Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tight Campsites. Thermistor. Flip Flap. Runaway Trailer. RV Turning Point.Chernobyl

For "tRaVersing or RV Day":

Try these two easy tips for squeezing into tight campsites

You will find many of the most scenic, nature-focused, and nesty campgrounds in national and state forests and parks. They often are the least developed, with small pads (but with lots of space), crowded by trees, rocks, bushes, or other natural objects.

But that's why many of us choose these campgrounds, we would rather be crowded by trees and bushes than by too-close neighbors. But these campsites do at times test our space perception and back-and-fill abilities when squeezing into a tight campsite.

Before you begin the campsite entering phase, pace the site to verify that you have enough room to get in. Know your vehicle's length--from behind the stuff you hang off the back to the space you want or need in front (to clear the road plus some extra). Make sure that any overhang you have will clear posts or rocks at the rear of the campsite (placed there to prevent damage to the plants and trees behind the campsite--yes, campers have been known to back right over them).

Once you get in, but before you unhitch your trailer or fiver, or level your motorhome, measure the distance between the edge of your slide to the closest obstruction. Make sure you look up as well, trees do lean--and usually toward your rig. An easy and quick way to do this is to use a length of some stiff object, like a long-handled brush or squeegee, broom, or awning wand--which we all have.

Set up the wand (or whatever else you use) first by using it to measure the distance your slide extends and mark the place on the wand with electrical or duct tape. Measure and verify all your slides have room to extend before committing to the site. If you have different length slides, be sure to mark each one of them on the wand. You can check all the slides for clearance in less than a minute, which will save you much more time than having to re-position once you have already un-hitched and set up."  From:

RV Refrigerator Thermistor Positioning,   Posted by RV Doctor

"We have a Norcold N841 refrigerator. Please tell us where the thermistor should be on the fins." Roger G., (Florida City, FL)

"Roger, counting from right to left, the thermistor should be attached to the 10th fin. (I love these short and to the point questions! But now what do I do with all this white space?)

Probably a good place to remind everyone to check the outside vent(s) for the refrigerator. Clean in and around the burner area and make sure nothing is blocking the vents through the side wall of the RV (as pictured), or the roof vent if so equipped.   The rear of the refrigerator requires good air circulation!"
Keep the sun out of your eyes with the Flip Flap 2-Way Jumbo Extension Sun Visor

Driving directly into the setting sun is an uncomfortable--and hazardous--experience, for which many motorhome sun visors are not up to the job. Enter the Flip-Flap.

No this is not the flip flop that political candidates accuse each other of, but a unique visor design that allows for easy adjustments with one hand--as long as you are not texting with the other hand.

The Flip-Flap is perfect for large motorhome windshields. It clips onto your existing sun visor to give you added protection from the sun´s rays by flipping down to put a shaded acrylic visor--the equivalent of sunglasses for your motorhome--in front of your squinting eyes.

The acrylic visor extension also swings to the side when those annoying rays are burning in over your left shoulder.    Dyers RV and Accessories offers the Flip-Flap for $33.98.

Joke of the week

Q. Did you hear about the new "divorced" Barbie doll that they're selling in stores now?

A. It comes with all of Ken's stuff.     
Bumper Sticker of the week:

Hitch up tips to prevent runaway trailers

For a "heart sinking into your stomach" experience, there's nothing like looking in the rear view mirror and finding your travel trailer isn't there. Friends of ours recall one such occasion when theirs "got loose" and rolled off the road and into the brush. There's was a"good" experience of a runaway trailer--nobody got hurt and the damage was minimal. But every year innocent folks are killed by runway trailers. How can you ensure your travel trailer trip comes off "without a hitch"? Start with safety at the hitch.

The correct equipment is at the heart of the matter. The hitch ball on the two unit must not only be the correct physical size to match the trailer hitch, but needs to be able to tote the weight of the trailer. There are three different sizes of hitch balls, 1 7/8", 2", and 2 5/16".

The smallest might be found on a lightweight pop-up trailer; the 2" are typically used on mid-sized trailers, and the largest--well, sure enough, on large trailers. The large size hitch balls have different weight capacities, and you need to be sure the capacity of the ball is greater than the total weight of your loaded trailer. You MUST match the size of the hitch ball on your tow rig to the size required by the coupler. Go with too small a hitch ball is to invite a disaster.

Hitch balls attach to the tow vehicle with a nut and lock washer. The larger the ball, the greater the torque required for a safe attachment. The hitch ball mounts through a drawbar and the thickness of the drawbar determines how long the shank, or threaded portion of the hitchball, needs to be. Rule of thumb: At least one thread should be visible beneath the lockwasher and nut when the ball in installed in the drawbar.

When installing a hitchball the philosophy of "just throw a wrench on it and tug" isn't a safe one. If in doubt, have a hitch shop attach your tow ball. Trailer couplers need to be kept lubricated with grease. We prefer lithium grease, and we keep our hitch ball greased and we cover it with a ball cover when not in use.

When hooking up, you'll need to spot the ball directly under the trailer coupler. Set the coupler in the open or loose position and make sure the clamp inside the coupler is open. If you haven't hitched up in a while, or the coupler isn't well lubricated, the coupler clamp may not open properly. Lower the coupler onto the hitch ball. Some couplers have lever that slides shut to indicate the clamp has closed down over the ball. Don't take it for granted, a physical inspection--looking or feeling to make sure the coupler clamp is securely clamped around the bottom of the hitch ball essential. If it isn't, the only thing holding your trailer and tow rig together is gravity, and a bump in the road will break you loose in a hurry.

Next, connect the safety chains securely to the trailer hitch or tow rig by crossing them underneath the coupler in a X formation. That is, the trailer's left chain should attach to the tow rig to the right of the hitch and vice versa. Safety chains should only be long enough to allow for tight turns; if they're longer they may not work if there is a breakaway. Don't allow the safety chains to drag the ground.

Hooking up the breakaway switch lanyard is critical. If the trailer does break loose and the safety chains fail, the breakaway switch system should activate the trailer brakes, stopping the trailer. Make sure the lanyard is long enough for tight turns--we've watched one RVer lockup their trailer brakes pulling a tight corner after an improperly routed lanyard pulled the safety switch open.

The breakaway system only works if the trailer battery is charged and the brakes are adjusted properly. You can test this in an empty section of a parking lot. With your rig hitched up, pull the breakaway switch open and drive forward with a spotter walking beside the rig. The trailer brakes should literally lock up if adjusted properly. From:

How to avoid the number one cause of RV insurance claims

Mark Polk with RV Education 101 shows you how to avoid damaging your RV while driving. MBA RV Insurance reports that its leading claims result from driving mishaps at gas stations. In this short video, Mark shows you how to avoid making the mistakes that lead to these needless and often costly mishaps.      Showing the turning point of RVs.
On This Day:

Nuclear explosion at Chernobyl, Apr 26, 1986:

On this day in 1986, the world's worst nuclear accident to date occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear plant near Kiev in Ukraine. The full toll from this disaster is still being tallied, but experts believe that thousands of people died and as many as 70,000 suffered severe poisoning. In addition, a large area of land may not be livable for as much as 150 years. The 18-mile radius around Chernobyl was home to almost 150,000 people who had to be permanently relocated.

The Soviet Union built the Chernobyl plant, which had four 1,000-megawatt reactors, in the town of Pripyat. At the time of the explosion, it was one of the largest and oldest nuclear power plants in the world. The explosion and subsequent meltdown of one reactor was a catastrophic event that directly affected hundreds of thousands of people. Still, the Soviet government kept its own people and the rest of the world in the dark about the accident until days later.

At first, the Soviet government only asked for advice on how to fight graphite fires and acknowledged the death of two people. It soon became apparent, however, that the Soviets were covering up a major accident and had ignored their responsibility to warn both their own people and surrounding nations. Two days after the explosion, Swedish authorities began measuring dangerously high levels of radioactivity in their atmosphere.

Years later, the full story was finally released. Workers at the plant were performing tests on the system. They shut off the emergency safety systems and the cooling system, against established regulations, in preparation for the tests. Even when warning signs of dangerous overheating began to appear, the workers failed to stop the test. Xenon gases built up and at 1:23 a.m. the first explosion rocked the reactor. A total of three explosions eventually blew the 1,000-ton steel top right off of the reactor.

A huge fireball erupted into the sky. Flames shot 1,000 feet into the air for two days, as the entire reactor began to melt down. Radioactive material was thrown into the air like fireworks. Although firefighting was futile, Pripyat's 40,000 people were not evacuated until 36 hours after the explosion. Potentially lethal rain fell as the fires continued for eight days. Dikes were built at the Pripyat River to contain damage from contaminated water run-off and the people of Kiev were warned to stay indoors as a radioactive cloud headed their way.

On May 9, workers began encasing the reactor in concrete. Later, Hans Blix of the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that approximately 200 people were directly exposed and that 31 had died immediately at Chernobyl. The clean-up effort and the general radioactive exposure in the region, however, would prove to be even more deadly. Some reports estimate that as many as 4,000 clean-up workers died from radiation poisoning. Birth defects among people living in the area have increased dramatically. Thyroid cancer has increased tenfold in Ukraine since the accident.

The radiation that escaped into the atmosphere, which was several times that produced by the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was spread by the wind over Northern and Eastern Europe, contaminating millions of acres of forest and farmland. An estimated 5,000 Soviet citizens eventually died from cancer and other radiation-induced illnesses caused by their exposure to the Chernobyl radiation, and millions more had their health adversely affected. In 2000, the last working reactors at Chernobyl were shut down and the plant was officially closed."

Some of my under cabinets lights in the kitchen were giving me trouble, so Jay and I took them out, and were replacing them with a different type.  We were doing that when Jay had the bright idea that his ATV would fit in my van.   So we stopped what we were doing, loaded it, and took it 3 1/2 miles to the repair shop.
Still no positive results for trying to find out why Live Writer won't post to my Blogger, even after spending more time on that in the afternoon.
We left the rest of the light installation for another day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

How did you get it up into the van? Did you make a ramp?

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi, DD.

We put the cardboard over my bumper in case the ATV scratched it, picked up the front of the ATV and got it in the van.
Then we, Jay and I, both hoisted and heaved, and got it's rear end in!
I have strong arms, so it was easier than it looks.

Happy Tails and Trails, Penny