Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We're On The Road Again!

Greetings from Gold Beach, Oregon.

We are on the road again, finally! Our last RV trip took place in March of this year and for one unavoidable reason or another we have not been out since. Six months is the longest period of time our RV has sat in storage since we started RVing in 1963.

In addition to the time opportunity, we had two incentives to head north from the Kieva homestead. The first incentive was the birth of our first great-grandchild, Bentley Edward Kieva in Sacramento, California. We arrived 12 hours after our grand-daughter Amanda, gave birth and spent a couple days watching baby Benny being passed around from one admirer to the next (including us).

Next stop was AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon ( 541-726-1091) where our good friend and all-around RV electrical wizard, Greg Holder, checked out our RV's non-performing inverter. He announced that it had an incurable boo-boo and installed a new, improved one (inverter, that is). Inverters are a (gulp!) big ticket item.

A few years ago we decided to keep our 1998 motor home. The idea was to invest a few thousand dollars in repairing, replacing and upgrading our present RV instead of spending more than a hundred thousand dollars on a new one. We knew that when the time came, we would be replacing, rather than repairing, the aging appliances. So far, we have only replaced a television, a microwave/convection oven, and the inverter. We also paid to have the oxidized exterior paint polished back to its original shine. Those were all what we consider high dollar items but, all totaled, they come to a lot less than what the payments on a new rig would have been.

Right now we are cruising south along the beautiful Oregon coast. The California Redwoods are next, followed by a visit with our good friend, Bill Moeller. Then a tour of the wineries of Napa, another visit with baby Benny and home. It is good to be on the road again.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Say Hello

If you enjoy meeting people but don't want to feel as though you are intruding on them, a campground is the ideal place to be. Most RVers and campers, you see, are pretty gregarious. They seem to enjoy meeting new people and making friends.

To meet RVers, we suggest that you take two walks around the campground every day. The first walk should take place after most of the travelers have arrived but well before nightfall. You will be able to look at the various types of rigs that have come in and inspect the ingenious camping gadgets and gear that RVers invariably come up with.

This walk also provides an opportunity to meet new people. Just be sure to observe the body language of the campers who are outside. Some will be sitting way to the rear of their campsite with their backs to the road. Obviously, these folks are not particularly interested in socializing at the moment. Other campers will be sitting under their awning. They’ll be facing the road, hats on the back of their heads. They will have a drink in their hand and their dog will be wagging his tail. These folks are ready! A real giveaway is the guy who is sitting so close to the road he has to pull back his feet every time an RV passes by.

A sure fire conversation starter is “Hello.” Works every time. Follow that with an admiring word about their rig, dog or hat and you have just made a new friend. The most popular questions in a campground are “Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” and “Where have you been?” Ask any one of those questions and you'll be thought of as an interesting person. You are interesting because you appear interested.

The second walk of each day should be taken after dark. RVers have a tendency to leave the blinds of their RVs open for an hour or so after dinner. This gives you the opportunity to see how they have decorated the interior of their rig and to see if they have the good sense to drink your brand of .. ahh.... lemonade. Both of these subjects make excellent conversation starters when you see those folks outside the next day.

Many campgrounds and RV parks create opportunities for their guests to socialize. They conduct campfires with story telling, singing and various forms of entertainment. We’ve also seen quilting bees, exercise classes and craft fairs offered at RV parks and campgrounds.

The campground laundry room is a popular place to meet RVers. If you are waiting for your clothes to wash or dry, you might as well start talking to the others who are also waiting for their clothes to wash or dry. We have gotten some of our best camping and traveling information from people we’ve met in campground laundry rooms. This is an excellent way to find out what’s down the road. There is a fifty-fifty chance that the people you are talking with have just come from the direction you are heading. They can clue you in about road and traffic conditions, campgrounds, tourist attractions and good places to eat.

Speaking of places to eat. Have you noticed how many RV parks and campgrounds are now offering their guests the opportunity to buy their morning or evening meal without the bother of leaving the campground. The eating facility may be as simple as a grouping of picnic tables next to an outdoor grill or as elaborate as a full-blown restaurant right on the grounds. What better place to socialize with fellow campers than over a meal?

Start with “hello.” You will discover that RVers are the friendliest bunch of people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.

Enjoy The Journey!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Options, Add-ons and Accessories

Dear Joe and Vicki: It's time to buy another RV. We know what type and size we want but are having trouble deciding what options, add-ons and accessories to get. Would you mind telling us which you would want on your next RV?

Joe: We don't even know what type and size RV we would choose, never mind what options we'd want. But here are the ones that would most likely make our list:

Hydraulic levelers for a motorhome or electric jack for a trailer. Leveling and stabilizing an RV is faster and easier with these back savers.

Awnings all around. Whenever possible, we park so our street-side wall faces north or east and misses the hot afternoon sun. Our curb-side wall gets shaded by our awning. Our next RV will also have awnings for all the windows. Glass radiates a lot of heat to the inside of an RV.

Windshield covers. A "see-through" sunscreen is used during the summer. It blocks most of the sun but still admits light and we can see what's going on outside. Mounting it inside keeps the sunscreen clean but allows the windshield to receive the full brunt of the sun's heat.

Roof-mounted air-conditioner(s). We prefer to avoid hot climates and temperatures whenever we can. Our air-conditioners provide relief when we can't.

Generator. The most frequent users of the generator are the roof air-conditioners. When driving during real hot weather we turn on the generator and run our motorhome's roof air-conditioners rather than using our dash air-conditioner. We can also run our refrigerator on electricity at the same time.

High-volume roof-vent fan. Our Fantastic Fan is usually all we need to keep the interior of our RV comfortable.

Roof-vent covers allow us to operate the roof-vent fan during wet weather. We can also drive down the highway with our roof vent open and know it will still be there at the end of the day.

Gas/electric water heater. Operating the water heater on electricity (when we have an electric hookup) conserves propane and silently maintains water temperature.

Microwave/convection oven. Quick meal preparation and cool operation. The convection oven will do just about anything a gas oven will do, except heat up the interior of the RV. A gas oven is nice, though, when you don't have electric hookups and don't want to disturb the peace and quiet with your generator.

Vicki: Maybe we'll check out a refrigerator-truck conversion when we look for our next RV.

Enjoy The Journey!

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deterring Critters

Dear Joe and Vicki: We seem to be having a lot of trouble with ants getting into our trailer. Any thoughts on how to discourage critters and pests from entering RVs?

Joe: Try to locate and seal off the openings that could allow those unwelcome visitors to enter your rig.

One way to do this is to wait until its dark outside. Open and illuminate all the interior closets and cabinets next to the floor. Now check under the outside of the RV to see if any light is coming through.

Conversely, you can also light up the outside of the RV and see if you can find any light making its way into the darkened interior of the coach.

Follow plumbing and wiring to where it passes through floors and walls. Do this both inside and outside. Once you have located all the potential entryways, seal them by injecting some Styrofoam into the openings (you can get spray cans of Styrofoam at your hardware store). Not too much, though. The Styrofoam expands after it leaves the can and a little goes a long way.

The advantage to using Styrofoam is that it won’t damage anything and it can be easily removed if the plumbing or wiring has to be worked on.

Closing these openings will not only help keep out critters, it will seal out dust and moisture as well.

Vicki: Occasionally you’ll camp in an area where ants know how to get into RVs. When it looks like ants might be a problem, we spread a small amount of borax powder or kitchen cleanser containing bleach around the RV’s tires, the leveling jacks and any other items on the RV that contact the ground. Ants don’t seem to want to cross this stuff.

We also smear about a light band of petroleum jelly around our electrical cord, water hose and sewer hose to discourage ants from using them as a bridge to our RV. Joe tries to tell people that the slippery hose causes the ants plunge to their death. Actually, they just don’t like walking in the stuff.

Spiders are attracted to the smell of propane but repelled by the smell of a flea collar. So, before we store our RV, we cut a flea collar in two and place the halves in the outside access compartments of our refrigerator and water-heater.

We’ve also been told that fabric softener sheets repel mice. I won’t tell you Joe’s theory on that one.

Don’t overlook the pest products you can find in hardware, garden and grocery stores.

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