Thursday, November 25, 2010

Problem with condensation on RV windows

Dear Joe and Vicki: We are having a lot of problems with condensation on the windows of our RV. The problem is especially bad in the mornings. How do we stop this from happening?

Vicki: Condensation occurs when the warm, moist, interior air of the RV comes into contact with a cool surface. Not only can it happen on the windows and mirrors, but the interior walls of the RV as well.

Moisture in the air comes from a variety of sources. Cooking, bathing, washing dishes, and the moisture in our breath are just a few.

The trick to minimizing condensation is to eliminate or reduce the moisture from the air.

Keep your roof vents cracked open. This will allow moist air to escape.

Turn on a nearby exhaust fan when bathing, washing dishes or cooking. This will remove the moist air before it mixes with the air in the rest of the RV.

Open a window to exchange humid interior air with dry outside air. Even when it's raining, the air inside your RV can be more humid than it is outside.

Joe: We keep a window open at least a half-inch at each end of our RV. We also leave the center roof vent slightly open. Sometimes we operate the roof-vent exhaust fan at low speed.

When cooking creates a lot of steam or when we have guests generating a lot of hot air, the windows and roof vent are opened wider and the speed of the fan increased.

Try different combinations of opening windows, opening roof vents and operating exhaust fans to reduce the moisture inside your RV. If that does not work, try a dehumidifier. You'll find a variety of sizes at both RV accessory and marine supply stores.

Joe and Vicki Kieva are the authors of a number of how-to books and e-books about RVs, RVers and RVing.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Interstate Intelligence

Dear Joe and Vicki: A fellow RVer tried to explain the interstate numbering system to me but I'm still confused. Just what is the system and why is it important to me?

Joe: Knowing how to interpret the interstate numbering system, its mile markers, and exit numbers can be a valuable tool for the RV traveler. The numbers on the interstate signs provide information about your location, direction of travel and distance to your destination. Interstate numbers, mile markers and exit numbers are frequently used on road signs, billboards and radio station advisories. And knowing the numbering system will help you furnish directions when you call for roadside or emergency assistance.

Interstate highways are described as traveling either east-and-west, or north-and-south. There may be areas where an interstate does not run exactly due east/west or north/south but the main direction that most of the road travels is the one used to describe it.

The east/west interstate routes are even-numbered with one or two digits. The numbering system of the east/west interstates begins with the lowest (I-4 in Florida) and progresses to the highest interstate number (I-96 in Michigan).

The north/south interstate routes are odd-numbered with one or two digits. The numbering system of the north/south interstates begins with the lowest (I-5) on the west coast and progresses to the highest interstate number (I-95) on the east coast.

There are also shorter, three-digit interstates. Three-digit interstates usually connect other interstates or provide a loop around a city.

Now you know - if you are on an even-numbered interstate you are traveling either east or west; if you are on an odd-numbered interstate you are traveling either north or south. And if you are on a three-digit interstate, you might be driving in a circle.

Vicki: Interstate highways have mile markers; those little green signs located on the right side of the highway. The signs have a number and possibly the word “mile” written on them.

Mile markers on east/west interstates begin counting from the state’s western state line. Mile markers on north/south interstates begin counting from the state’s southern state line. When an interstate highway originates within a state (I-20 in Texas for example) the numbering begins at the southern or western location where it begins (in this case, at I-20's junction with I-10). So mile marker numbers get higher as you travel north or east. When you cross the state line into another state, the mileage numbers start over again.

The three-digit interstates that form a complete loop (circle) around a city have mile markers that are numbered in a clockwise direction. The numbers begin just west of the spot where an interstate meets the southernmost point of the loop. I-465, for example, is a 53-mile loop around Indianapolis. Mile marker 1 is just west of where I-65 intersects the southernmost point of I-465’s loop. Mile marker 53 is just east of this same intersection.

Most states number their interchanges and exits so they match the nearest mile-marker number. Exit 12, for example, will be very close to mile-marker 12. If you are looking for Exit 12 and you have just passed mile-marker 10 you know your exit is only two miles away.

There are still a few states, however, that number their interchanges and exits consecutively without linking them to the mile markers. In other words Exit 12 may be the 12th exit from the border; but not necessarily at the 12-mile mark. Look at a map to determine which system is being used to mark the interchanges and exits. Better yet, pay attention to the mile markers and exit numbers to see if they match.

Using the interstate numbering system simply amounts to knowing:

Even-numbered interstates go east and west. Odd-numbered interstates go north and south.

When you enter a state from the south or west, the mile markers (and usually the exits) will begin with 1 and get higher as you travel.

When you enter a state from the north or east, the mile-marker numbers (and usually the exit numbers) will be high and get smaller as you travel.

Next time you are driving on an interstate highway pay attention to the highway number, mile markers and exit numbers. Then ask yourself: what highway are you on, what direction are you headed, and what is the nearest mile marker? Those are the questions you will be asked when you report an emergency.

