RV Daily Tips Newsletter 1054

60

Issue 1054 • February 20, 2019

Welcome to another fabulous edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here, you’ll find helpful RV-related, and small-space living, tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate your readership.

If you shop at Amazon, would you use one of the links below to do your shopping? The link in the blue bar above also works. Thanks.

U.S. shoppers: Shop at Amazon.com
Canadian shoppers: Shop at Amazon.ca


Do you have a blog about RVing? Or would you like to start one? If so, we might want to host it on RVtravel.com. If so, you’ll have a potentially large audience. Learn more.


QUICK TIPS

Better personal illumination at night

Here’s another entry from Erinn “The Zealous” Mayer. Erinn saw an earlier post regarding flashlight hats. If ever there were a knee-jerk reaction, here it is: “Yes, I have an even better (and more cost-effective) idea. Want to be seen REALLY WELL at night?! When we go for evening walks with our dogs, I’ve always worried about ‘being seen,’ especially by passing vehicles! We were wearing the ‘flashlight hats,’ but I found an even better (BRIGHTER) way to be seen – I purchased two ‘Rechargeable LED Headlamps’ and OMG, these things are soo bright! They are easily adjustable and you can wear them alone (like a headband), or over a cap or hat. They have both white and red LEDs, FIVE different settings (dim, bright, flash, etc), and a control button for each light. The light angle is adjustable, and they come with charging cables (but not chargers). The ‘flashlight hats’ range from about $10-15 and most have just one small light. These ‘headlamps’ were only $10.99 on Amazon – for anyone who walks/jogs/hikes after dark, I highly recommend!!!” Whew! Thanks, Erinn. Your review is glowing!

Easier RV bed making – tile it!

Putting a fitted sheet on a mattress is made infinitely easier when you can slide the mattress out away from the wall. Unfortunately, many RV beds are on unfinished plywood platforms. These platforms snag the mattress if you attempt to slide it, making it difficult to move. By installing some peel and stick tiles on the platform, you can eliminate the snagging issue and make sliding your mattress a breeze. Don’t worry, though – the mattress does stay in place while you’re sleeping. From doityourselfrv.com


Taking the kids or grandkids camping? Here’s a scavenger hunt from The Creative Homemaker that looks like lots of fun. The kiddos will be occupied (which means it’s wine around the campfire time for you!), and you can think of fun prizes to award once they’re finished.


Wow! Now that’s a deal!
Did you know that every day Amazon features more than 1,000 special deals on items? Even if you don’t need anything, it’s fun to poke around and see the new interesting products on sale. There’s always stuff you can use in the RV, so take a look here.


Photo by @donstevanov, Instagram

VISIT HERE

Do not steer clear of Carhenge, in Alliance, Nebraska, because this place is wheel-y cool! Carhenge, built by Jim Reinders in 1987, is a replica of England’s Stonehenge, only it’s built out of 38 vintage American automobiles and covered in gray spray paint. You can visit the official Carhenge website here to read more about it and plan your visit.


MORE QUICK TIPS

What some have done to quiet a noisy generator

Here’s a quick review of what some have done … with a big disclaimer: “All of the suggestions below are what other RVers and campers have claimed to do to quiet down their generators. I have not personally tested any of these solutions to see if they actually work. Some of these solutions could damage your generator as well as void the warranty on a new generator.” Keeping that in mind, here goes: “1. Some folks have retrofitted motorcycle mufflers to their generator with some success. 2. Some people attach a hose to the exhaust of the generator and put the other end of the hose in a 5-gallon bucket of water to dampen the exhaust sound. They suggest that you put a small hole at the high point of the hose so that your generator does not suck any water into it.” —From everything-about-rving.com.
[Editor: Electricity expert Mike Sokol advises against trying #2.]

On buying a new RV

Michael Rivera on wikimedia commons

Obviously, if you want something brand new, you’ll need to visit a dealer or an RV show. However, do NOT buy new. I say this from experience after I ignored the advice of full-timers before us. Rigs “off the line” are often riddled with problems. I’ve heard this about every manufacturer, though some are better than others. Most full-timers I know recommend buying something at least two years old, as someone else has worked out the kinks at that point. Armed with this knowledge, we expected a few visits for service, and we’ve made over a dozen in the past 18 months. It’s been incredibly frustrating, especially when service departments aren’t known for great service. Trust me, don’t buy new! Plus, with the rapid depreciation of RVs and the steep cost, it’s less of a financial burden to buy used. —From Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America.

Editor’s Note: Have you joined our Facebook group RV Horror Stories yet? If you’ve had issues with your RV, or know someone who has, check out our group and share your story. 

Do you have a tip? Send it to Russ (at) rvtravel.com



WEBSITE OF THE DAY

Photo by Chris Harrison, Flickr

The DMV Made Simple

A privately owned website, not connected to the government. This is “the largest driver-related site on the web, servicing over 80,000,000 visitors a year.” Everything you need to know about your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and about vehicles — and then some!

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.




LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH

Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com
. UPDATED HOURLY.


Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.

Become a Member!

This newsletter is brought to you Monday through Thursday by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you! IF YOU APPRECIATE THIS NEWSLETTER and others from RVtravel.com, will you please consider pledging your support? Even a single contribution of $10 or $20 is appreciated. Many readers set up an ongoing contribution, typically $5 to $10 a month. Your contributions make it possible for us to produce more than 250 highly informative newsletters every year. Learn more or contribute.

Join us: FacebookTwitterYouTube.

RV Daily Tips Staff

Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com .

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com

Subscribe
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

60 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bob
1 year ago

Do a factory tour, buy from the factory. Extremely happy we bought new from Phoenix Cruiser.

Bill Massicotte
1 year ago

Diane at RV travel :You must get a real kick out of some of these comments. Some are really funny and others informative. Stay tuned
Love this forum

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 year ago

Hey, Bill. Yes, most of the comments are thoughtful and informative, some are funny on purpose (sometimes sarcastically so), and others are accidentally funny. Very rarely do I need to “lecture” someone, and even more rarely do I need to delete or “bleep out” someone. It never gets boring, that’s for sure! Thanks, Bill. Have a good night. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Rory R
1 year ago

I have heard that saying so many times, and there is no garantee that the previous owner cleared up all or most of the issues in a new RV. Quick question, if all the issues were cleared up why would a two year old RV be for sale. Remember there is more than one way to go. One size does not fit all. There are manufacturers that do great builds and there are more happy owners than owners who have been shafted. I’m not saying there is no problem, but I’m saying that no matter which way you decide to go, you have to do your due diligence. Do not let the bling blind you…

Michael W.
1 year ago
Reply to  Rory R

Would take my chances on buying a used RV over a new one any day. You have to do your homework even when buying a used RV. I tell people all of the time that after you have finally figured out which make and model you are considering then take your time and don’t jump into buying the first one you have found. Also shop locally and do so online. Don’t be afraid of having to drive somewhere even if its not real close to your home to look at an RV. If you are new to RV’s and don’t have a lot of knowledge on what to actually look at and ask the owner of the rig then see if you can find someone knowledgeable to come along with you. If you take the time and put in the effort you will probably be rewarded. There are lots of great used RV’s out there.

JMCherry
1 year ago

Both my parents were only children so we didn’t have any aunt, uncles, or cousins.

Tom Gutzke
1 year ago

J am closer to my in-laws than I ever was to my brother. This includes ny wife’s aunts, uncles,and cousins.

Dan Tull
1 year ago

On my third TT, following my wife at an Atlanta RV show, I told the owner of the Winnebago dealership I did not want New. Depreciation and bugs being the reason. He said he would have all the bugs worked out before he gave it to us. Put my finger in his face and said I would hold him to that. He did. Three years in, almost no problems.

Pat G
1 year ago

My Dad and his sister were orphaned when very young. His sister died when I was 1 his foster dad died before I was born and his foster mom died when I was 10. they all lived in Ill, I live in California..We still keep in contact/visit with my cousins on my moms side, they still live in Ill, we still live in California..We are all in our 70s & 80.

Doug/ND
1 year ago

By the way – if no one buys new rigs – where are the used rigs coming from? Hmmm?

Booneyrat
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug/ND

Don’t worry…there are hundreds of thousands of used RV’s out there.Many of them built after 2010 are worthless junk now since the quality went downhill after that.No doubt there will be junkyards full of POS RV’s someday soon.

Merrily Robinson
1 year ago

My father only had one relative and he died only a few days after my dad!

Jim Langley
1 year ago

Good joke today – “soap opera” – made me laugh 😉

Bill T.
1 year ago

Re: On Buying a New RV;

“Rigs “off the line” are often riddled with problems” True, but that is still no excuse or reason not to buy new. Weather buying new, or inheriting other peoples junk by buying used, the onus is always on the buyer.

If you do a thorough and I mean really take your time, to do a good pre delivery inspection (PDI) and have the dealer make ALL repairs, to those issues found, BEFORE you leave the lot, then any mechanical or cosmetic issues that happen, after you take possession, would most likely have happen anyway.

Don’t be pressured buy flashy sales or marketing tricks. Find a rig that suits most of you immediate needs, floor plan layout, etc. Buying new, if you can afford it and financially plan properly, is a great feeling to know you are the only ones to sleep in the bed or use any of the other services in that rig.

We have neighbours who bought a 2 year old rig, that had issues right off the dealer lot. There was no more factory warranty and cosmetically it looked great, but they didn’t do a PDI before signing, and were left making payments on a piece of junk. Buying used is not always the go-to solution when looking for an RV. I understand that money is an issue with us all, but I only wanted to say that buying new is not as bad as some say it is.

Booneyrat
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill T.

Your analogy is arguable.Many have been burned by the “new” factor.Even a well seasoned full timer can get burned…I know first hand.

Rory R
1 year ago
Reply to  Booneyrat

Invest in an RVIA inspector and cut down your chances of getting burned. Stick to your guns and don’t take delivery until everything on your list is done and have the pro inspect it again. Or buy somebody else’s problems as my Father used to say about buying used. You can pay now or pay much more later, oh and that advice re: the RVIA inspector is for whether you buy used or new…

Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill T.

Spelling was not your best subject.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

I see typos in your comments also, Bob. Just sayin’. 😉 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Joe Huston
1 year ago

Regarding today’s question. I answered “Other” since both my parents were only children. Hence, I have no aunts, uncles or cousins.

Jeff
1 year ago

I know you are trying hard to keep this Newsletter clean and not Offend anyone, but, is it possible to maybe find some better “Leave them with a Laugh” Jokes! Thanks.

KC
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Grow thicker skin, Jeff. It’s funny, not offensive.

Karen Willis
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I think most are quite funny.

Snayte
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I think of them like the laffy taffy jokes and sometimes they are pretty funny.

Chris Kittilson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Jeff got up on the wrong side of the bed.

AZ DesertRat
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I think it’s even funnier reading the complaints about the daily jokes. Keep the jokes coming so we can read the resulting comments!! ?

Sharon B
1 year ago
Reply to  AZ DesertRat

Good one!!

Rick Petzak
1 year ago
Reply to  AZ DesertRat

Amen to that, reading the comments about the jokes etc is quite entertaining.

Sharon B
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I think many of them are really good. What kind of jokes are you looking for??
There are good ones on the late TV shows that are paid to do it.

impavid
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Jeff, you don’t sound like a “fun gi”.

Diane M
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I like the clean and corny jokes. Don’t change a thing!

Nancy
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

Google the pirate joke, “Bring me my red shirt”. “RRRRRRRR”

Mike Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff

I lather liked today’s joke. ?

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Ward

Good one, Mike. Now I’m picturing someone all lathered up and foaming at the mouth. Ugh. 🙂 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Jeannie
1 year ago

Before putting stick-on floor tile on a bare plywood bed platform, sand the plywood and apply two coats of a stick-on tile bond enhancer. Otherwise, the tiles will eventually shift and/or lift. A quart of it isn’t expensive and will be more than enough for two coats on even king size platforms. Henry makes a good one.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeannie

I think in our case, if we put tile under our mattress I’m afraid the mattress would just slide off every time we took to the road. 😉

Rammer
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeannie

We just painted the plywood under the mattress with two coats of satin latex paint with a color similar to the interior of the motorhome. No need to sand first as the slight roughness of the plywood helped hold the mattress in place.

Graybyrd
1 year ago

I’ve learned through personal (frustrating) experience that attempts to quiet a generator are generally disappointing, and possibly harmful. 1) Much of the generator noise is not actually from the muffler, but engine noise reverberating from the generator frame & structure. 2) attempts to further muffle the exhaust outlet risks increasing engine back-pressure, causing a multitude of harmful engine problems. 3) Adding layers of sound insulation, or an enclosure may cause insufficient air circulation for engine cooling, causing failure or a fire hazard. 4) The exhaust hose terminated in a bucket of water? Really? Does this water bucket hang under the generator’s RV frame to accomodate a Rube Goldberg exhaust extension? Or does one remove and discard the mandatory spark arrestor portion of the portable genny muffler to attach a jury-rigged extension tube? And where does one discard the toxic oil slick and exhaust waste water later?

Perhaps a more effective way (for portable gennies) is a simple three-sided sound enclosure, with the open side facing the most noise-tolerant direction. Lay another sheet across the top, but be sure all side clearances are adequate for good air circulation. Also, distance is our friend. Get a longer, heavier gauge extension cord. The square law applies. Double the distance; quarter the noise level. (Not so good in a crowded campsite. But there, no level of generator noise is well received.)

Wolfe
1 year ago
Reply to  Graybyrd

Thanks GB — I was going to cover the exact same points 1-4. On my “standard” RV generator, I think 90% of the noise is from rattle, because the exhaust really doesn’t have much “pop” to it at all.

I can’t provide Sokol precise db reductions, but one WORKING solution I have seen at campgrounds is essentially what you described — a well-ventilated enclosure. Instead of being a 3 sided box, though, this fellow had an 8-sided equi-directional enclosure. Start with a standard cube, and swing all the walls outward to 45* (opening the corners); then put 4 more walls inside those triangular openings, also at 45* and spaced inside the openings enough that there’s still lots of airflow but no direct line of sight (sound?) through the two rings of walls to the generator. Basically, any soundwaves from the generator are bounced off the walls and downward into the ground to be absorbed. Although it sounds “different” than an inverter genny’s hum, it was a huge improvement compared to the roar after refuelings (while he dropped the thing over the restarted genny).

Bagman
1 year ago
Reply to  Graybyrd

What a lot of people don’t realize is a 64dba generator is 50 times as noisy as a 59dba one. An increase of 10dba is a 100 times increase in noise. There are other factors involved but this is a good rule of thumb.

Willie
1 year ago

Re: generators

There is no excuse not to get rid of that noisy generator and go solar! We have 375 wstts of solar on the roof, 540 AH of AGM batteries, a 2,000 watt inverter, and right-sized our electrical appliance to work within our electrical storage capacity.

Right now we’re a month into a winter camping trip in Colorado and have had no problems with our electrical needs.

Go solar, you won’t regret it!

Graybyrd
1 year ago
Reply to  Willie

It’s hard to beat the noise level of a solar panel. We replaced our PWM charge controller with an MPPT unit to compensate for our consistently overcast PacNW skies, to get more charge for our short-changed solar days. Also, conservation is our friend (as the electric companies have been forced to accept). Every watt-hour of reduced load is a costly watt-hour saved. Whether solar or engine generated, watt-hours are excessively expensive in gear and fuel. And thermal loads (cooking, heating) are best done with propane.

Jimmyj
1 year ago
Reply to  Graybyrd

PWM / MPPT, What the hell. Spell it out people. No clue what these means

Bob p
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmyj

You are dating yourself, I don’t know what that means either, but I’m to old to care.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmyj

MPPT = Maximum Power Point Tracking
PWM = Pulse Width Modulation
Now, does that help? I didn’t think so. And these initials are what the solar industry uses all the time when discussing solar controllers.

Wolfe
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmyj

For anyone who cares, I’ll try to explain the alphabet soup…

Solar panels produce varying voltages and amperages as the sunlight changes, and your RV wants 12V (actually, a little higher but I’ll abbreviate). To avoid blowing up your batteries with 18V (or higher) spikes, you need a solar controller.

A “simple” controller is basically just a relay — when the voltage is too high, it disconnects the panels. These are terrible because any “extra” power is wasted.

A Pulse Width Modulated controller chops up the incoming power into different ratios of connected and not connected, done with solid state electronics instead of a relay. As the battery becomes closer to charged, the duty cycle tapers off. You then get “most” of the power you generate. Your solar panels have to be “close” in voltage to your 12V batteries, and I think these max out around 60A@12V.

A Max Power Point Tracking controller takes this a bit further by varying the incoming voltage and amperage loads against what the battery wants, so that (in wattage terms) Vs X As = Vb X Ab. Think of it as a smart solid state transformer. So, almost “all” the (wattage) power you’re generating is actually captured. Also, you can greatly reduce line loss because you can run your panels in series at much higher voltages. These are the best, but cost a hair more — but still under $50 of your installation. So, YOU would obvious want to spring for MPPT, but an installer may pocket the extra few dollars if the customer doesn’t know the difference.

Jim Langley
1 year ago
Reply to  Wolfe

Thanks for explaining Wolfe. We had solar panels on our last RV and now on our “new” 2016 Lazy Daze (factory installed). We pretty much never pay any attention to them so we never bothered to learn anything about how they work or the terms used, etc. Thank you,
Jim

Graybyrd
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmyj

Sorry about that. My posts (like my conversations) tend to be a bit long-winded, so I assumed if someone was familiar with solar gear, they’d know the acronym, or if curious, they’d Google it. Anyone who’s dabbled with solar alchemy gets swamped with acronyms.

Bob p
1 year ago
Reply to  Graybyrd

Uh oh PROPANE! The carbon footprint police will be after you, it’s best to simply eat your food raw like cave men who only live a very short life. Lol

Richard Hubert
1 year ago
Reply to  Willie

Solar works great – – until the sun doesn’t shine. I have solar on my rig and love it as well, but we also have a generator which is still used for charging in less sunny periods.

Unfortunately we also must use the generator to run the AC. We can’t afford the huge solar system and Battery Bank necessary to support that particular system.

So the answer is that solar is great when it works, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all as multiple Solutions are required to handle multiple situations.

Bob p
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

What you need is a 30’ trailer with a large solar array AND a sufficiently large wind turbine for when the sun isn’t shining and several kerosene lanterns (oops here come the carbon footprint police again) when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Personally I don’t want to go back in time to going to bed when it gets dark and getting up at sunrise. That much time in bed causes to many babies, I don’t have anything against the actions, just the amount of babies from the actions. Lol

Danny Wells
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

At a certain age, length of time in bed, has absolutely no effect on baby’s.

Booneyrat
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

I don’t know there Bob…as many of us old fa*** age I doubt many “babies” will be produced.Just too old to cut the mustard anymore.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

It’s amazing how well solar works – IF you have enough solar panels. We’ve got 700 watts on the roof feeding two 6 volt batteries. Right now (parked out front of the house) we’ve got over an inch of snow on our solar panels and during the day (with our MPPT controller – oops, those initials again . . .) we’re charging at 13.6 volts. I was amazed myself! You don’t need direct sunlight to charge. Only daylight. And a lot of solar panels – And, I always take a generator if it’s May or earlier.

WJ
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Love the dialog. What about nuclear? There has been no talk lately of going nuclear.

Wolfe
1 year ago
Reply to  WJ

Although I suspect you’re joking, the strange thing is there ARE micro nukes meant to run rural communities (most used in Alaska and Australia). Free power for your campground for the next 50 years!

Sharon B
1 year ago
Reply to  WJ

We’re not there yet but expect it in the future. Jus think what our RVs will look like with nuclear??

PennyPA
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon B

And what do you think will be fueling those nuclear plants?

impavid
1 year ago
Reply to  WJ

I run 12 hampsters in little “turbo” wheel cages. My ATTPOS = 220. (ATTPOS – Amps To The Pound Of Seeds).

Doug/ND
1 year ago
Reply to  impavid

PERFECT!

Graybyrd
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Hubert

Here on the Soggy Isle our rooftop AC on the old truck camper seems like so much useless dead weight… until summer when we roam afield into eastern WA and 100+ daytime temps. So during those (few) months, we carry a 2K genny to run the AC unit. (I suggested one of those old WWII hand-crank genny’s to the spousal unit, but she countered with my ol’ butt superglued to the genny seat, with a whip to keep me going. So we compromised on the gas genny!)