Thursday, October 3, 2013

No Power? Rand McNally Great GPS. Noisy Water Pump. RV Tips. Lite LP Cylinders. Porcelain or Plastic Loo? Clean RV. Microwave/Convention Oven? Jacks For Slideouts. Thanksgiving. UAW And Ford. O.J. Simpson.


For "tRaVersing Thursday", or RV Day:


"My house is without power today. The electric company is working on electric lines in my neighborhood. It's 9 a.m. The power won't return until 5 p.m.

My first thought when notified about the outage was "no big deal." I forgot for a moment that I was in a home and not my motorhome. The difference is that with the RV I would just operate off 12-volt power and crank up the generator if necessary. My house, of course, has no 12-volt system and no generator. I'm working now on my battery-powered laptop and MiFi Aircard for Internet access. I'm good for a couple of hours of writing and other computer tasks (like wasting time reading my Facebook page).

I heated up coffee before the power stopped. I live in Seattle, where drinking coffee is required by law. I figure I have an hour before the coffee gets too cold. If I were in my RV I would have much more time before it cooled; in the RV, I keep my morning supply in a Thermos-type container. And there's always the microwave.

A day without it is more challenging at home than in an RV. For example, when I am camped in the desert without shore power I can live normally for a couple of days just fine with my 12-volt system. Many RVers, with solar panels or a windmill, can go for weeks.

I would head off to my RV or office today, but because of lifting the potting soil, I can barely move so I am stuck in my power-less house; it would be torture to get into my car and drive anywhere.

Yet, as I sit here, back hurting, electricity off, I am reminded of one of the reasons I own an RV: in an emergency it is a good backup house. In addition, it can transport me away from danger, where I can live comfortably until things return to normal. Every time there is a natural disaster — earthquake, hurricane, flood, tornado or wildfire, owners of RVs always have a comfy place to retreat. While others are forced to survive in a public shelter or a boring motel room, RVers' lives go on close to normal. I try to keep my RV "ready to go" in case I need to get outta Dodge fast due to Mother Nature being nasty."  By Chuck Woodbury


iPad app from Rand McNally makes for great GPS

"If you're an iPad fan, Rand McNally, who produces some fine GPS units for RVers, has brought their technology to your pad. The application, from the App Store, provides RV class-specific routing (and with a quick toggle, over to car routing) based on Rand McNally's road data and navigation. They also show RV parks and campgrounds, RV-friendly locations, RVer tools and pre-planned trips. The app also includes dynamic weather, a map overlay feature that helps drivers anticipate conditions such as high wind and precipitation along the route.

Unlike off-board navigation, the maps load on an iPad, providing access everywhere — even in remote areas where a cellular or Wi-Fi connection is not available. For real-time navigation as the vehicle progresses, a GPS signal is required. 

Sure enough, here's more fine print: If your iPad is 3G/4G enabled, you've got what you need already. If not, then you'll end up adding an external GPS receiver — which, in our minds, kind of defeats the purpose. You'll also want to know the price of the app. You're looking at breaking up a $100 bill in a hurry at the app store.

Features include your choice of 11 different RV types, including having a toad car on your bumper. Routing is based on your height, width, weight, and propane restrictions. You can also choose whether your rig "favors" right- or left-hand turns. You can plug in notifications for speed limit changes, sharp curves, dirt roads, etc., a godsend in unfamiliar country. And you'll find thousands of POIs (points of interest) like commercial entities when your stomach is growling for lunch.

From our own experience, Rand McNally's map database is far more useful to the boondocker-set than those provided by competitors' units. Rand McNally shows a lot more "off-road" detail than do the other guys.  Here's where to look for more information or to buy a copy for yourself.  by Russ and Tiña De Maris


Silence that noisy water pump

"If your water pump reminds you of a jackhammer on a New York City street, you are not alone. A noisy water pump is one of the most common complaints of RV owners. There are several things that can be done to quiet it. The first step is to find the pump. Water pumps are usually tucked away in a cabinet at floor level somewhere; the noise should lead you to it.

Once the water pump has been located, check that the screws holding the pump to the floor are tight. Most water pumps are mounted on a small platform or on rubber mounts and are secured to the floor with three or four screws. The platform or mounts are supposed to keep the pump from vibrating against the floor. Check the mounts to make sure that they are not cracked, worn, or missing. The pump itself cannot be insulated because the electric motor needs air circulation to keep it cool. Covering the pump may cause the motor to overheat and fail.

Next, trace the cold water line from the pump to the faucets. If it passes through a cabinet wall or is routed along a cabinet wall, the vibration of the water line may be turning the cabinets into a sounding board and amplifying the vibration and noise just like a musical instrument. Get some lengths of foam pipe insulation the correct size to fit the pipe and put it around the pipes in those places that touch or pass through the side of a cabinet. Water pipes that touch the drainpipe under a sink or shower can also create quite a racket, so put insulation in those places, too. Wrap a piece of duct tape around both ends of each piece of insulation to keep it in place.

It may take some contortions on your part to get the insulation around the water lines, since they are often routed behind drawers and at the back of cabinets. Once it is in place, the foam insulation should absorb much of the vibration of the water lines and keep the cabinets from 'singing'."   From


From me:  You can also mount your water pump on one or two mouse pads.  Longer screws might be needed.



Check your slideouts

"Before pulling in your slideouts, make sure there are no leaves or other debris on its roof."


Don't overlook these campsites
"Looking for an off-the-path campsite? Don't overlook fishing spots near bridges in state or national forests. Fishermen often form parking areas near these spots, and if your rig isn't too big, you may find a great night's sleep listening to the rushing water. In Idaho, also look for "Sportsmen's Access" points — many of them allow "boondocking.""


Need parts?

RV cabinet doors, drawers, curtain and interior hardware. The list of parts here is long.


Vehicle jacks for slideouts

“Vehicle jacks are essential for stabilization with rooms extended.  Level and stabilize before extending the slideout.  If you do not stabilize first, the slideout will change your level when it is extended.” From Bill's Hints


"Awnings are great RV accessories, but what if you want to have shade over your picnic table or some other place that your awning doesn't reach? Do you move your RV or sit in the hot sun? Neither, as a canopy by QuikShade will provide protection wherever you need it, and would be a welcome addition to your camping equipment. Learn more."


Holding tank dumping
"A golden rule for RV holding tanks is to never dump the black water tank until it is at least two-thirds full. You want the tank nearly full so the weight and the gravity will force the contents of the tank to drain properly. Another golden rule is to never leave the black tank valve open at the campground and expect the toilet to drain or flush like the toilet in your home. It won’t work." Tech Tips from Mark Polk


Location, Location! 
"Always know the location where you are camping. Write down important information on a post-it note and stick onto your RV fridge. Include the address and phone number of your RV park, or the specific name of a public campground with information on closest road, highway or GPS coordinates. You might need this information in a medical or police emergency."


If you own one of these LP tanks, you have a problem


"A recall has been issued for a propane tank manufactured by the Lite Cylinder Company. The emergency recall order indicates that the units “constitute or are causing an imminent hazard to public safety.” The order mandates that anyone in possession of them should immediately take them out of service. The rub: don't expect to get a replacement cylinder or your money back. Learn why."


Tire blowouts: Not so common

"Our tire expert Roger Marble writes: "Some people believe that tire blowouts happen for no apparent reason. Others are convinced that even with a tire pressure monitoring system you will not get any warning before there is a catastrophic failure. Well, while watching the TV show "Mythbusters" the other day, I saw a perfect example of just how difficult it is to simply make a properly loaded and inflated tire blow out. Read more."


RV toilets: Porcelain or plastic?

"Remember the days when you hit the supermarket checkout and the question was, "Paper or plastic?" Today the question for RVers seems to be, "Plastic – or china?" Yep, what you keep in your bathroom seems to make a big difference for some.
When on-board RV toilets first came into vogue there was no choice. Plastic toilets were the order of the day. Now there's a huge influx of porcelain thrones. While many RVs typically come with a plastic toilet, they're often a manufacturer option, and certainly for those looking to replace an existing toilet, china or plastic is the choice we face.

So what's the difference? One "toilet propaganda" advertisement photo compared "typical RV toilets" to potty chairs. In terms of operation, both china and plastic toilets do the same job, and typically in the same fashion. Just how you feel while seated on the throne, for the most part, is a function of the height of the toilet and the construction of the seat. However, one –shall we say, "stout" – RVer did comment that he found that many porcelain RV toilets did not have as large a surface area where touching the floor as did plastic ones, and as a result, he felt a bit "tippy" sitting on a china toilet.

There are those who say that a porcelain toilet is easier to clean that a plastic cousin. It would seem you have a wider range of permissible cleaning agents to use on porcelain, and it does seem to have less of a tendency to stain. If you travel in areas of hard water, you may notice the difference, in which case china may be a better choice.
In terms of price, nowadays the comparison is so close as to be nearly negligible. You can purchase a Thetford Aqua Magic V plastic toilet (one of their best sellers) for $112. The same Internet retailer sells a Dometic 310 "China Toilet" for $115. You'll pay a few dollars more for the shipping charges on the latter, porcelain being a bit heftier.
Which takes us to the other question, weight. If you are watching your RV weight carefully, then take into account the added weight of a porcelain pot.
So weigh your options and needs. It should take much of  a whiz kid to figure out what's best in your RV bathroom."  Posted by Russ and Tiña De Maris


Three million dollar motorhome for sale

image image "If you're pained when you fill up your RV at the pump, just remember — you may be helping some poor fellow in Dubai make enough money to pay for his new gold covered motorhome. Read more."


An easier way to clean an RV's exterior

image"After a couple of weekends of non-RV diversions, Rich "The Wanderman" gets back to work. This time figuring out a better, faster and easier way to clean the outside of his RV. Less work, fewer black streaks equals a happy owner. See how it's done."


Install a microwave/convention oven in your RV?

"Many RVers have found the convenience and versatility of a microwave/convection oven makes it a first choice for on-the-road cooking. Microwaving is fast and energy efficient, and a convection oven with its fan-assisted heating can give foods a more natural "browning" than can be had with microwave cooking.
There are microwave/convection combination ovens on the market that clearly are

"Many RVers have found the convenience and versatility of a microwave/convection oven makes it a first choice for on-the-road cooking. And a convection oven with its fan-assisted heating can give foods a more natural "browning" than can be had with microwave cooking. There are microwave/convection combination ovens on the market that clearly are sized "just right" for RVers. But there's more than just a simple "swap it out" procedure involved. Read all about it."


Another option:

"We purchased a motorhome which only had an ordinary microwave, not convection. We originally contemplated switching to a convection microwave but decided against it. Instead, we purchased an electric roasting pan which works well and can be used outside the motorhome while sitting on a metal TV tray, under the awning and outside of the motorhome.  This was a better option than switching to a convection/microwave."


On This Day:

Lincoln proclaims official Thanksgiving holiday, Oct 3, 1863:

"On this day in 1863, expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln announces that the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863.

The speech, which was actually written by Secretary of State William Seward, declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be considered an official U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory "day of public thanksgiving and prayer."  While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington's suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country's fortunes on this day in 1863.

The fourth Thursday of November remained the annual day of Thanksgiving from 1863 until 1939. Then, at the tail-end of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct business between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, moved Thanksgiving to November's third Thursday. In 1941, however, Roosevelt bowed to Congress' insistence that the fourth Thursday of November be re-set permanently, without alteration, as the official Thanksgiving holiday."


UAW walks out on Ford, Oct 3, 1961:

image "On this day in 1961, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union goes on strike at Ford plants across the country to win higher wages and better benefits for its members. It was the first company-wide strike since Ford had agreed to a collective-bargaining deal in 1941. Ford had been the last of the Big Three automakers to recognize the union, and it did so grudgingly; the UAW would organize his workers, Henry Ford famously declared, "over my dead body."

The 120,000 workers at 88 Ford plants in 26 states who walked out on October 3 were not striking over the economic terms of their contract.  Union and company representatives had hashed out an agreement on things like pay and pensions the night before the October 3 strike deadline. Ford agreed to pay increases of 7 cents an hour (the average autoworker earned $2.85 an hour) and pension increases for each year of service; cost-of-living allowances; fully funded health insurance; supplementary unemployment benefits; and new short–work-week benefits that paid 65 percent of a worker's regular pay for every hour under 40 that he did not work.

On October 11, a little more than a week after the strike began, Ford and the UAW reached a national accord, but 25 of the local bargaining units vowed to keep up their strike until they could reach agreements regarding conditions and rules at individual plants. (These included parking lots, cafeteria facilities, wash-up time, protocol for job postings, seniority policies and overtime rotation.) One by one, those locals signed contracts and returned to work. By October 19, only one Ford plant was still striking: a stamping plant in Walton Hills, Ohio, that made fenders and side panels for almost every car in the Ford lineup. On October 20, Ford and the Walton Hills local reached a settlement, and work returned to normal."


O.J. Simpson acquitted, Oct 3, 1995:

image "At the end of a sensational trial, former football star Orenthal James Simpson--a Heisman Trophy winner, star running back with the Buffalo Bills is acquitted of the brutal 1994 double murder of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. In the epic 252-day trial, Simpson's "dream team" of lawyers employed creative and controversial methods to convince jurors that Simpson's guilt had not been proved "beyond a reasonable doubt," thus surmounting what the prosecution called a "mountain of evidence" implicating him as the murderer.

In February 1997, Simpson was found liable for several charges related to the murders in a civil trial and was forced to award $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to the victims' families. However, with few assets remaining after his long and costly legal battle, he has avoided paying the damages.

image In 2007, Simpson ran into legal problems once again when he was arrested for breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room and taking sports memorabilia, at gunpoint, which he claimed had been stolen from him. On October 3, 2008, he was found guilty of 12 charges related to the incident, including armed robbery and kidnapping, and sentenced to 33 years in prison."



Jay had been giving people trouble the night before again, and even spread untruths about different people. He thinks if he runs other people down that he won't seem so bad. Trouble is that he doesn't even remember what he says or does. I hope Jay gets over this latest binge soon, for his mother's sake.

When Ray came over, we were discussing it, as the lies that Jay was spreading were mostly about Shay, who cleans his mother's house.  Ray, of course, was furious, but he didn't tell Shay what had been said, or she would have blown her top, and when Shay is upset, everybody is upset!  Ray's blood pressure rose, making him dizzy, but some homemade beet, kale, apple and garlic juice fixed him right up.

Ray and I swept and vacuumed the screen porch floor, so that he could prime the floor.  Another table and the rest of the porch chairs were moved into my living room while that was being done.  I will be so glad to get all the porch furniture back out there.

Jim, the mechanic from down the street, took my van down there, but he really wanted to have the Chilton's book to try to find out what is wrong with it.  None of the local auto parts stores had one.  So he advised me to take it to someone who has a better diagnostic computer than he has. So Ray and I will take it back to Pete in Conroe this morning. I found the right Chilton's on eBay for a couple of bucks with free shipping, so I bought it.  It might come in handy, when it gets here.

The rains had made Misty's back yard like a jungle, and she could hardly find her way around. The grass seeds on their long stems kept getting in her eyes, and it was difficult for me to rake all the pine needles out of the long grass.  It wasn't worth dragging out the lawn mower, so Ray cut it down with a weed whacker.  Misty liked that the next time she went out, and rolled in the short grass.

In the afternoon, it rained again, so that cooled it down for the rest of the day.

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