Joe and Vicki Kieva are the authors of a number of how-to books and e-books about RVs, RVers and RVing.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

RVing Tips

We have two credit cards; each from a different bank. Joe carries the credit card of one bank in his wallet. I carry the credit card of the other bank in mine. Neither of us carries both credit cards. That way, if one of us loses a wallet, and we have to cancel the credit card in that wallet, we can use the remaining, still-valid credit card in the other person's wallet.


On hot sunny days, try to select a campsite that points the front of your RV towards the east or south. Your RV's entry-door wall can be protected from the hot afternoon sun by the patio awning. The opposite side-wall will be the naturally shady side of your rig during most of the day.

An RVer who uses campground laundry rooms can't have too many quarters. Save your quarters in 35mm film canisters (if you can find them). Each canister holds approximately $7.00 worth of quarters and makes a convenient spill-proof container.


A propane fired furnace can devour a lot of propane on a cold day. Once it has taken the chill out of the interior of your RV, switch over to a portable electric heater. It will maintain your rig at a comfortable temperature for a considerable amount of time.


Joe and Vicki Kieva are the authors of a number of how-to books and e-books about RVs, RVers and RVing.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Be Prepared

Joe: Thunp! Whoooshh! It was the unmistakable sound of air making a rapid escape from a tire. My heart sank. Vicki shot me a look that said "I can't believe you did that".

It really wasn't my fault. We were on our way out of a campground. I was maneuvering through a tight right turn. Suddenly, without warning, a small, cleverly concealed decorative wall attacked and tore open my right, rear outside tire.

Vicki: The good news was that we were prepared. Our preparation was developed from experience. Experience is the best teacher. It gives the test first and the lesson afterwards. Two years ago we had a blow-out. As usual, Murphy's Law prevailed… blown inside dual tire, 35 miles from the nearest town, Saturday of Easter weekend, and no spare tire. At that time, we had no spare tire because our motorhome did not come equipped with one. The RV dealer had patiently explained that the reasons for no spare were: 1) "Those tires never blow out." 2) "The lug nuts are so tight you would need a 10-foot long wrench to loosen them." 3) "The tire and wheel together weigh 200 pounds and the manufacturer doesn't want the liability of you getting hurt while handling one." and 4) "The roadside service truck will bring a new tire and mount it." Silly me, I thought it was because the manufacturer could save the expense of a spare tire.

Anyway, because that blowout occurred on Easter weekend and our tire size (10 R 22.5) was not readily available, it took the roadside service folks about 3 hours to locate a used tire that would, hopefully, get us home. And, they had to make a 30-mile round trip to get it (we could have gotten a new tire if we had been willing to wait until Tuesday).

The used tire got us home where we replaced all of the tires. But we did keep one of the old tires as a spare. That was part of our preparation … carry a spare tire.

Joe: Our experience-based plan for dealing with our present tire mishap is to 1.) Locate a replacement tire. 2.) Call roadside service and ask them to pick up the replacement tire. 3.) Have roadside service mount the new tire on the motorhome. The spare would be used only if we could not locate a replacement tire.

Did I mention that this blowout occurred in a campground in El Centro, California? El Centro is located in the middle of the desert, 100 miles east of San Diego, 100 miles south of Palm Springs, 60 miles west of Yuma, Arizona and 7 miles north of the Mexican border. These things never seem to happen in a convenient location. A few telephone calls revealed that El Centro did not have a replacement tire in stock. We would have to use the spare and obtain a new tire somewhere down the road.

While we were waiting for roadside service to arrive we located a replacement tire at a tire shop near Palm Springs. Going to Palm Springs would have added 200 miles to our trip. We called our friends, Joe and Joanne, in Yuma, Arizona. Yuma was closer and on our way. They made some phone calls. None of the tire dealers in Yuma had our tire in stock but they found a tire dealer in Chandler, Arizona who did. Chandler is just south of Phoenix. It would put 275 miles on our 7-year old spare tire but added only 70 miles to our journey.

The next morning, in Chandler, I successfully wiggled our 36-foot motorhome through a narrow alley and into a tire service area that was obviously not intended for motorhomes. This feat redeemed me, in Vicki's eyes, as a reasonably competent RV driver. She was beginning to have doubts after the wall versus tire incident. Two hours later we had two new tires on the front wheels, four matched 2-year old tires on the rear, a 2-year old spare tire in a side compartment, and a much lighter wallet. The incident had used the equivalent of a full day's travel time.

Vicki: The moral of this story is to be prepared. Be prepared by carrying a cellular telephone; it is invaluable in an emergency. Be prepared by having a spare tire; don't count on a replacement tire being available at a moment's notice. Be prepared by subscribing to an RV roadside assistance plan. One that will respond anywhere in the United States and Canada and, if unable to solve the problem on the side of the road , one that will tow your RV (no matter the distance) to a facility that can effect the repair. Be prepared by having the telephone numbers of the manufacturer of your vehicles, their chassis, engines, transmissions, and tires. Most manufacturers can direct you to the facilities that can service their products.

Joe: And, don't forget your credit card.

Joe and Vicki Kieva are the authors of a number of how-to books and e-books about RVs, RVers and RVing.

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