Monday, October 21, 2019
Welcome to another edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here you’ll find helpful RV-related and living tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, tips on our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you. Please tell your friends about us.
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —
Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Reptile Awareness Day.
Tip of the Day
Some basic tools to carry in your RV
Carrying tools in your RV is as important as filling the tank with gas. Tools can be handy because sometimes a simple fix can get your rig going again. But you should only carry those tools that you are capable of using and willing to use. The following are some things you should include in your RV tool box:
- Tire pressure gauge: Buy a good quality tire pressure gauge. Also be sure that it can get to your valve stems. A long-handled dual-head (push-pull) tire gauge will allow you to get at both valve stems on a set of duals.
- Screwdriver/ratcheting set: Rather than just a set of screwdrivers, purchase a ratcheting kit that accepts interchangeable tips.
- Electrical repair tools: There are a number of multi-purpose electrical tools that perform a wide variety of functions. Don’t forget a utility knife and needle nose pliers.
- Wrenches: An adjustable wrench can be used in a variety of situations.
- Accessories: Get a 12-volt fuse kit, light bulbs, electrical tape, duct tape, motor oil, engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, and some screws, nuts and bolts.
- Tire changing tools: You may want to eschew the tire iron and invest in a good 3/4″ drive T bar handle and socket for your lug nuts. Be sure to get the hardened impact sockets to keep from splitting the standard 12-point chrome sockets.
Do you have a tip? Submit it here.
RV Electricity – This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Generator neutral bonding – Part deux. A reader asks Mike why his 2000-watt Honda generator doesn’t power his RV at all.
• Sign up for Mike’s monthly RV Electricity Newsletter.
• Be sure to join his popular and informative Facebook group, RV Electricity.
• Read more of Mike’s articles here.
Sometimes an RV spare tire isn’t necessary
RV tire safety expert Roger Marble answers the question, “Do RVers need to carry a spare tire?” This applies to owners of motorhomes and other RVs that are towed. Watch the video.
What did we learn about you from our reader polls last week? Find out here.
Staying organized is important in a small space like an RV. Click here for the best small-space organizers.
• NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION.
• ROAD AND TRAFFIC CONDITIONS ACROSS THE NATION.
• WEATHER ALERTS FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.
• CURRENT WILDFIRE REPORT.
• LATEST RV RECALLS.
Protect yourself and others from sharp edges of RV slideouts!
Cut your head just once on the corner of a sharp RV slideout and you’ll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco’s Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts. Simply place them on each exterior corner of the slide to provide a cushion zone. They’re made of advanced UV-stabilized resin for long life. Easy to install, no tools required. Learn more or order.
Put a quarter on a glass of frozen water
In the event that you lose power, always keep a quarter on top of a frozen cup of water in your freezer. When you return from a long day away from the RV, open your freezer door and make sure the water is frozen and the quarter is still on top of the cup. If the quarter is at the bottom of the cup, you’ll know your fridge and freezer turned off, allowing the ice to melt.
Random RV Thought
One way to see if your RV is level is to place a marble, golf ball or another round object on your dinette table or kitchen countertop. Watch which direction it rolls and see where your RV is the lowest. Of course, we’re assuming your table is level.
Where to camp for free or less than $20. Thick guidebook from Don Wright lists thousands of locations.
Website of the day
10 of the best cities to go geocaching
If you’re not familiar with geocaching, which is essentially a worldwide treasure hunt, click here to visit the official website. Once you’re familiar, though, check out these 10 best cities for geocaching.
Popular articles you may have missed at RVtravel.com
• RVer’s horror story: RV in for repairs now for 13 months.
• Feeling a little insecure? Beef up your RV security.
• Fed up with your defective RV? Get help!
Save money with these reusable silicone bags
Never waste money on plastic bags again! This 4-pack of reusable silicone food bags have an airtight seal and are leak-proof, keeping food fresh for longer. Easily freeze the bags, and even run them through the dishwasher once you’re done using them. This plastic bag alternative won’t harm the environment, and instead provides a solution that you can wash, rinse, and reuse to your heart’s content! Learn more or order.
Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he passed away in 2008, a portion of his ashes were buried in one per his request, because he was so proud of his design of the can.
Leave here with a laugh
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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editor: Diane McGovern. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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.
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This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com
Bowls of water, marbles… just download a leveling app on your phone. It will tell you which way to go without checking the bathroom door and no extra stuff to set up.
I have a question re: spare tire advice… When your rig has different size tires on the front and rear, which size do you carry and why?
H. Jackson Brown Jr. quote
According to the Internet, it seems you attributed the beautiful Mark Twain Quote “Twenty years from now…” to H. Jackson Brown Jr.
I appears that either yours or my sources are incorrect. Can you please check and clarify?
Hi, Orlando. I’ve just Googled that quote and several sources say that it was not Mark Twain who said that, but H. Jackson Brown Jr. Here’s what HuffPost.com says about quotes incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain:
“And perhaps the most commonly misattributed quote is this one that has been making the rounds on the Internet since the mid-1990s and has even been included in numerous books: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain did NOT say that. The quote belongs to H. Jackson Brown’s mother. See page 13 in Brown’s 1991 book: P.S. I Love You: When Mom Wrote, She Always Saved the Best for Last.”
Goodreads.com also states that quote was misattributed to Mark Twain, as does the website checkyourfact.com.
Mark Twain said lots of wise and/or humorous things, but apparently this was not one of them. But thanks for checking. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
One of the best screw drivers you can carry is one that you can reverse from a straight blade to a Phillip’s head. Each end has two sizes of tips that will work for 80% + of the screws you will come across. They are cheap $2- $3. I have a huge selection of screw drivers in my shop and use the changeable tip 90% of the time. I also carry a big phillip’s & a big straight blade in my rv tool bag. These three screw drivers will probably get the job done. I also carry a small ratchet style screwdriver with 24 different tips that I have used maybe 6 times in 10 years. All RV mfg. use multiple sizes of different style of heads inside & outside of your rig and this little set will get the job done most of the time. Cheap $5 to $10. As they say…. Don’t Leave Home Without It! It beats having to go borrow from a rv neighbor and returning them.
Our primary leveling device in our motorhome is the bathroom door, along with personal balance. Never had a problem. Leveling doesn’t have to be perfect and perfection is sometimes impossible on unlevel sites.
You need a third choice in the poll – half and half. Family – and some friends – use my given name. Most friends use my nickname.
Thank you for the opinion on carrying a spare, but I will continue to carry a spare and 10 ton jack for my tow vehicle and TT. I am not going to sit on the side of the interstate or state roads waiting for a service call.
When first tire failure occurred on our TT ( China bombs and they are off the trailer now) we were back on the road in 30 minutes because I changed the tire.
Gary, I thought the tire guy’s advice might have been rolling along in a sensible way until he said, maybe just carry a spare tire. How dam dumb. I’ll continue to carry a full sized spare although in my memory in over fifty years RV’ing I cannot recall having to use it. I do know one thing the day I leave it at home, the following day I’d have to put that 10 ton jack to work, and there’d be no spare. I’m still plenty fit enough to change that tire on the MH or toad. Some folks out there have trouble getting the folding bike out of the compartment. So for them……………….
Why bother to put a quarter on a glass of frozen water to indicate power failure? Just put an ice cube in a shallow dish. If you come back later and the ice cube has melted, you’ve had a failure.
I am assuming that the poll today is like “Charles” is the given name and “Chuck” is the nickname, NOT like “Joseph” is the given name and “Killer” is the nickname.
I carry a lot of tools with me. If I need them when I’m on the road they are no good to me when they’re at home in my garage.
Can’t believe no spare advice. Roadside service is a must but as long as I can change my own tires I will carry a spare. Two in fact because sitting on the side of any road going nowhere is the pits. Two spares because blew two China bombs within 30 minutes of each other. Weight is important but you don’t have to have everything in the house😄 to go camping. Just my opinion.
Please understand that when Roger says a spare “may” not make sense, he’s talking to ALL RVers. Ex: our steer tires are 43″ tall, the wheel/tire combo weighs 180 lbs., and the lug nuts are torqued to 450 ft lbs. I’ve never even considered trying to carry a spare…
Pool noodles are the new duct tape. I carry one in my trailer with my duct tape.
I think the “tip” about not needing a spare tire is way off. But, I don’t have a class A motorhome. Having a spare for both our tow vehicle AND our trailer is just a good idea and makes sense to me. In 25 years I’ve only had one trailer tire come apart, and I changed the tire way off on the side of the road. And that happened before cell phones so I had no choice. I’ve had one tow vehicle tire throw chunks of tire off, but didn’t go flat. I changed THAT tire out too. The idea of sitting somewhere waiting for someone to come and change my tire is currently not on my ‘playlist’. But, I AM getting older and the ‘playlist’ may reflect some changes . . .
