Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can You Have Your Sliced Bread And Eat It Too? - Low Carb/Calorie Bread???

    "The Best thing Since Sliced Bread!" That quote lives on and on. Back in the day, buying a loaf of bread meant having to slice it at home. Then, miraculously, you could buy one pre-sliced into perfectly even slices. Amazing! Well, at the time, it was. There's nothing I like better than bread...especially squishy bread that's moist and delicious. That being said, I'm still on my carb-restricted diet, so that stuff (and many of my other favorites) are off the table, so to speak. I have been pretty successful finding low carb and tasty substitutes for various things, but good tasting bread wasn't one of them. until now!

While wandering through my local supermarket, I stumbled across a loaf of white bread that boasted on 6 grams of carbs per slice and (only 40 calories!) I was really did seem too good to be true. So, of course, I bought one of each type....white and wheat (Italian was sold out!). I couldn't wait to get home to try it! It's been almost 3 YEARS since I've eaten a piece of bread! I know...seems incredible....even to me. But here was the solution, in my grocery bag...I hoped. So many, "so called" substitutes for things are not even pale imitations of the real thing. A perfect example is the noodle or pasta. So far I have found nothing that truly compare. So my expectations were pretty low for this bread.

Once home, I opened the white bread bag first. OK, so it sure smells like regular soft white bread...and it looked good too. None of that weird texture of gluten free products. I picked up a slice, felt like a slice of white bread. Looking closely it even appeared to have the same structure at the baked dough level. Could this be real? I took a bite. OH MY! It tastes just like bread with over 15 grams of carbs! It wasn't even the "skinny" slice that many dieters are used to seeing. Full thickness! I grabbed a piece of cheese and ate the rest. Delicious.

What about toast? I REALLY like toast. I've spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find the best way to make toast on the road with limited electricity. It has become less important since I stopped eating bread....but not anymore!  I put a slice in the toaster and VOILA! It was toast. Seems so simple, but good toast is one of life's simple pleasures. Now I can have it again and so can you! The final test? I have a sandwich toaster that I used to use all the time. Two slices (or four at a time and it will toast and seal the edges while cutting the end result into two diagonally cut halves. Usually I put in some cheese (Swiss or American are favorites) and just eat it. Even better with soup. OK so I can't have 4 slices without some guilt, but when you haven't had a single slice in a long time. TWO is total decadence! Well, the test was a complete
success! When I pulled the pieces apart I got an ooey gooey string of Swiss cheese...Amazing! It's made by Schmidt Old Tyme Bakeries and it's called "647." I have NO idea why, but I don't's great! The supermarket charged 3.99 (3.49 on sale) a loaf. Worth EVERY penny!

I'm back more of my favorites is back on the menu. It DOES have far more dietary fiber than a regular slice and I was worried that may have affected me badly. But it didn't! Perhaps it's indicative of folks considering their health and weight more, but I have seen more products surfacing that cater to low carb and healthy diets of late. Perhaps it's a trend. I'm OK with that.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road.

Rich "The Wanderman"

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Disc or Drum Rear Brakes - Are Four Wheel Disc Brakes A Must?

    Most new RV's have Disc Brakes on all 4 Wheels. Mine doesn't. I have Discs on the front, but drums on the back. Recently I had some problems during a trip that triggered a set of brake repair woes. It's all fixed now, but I got to wondering if it wouldn't be better to have discs in the rear as well. There are kits available to make the swap (Around $400.00 for the parts plus labor) but is it really necessary? I mean I just replaced all the worn out parts in my rear drum brake system so they are working quite well now. Should I (or You!) make the swap? Is it beneficial...I mean is it?

