Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RV tow truck

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I need your help. We bought a 34 ft. motorhome and my wife thinks we are on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. She is an avid bird watcher and is building her life list as we travel. We are now in the desert southwest and she has me driving down roads that I don’t think are designed for a big motorhome. We don’t know where half of them will lead. Often I have to unhook the tow car just so we can turn around. How can I convince her this is not a smart thing to do? I don’t like conflict and it always turns into an argument, especially if there is a Mangrove Penguin to be found.
--Tow Truck Bound in Buckeye

Dear Towhee:
Sounds like a great adventure to me. However, I agree, you could get into trouble if you are not careful where you drive. I have several suggestions that might help and arguing is not one of them.

First, download a free Google Earth App. The pictures are often a few years old, but unless you are studying a new road, it should be represented. Do a fly-over with Google Earth and see where the road leads. It will show you terrain, turn-arounds, road conditions and much more.

Another suggestion is to detach from the “Mothership” and go scout it out with your tow vehicle. It sounds like you should invest in a jeep, if you haven’t already. In the region of the country you are now exploring, there are multitudes of semi-backcountry camping sites that will accommodate a large RV. They happen to be in some of the best birding areas. Let me give you a suggestion. I am going to assume you are in Buckeye, Arizona. Go northwest a bit to Alamo Lake State Park. It has great birding with desert and riparian areas. Camp at the park for a night and explore all the BLM camping options around the park and the lake.

Using both techniques I suggested above, you should be able to find a perfect site to bird, explore and hike, all inclusive with your free camping. The park offers sites with hookups or no hookups starting at fifteen bucks and they come with world-class sunrises and sunsets. You can also buy detailed maps of the areas you are exploring, but there is so much free information online, I would suggest you put it to use. Hiking across Arizona last spring I downloaded free topo maps of the whole state onto my GPS. These resources will not only tell you where you are, but also tell you where to go -- before your wife does.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tired of RV pressure

Dear R.V. Shrink:
My husband is constantly worried about our tire pressure. I get so tired of hearing the latest news about tire conditions as we are traveling down the road through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

It is all my fault. I bought him a tire monitoring system for his birthday. I thought it might prevent him from using his pressure gauge on all of our tires every day. Should I just keep quiet and let him enjoy his tire pressure fixation? It seems the monitor is never perfectly tuned to the tires and he now worries more than before I bought it for him. --Tired of Pressure in St. Pete

Dear Tired:
I think it was great that you bought your husband a tire monitor. It can benefit both of you in a safety manner. They are especially useful if you are towing a car behind a motorhome. I have seen motorhomes hauling tow cars with a flat tire and the driver having no clue his vehicle is disintegrating behind him.

Tire monitors can be frustrating. Most problems turn out to involve low batteries. The monitor has batteries, the sensors have batteries, and the relays have batteries. They all have to be in good charge for the hardware to communicate with each other. They allow you to set the pressure and temperature threshold for each individual tire, which can often alert you to a pending tire failure. They also have alarm tones to alert you to abrupt changes in same. If you bought your husband a decent system, the monitor should be doing all the work for him.

Have him read his manual over carefully and see if he is understanding all the functions the system offers. Monitoring tire pressure and making sure it is always correct will save you money, time and expense in the long run.

I would discuss your disgust with the constant tire dialog. Your husband may not realize you are disinterested in his pressure points. Since you bought him this new tool, he may just be making the point that he is using it.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

RV Christmas Decor

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
It’s almost Christmas and I want a tree and lights just like the old days. I thought a wreath on the front of the motorhome would also be fun. The problem is my husband thinks it’s crazy. Just because we live in a 29 foot motorhome shouldn’t cancel Christmas. I’m not looking for the twin pine that sits at Rockefeller Plaza, I just want a little Christmas tree and a few lights. Is that asking too much?
--Bah Humbug in Hermosa Beach

 Dear Bah:
When I was a kid, my dad would buy those pattern kits of wooden choir boys, and nativity scene. He would spend the Fall in his wood shop, cutting and painting. In December he would stake it all out in the front yard and wire it for lights and sound. He had speakers wired directly to his Hammond Organ so he could fill his scene with his favorite Christmas music. I think this might be what you should suggest to your husband. By the time you negotiate your way back to a simple tree, he will probably be more than happy to go out and buy one himself. Today you can buy a fake tree that is already trimmed in lights. They come in all sizes and store easily. You can even find 12 Volt LED lights if you are a boondocker. There is no shortage of Christmas spirit in RV campgrounds. If you don’t want to carry a lot of seasonal decor, just park next to someone who does. Last week I saw a couple with a 5th wheel lit up like a casino. They even had a blow up Santa on the roof climbing in a chimney. Don’t forget to hang a stocking for your husband with a lump of coal in it.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink