About to actually become an RVer

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Mark_K5LXP

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I bought a ten-pack of inexpensive LED flashlights and scattered them all over the RV plus the ones in my various kits and packs. No matter where I'm sitting I'm probably within arm's reach of at least three. Along with an accessible first aid kit is a fire extinguisher. Three inside, one outside. The outside one is in an unlocked compartment and marked like you see on commercial vehicles, "fire extinguisher inside". As much for my benefit as anyone else that needs one.

Spent 4 days over Thanksgiving at an RV park and a state campground, weather was predicted to get in the teens but didn't happen. I was ready with a gallon of antifreeze to pump through just in case. Unrelated to temperature the water valve on the toilet split and had to MacGyver a fitting to cap it off. Just a handful of people in the campground, turned out to be one of the better outings of the year.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Tiercel

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Thanks, Judy. We think alike. I try to be an "Always Prepared" kind of guy. Maybe because I was BSA Scout Master and a police officer for years but I think it is just in my DNA. On top of that, I almost have a flashlight fetish. I never walk into a hardware store without examining the available choices. I am also always trying to build my idea of the perfect First-Aid kit. I have seldom found those you buy as adequate. They waste space with too many of things you likely don't need at the expense of items that are a better choice.
 

Tiercel

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Along with an accessible first aid kit is a fire extinguisher. Three inside, one outside. The outside one is in an unlocked compartment and marked like you see on commercial vehicles, "fire extinguisher inside". As much for my benefit as anyone else that needs one.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
Mark, I like the idea of your outside extinguisher. My problem with fire extinguishers is finding a good one that is not dry powder. My wife caused a small fire with the toaster years ago. She grabbed the one I kept in our kitchen. She did put the fire out but I could NEVER have imagined the degree of mess from just two short blasts of dry powder. It is literal to say there was NO PLACE that powder did not go in our entire downstairs and much of our upstairs. It was on the inside of drinking glasses that were turned upside down, in a closed cabinet, 12 feet away from the blast. Every salt and pepper shaker had to be dumped and cleaned. I always half-joked that the insurance would have paid for any fire, smoke, and water damage but not a dime to clean every item in every cabinet and closet in our house. ---- YES, it was that horrible. No, she did NOT use enough of the contents to even move the needle out of the green zone.

If people knew, it would be a tactic of vandals. I cannot imagine a home or business that had a dry powder extinguisher emptied indoors. Have good fire insurance, get everyone out, try methods other than dry powder, and if they do not work start over.
 
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NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
Thanks, Judy. We think alike. I try to be an "Always Prepared" kind of guy. Maybe because I was BSA Scout Master and a police officer for years but I think it is just in my DNA. On top of that, I almost have a flashlight fetish. I never walk into a hardware store without examining the available choices. I am also always trying to build my idea of the perfect First-Aid kit. I have seldom found those you buy as adequate. They waste space with too many of things you likely don't need at the expense of items that are a better choice.
I tend to buy first aid kits based more on the suitability of the container they come with for the use I have in mind. Then I take out the unneeded items and add my own preferences. I don't think I've ever seen a consumer grade kit that included a good suture kit for instance, and these days, I like to add a supply of Steri-Strips and a tube of surgical grade super glue.
 

Tiercel

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All has gone well and I have found that even incidental driving during the day charges the battery right back up (at least with a new battery). Driving in 50 mph wind gusts was not that bad but it did require some attention and both hands on the wheel, which I usually do anyway. Heading back home soon.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Albuquerque, NM
My first aid kit has evolved over time too. Started out with a pretty nice one, a fabric bag that opens and folds out with panels so everything is visible/accessible but still contained. I go through it once a year and toss the stuff that's expired, some stuff added, some stuff deleted. I'll make my own little "pill packs" with small ziplock bags for OTC meds, and toss the bandages as the adhesives go south. I find a roll of 99 cent electrical tape is the most versatile first aid item I have, if for no other reason there's usually a roll around where I've hurt myself. Good for splints, bandaging and holds up well under water. Another vote for super glue as well.

The RV kitchen extinguisher is one of the foam kind, kinda looks like a whipped cream can (maybe it's reddi whip? :) ). Tundra brand. The others are powder though. Having dealt with the consequences of a fire I learned that whether the damage is the fire or the suppressant is secondary. Living to tell the tale is the goal so if a powder extinguisher buys some time to rescue people or pets then let the insurance company deal with the rest.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Tiercel

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We are home. The RV is unloaded, vacuumed, all the food removed. This was an important practice run for me. These are my final impressions and things I learned. Almost everything worked as it should so no real surprises.

TV stations are more readily available by antenna than I thought and that is with the antenna down. (I have to see if the hinges are rusted.)

With the battery monitor (a MUST have) I was to pretty accurately calculate how the battery would last us. It lasted a few hours before bed to watch TV, shower, and run the furnace in 32-degree temperatures. We had Amp Hours to spare. It recharged pretty quickly driving around during the day.

If you have power concerns a portable power supply/generator is a possible workable solution. We have one more designed for jumping a dead battery but it powered TV and a portable fan without draining the house battery.

The generator is still not quite right (which I knew). It starts with the inside switch but dies after a few minutes if I do not manually hold the "automatic" choke flap open for a couple more minutes. I did not want it bad enough to do that on this trip.

I must remember to plug the power line into the generator receptacle for the generator to do any good. :) When it was running, it took a minute or two to realize why it was not supplying voltage.

Staying at a Walmart parking lot can be nicer than I expected.

Make or find some blackout shade for the bedroom roof vents for parking in lighted areas.

Using disposable dishes is much better than washing dishes.

My freshwater tank will barely supply enough for two days IF we drink bottled water and use disposable dishes and utensils.

I need a backup camera, probably wireless.

I need to investigate why the shower drain is so sluggish although it did encourage conserving water while showering.

The refrigerator works way better than expected. It froze our water in the lower compartment and the ice cream was rock hard.

Even on a short trip take enough necessities (meds) to last for several days because many things could alter your scheduled travels.

Soon I will know my gas mileage.

Space is truly at a premium. It is difficult to find a place for a piece of luggage, a pet crate,... in essence anything shoebox size or bigger.

I have a newfound respect for full-timers. I think I might be able to do it alone but any partner would have to be a little bit of an OCD neat freak.

The biggest single takeaway is that I want the MH to be close to turn-key ready. Having to load a lot of stuff not only tires you and makes the process less enjoyable but it prevents spontaneity. I am making a list of supplies that will stay there: Hair bushes, grooming aids, OTC Meds, umbrellas, leashes (we have a pet ) :) Pet medical records, pet dishes, casual clothes, eyeglasses cleaners, charging cords. I am sure the list will grow.
 
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JudyJB

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For your vent, go to an RV store and buy a vent pillow. These are pillow-like things that fit perfectly in the space and keep the sun from shining in your eyes early in the morning. They also help with insulation in cold weather. Camco 45195 RV Vent Insulator and Skylight Cover - Fits Standard 14" RV Vents - Walmart.com

Also, another trick is to use a dishpan that fits in your kitchen sink. Wash and rinse dishes while running rinse water into dishpan, and then when you are done, dump the water into your toilet instead of letting it go into grey water tank. Saves dumping. Oh, and I tossed my real dishes a long time ago, but I do use cooking things and eating utensils. I also tossed all my glasses and now use only non-spillable water bottles and such for drinks. I do keep some paper cups for guests and grandkids.

And instead of luggage, use duffel bags. Also, keep dedicated bedding and towels. Even if you have to take stuff out to wash, put it back in right away, so you will be ready for the next trip. Actually, the longer you are at this, you will probably just leave some clothing and more stuff in the rig so you don't have to keep packing stuff in and out.

And yes, it is a different way of living and takes some planning and getting used to. I think after almost 10 years, I have forgotten how regular people live!! But the best part of full timing is that I never have to pack or unpack!! Nor do I have to winterize anything.
 
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Tiercel

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Jul 20, 2021
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441
Location
Pennsylvania
For your vent, go to an RV store and buy a vent pillow. These are pillow-like things that fit perfectly in the space and keep the sun from shining in your eyes early in the morning. They also help with insulation in cold weather. Camco 45195 RV Vent Insulator and Skylight Cover - Fits Standard 14" RV Vents - Walmart.com...
Judy, Do these vent pillows fit in vents (with a crank) or skylights? I need it to fit a vent. Also, what holds them in place? Do they have velcro tabs?
 

NY_Dutch

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Where our wheels take us!
The previous owner made a set of vent insulators for our motorhome from some sort of high density flexible foam. They have depressions cut into them where the crank and knob are. As said, they just friction fit in place. We have had one or both occasionally fall out on really rough roads, but it only takes a moment to stuff them back in.
 

