Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Fine Art Of Procrastination - Now In RV Flavor!

Pre-Winter Cleaning
    I have so many projects that I want to accomplish. Of course, I have so many projects that I HAVE TO accomplish, the wants get overridden by the needs. I have the feeling that I am not the only one. Most RVers understand that you have a house that travels down the road at highway speeds and lots of things shake, rattle and roll. Invariably, stuff breaks and has to be repaired. Usually right away, since you need that particular thing to work. Like the lights or the bathroom or the understand. I know you do! This year, it's going to be different. Now that my RV is winterized, but the weather is still pretty decent (Yes, weathermen/women have NO idea what the weather will be!), I have some time to get to some of the projects I have been putting off. Well, at least that's my good intention anyway.

HID Headlight Kit
As we all know...the road to...hell is paved with good intentions. But I AM going to try and get some of these tasks completed before Old Man Winter puts a damper on any outdoor work. I've had several projects lined up that I just haven't gotten around to. You see, life seems to keep encroaching on my, so called, free time. I've had an HID headlight replacement scheduled since last year! And a remote key-fob controlled porch light retrofit for even longer. And those are the easy ones! Maybe I am beginning to understand this whole retirement thing. When you retire you get lots of time back? Well, it seems all my retired friends work more now than they did when they weren't retired! Does it ever become easier to get things done in a reasonable amount of time?

Winter, It's Coming!
I know, that's likely a rhetorical question. But it's sure nice to dream about! I'll wager that I am not the only one who has procrastination issues. "Why put off today what you can put off tomorrow?" I like to tinker and work on various just seems that lately I have had less and less "tinkering" time to play with. Now that winter is coming...I begin to think about all the projects that DIDN'T get done. I wish I had a really big and tall heated garage, so I could park my RV inside...never winterize and get to work all winter long regardless of the weather. But I don't...yet!

Who knows what could happen in the future...Maybe I could move where it's warmer year round? Naaaahhh, then I would just put off more projects so I could travel more! That's the ticket!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Do You Know When To Begin Winterizing?

    Yesterday I spent a couple of hours cleaning the RV in preparation for winterizing it for the cold weather to come. It's been getting colder recently. Especially on the overnights. Of course, it's going to be almost 80 degrees today and won't cool off again until next week or the week after. So how do you know when to begin the actual winterization process without a weather crystal ball? The short answer? You don't. Every year I go through the same conundrum, will it get below freezing for long enough at night that my water pipes will freeze and crack? You have to balance the fear and risk with the rewards. How?

Well, that's the many ten's of thousands of dollars question (could be more than that!) If you Winterize too late, you risk lots of damage and VERY expensive repair bills. If you begin too early, then you may miss out on a fantastic, late season trip. Fall foliage drives and camping is particularly beautiful. Of course, you COULD winterize and then take the trip without your shower and your bathroom, but what kind of civilized RV travel is that? I love being inside my RV when it's "brisk" outside. Sipping a coffee or other beverage with the furnace keeping things toasty. Those Fall mornings are amazing in general, but from the inside of an RV. even more so! If you use some common sense, you can prevent any kind of freeze damage from occurring in the first place. Remember, most RV's are NOT designed for very cold weather, but with a few things in mind can usually be used for three seasons (There ARE 4 season rated RV's...but mine REALLY isn't!) without any trouble at all.

I Use Compressed Air To Winterize
Contrary to popular belief, your RV water pipes won't freeze the minute the weather dips below freezing. It takes a while to cool everything down before ice crystals begin to form. If you've ever used an old fashioned ice tray, you know how long it takes to get that first batch of cubes. What you should try and figure out is how long it takes for your RV's water system to actually get below freezing and stay there long enough to cause freeze damage. I've read lots of advice to keep the water from freezing. Leave a small trickle coming out of the faucets, heat the underbelly tanks, insulate the whole underside of your RV and MANY more. They all work to some degree, but to be completely safe....I hate to say it....Winterize.

Typical RV Water Line & P-Trap Anti-freeze
Lately, the weather forecasting in my area of the North Eastern United States has been terrible. It seems that the weather  folks have about the same chance of guessing the next week's weather as our old friend the Ground Hog. (Great Trip destination BTW..Punxsutawney, PA, home of the most famous ground hog) What do you do without truly accurate forecasting. In my humble opinion, better safe than sorry. When the weather really gets below freezing for a day or two for more than 4 hours at night AND the weather during the day has been around 50 degrees or less it's time to winterize. I use compressed air to blow out most of the water from my pipes and fixtures. Then make sure you pour RV water line antifreeze down each sink and shower drain. Don't forget some on the seals of the toilet valve. This way all the water is displaced and none can freeze and break your drains or water lines. Believe me...I had my shower p-trap crack because of freezing was bad. Hard to fix and taught me a valuable lesson.

