Thursday, October 17, 2013

RV Backup Plan. Tires. Blowouts. Detectors. Batteries. Roof Leaks. Caretaking. Generators. RV Tips. OPEC. Nixon. Misty.


For "tRaVersing Thursday", or RV Day:

Do you have a backup plan?

image "Self-reliance is part of the attraction for many who RV. The ability to go where you want, when you want, taking care of your own needs along the way. Self-reliant RVers have no problem camping without hookups. Many enjoy the benefits and a bit of pride conquering the challenges that come with surviving off the grid. However, the perfect RV has yet to be created and things can and do go awry.

Regardless if you are boondocking in a distant desert, dry camping in a remote forest service campground, or spending a night in the Walmart parking lot, you need a backup plan when something in the RV fails to function.

Here are some critical areas:

•Power: If you lose the 12-volt battery supply in most any RV, you are done camping. In most cases juice from your batteries is needed to power your furnace, refrigerator circuits, water heater ignition, water pump and overhead lights. Needless to say, if you lose all of these functions, you might as well be camping in a tent! However, with a backup plan in place you can continue to utilize your RV until repairs can be made.

Here are a couple of places where you can tap 12 volts when needed:

1) From the alternator of your motorhome or tow vehicle. If in doubt on how to get power from one to the other internally, use jumper cables from battery to battery just like jumping a car.

2) Many generators are equipped with a 12-volt outlet. Know in advance if yours has this feature and if you have the required cables to use it.

3) Many RVers travel with their off-road toys (ATV, motorcycle, etc). Most operate via a 12-volt electrical system and could be used as a poor man's generator in a pinch.

•Heat: If your furnace fails due to running out of propane or there is a component failure, do you have a backup plan for heat? A small electric heater powered by a generator, or better yet, an approved indoor-use catalytic heater, can get you through a chilly night when the furnace goes kaput.

•Water: What if your water pump fails? How will you extract water from your water tank?  Install a faucet or petcock on your fresh water tank drain and let gravity do the work. You can use a bucket of water to flush the toilet, heat water on the stove, put water in a basin for washing, etc.

If you are properly prepared and have a plan, a self-reliant RVer can handle just about any system failure." by Dave Helgeson


Rundown of RV safety detection devices

"It is important to install a proper safety detection system in your RV, including smoke, propane leak, and carbon monoxide detectors.

In this short video from Trailer Life, learn about proper safety detection devices in your RV for alerting you to fires, propane leaks, and carbon monoxide dangers."  A TrailerLifeTV original video.


Balance your RV tires?

"Tire balance may be one of the most hotly debated subjects among RVers. Motorhomers will agree, balancing tires on their rigs is critical — after all, it's a motor vehicle. But trailer tires? Perhaps the most frequent argument is: "I've never balanced my trailer tires, and I haven't seen a bit of difference. It's just a waste of money!"

Let's back up to why tires, in general, need balancing. Tires (and wheel assemblies) aren't perfectly symmetrical. There may be just a bit more weight here or there. As the wheel assembly rotates, those slight differences can cause the tire to hop or wobble. Since this disturbance is caused by a lack of balance, the faster the wheel rotates, generally the worse the hop or wobble becomes.

In a car or truck, the driver may perceive the out-of-balance condition in the steering wheel. If the situation is severe, even the passengers may detect the out-of-balance condition. Since we rarely (if ever) carry passengers in a towed trailer, it's not likely to be noticed. But just because vibration and hop isn't noticed doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

An out-of-balance wheel that causes shaking, vibrating or "tire hop" can have some nasty consequences. First damage comes in the form of tread wear, often seen in unusual tread wear patterns. The possibility of tread separation from the tire itself can't be ruled out, and tire separation at freeway speed can have some serious consequences. We know — we "totaled out" a tow vehicle when a tire separated and tore apart a wheel well and did extensive body damage to one of ours.

Besides tire wear issues, out of balance tires can also negatively impact the axle spindle, wheel bearings, and suspension components on your trailer. Damaged spindles or bearings can lead to visually funny, but too often tragic, wheels coming off your chariot.

Finally, shake and vibration will be transmitted into the coach itself. Imagine having your kitchen cabinets hooked up to a paint shaker. Maybe the illustration is a bit extreme, but prolonged shaking and vibration can actually shake the interior components of your rig apart.

The few bucks charged for a dynamic spin balance on your tires can go a long way to reducing the bad consequences of out-of-balance tires."  by Russ and Tiña De Maris


How to handle a tire blowout on your RV

"Please take ten minutes to watch this video. You’ll learn how to act if you experience a tire blowout on your motorhome or tow vehicle. Hitting the brakes is the worst thing you can do. Taking your foot off the accelerator is almost as dangerous. In this well-produced video, you’ll learn the right way to react to a tire blowout by using established principles proven over the years, enabling you to maintain control of your RV. Watching this video could save your life or the life of someone you love. Watch it."


How to keep RV batteries in good condition

"A tip about maintaining RV batteries when a coach is plugged in a lot.  Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, discusses how to keep RV batteries in good condition. This is especially important when a coach is plugged into electricity when stored."


Preventing roof leaks — in a way you may not have considered

"Just about everyone who owns any type of RV has been told that they must periodically reseal all the areas on or near their roof to protect against potential leaks. There's another potential leak source that is just as likely to cause problem leaks as those seams and vents. What is it?

It's the seal of roof-mounted air conditioners. Those air conditioners sit on top of the RV but between them and the roof is a 14-inch by 14-inch gasket or seal. That seal is very thick — up to 4 inches — and the unit actually sits on top of the seal. Over time, the seal compresses under the air conditioner's weight. With time and constant movement, the cooling unit can become loose in its mounting hole through the roof and voila! — a potential leak.

It's usually very easy to access the bolts that snug the air conditioner to the roof. This is done by opening or removing the interior return grille on each unit, thus exposing three or four through-bolts and nuts. In turn, this hardware can then be snugged down with a socket, ratchet and extension — tools that almost everyone owns.

A leak created by a loose air conditioner can easily traverse the interior of the roof and drip out in areas far from the leak, complicating efforts to determine the source. Checking the tightness of your air conditioner should be on your list of maintenance items to be checked yearly. It could save you lots of dollars."  Courtesy: Motorhomes of Texas


From me:  Another possible leaky place which is often overlooked, is your clearance lights.  Take them off and put new butyl putty under them every few years.


Caretaking can provide free camping

"What is caretaking?
Caretaking takes many forms, from simply camping at a remote location to deter theft or vandalism, to staying on someone else’s property while they are away. This could often entail watering plants, feeding pets, or gardening.
Usually you will stay in your own rig but have access to electrical and water connections and the use of a bathroom facility or sewer hookup. Each caretaking position is different and usually involves trading your services for free living and sometimes, depending on the work and responsibility, also a small stipend.

To find caretaking positions, check with local realtors for house sitting positions, in the classified sections of local newspapers, word of mouth at federal agencies like the BLM, NFS, Fish & Wildlife Service, etc.

However, the best source may be in the listings in the Caretaker Gazette that specializes in finding property caretaking and house sitting positions. It is published quarterly and includes descriptions of the position, whether pay is included, and details of the duties required.
If you find a listing of interest, act on it quickly--the choicest ones go first. Have letters of referral and references ready to email or print and send to those seeking caretakers. The easier you make their decision of who to hire, the more likely you are to get the position." From:


What Generator is Best for RV Camping?

"When buying a portable generator, which is best? In this three-minute video, Sean Michael provides some buying tips and discusses what he considers the advantages of Honda and Yamaha brands. So what's right for you?"



Use bicycle water bottle racks for rattle-free holders

"I've been using bike bottle racks for a variety of purposes for several years now. They're cheap, solid, rattle-free, easy to install, and they fit a surprising number of different objects that you typically find in and around an RV. Also, once installed, they look tidy and neat whether empty or full.

Currently, I have a wasp spray can, a fire extinguisher, some bear spray, and yes, even a few water bottles, happily parked in these handy little racks.

For stuff that's taller than a standard water bottle, like the big wasp spray products and the small-size fire extinguishers, you'll need to cut off the top strut of the bottle rack. Since this projection is just to keep the bottle from bouncing out while riding the bike, it can usually be dispensed with.

Find a handy place to mount the rack, make sure you have room to insert and extract its contents, and then just use two short screws to fasten it to the wall or cabinet. (If you change your mind later on, those two small screw holes are easy to fill and make disappear.)

Once you start using this trick, you'll probably think of a surprising number of ideas. Why have a nighttime glass of water to knock over in the dark when you can have a secure bedside water bottle instead? Run out of cup holders up front? A couple of bottle racks will extend your ability to "stock" a variety of drinks while underway. Do you like to use solvent in your windshield washer, but hate carrying a giant bottle of the stuff? Put a bottle of concentrate in a behind-the-hood bottle rack, and it will always be there when you top off your reservoir." by Greg Illes


How to test for RV-safe toilet paper

"Do you think you need to buy that expensive "RV-Safe" toilet paper sold at RV supply stores? Think again! That stuff costs a bundle! For a whole lot less, you can be RV safe as well. See a demonstration in this short video from the RV Geeks."


Help refrigerator cool down
"Whenever I pack for a trip, I put a bag of ice in the refrigerator to help it cool down. I put a towel underneath to catch any drips." 

From me: Or put the ice in a bin, so that you can use the water for something else.


Air conditioner or heat pump fan not working?
"Air conditioner or heat pump fan won't turn over? Lift the lid and check for mud dauber nests. These frustrating little wasps frequently build nests in water heater and furnace exhaust ports, but have been known to make constructs in other RV areas."


Check your wiring
"Check your wiring for loose connectors, harnesses and bulbs. It's no fun finding loose, broken or shorted wire for your water pump when you need it the most! A dab of electrical grease (non-conducting) helps in preventing corrosion in the connectors and bulbs."


Braking Systems on Towed Vehicles. "An overview from Blue Ox that addresses "Do I need a braking system on my towed vehicle?""


Need to replace your custom-sized RV mattress?
"Does your RV mattress need replacement but it's a "custom" size? March on down and get a less expensive memory mattress from a retail store that's just a bit too big. Drag out your electric kitchen knife that you never cut the turkey with, anyway, and use it to whack off the extra length. Toss the new, modified mattress in a zippered mattress cover and sleep away! "Leftovers" make great sofa bolsters."


Buying an RV with help from craigslist:
Shopping for a used RV can challenge your patience. Many RV shoppers have a list of "just what" they're looking for and high hopes they'll find it in a hurry. But talk with any group of experienced RVers and you'll find that most looked awhile, and probably drove more than a few miles to find what they were looking for. Here are a few tips on how to go about looking (that can include searching on craigslist).


Camping with kids: tips on how to do it:
"RV holidays are fantastic for family trips away because of the freedom and flexibility they provide. It can be quite daunting for those who are thinking about taking their young children on an RV trip for the first time, but it really is a great experience. Surviving a trip on the road with the kids isn't as hard as you think.Read all about it."


Find free events to attend while RVing

"Free is good, most of us agree. Here's some advice about where to find free events around the country. You'll enjoy yourself and keep the contents of your wallet intact. Read more."


On This Day:

OPEC states declare oil embargo, Oct 17, 1973:

"The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) implements what it calls "oil diplomacy" on this day in 1973: It prohibits any nation that had supported Israel in its "Yom Kippur War" with Egypt, Syria and Jordan from buying any of the oil it sells. The ensuing energy crisis marked the end of the era of cheap gasoline and caused the share value of the New York Stock Exchange to drop by $97 billion. This, in turn, ushered in one of the worst recessions the United States had ever seen.

image Domestic oil prices increased too, but shortages persisted. People waited for hours in long lines at gas stations—at some New Jersey pumps, lines were four miles long!--and by the time the embargo ended in March 1974, the average retail price of gas had climbed to 84 cents per gallon from 38 cents per gallon. Sales of smaller, more fuel-efficient cars skyrocketed. At the same time, declining demand for the big, heavy gas-guzzlers that most American car companies were producing spelled disaster for the domestic auto industry."


Ford explains his pardon of Nixon to Congress, Oct 17, 1974:

"On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford explains to Congress why he had chosen to pardon his predecessor, Richard Nixon, rather than allow Congress to pursue legal action against the former president.

From his home in California, Nixon responded to Ford’s pardon, saying he had gained a different perspective on the Watergate affair since his resignation. He admitted that he was "wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate, particularly when it reached the stage of judicial proceedings and grew from a political scandal into a national tragedy.""



Misty said her little "I wanna go out" bark early, so I let her out, but she seemed confused and disorientated. Then we went back to bed until it was time to get up.  When I served her breakfast, she didn't want to eat it.  That's a first! 

As Misty has outlived her cancer 'expiration date' by three years, I am prepared for the worst.  It was Wednesday, so I was supposed to go shopping, but I didn't want to leave her.  We were going to fix a water leak that we had found, but Ray's back was bothering him from fixing the floor the day before, so I just caught up on a few tasks.  One was to find out the address and talk to the folks at the Pet Crematorium. 

Misty has three beds, a long 'laying-stretched-out' one, and two round 'curled-up' ones.  I kept an eye on her as she slept in her round one under the coffee table, often checking to see if she was still breathing.  In the evening she ate her supper, and seemed to have mostly got over her malaise, but she still isn't quite right, so it is a worrying time.

The government finally came to an agreement, and is back in business today.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Hope Misty is in remission and will be with you for many more years.