Not sure I understand MIke’s generator info. I’ve never had a problem plugging our trailer into a generator – ever. But, I don’t run the power through a surge protector either. We’re talking over 20 years too.
Tommy, if you have an EMS surge protector built into your RV, then you’ll have the open-ground problem when plugging into a portable generator. This is not an issue with an on-board generator since it will have an internal Ground/Neutral bond already in place for when the transfer switch is connected to the generator.
Tommy, if you did have a class A, Roger’s advice would not be “way off” (I believe that’s why he qualifies his article with “sometimes”…).
As per my response above, our steer tire/wheel combo weighs 180 lbs. (the tire by itself is 137 lbs.!), is 43” tall, and the lug nuts are torqued to 450 ft. lbs. I don’t carry a spare.
Exactly, Bob. Class A motorhomes are like “big trucks”. Only “professionals” can change or repair those tires.
The tip about checking level with a golf ball only works if everything in the RV was built PERFECT which they are not. In our Mountain Aire the dinett/cabinet/desk was installed on top of carpet which makes it not level. In a previous travel trailer the refrigerator must’ve had something on the floor of the mounting surface because the trailer could be perfectly level but the refrigerator was off by 3/4 bubble. When we buy a new to us RV one of the first tings I do is check the level of the freezer bottom then adjust my reference levels that I use when leveling to read level. Now I don’t have to spend a lot of time going back and forth to the freezer checking for level. Cooling units are not cheap, most people are told the entire refrigerator has to be replaced, of course there is more profit and labor costs.
Don’t have a level with you? Take a bowl from your cabinet and fill it 2/3 full of water. Place that in the center of your RV and check that the water is the same all the way around the sides. It wont be perfect…but pretty close.
A glass measuring cup works well too as it has the lines on it so it is easy to tell if you are level.
My god Donald why complicate such a simple thing. Carpenters have been using a simple bubble level for centuries to level things, why not with your MH. I carry a 10 inch dollar store version in the drawer by the door. Simple, no fuss no mess. quick and easy easy easy.
OMG, Alvin. Why so rude? I like Donald’s idea, for those of us who don’t carry around a bubble level. (Although I think a bubble level would be a good investment.) —Diane at RVtravel.com
The given-name poll is interesting… friends, work, video-watchers, and publisher/readers know me by FOUR different names, and those groups generally only know one name apiece. I’m not MPD, just private…
I love the “Leave here with a laugh” picture of the deer in the Dollar Store!
Ratcheting screwdrivers are generally a bad joke. They “reverse” when you don’t want them to, the mechanism fails, and, certainly, they waste a good share of your available wrist movement with taking up the slack in the mechanism. Unless space is a severe issue, get a good set of standard screwdrivers.
After stepping a stack of standard ratchets, I discovered infinite-angle wenches and so far haven’t stripped one… they reciprocate with even the shortest strokes, so you don’t need much room to use them on nuts in tight places.
Hi Scott i have to agree with you so I can disagree with you! Sure if you have a cheep harbor Freight ratcheting one, but if you spend the money & buy a Snap On or Matco one, it’ll work great, I’ve had one for many years & it’s the one I go to all the time! Its just so convient to have several choices when you set off to do a repair. Hey I have a real nice set of screwdrivers I use also, but that Snap On ratcheting one I have is just awesome!
The information on Protecting yourself from SHARP Edges on RV’s: I go to Walmart and purchase the long Pool NOODLES! About one dollar each! Split it down the middle and then wrap around the Sharp edges of my RV Slides.
As many times as I have banged my head on the Slides, these noodles work great and are very inexpensive!
You don’t need to pay CAMCO a bunch of money, when these NOODLES are available at Walmart or Target for cheap!
I use pool noodles in the fridge too! Cut a slit down the length and push it on to the shelf. Keeps things from rolling off when you open the fridge after traveling!
I have used them for years and my old bounder had slides and I was always walking into them. Now I just remove them before pulling in the slides and much easier on the head when you do walk into them. Also cheaper and easy replacement it you lose or wear them out.
Foam pipe wrap is better, because it is already split and has adhesive already.