 I know it would be a pain in the...well, you know, but you could always fill up with water again if you were wrong. But imagine if you weren't and you saved yourself a lot of grief.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Keep Your Interior Clean? Is That Possible In An RV?

The Entry-way
    We all know that an RV can be parked just about anyplace. Of course I mean legally! I've been to all sorts of places over the years. Some nice and clean (like parking lots) some not so much. It seems no matter where I am camped, dust and dirt will find its way inside and end up on the carpets. Now, understand...I really don't have that much carpet, but it gets dusty and dirty nonetheless. I'll wager you have the same issue. I've written about great little 12 Volt vacuum cleaners in the past and they work great, but what about keeping the dirt out in the first place? Well, not completely out (since that's basically impossible) but to a minimum. Is that possible? Well, sort of.

Keep it out! That's the first rule of keeping dust and dirt off your carpets (well, floors and furniture too!) in your RV. I typically leave my shoes on the bottom step leading into my RV. This is the first one AFTER the retractable step. It's carpeted, but has a replaceable pad that I wash periodically. You have to remember you've left shoes on the step, though. It could get dangerous if you trip over them (don't ask me how I know this.) In inclement weather, I also cover the carpet pad with a plastic automotive carpet cover. The ones designed for rear seat floors, fits pretty nicely and are very inexpensive to boot. I also have a garbage bag tied near the door for umbrellas. Wet carpet and too little ventilation smells like...well, bad.
Typical Shoe Cleaner

Even something as simple as having a small carpet or shoe brush device on your retractable step (if it fits when retracted!) or on the ground will serve to reduce the amount of dust and dirt tracked inside your RV. When I am inside, I prefer to go barefoot. Getting pieces of whatever stuck on or IN my feet isn't compatible with my relaxation strategy. There are small sections of my wood floor that aren't covered by carpet. I try and keep these clean between trips with a floor finish product and then just sweep them gently when tying to get rid of dust and dirt. If you are good at sweeping, you can sweep it right out the door and over the retractable step!

Once dust gets in, it will end up in the strangest places. I always notice it on my stove vent. It's shiny and black, so dust is very noticeable. If it's there, it's likely settled on the furniture as well. On hard surfaces, a soft damp (not WET!) cloth will do wonders. Also those inexpensive dusters that come in a three pack, (mine are green) think of old-fashioned feather dusters, but without real feathers, work REALLY well on hard-to-get-to spots. I bought my set at a dollar store for 2 dollars. I know...why wasn't it ONE dollar?

Many people have allergies or are sensitive to dust in the air. Aside from running a powered air filter, keeping the dust down to a minimum will help a great deal. Simple steps like these will also lessen the cleaning load a lot! And everyone knows I HATE cleaning!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Make The Most Of Your Countertop Storage.

    I am always looking for clever ways to get the most out of the limited storage in my RV. So many appliances today take up so much counter space it's difficult to juggle them all. I don't have enough counter space to leave anything actually ON the counter, but if I did this little gizmo would be a great addition. It allows your appliance to slide back and forth, out of the way. If you are lucky enough to have a deep counter, this will allow you to leave all your counter-top appliances at the very back edge of the counter and slide them forward only when in use. This will free up a lot of counter real estate for other uses.

This gizmo is a bit different from other designs I have seen in the past. It does not use any ball bearings or metal in its construction. The surfaces that rub together are manufactured from a teflon like material on the surface, so it slides smoothly even with a heavy appliance on top. Because of this style of construction it's only 1/2 " tall. This is great news if you have low hanging cabinets across the back of your galley counter space. What this gizmo DOESN'T do is hold the appliance in place. I've seen quite a few newer RV's outfitted with Appliance "garages" some with sliding doors that will keep your appliances from becoming projectiles while you're driving. Obviously, it's a bad thing if your appliances get loose. Glass coffee carafes are especially nasty when they shatter.

My "Carafe Strap"
 With a couple of pieces of velcro and some screws, you can build a strap(s) to hold your appliances to the back wall when stored. Simply pull the strap open and slide out to use. Necessity is truly the mother of invention. My under cabinet mounted coffee maker had one installed and it's traveled well over 50,000 miles without any incident at all!

This little beauty is available at most large stores including wal-mart and cost only $3.00. I am 100% sure there will be other uses for this sliding tray...I just have to come up with them. I like items that are multi-tasking...

It's always best to make the most of what you have. Sage advice. Not just for counters either.

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"