated on more than 20 hollow concrete pontoons, and carried 5,000 cars each day. (By 1989, its daily load was closer to 100,000 cars.)

In 1990, while the bridge was closed for repairs, construction workers punched giant holes in the pontoons that kept it afloat and went home for the weekend. A few days of rain and high winds filled the pontoons with water, and the bridge broke apart and sank.

Repairing it was no easy task: The sinking pontoons had pulled more than a half-mile of highway into the lake with them, and the structure needed to be rebuilt from scratch. This project took three years and cost $93 million. When the bridge finally reopened, it closed one of the last remaining gaps in the interstate highway system: a person could drive from Boston to Seattle without ever leaving I-90.”



Misty and I picked up Jay for shopping day, and had our walk down there. 

I had several things to return, and had taken the time to dig through the shoe box of receipts for the ones that matched them.  Some of these had been bought over three months ago, so I needed the receipts. These were items that had been bought during the different phases of getting the roofs installed over the screen and front porches, and hadn’t been used.

We stopped in St. Mark’s thrift shop when we dropped off the paper recycling, and Jay bought a couple of things.  One was a rolling backless desk chair, which had a seat like those on a tractor, and he said it was very comfortable. 

Another stop at the pawnshop, but Jay had lost his Makita circular saw and zip-tool.  I was going to buy the Makita saw from him as one of mine has been lost, stolen, or strayed.  It is so much easier, and quicker, to have one saw with a rip blade and one with a plywood blade, and not have to change blades all the time.

Ray stayed here and painted the trim on the shed to match the trim on the house.  My left knee is still bothering me, and we didn’t get everywhere we wanted to go.  I had hoped to go to the clinic as a walk-in, so Ray took Misty for her midday ‘outs’.  Even though I didn’t get to the clinic, it was still nearly 4.00pm before we got back.

My knee even kept me awake a lot during the night, so I will be dragging today.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Sure hope your knee gets better soon. We don't realize how important different parts of our body are until they quit working. I think some of mine have gone into retirement, especially my short term memory.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, DD.

I am not used to having aches and pains, so I hope my knee gets better soon, too.

The only time I had trouble with my short term memory was when I was kicked in the head by a horse in 1983, and had a concussion and stroke because of it. It took a long time for me to train my brain again.
Sometimes, I still have to go back to where I was, to remember what I was going to get, but I think we all do that!

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny.