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Category: RV Modifications

RV Dumping: The Unfortunate Learning Curve

July 17, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

Even as an RV newbie, I was well aware of the fact that dumping was one of those things you don’t get wrong. The unfortunate consequences of such failure could (and did end up being…well lets just say we can’t use that term). This task was delegated to me by my wife. She has handled most of the RV maintenance, but somehow, this task was mine to do. I thought about complaining about getting all the dirty jobs, but I figured it might be smart of me just to keep my mouth shut (and probably my nose). I noticed that there was all sorts of different types of dump hoses around the campground. Some people had hoses with stilts that looked like caterpillars snaking across the ground. Others had glass openings in them. Why anyone would WANT to see that stuff was beyond me. Then there was that rock. An RV friend told me in passing that it was extremely important to have a rock. I had no idea why. All I knew was that every dump station I had seen had a nice big rock next to it. RV Dumping Education So... [Read more...]

WE ARE CHEATERS!

June 7, 2012 by · 7 Comments 

WE ARE CHEATERS!

Yes, I admit it.  We are CHEATERS! No, we don’t cheat on our income taxes or in a card game.  Like thousands of other RV owners, we cheat on what is perceived as conventional camping. For the past week, we have been camping at Big Meadows off of the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.  We have a beautiful pull thru site about 100’ long – more than enough space to accommodate our “big rig”.  There is only one problem with our site – we have no hook-ups for electricity, water, or sewage.  This, of course, translates to using our own on-board resources of water, battery power, and wastewater holding.  It is easy to get by with no hook-up for a night or two, but if you have a conventional RV with a refrigerator, water pump, and lights, you will quickly learn that the small battery packs that come with your RV will not sustain your needs.  The amount of water you can store and the capacity of your waste holding tanks will determine just how often you flush the... [Read more...]

DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

May 22, 2012 by · 6 Comments 

DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

Kevin and Debbie Clark own a 2011 Chevy 2500 pick-up with a full-length bed.  The truck is used to tow their 2009 Cardinal fifth wheel trailer. Kevin is extremely proud of his metallic silver truck and is meticulous about how he connects to his trailer.  The fifth wheel hitch is a Reese 22K set on bed rails bolted to the bed and frame of the truck.  The set-up is strong and easily handles the trailer in both braking and hard pulling maneuvers. . Kevin’s checklist includes: ●    opening the tailgate ●    chocking the trailer wheels ●    setting the trailer kingpin to the height of the hitch jaws ●    releasing the handle to close the hitch jaws ●    carefully backing into the trailer kingpin while watching for the actuation of the jaw handle to move out and then back in indicating that the jaws have latched tightly around the kingpin. ●    Push the jaw locking lever down on the release handle ●    Raise the front landing jacks about an inch off the... [Read more...]

WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN – IT IS GOOD TO HAVE FRIENDS AROUND

March 30, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN – IT IS GOOD TO HAVE FRIENDS AROUND

Somewhere between Little Rock, AR and Carrabelle, FL two cross members that support the frame rails on our fifth wheel broke. Initially, I could not tell there was something wrong because the plastic belly panels covered the problem area making it impossible to notice the broken welds. Our first indication that there was a problem occurred when we attempted to open the curbside living room slide and it would not extend.  My inspection of the problem resulted in a major shock – the axles under the camper had moved at least 3” toward the left side and the drive rod for the slide-out had been bent by the tire.  The tire was ruined and all six spring hangers had bent to approximately a 75 degree angle – they should be 90 degrees to the frame rails. In case you haven’t caught on yet, this is a MAJOR problem that could easily result in many thousands of dollars for repairs and the loss of use of the camper for “who knows how long”.  One thing for sure – we were not going to be... [Read more...]

Tailgater–RV TV made Easy

February 21, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Tailgater–RV TV made Easy

So I like to go RV-ing. Don’t we all? Even more, when I’m trying to get cozy after a long day out on the open road in my RV, one of my favorite things to do is watch a good movie with the family.  There is nothing quite better than kicking your feet up, turning on the TV in your RV’s living area and enjoying a great flick before hitting the hay. Perhaps the greatest drawback to enjoying such an experience–it’s not exactly inexpensive to set up a quality entertainment center in your RV.  And if you’re like me, one of the things which driven me nuts when it comes to the RV lifestyle is how expensive RV satellites are. With that said, if you’re like me then you like to do everything you can to save a buck or two. Even more, I would have never guessed I would actually be able to cut costs when it comes to RV satellites. I recently had the opportunity to attend the National RV Show in Louisville. As I was walking through the vendors’ area, I happened to stumble upon a booth... [Read more...]

Rand McNally to Provide Woodall’s Campground Data in GPS Devices

February 14, 2012 by · 3 Comments 

Rand McNally to Provide Woodall’s Campground Data in GPS Devices

Rand McNally, a leader in specialty travel and navigation, and Woodall’s, part of the Good Sam family of RV clubs, community and publications, are partnering to include Woodall’s campground data in Rand McNally’s TripMaker® RVND™ GPS units for RVers. The data will be pre-loaded in devices shipping mid-April, and also will be available to current owners of TripMaker® RVND™ devices – both the 5” and 7” models – via a simple and free download in early Q2. Rand McNally will be reaching out to existing owners to ensure that they are able to download the new content. “Woodall’s is North America’s leading source of campground information for RVers and campers. We are very pleased to offer this very valued content as part of our industry-leading RV GPS devices,” said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. Highlights of the Woodall’s Campground data include: Listings for more than 12,000 RV parks and campground locations, with amenities: Family-friendly campgrounds and... [Read more...]

EVERY RV TOOL BOX SHOULD HAVE THEM

February 2, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

EVERY RV TOOL BOX SHOULD HAVE THEM

Next to a roll of duct (or duck) tape, a package containing an assortment of zip-ties is one of the most important “fix-it” items you can put in your RV toolbox. First introduced under the name of Ty-Rap in 1958 by Thomas & Betts for assembling airplane-wiring harnesses, the zip-tie has evolved to include every conceivable function – including handcuffs often used by law enforcement.  Today they may also be called zap-ties or cable-ties, About the only thing you cannot fix with either duct tape and zip-ties are hot exhaust or tail pipes. Zip-ties usd by law enforcement as hand cuffs (Don't try this at home!) Good quality zip-ties are made of nylon.  The black ties are UV protected and suitable for outdoor use over an extended period.  White and other colors generally do not have the UV protection chemical added and are designed for indoor use. Unfortunately, many companies have made cheap copies of nylon zip-ties using plastic.  These are subject to easy breakage and... [Read more...]

SAVE 75% or MORE ON YOUR NEXT CORDLESS TOOL BATTERIES (Yes, I like saving money!)

January 25, 2012 by · 4 Comments 

SAVE 75% or MORE ON YOUR NEXT CORDLESS TOOL BATTERIES (Yes, I like saving money!)

Battery powered tools can be the mainstay for many RV’ers that like to be prepared for both unexpected needs and maintenance when away from home. I carry a full complement of 18-volt Ryobi power tools, including a drill, flashlight, reciprocating saw, handi-vacuum, and a small chain saw.  Other tools such a air compressors, radios, saber saws, circular saws, and leaf blowers also operate off of the same 18-volt nickel cadmium battery pack.  I find myself frequently using the drill with a socket that fits scissors jacks to quickly raise or lower the jacks.  The drill also serves as an electric screwdriver that recently came in handy when the base of our bed broke apart.  Both the reciprocating saw and the 10” chain saw are great for cutting gathered firewood from downed trees or limbs.  Of course, you are limited to small diameter wood. Using portable battery operated tools requires several spare batteries as well as a proper charger.  If the batteries are old and weak and can... [Read more...]

SHINGLES, CHRISTMAS 2011 and HAPPY 2012 CAMPING

January 8, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

SHINGLES, CHRISTMAS 2011 and HAPPY 2012 CAMPING

WOW – Christmas came and went so fast it is hard to realize it was ever here!  It’s not like it was when I was a kid and the days, hours and minutes crept by slower than molasses dripping out of a jar on a cold day.  Now, time just flies by – you know, ZAP!  One day you are 20 and before you know it 40 is here.  Then, blink your eyes and 65 appears.  Don’t believe me?  Just wait and see (which I hope you will ). A lot of gifts were given and received.  I gave Nancy a new Kindle Fire to replace the old (but still neat) B&W plain Kindle along with a big Amazon gift card so she can download plenty of new books.  She is having a ball learning about the new features and of course, playing Angry Birds. Me?  Well, I got everybody to stop giving me ties, shirts and socks years ago.  Now, they know to give me tools, electronic gadgets, or gift cards to Camping World or Tractor Supply.  I love them all!  Oh, BTW – if you are a member of the Good Sam Club you are now... [Read more...]

MUCH MORE THAT JUST A GPS (The Rand NcNally RVND7710 cont.)

November 3, 2011 by · 4 Comments 

MUCH MORE THAT JUST A GPS (The Rand NcNally RVND7710 cont.)

RV’ers take note – this thing is much, much more than just a typical GPS. My Garmin Nuvi is an excellent GPS product.  It always finds an address and routes me there.  But, it lacks many of the extended features offered in the Rand McNally RVND7710 specifically designed  for folks driving RV’s. At first, I was disappointed in the RVND7710.  The address interface was unfamiliar to me and I could not get the docking software to recognize my serial number or access the full manual. But (always a but) I quickly discovered that everything I needed to learn and remember about the operation of the RVND7710 was right in front of me programmed into the unit and accessible under TIPS, TUTORIALS and FAQ that appear as an operator option immediately after the unit boots up.  I absolutely did not need an online or printed manual – it was all programed into the deice! Thankfully, the RVND7710 also includes an AC power adapter.  This allowed me to “play” and learn how the unit... [Read more...]

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