Thursday, June 30, 2011

Camping with Kids. RVing Safely. Little Giant. Power in CG. Campfires. Tire Recalls. Leveling RV. 'Tree' Kitten. Cargo Trailer.

Camping with Kids - Tips for Tent Camping for RV Families with Children

"Camping with kids, including tent camping, is part of the RVing experience for many families. These tips, put together by a s'mores lover, are sure to help your kids and grand children love camping.

Tips for Camping with Kids
If you're like me, you can recall some great childhood experiences that took place under the stars while roasting marshmallows at a campfire. Camping was one of my best experiences as a kid, and I'm sure every child would benefit from an adventure under the velvet night sky in a tent far away from home.
If you have kids, introduce them to nature so they, too, can enjoy the outdoors and develop fond memories. Below are some tips to help you help your kids start down the path of camping, hiking, and outdoor fun.

1. Get the Kids Involved From the Start
Let your kids help you with planning and organizing the camping trip. This means working with them to discover activities that they'd enjoy. Will your kids want to go swimming, hiking, boating, horseback riding, or bicycling? Let them decide the itinerary and look for a place where you can do all those activities. In addition, include them in meal planning and supply shopping. Essentially, make your kids part of the process...allow them to "own" the experience from the very beginning.
2. Practice Camping in Your Backyard
If your kids have no idea what it's like to go camping, then show them. Schedule a weekend where the whole family can camp out in the backyard at night. Teach them how to pitch a tent and cook dinner outdoors. In addition, to further the enjoyment, bring some s'mores, and don't forget to roast marshmallows over the fire. Through "warm up camping," not only will you prepare your kids for the real thing, you'll also get them excited for their upcoming outdoor adventure!
3. Forgo Nutrition … For a Little While
Camping with the kids should be all about letting them have fun, so why not bring the food they are generally not allowed to eat at home and in school? For example, allow them hotdogs, roasted marshmallows, hot chocolate, and, of course, the ultimate favorite of every kid camper - s'mores!
4. Keep Everyone Happy with a Good Night's Sleep
Kids tend to get cranky and unmotivated when they aren't able to sleep well, so make sure you pack camping gear for getting comfortable inside the tent. This doesn't necessarily mean overpriced cartoon character themed sleeping bags. Rather, look towards the essentials - a good sleeping pad, thick blankets, and a warm sleeping bag, which often means one that's made from down feathers.
5. Safety First
Your kids won't be able to enjoy the camping trip if they develop an infection, allergy, or require a trip to the nearest hospital because they've eaten poisonous berries. So before you even head out the door, teach your kids about outdoor safety. Show them, for example, pictures of plants to avoid. In addition, it's also a good idea to arm each of your kids with a whistle so, in times of emergency, they can easily and quickly alert you that they need help.
Follow these basic tips to help your kids develop a healthy love of nature. They will thank you for it later!"
Nicole Becker, author of this article on camping with kids, contributes to, where you can read her reviews on hiking in state parks as well as her article on CANDISC 2011.

Random RV Thought
It's a good idea to carry an extra length of hose and a heavy duty extension cord for those rare instances when hookups may be too far to reach otherwise.


Would you say “China” and “RV” in the same sentence?

"Hardly a day goes by without some reference to China and the damage they are currently inflicting on the United States with less expensive, or flat out counterfeit, products knocked off from American-made products that once drove the powerful domestic manufacturing communities that once drove this great nation to prosperity.
Economists and financial analysts are warning of future distress for America with our rising debt and the incredible amount of money we owe to China.

You might wonder what all of this has to do with RVers and the RV industry!
Quite a bit actually!


Become an informed consumer and spread the word to your friends around the campfire.

Let’s celebrate July 4th and the great American spirit represented in our independence to go camping and RVing and enjoy a great lifestyle with our family and friends. And let’s commit to doing it with products made in America, by Americans, and send a message to China that the American RV industry is not for sale!"

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Recreational Vehicle Safety Tips to Help Protect You and Your RV

"Recreational vehicle safety means knowing your RV, maintaining it, and using it responsibly. A few safety measures can go a long way. Here are some basics to help protect you and your RV.

Fourteen tips to help keep you, your RV, and those around you safe:
1. The safety of your RV rides on its tires. Know how much pressure they should have. Keep them inflated to the level. Besides adding to your safety, the proper tire pressure can increase your fuel mileage.
2. Know your RV’s weight limits. What is its gross vehicle weight rating? What is your rig’s cargo carrying capacity – the weight of things you can safely add? Stay within the limits.
3. Know the height and width of your RV. If you’re not good remembering numbers, make a cheat sheet. Write the measurements on a note card and tape it to your visor. It will be there for easy reference when you need to see if you can safely go through a tunnel or under an overpass.
4. Know where the fire extinguisher is in your RV. Bounce it every few months, have it inspected annually, get it recharged on schedule.
5. Check your smoke alarm. Make sure it has a good battery.
6. Service your house batteries. Make sure they have adequate water.
7. If you have a motorized RV, do (or have someone do for you) regular fluid checks – oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, window washer solution.
8. Drive safe speeds. The posted speed limit is the fastest allowed speed limit, not the speed you are required to drive.
9. Slow down when road and weather conditions dictate. An RV doesn’t handle the same on a wet or snow covered road as it does on a dry road. Beware of the wind.
10. Recreational vehicle safety demands respecting other vehicles. Watch for motorcycles, as well as the big trucks.
11. Keep passengers seated while the RV is in motion. Everyone is supposed to be wearing a seat belt, according to many state laws.
12. Heat with approved heating appliances. The open flame of the galley range burners is an accident waiting to happen.
13. Keep a window or vent open a little.
14. Stock your RV for emergencies. Take along warm clothes and bedding. Carry enough food to last for a few days.
These are some of the basics of using a recreational vehicle safely. They may seem a bit restrictive. They may up your RVing costs. And, some of them take time and effort. But, the payoff is less worry and an RVing adventure that goes more smoothly. And, they may make the difference in whether or not you have a safe trip."

RVing Safety ... Don't Bet Your Life on a Senseless Rule

"RVing safety is a serious issue. But, there's a silly "rule" out there, popular with RVers, which could kill you and everyone else in your wreck. RV's have weight ratings, not number of item ratings.

This has got to be one of the craziest "rules" I've ever heard, and yet, it persists: "To keep your RV from being overweight, every time you put something into the RV, take something out."
Don't believe it! Don't wreck your RV or lose your life because of such nonsense.
RVs have cargo carrying capacities based on weight limitations. Many of them have unrealistically low limits. It is very easy to exceed the limit. For your RVing safety, as well as that of everyone you meet on the road, it is important to be within your rig's limits.

But counting objects is not the answer to RV safety.

Ever counted how many individual items you buy when you go grocery shopping? Follow the above rule and if you buy 20 items, you must take 20 items out. Milk, in -- shirt, out. Roast beef, in -- book, out. Three apples, in -- three photos of the grandkids, out. A dozen eggs in -- a dozen something or another, out. The weights of the items aren't considered and neither do they consider that you most likely are replacing items you used earlier in the week.
He buys a pipe wrench and throws out a pair of socks. She adds a sewing machine and takes out a pancake flipper. They add a 10-volume set of reference books and get rid of that big fluffy pillow on the couch. That results in keeping the RV within its weight limits? How stupid! How dangerous!
Taking something out of the RV every time you put something in, does not make sense. It is not practical. More importantly, it won't balance the RV's weight. It could, in fact, be a very dangerous practice, as it could lead to a false sense of security. If you follow the rule, and think you are keeping your rig within safe weight limits by doing so, you could end up killing yourself.

The way to know if your RV is overweight is to know your rig's weight limits and the weight of the rig. The only way to find out what your RV weighs is to weigh it. Many truckstops have scales.
If you have a two-part rig, such as a motorhome and a towed vehicle or a truck and trailer, weight the parts separately, and then as a unit. If you have a two-part rig, you have three sets of weight limits to contend with -- that of the towing vehicle, that of the towed vehicle, and that of the unit as a whole.
Do not trust your RVing safety to some crazy rule involving counting things. The number of objects in your RV has almost nothing to do with its weight. One feather tallies the same as one brick, but they do not weigh the same. "

A Little Giant Ladder -- Something That's Really Handy When RVing

"My Little Giant Ladder is a tool I bought about 15 years ago at the Florida RV Super Show. I came across a dealer in the commercial area selling folding ladder systems. I had looked at other brands before, but these were different.

Instead of funky, chintzy, and downright cheap hinges, these Little Giants from Wing were really strong and simple. Frankly, I was impressed.
We wandered the show for two more days. I talked about it with my wife several times. Finally, she told me to get one.
It cost about three times what a conventional ladder would have cost, but we got one. Fifteen years later, we still own it and I still use it. It is steady, doesn't wobble, and has a very solid feel when you're on it. It's an excellent quality tool.
For the first several years we owned it, we stored it in the back of our RV tow vehicle, out in the weather. Just a little wipe down with furniture polish and it functions perfectly.
I like that it has a solid, stable feel while I'm on it. My wife likes the stability of it, too, because she tends to worry about me when I am climbing up on top of the RV or some building.
We don't have a ladder on our travel trailer. I need to get up on the roof fairly often to clean off our solar panels or do some other cleaning or maintenance. When I'm doing handyman jobs on the road, I like having my own ladder with me, one that I trust as being safe.
When we are at our home base, the fact that I can move it through narrow halls, up stairs, and around furniture folded, and then extend it and unfold where I need it is the handiest feature of the Little Giant.
This purchase seemed extravagant at first. But, I really like mine and use it often. In fact, now I own two Little Giants, so that I can have one in the RV and one at our home base."

Your Electricity Costs Can be Low, Even with Metered Electric

"Electricity costs for campground owners are constantly rising. It is not unusual to find that they are installing individual electric meters at each site. There are ways you can keep your costs down.

Like it or not, paying for the power you use is something you'll probably have to deal with. We don't use much, so we like paying for only what we use.
Right now, I am looking out my screen door. My neighbor's window is open as far as it will open. I am also listening to the drone of the air conditioner on his roof, at the rate of 18 cents per kilowatt. People are very concerned about phantom loads, but we should be looking at the major electrical loads. My figures may not be exact, but turning off the air conditioner for 10 minutes a day, will probably save more than all your phantom loads put together.
Open the windows and cool off the RV in the cool of the morning. If it doesn't cool off at night where you're at, think about moving. You're in an RV; they are supposed to move.
Heating with a portable electric heater or the heating coil in your air conditioner are excessive electricity users. I've seen people who run their heat in the morning and then switch to the air conditioner about 11:00 for the rest of the day. Then they sit in their lawn chairs and complain about the park owner getting rich on the electric charge.
Maybe put a sweater on in the morning and keep the RV cool. Don't over air condition when you're not in the RV.
Realize that the park owner should be making a fair profit on his multimillion dollar investment in the park. He's not making a profit on 18 cent per kilowatt electricity, which he is selling for what he buys it for. About 20 years ago, there was a big surge to install electric elements in RV water heaters.
Now, they all come that way. But with electric costs, that may not be the cheapest way to heat your water. Propane (LP gas) may be the way to go. On the RV I am presently in, the water heater on propane runs on pilot and keeps the water hot enough to do dishes, and so hot that we need to add plenty of cold to the mix when we shower. It does it cheaper than electric.
Remember, if the burner is just on pilot the recovery rate may be three to five hours. For quick recovery, just turn the main burner on when you need it. Then, turn it back to pilot.

The refrigerators in both our RVs can run close to four months on a 30-pound bottle of propane. If I buy propane in Alaska at $3.85 per gallon, 18-cent electric is cheaper; in Texas with $1.40 per gallon propane, propane is cheaper.
The days of cheap gas and electric are over. There are many ways you can save on your electricity cost if you make the effort. Do a little research, do the math, and be willing to do things a little differently than the norm.
If you don't want to make the effort to control your electricity costs, you can sit in your lawn chair and complain -- and watch your electric meter spin. "

Raging Arizona wildfires probably caused by unattended campfire

"Authorities believe the giant, 640-square-mile Wallow Wildfire raging in Arizona was started by an unattended campfire. Thousands of people have been forced from their homes, thousands of fire fighters are risking their lives, and precious timberlands are gone, all because someone did not properly extinguish their campfire. This summer, when you camp, thoroughly put out your own campfires, and if you see one unattended and still burning -- even just smoldering -- put it out, too. When fire conditions are high, avoid campfires to begin with, even if they are not legally prohibited."

Tire Recalls
"I have seen a number of posts on various forums of complaints about what is believed to be a failure of a “defective” tire. What I have not seen is any mention of anyone having bothered to provide details and information on what the defect is and a statement that they send the data to the US Dept Of Transportation.

I have to wonder why people think there might be some government action when there is no information going to the government complaining about what they feel is a defective tire.
You can review the current tire recall list from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration HERE.
is the part of DOT that is responsible for collecting complaint information and doing the appropriate investigation. If there is data developed that would support some action such as a recall, NHTSA is the agency that can order the action. Before a tire might be recalled there is list of “complaints” accumulated and you can review that information HERE. You file complaints HERE. 
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Easy height adjustment for trailer re-hitching
"Folks who tow travel trailers and fifth wheels often struggle with hooking back up after setting up their trailer for livability. The problem is this: You unhitch and level the trailer; when it's time to hitch up again, getting the front of the trailer to the right height to hitch up can be a pain in the neck.

Here's an easy way to deal with this issue. Get yourself a simple bubble level like the one pictured. Mount it on the side of your trailer at the front of the rig.
Fifth wheel folks will like this one, just mount it close to the switch that controls your "landing gear." Don't use the double stick mounting tape included with the level, but rather, run a screw through the top center portion of the plastic above the level tube. Snug the screw down only far enough that you can push either end of the level up and down with some amount of force required.
Now when you unhitch, raise the front of the trailer high enough to unhitch -- just off the ball in the case of a pull trailer, or just off the fifth wheel saddle plate. Now adjust the new level to where the bubble is showing level. You can now level up the trailer for livability -- just don't touch the "hitching level." When it's time to hitch up again, raise or lower the trailer until the hitching level shows "level" again.
Now your trailer is at just the right height roll right under and hitch up."


Jay caught a really wild black cat in his trap, so we brought it up here, and it was picked up by Animal Control in the morning.  They don't even ring my bell, they know where we keep the full traps.

As for the kittens, Jay and I had to hurry and get another cage disinfected, as I have to monitor intake and output on each kitten.  The girls were put together last night when Pal spilt his water bowl all over his bed in the little top cage. 
Precious is eating, but I wasn't sure about Pebbles, so time to split them up.  This extra cage sits on the floor in the Grooming Room, and is just used on special occasions.  It has a door on the top and the side.  Most of the time I keep the box of litter in there, or the kittens scatter litter all over.  I put food, water, litter box and a nice blue bed in there for Pal, and my quiet little boy meowed for three hours until I let him out.
 Pal-comfy-in-little cage-with door open.

He quickly went up to the little cage on top of Precious' cage, his original cage when he came home from the vet, and quietly made himself at home up there.  He can see the comings and goings in the house through that window in the wall, too.  The door is open so he can come and go as he pleases. 
Some cats like to be high up, and some like to hide in bushes, he is obviously a 'tree cat'.   I will have to tell his new "Mom" about that.

My electric bill arrived, and for the first time mine was lower than the guest house, even though I am cooling a larger area.  I contribute that to my raising the thermostat's temperature in the rooms that I don't use.  Once the kittens are gone, then I can raise the temperature in those two rooms, too.  The Grooming Room and the Middle Room, just have a Dutch door between them.

Ray says he is feeling a bit better, and might work tomorrow, so Jay and I got all the shelves for the cargo trailer ready for him to paint.  We took them down off the walls, so he can paint them outside on the big work table in the shade. Ray is very careful, and he wouldn't have got any paint on the paneling, but it will be easier on him with his bad back.

A little niggly ache in my lower back woke me up in the night, and it travels to my front, too.  Sometimes it send out a sharp pain when I sit down.  Maybe I did too much lifting when we took the cages outside to disinfect them, but it doesn't feel like I put my back 'out'.    
So I was walking carefully, and went to bed early yesterday.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

Just getting up in the morning makes my back hurt.