My Front Disc Brakes
By way of background, during a trip I noticed a slight leak on my rear wheel while I was stopped for gas. I should have looked MUCH more closely. 12 hours later, my brakes failed. Well not all of them. Just one. The rear right drum's actuation cylinder ruptured and I lost most of my brake fluid while trying to get stopped. NOT FUN when towing a trailer. I did get safely stopped in a rest area and used Google to find local mobile repair guys. Called a few, one got back to me in the Early AM and promptly came out to look. We determined I could drive the RV, with a very low pedal and only front brakes the 1.2 miles to their shop. Long story short, I was stuck for 2 days waiting for parts to arrive. They did, and it was repaired. Of course, this could happen with disc brakes as well. A hose or steel line could rupture and the same thing would have happened. But....maybe the parts would have been easier to source?

My Old Drums
Let's take at look at drums versus disc brakes. In a drum based system, the friction pads (that's what stops you when you apply the pedal by converting kinetic energy into heat) push out onto the inner surface of the drum. Disc brakes squeeze a thin metal disc with friction pads. Drums are all internal, discs are external. Meaning you can see the pads and the surface they push against. The main enemy here is heat buildup. Drum brakes will work fine until they are so saturated by heat that they "fade" and lose their effectiveness. Once cooled down, they will work again. That being said, since they are heavy iron construction, the cool-down could take a while. Discs are out in the open air, so they cool quicker. They can still become overwhelmed by heat, but it's more difficult and they cool rapidly to restore effectiveness. So discs are better, right? Well not necessarily.

The Disc Itself
In most vehicles, the front brakes account for 60-90 percent of the overall stopping power. Current (beginning in the 1980's) drum brakes were more than up to the task of stopping the other 40 to 10 percent. In my case, 85% of stopping power is accounted for by the front brakes with only 15% delegated to the rear drum setup. So is it really a necessity to changeover? In addition, there is a device, called a proportioning valve that modulates the front/rear braking force (bias) and it's expensive if you need a new one, To swap to discs in the rear I may need to buy and adjust this as well. After much thought...No, it isn't. Perhaps when the rear shoes wear out or another failure occurs I will reconsider.

But, since I just spent a lot of money on an overhaul of the rear drum brakes...I'll stick with them. Besides, they have always stopped my RV without a problem...well, unless you count the day they failed!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich"The Wanderman"

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Hard To See - Dollar Store Glasses - Are They Worth It?

    OK, I'll admit I age, my eyesight is slowly getting worse. Like many folks, close up and tiny text are beginning to become an issue as my arms aren't getting any longer. My sight is fairly good at all other distances, so I'm not ready for glasses...yet. In the meantime, for the rare-ish occasions I need some magnification and DON'T want to look like Sherlock Holmes using a spy glass, I looked around to see what was available to purchase. You know,  some reading-magnifying glasses. Wow, they sure can be expensive! However, the cheapest ones I could find were only a Dollar at a DOLLAR store...not much of a coincidence there! Would they work? Are they OK to use?? Read on, to find out.

These type of glasses come in various strengths. What strength can be determined by their "Diopter" value. Typically, they come in +1.00 up to +3.25 diopter ratings. What's a Diopter? It's a fancy way of describing the focal length of the glass. Suffice to say, it's an indicator of how strong they are and how much magnification you can expect. Best way to choose is to try them on and read something small! Be aware that the higher the number the more distortion you will get when moving your head around. It's very vertigo inducing and will likely give you a headache if used at too strong a magnification for too long. I've found that for tiny work and tiny text, 1.50 works well. But if I move my head too much or try and move around (like walk!) I get nasty headaches almost right away.

I tried lower than 1.50 and it wasn't enough power. Especially if the text was low contrast, like on some colored labeling. Any higher and it's really nausea inducing unless you keep your head VERY steady. I imagine it would be fine for close up watch battery replacement, but don't try to walk with them doesn't work! Let's just say, well, OUCH! I walked into a cabinet that way. They are available with metal or plastic frames and in lots of shapes, styles and colors...easy to find one that you like. They are so inexpensive, that I've taken to leaving a pair in my tool box. This way, if I get into a situation that requires them...I won't have to go looking. I wonder how long THAT will last!  Too bad they can't fix my memory as easily as my tiny text issue!

Who knows, maybe in the future I'll break down and need to get a pair of regular prescription lenses. But, for now. these work just fine.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"