Wednesday, July 27, 2016

RV TLC

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We only use our fifth-wheel a few weeks a year. It is stored outside in the side yard the rest of the time.

I have read in your column women complaining about their husbands constantly working on their RVs. I have just the opposite problem, my husband seems to think everything will fix itself. We are one week into our annual three week vacation. We are spending it this year under the well-reported heat dome. This is the exact reason we ordered our rig with air conditioning. It would be a wonderful option if it worked.

 My husband is now on the roof trying to figure out why the fan will not turn, how to remove the shroud, and complaining about heat stroke. I hate to say, “I told you so,” but don’t you think these are issues better solved when you are not on vacation?
--Airhead in Appleton

 Dear Appleton:
Yes, I agree. It is called precautionary maintenance. The worst thing for recreation vehicles is not recreating. More things go wrong parked than moving. Equipment needs exercise the same as the body. “Use it or lose it.”

Once your husband figures out how to remove the shroud, my guess would be that insects have likely build a nest around your fan blade. This is very common if a unit has sat idle outside for long periods of time.

 You should fire things up a few times a year. Spend a weekend living in your RV in the backyard now and then. That will force you to use all your systems, gas, water, waste, refrigeration and, yes, air conditioning.

If you have a generator, fire it up and put it under a load - I’m thinking the air conditioner. Another common problem is plumbing seals drying out, awnings rotting from condensation, critters moving in and chewing wires, insects nesting, tires checking.

 Protect your investment with a little TLC and you will have less hassle when you do finally get a chance to take it on the road and enjoy it.

As I have said before, my wife used to go for handsome, now she goes for handy!
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RV jump or swim problem

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
After a recent rainstorm I found a pool of water on my makeup table in our motorhome bedroom. There is a small window there and my husband says it checks out fine.  He looked at all the seals inside and out and says they are fine.

With that report he dismissed the problem as a freak accident. I told him water leaks are not a freak accident, but he refuses to pursue it any further.

I hate to be a nagging wife, but don't you think he should work on it until he finds the cause?
--Mad as a wet hen in Helena

Dear Helena:
I agree, work on the problem until you solve it. Leaks are nothing to ignore. They can cause permanent damage it you let them go and continue to flow.

Work as a team. Spray water on the window and figure out where the leak begins. Before you do anything, check the weep holes. Most RV windows have a couple weep holes to let water seep out the bottom of the window track.

These holes often clog with debris. When that happens it can overflow to the interior of the coach. Often, clearing those passages will solve your problem.

Remind your husband that one small leak can sink a mighty ship. Deal with it now.

Give this column to your husband. Tell him to, "Read it and weep."
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sound RV advice

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just moved into our new motorhome. One thing I never gave much thought to was noise from all of our belongings banging around as we travel down the road.

It drives my wife to distraction more than me. At first it was annoying, we could hardly talk in normal volumes. After locating and quieting the noisiest problems we are now down to several more we are working on and some we have not been able to locate.

Does everyone have to put up with this, or did we just end up with a rattle trap?
--Looking For sound advice in Sacramento

Dear Sac:
Motorhome sound pollution can be frustrating. There are many things to consider in your case. Let's start out with the ride you are experiencing.

If your rig is riding rigid it will make for more noise creation. If you have a good smooth ride, it gets down to how you pack, what you pack and where you pack it. There may also be mechanical noises you will have to deal with. One notorious culprit is the oven fan vent. It is often a light piece of tin, designed to open with the air pressure from the fan. It can open and close while driving and make a loud tin can noise.

While one of you is driving the other can search, make notes and cure each noise individually until you get to a point that is satisfactory.

Often the biggest offenders will be dishes, pots and pans, utensils and appliances. Each coach is different but the usual suspects can often be identified and brought into compliance by using spacers such as soft material, plastic containers or isolation.

I am sure your sounds are unique just like everyone else's. Seriously, they can be challenging, but think of it as a game, like I Spy.

Slowly, but surely, you will find and cancel out so many tiny noises in the chorus that you will eventually be able to argue with each other again, driving along looking for your next turn in the road.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, July 7, 2016

RVing Yellowstone

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We are in Yellowstone and we don't have a reservation. We had no idea that half the world would be here visiting the same time we arrived. We cannot find a place to camp and have no choice but to leave the park and pay commercial rates on the fringes.

I want to stay and fight the crowds, but my husband wants to leave and try again sometime in the future with reservations. I say we will run into the same problem everywhere else, let's stay and fight.

Is this what we have to look forward to as we begin our grand retirement adventure?
--Crowd Control in Gardiner

Dear Crowd Control:
I feel your pain. Last year over four million people from all over the world visited Yellowstone. The Park Superintendent was quoted in the May issue of National Geographic. He basically said numbers of visitors would have to be limited or plan on irreparable damage to the resource. Even off season it is hard to explore Yellowstone. Getting a camping site is only the beginning. You then have to fight for a parking space at every attraction trailhead.

You will eventually learn to time your visits to some of the most popular attractions in America. Off season will be better, but not trouble free. Spring and fall find many campgrounds not open or already closed for the season. This leaves fewer sites for all those lucky enough to travel during those seasons.

Even though I hate making reservations I always do at Yosemite and Yellowstone. It has almost become a necessity. Many parks in Utah are the same way spring and fall. People from around the world fly into Vegas, rent some type of RV and balloon the visitation numbers to Utah's many natural wonders.

It is not as bad as it sounds. It can be managed, but when people first start traveling with an RV, often they have never considered this situation. You will learn to deal with it.
We seldom move on busy weekend days like Friday and Saturday. On Sunday many people are heading home after a weekend of camping, and numerous spots open up early. We find Sunday a great day to snag sites in busy areas.

Yellowstone is so large you almost have to stay in several different geographical areas to tour the park. Border towns do have commercial parks, but it is not as enjoyable as staying in park campgrounds and getting the real feel of incredible Yellowstone.

Leaving or playing campground bingo on the computer, trying to snag a site, is your option. Just don't give up visiting this special place.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink