Tuesday, April 21, 2020
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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“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” — Gustav Mahler
Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day!
New Facebook Group: How the coronavirus is impacting RVers. Learn about park closings, cancelled rallies and RV shows — and more. Your input requested.
RV Life in a Coronavirus World: “The Adventure From Hell (Or: Don & Sue’s Excellent COVID Adventures)”
We have asked RVtravel.com readers to tell us how they are adapting to life these days.
“We like to tell folks we’re ‘rainbirds.’ We get away from the dark, wet Northwest winters in our Country Coach, heading to South Carolina and our younger daughter’s place for even-year Christmases or just SoCal and Arizona in odd-years, when we do Christmas with the eldest here in WA before heading south. This year was going to be different…” Continue reading Don and Sue’s story for just how different it turned out to be!
Tip of the Day
RV grill connection confusion
By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a letter he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.
I have purchased a Class A motorhome that has an LP accessory, which is also low pressure. Therefore, I cannot use my existing grill as the flame control and regulator is one piece. I was told I need a grill that has a separate flame control and no regulator. I have checked all over Phoenix and Las Vegas and no one has that type of grill or any type of conversion product. Why would Winnebago put this accessory on a coach if there is limited product availability? Can you give me any suggestions to solve this issue? —Jerry
Do you have a tip? Submit it here.
RV driving: Understanding grade signs
If you’re new to RVing, or have spent your time in the Midwest flatlands, first hitting mountain country can be a bit of an eye-opener. Those yellow warning signs that talk about a “steep grade,” often accompanied by a percentage number, can be confusing. Road grades seem mysterious at first, but really are simple. Learn more in this article from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Yesterday’s featured article: Keep little kids from falling out your RV’s front door
‘Earthquake Putty’ keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Collectors Hold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. Learn more or order.
Are you licensed properly?
In many jurisdictions, if you only possess a regular driver’s license you are not allowed to pull a trailer over 10,000 lbs. (4600 kg). If you’re not licensed properly, and in the event of a claim, your insurance company could deny you coverage. You could as well be ticketed or shut down on the side of the highway. Don’t put yourself in a position that will cause you grief. If you’re not sure, check with the licensing standards department of your state/province. Our thanks to George Bliss
Random RV Thought
Here’s an idea for you while you’re self-quarantining: Record your family history on your iPhone or video camera. If you want some inspiration, we recommend you get the book To Our Children’s Children. It will prompt many ideas of what to talk about. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate this when you are gone. Think about it, wouldn’t you love it if your parents could have done this for you? Don’t put this off.
Take Vitamin C to keep your immune system healthy
One easy thing you can do to help keep your immune system healthy? Take Vitamin C. Find a large selection here. (We just bought these!)
Website of the day
America’s abandoned rest stops
This list from Thrillist is incredible. Take a look at these abandoned rest areas all over the country. You’ll want to plan a few stops at these once you’re traveling again!
And the Survey Says…
We’ve polled RVtravel.com readers more than 1,500 times in recent years. Here are a few things we’ve learned about them:
• 15 percent would go to Mars if they had the chance
• 94 percent do not have a security camera for their RV
• 22 percent take six or more medications daily
Recent poll: Are you doing your major grocery shopping online to be delivered to you? Please tell us here.
What state are you in right now? Does the name of that state contain the letter Q? Nope. In fact, not a single U.S. state has a Q in its name.
*How many paintings did Van Gogh sell while he was alive? We told you yesterday.
Hide dirty laundry, and save space too!
Sometimes where to put those worn clothes waiting for wash day is the pits. Many hide a basket in the shower stall, but here’s another approach: Hang that dirty laundry out – not for everyone to see, but on the back of a closet door. Zippers on this one make it easy to open, and the company includes a couple of different hooks to help you hang it. Find it on Amazon for a great price.
Leave here with a laugh
Don’t tell secrets in the garden. The potatoes have eyes, the beanstalk, and the corn has ears!
Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY!
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RV PARKS OPEN FOR BUSINESS:
These parks are open for business for self-isolating and have asked that we spread the word.
Big Chief RV Resort, Burnet, Texas
Walnut Hills Campground and RV Park, Staunton, Virginia
Oakwood RV Resort, Fredericksburg, TX
Larsson’s Crooked Creek RV Resort, Hill City, SD
Own a park you’d like listed here? Send the park name, web address and city and we’ll include it here. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. No charge.
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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editor: Diane McGovern. Advertising director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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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where can you find out about licensing for each state
I’m from Pennsylvania. I am a retired D.L.E. (drivers license examiner) and our information is available at exam centers as well as the states drivers license web sites. I’m sure most states have web sites that have that info available there as well.
I need a new roof on my TT. Any recommendations in Florida?
Well since our Planet Fitness is closed where would go 3 times a week (when we’re near one) and walk a couple of miles the other days, these days we’re riding our bikes 8 miles each morning and lately there’s been quite a bit of wind so we are definitely getting an aerobic workout. So far we’ve got over 175 miles done. If I don’t lose weight now I never will.
I have been walking twice each day most days if it’s not raining. I feel better because of the exercise. I figure that the stronger my lungs and heart are, the better I’ll be able to fight the virus if I am unlucky enough to get it. I wear a mask and avoid walking near other people. I wish everyone did the same. Our county has 28,154 confirmed cases (there are probably many more but tests are not readily available) and 888 deaths to date. You would think people would be more careful but until it happens to someone close to you I guess people take unnecessary risks. Anyway, walking outside renews the spirit and makes confinement less awful.
Today’s “public service” product suggestions seem to miss the mark for RVers.
The Earthquake Putty does not get great reviews from RVers. I wish I could find the discussion where RVers weighed in, but the product is more challenged in the non-stop earthquakes of an RV. Please weigh in on comments if it has worked for you.
The Laundry Bag may work for something spacious like a Prevost, but my closets have no room for such luxuries hanging on the door. I couldn’t even hang a piece of paper on the door and close it.
I have two of the collapsible, pop-up (spring loaded) laundry/beach bags. On the first couple of days, laundry gets stuffed on the bottom of the closet. Then I pop open #1 bag and put in shower, moving the closet lump into the bag. When the #1 bag is full, I pop open the #2 bag and mentally note I have about two more days until I have to do laundry.
https://amzn.to/34RlhmG I have not tried this brand. It just an example picture of one of the styles available. They are also available at Walmart, Dollar Tree and other stores.
Note: I use a rubber band to keep them closed when not in use.
Quick Tip – Are you licensed properly?
DRIVER’S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS IN ALL 50 STATES:
Here is the best link to all 50 States – Driver’s License Requirements:
OTHER PREVIOUS ARTICLES:
NEW DRIVER’S CONFIDENCE COURSE:
DRIVER’S LICENSE IN TEXAS:
In TEXAS, a Non-CDL Class A License authorizes and individual to drive a vehicle or combination of vehicles:
1) Not described under a Class B or Class C Driver License
2) With a GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds including vehicles in Class B or Class C.
I’m exercising less (a lot!) because I broke my leg Feb 14th! Can’t wait for the 12 weeks to be up so that I can get back to walking along the beach!
Feeling empathy for you and hoping you don’t have to wait any longer than 3 months to get on your feet. Being sedentary for that length of time is very difficult emotionally while your muscle mass turns to jello. Last Sept I broke my leg in 3 places, broke my ankle and had significant trauma to my foot. Had to keep it elevated for almost 4 months, it was 5 months before they let me rest my foot on the floor and in March physical therapy had me taking steps with the assistance of hiking poles. I am walking with a limp now but am determined to lose that limp. It is wonderful to be on my feet again and I will be thinking of you in the coming months and praying for healing and progress for you Marilyn.