JudyJB

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They do fit in vents with cranks. They are soft and fit around stuff--just have to stuff them in a bit harder. My vents all have cranks, and it is not a problem. And they are a bit oversized, so they do stay in place. I think the square shape and their being about 4" thick holds them in place. At least I have never had one fall out. To remove them, you just pull them down.

I have a vent with a crank right over my bed, and it only took a couple of sunny mornings to find out that it would cause the sun to shine directly into my face on some mornings, depending on how i was parked. Went out and bought a pillow immediately and have left it there permanently since I really don't need to use that vent.
 

CharlesinGA

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Oct 6, 2017
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666
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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
The biggest single takeaway is that I want the MH to be close to turn-key ready. Having to load a lot of stuff not only tires you and makes the process less enjoyable but it prevents spontaneity. I am making a list of supplies that will stay there: Hair bushes, grooming aids, OTC Meds, umbrellas, leashes (we have a pet ) :) Pet medical records, pet dishes, casual clothes, eyeglasses cleaners, charging cords. I am sure the list will grow.
Yep, I have a couple of large plastic containers of bed sheets, towels, etc from my parents house, much of it is 40 or 50 years old, but I dug thru that and picked out stuff that will work in the RV and laundered it and put it away. There are a few new pieces but not much. I mostly have to pack clothing (although some jackets and t shirts stay in the trailer) and any meds and of course food. Durable long lasting foods stay in the trailer. Cold stuff goes in the shop fridge for easy reloading after the RV fridge is up and running. I have a couple of milk crates to carry food stuffs in when loading or unloading. I have two GI laundry bags for dirty clothes.

Charles
 

CharlesinGA

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50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
The generator is still not quite right (which I knew). It starts with the inside switch but dies after a few minutes if I do not manually hold the "automatic" choke flap open for a couple more minutes. I did not want it bad enough to do that on this trip.
The generator (Onan?) should have a vacuum diaphragm that is the choke pull off. The moment the engine is running, the choke should go full open. When it shuts down, it will slowly close via a spring around the choke shaft. I had the opposite problem, the choke pull off worked but the spring tension was weak and would not close the choke, it was reluctant to start and as 5000 ft elevation last summer it would not until I manually messed with the choke and throttle. I fixed it in this video.

Even on a short trip take enough necessities (meds) to last for several days because many things could alter your scheduled travels.
You don't think about this but if the RV breaks down and you are delayed getting home, or you decide to extend the trip a day or so, you will need medications. I pack mine when loading the trailer and put enough in a bottle to cover me at home till I leave. You want the prescription meds in their original bottles/labels as I think in most states its illegal to have them in unlabeled containers.

Soon I will know my gas mileage.
In 2011 I bought a 2004 Pontiac Vibe. I was trying to check the gas mileage so I would have some idea of what it was doing, but filling consistently was difficult so I set up a spreadsheet and began tweaking it and the formulas. Then I decided to add my Ranger pickup to it, and later the motor home, and finally the RAM 2500. I just made a new tab for each vehicle. I can tell you on the car what kinds of gas from what stations gets the best mileage consistently. Its a gee whiz kinda thing and I learned about creating a spreadsheet in doing so.

I must remember to plug the power line into the generator receptacle for the generator to do any good. :) When it was running, it took a minute or two to realize why it was not supplying voltage.
My first RV was a 2007 Winnebago View motor home on a 2006 Sprinter chassis. I learned alot about Mercedes Sprinters (the T1N series at least) and a lot about Winnebago as far as construction and manuals, etc. It had the same plug in setup for the shore cord to the generator and you need to develop the habit of ALWAYS plugging the shore cord into the generator outlet when you roll the cord up for storage. That way you always have power ready if you decide to stop for lunch and need the microwave. It also protects the prongs of the plug from damage.

ems-hw30-installation-jpg.150271


Charles
 
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Tiercel

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Jul 20, 2021
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Pennsylvania
Thanks for the response and the info Charles. My Onan is laid out a little differently but with the same principle. The video gave me a couple of things to examine.
 

Larry N.

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May 26, 2010
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Westminster, Colorado
I am assuming most parks have one dump for waste tanks and not one at each hookup site. mcdvoice con tellculvers.com survey
I wouldn't say most, since most commercial RV parks have full hookups AND a dump, but many city, state and national park sites are no hookups, electric only, or electric and water although many have recently added some sites with full hookups. Most of these do have a dump as well, but it's best check each individual park, since there's no real "rule of thumb."

You might note that generally it's better to start your own post with your question(s), rather than tack on to another post, especially one this long that has drifted to several subjects.
 
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