So sorry Marilyn. My wife broke her leg on Feb 5th. We were sheltering in place before it was the new normal. I walk alone now. The neighbors are like, what’s up?
Anyone driving the mountain passes of the Western United States, needs this directory. Helped us make decisions to travel some roads we might not have and kept us away from others. Available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Mountain-Directory-Truckers-Motorhome-Drivers/dp/0977629015/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Western+states+mountain+directory&qid=1587486038&s=books&sr=1-3
A close RV buddy of mine related a nightmare a friend of his had while driving their Country Coach in California. A local police office pulled them over and asked for his class “B” drivers license (rigs over 26k lbs GVWR). All he had was the Texas standard class “C” license. The officer said he was not allowed to legally drive in California due to the weight of his RV being 45k lbs He was required to drive the coach to the local impound lot and park it. He had to fly back to Houston to obtain his class “B” certificate. He then flew back to California to get his coach after paying storage fees. For nightmarish reasons like this, in addition to insurance liability in case of accidents, everyone who drives an RV in excess of 26k lbs should take the test. It’s easy.
Some states have exemptions for personal motor homes when it comes to special licenses. My understanding is that if you are legal in your local jurisdiction, then you are legal in other states, too.
Unfortunately, your friend from Texas needed a ‘B exempt’ license for any vehicle with a GVW greater than 26,000 lbs.
Definitely safer at 55 MPH but I think it should be 60 MPH for all motor homes and anyone pulling any kind of trailer.
Typical for Kalifornia . They have some pretty overbearing laws. I particularly hated the 55mph speed limit for 3 axles or more. That is dangerous.
No, it is much safer..stay to the right, slow lane and you will roll right along..
Diesel engines only have compression braking when equipped with a jake brake or an exhaust brake, both are add-on devices.
Sorry Tom, but I believe you’re only half right. It’s my understanding that Jake brakes (engine brake) must be designed into the actual valve train, so there’s no aftermarket kits that I’m aware of.
I am exercising less (walking on our 20-acre property) not because of the virus, but because the mosquitoes have hatched. In a week or two, their numbers will abate and I can get back to my 4-5 miles a day.
Thank you for the book suggestion of “the last stop”. I hope in my travels to finally get off the interstate and back on the old state highways, where everything still is.
Worked in a Jackson Hole campground for about 15 summers. The road west, into Idaho, is a 5% grade, for 5 miles, and 60,000# max load. Lots of signs. 5% is not too bad but for 5 miles, with curves, is a long haul. But people don’t read the signs and go this road because is shorter into Idaho. Seen lots being towed back down, with engine shot. Lots come in with hot or failed breaks. Seen some with breaks gone and transmissions over heated. Read the signs and ask about roads.
Gary you are so right about that one. That’s the road I nearly lost the rig on, which I described in the commentary on the article, no need to repeat here BUT – read and heed folks.. Understanding that one could save your life.
Thanks once again to Russ and Tina for that piece.
Gary… not to be a smart a$$, but the word is spelled “brake”….
I believe the road you are talking about has a 12% grade. I drove it once and it is steep coming down. So glad I have a Jake brake on my rig for that one. A 5% grade is really not much of a grade.
That article on Grade needs fixed. The line “Diesel engines do not have near the compression braking of Gas engines.” is reversed and completely wrong.
Gas engines have practically no compression braking whereas Diesel engines have tons of compression braking as that is how the fuel is fired off.
Richard, sorry but you’re wrong. Diesel engines don’t have a throttle plate like a gasoline engine does, so they don’t create any vacuum in the intake manifold when you let off the throttle. That means there’s no natural compression braking action when you take your foot off the throttle. To add this sort of braking action diesel engines need to add exhaust braking or true compression/release braking. Exhaust brakes are essentially a valve on the exhaust manifold that closes up when you take your foot off the throttle. So backing up the exhaust pressure you create a brake effect on the engine.
However, exhaust brakes don’t work well on some diesel engines such as Sprinter since that engine design uses hydraulic lifters and the valve geometry is an interference fit. So if the exhaust valves are held open by the exhaust back pressure, the hydraulic lifters will stack up and allow the valves to hit the pistons. That’s very bad indeed. So exhaust brakes are available aftermarket for mainly mechanical lifter diesel engines. True compression/release brakes on a diesel engine are what’s commonly called a “Jake Brake” or “Jacobs brake”. It opens exhaust valves to the cylinders right before the compression stroke ends, releasing the compressed gas trapped in the cylinders, and thereby slowing the vehicle. You generally can select 2, 4, or all 6 cylinders to be in “Jake Brake” mode. These Jake brakes must be designed into the actual valve train, so there’s no aftermarket kits that I’m aware of.
On the other had, gasoline engines have a throttle plate, so when you take your foot off the “gas” there’s a vacuum created in the intake manifold, and that vacuum does create a bit of an engine braking effect. It’s not nearly as much braking force as a diesel engine that’s had an exhaust brake added to it, or a Jake brake designed into it. But to circle back to your comment, gasoline engines naturally have more “compression” braking than a diesel engine, unless the diesel engine includes an exhaust brake or a Jake brake.
Hope that clarifies things a bit. You all didn’t know I worked in a truck repair shop rebuilding diesel engines for Mack Trucks when I was a teenager, did you? No, I will not rebuild your DP engine….
I/we know now Mike. Thanks for the detailed explanation.
Nothing left out of the explaining, and in a language most folks can grasp. You never fail us Mike – thanks.
Dang! Is there anything Mike doesn’t know about? 😯 —Diane at RVtravel.com
Glenn, this is an excellent link that explains this issue as well as Mike’s.
And here’s an excellent historic reference of the attempted speed record that caused the invention of the Jake Brake:
The need for such a braking system was experienced by inventor Clessie L. Cummins. In August 1931, Clessie Cummins, Ford Moyer, and Dave Evans driving a Cummins diesel powered Indiana truck from New York to Los Angeles attempted to set a new truck speed record across the continent. All went well until the descent of the Cajon Pass leading into San Bernardino, CA, a long and steep gravel road which almost led to the demise of the truck and its driver, Clessie Cummins.
In 1955, Clessie began studying what might be done to turn his engine into an effective “brake”, or vehicle retarder. An idea for a practical method came to Clessie in 1957. The idea revolved around taking advantage of perfectly timed motion already built into Cummins and Detroit Diesel engines; these engines have a third cam on the main camshaft that activates the fuel injector of each cylinder. A simple retrofit mechanism could transfer motion to open the exhaust valve. A patent was ultimately granted by the U.S. Patent Office.
Although the principles were proven by mechanically transferring the injector motion, a more practical method was to use a fully hydraulic motion and force transfer. The first retarder housings of the prototype design were installed on a Cummins diesel engine in a truck owned and operated by the Sheldon Oil Company. The initial run with the engine brake was to one of their plants just at the eastern base of the grade, down the Sierras on U.S. Highway 50 near Lake Tahoe.
In April 1960, Jacobs Manufacturing Company made the decision to establish its new Clessie L. Cummins Division, (now named Jacobs Vehicle Systems) for the manufacture of the engine brake. The first production units for the Cummins NH series engines left the factory in 1961, followed shortly by a brake for the Detroit 71 series.
The firm split in 1986 and chuck manufacturing now takes place in Clemson, South Carolina and engine brake production in Bloomfield, CT.
When you lift off the gas pedal, that plate closes off the intake nearly completely. The air intake system in a diesel is always fully open. Thus, when you lift off the pedal in a diesel-engined vehicle, the fuel supply is reduced, but there is no vacuum effect to slow the engine. Thus, no “compression” braking. That’s why most diesel engines feature an exhaust retard brake assist system.