Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ninety-Six Tears

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My husband's favorite car for towing behind our motorhome is the Saturn S series. He actually collects them. He tells me since they are not making them anymore he wants to buy several so that he always has one in the batter box warming up. That's fine with me but he just bought one from an old rock star and I think it's a lemon. He won't admit it. The salesman talked more about being the bass player in a 60's band called Question Mark and the Mysterious than he did the car. Now we are replacing something every week. The one big hit the band had was "Ninety-Six Tears." Now I'm shedding 96 tears every time I write a check to another service technician. Don't you think we should just cut our losses and take our lump sum and move on.
--Crying in the Rainforest's of Washington

Dear Crying in the Rain:
I think your husband is very smart to think ahead. The Saturn S series is a great car that seems to run forever. That must be why they stopped making them. The single head cam and double head cam are great choices for towing. They both get great mileage, rack no miles while towing, need nothing done to them to flat tow and weigh under 2,400 lbs. They haven't been produced for over 10 years, so now is the time to start finding low mileage models that meet your inspection. Your husband broke the golden rule of car buying. Never, and I mean never, buy a car from a one-hit-wonder, bass playing band member, turned used car salesman. These vehicles are actually pretty easy to work on, inexpensive, and parts are still very available. Your husband might want to spend more time figuring out and solving his own problems, especially if he is going to have a whole stable of them. You can watch YouTube videos of almost any Saturn repair job. They are reliable tutorials on how to fix the multiple problems you buy from old rock & rollers.
--Keep Smilin',  Dr. R. V. Shrink

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is bigger RV better?

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I am trying to talk my husband into trading our big diesel pusher motorhome in for something shorter. When we bought we were thinking bigger was better, but now we are reevaluating. He has hit just about everything in Kansas. The dealer gave us driving lessons and little dots to put on the mirrors. My husband was convinced that if the dots missed the gas pump the motorhome would too. The problem is, while he's watching the dots he knocks the mirrors off on something else. I feel like we do not visit a lot of places because we are afraid we might get stuck in a tight place where we can't turn the motorhome around. He says he will eventually get used to driving it. That may be true, but I'm not sure we will have much motorhome left by the time he gets his driving skills mastered. Please advise.
 --Bump and Grind in Grand Rapids

Dear Bump and Grind:
It sounds like you are stripping it down pretty quickly. Is it getting shorter or just narrower? Everyone seems to find their own comfort level when driving a big rig. I don't think there is any argument that the longer the rig the fewer choices you have getting into tight campgrounds and other destinations. Height is another consideration. It is not just motorhomes. I know a guy that drove 40 ft. tour buses in New York City and Boston for years. He bought a fifth wheel and couldn't park it. He said, "The darn thing bends in the middle." The two of you will have to decide where your comfort level resides. With the popularity of slide outs, in most of today's coaches, you should be able to find a suitable floor plan that offers all the room you need in a shorter rig. It also depends on the type of traveling you plan to do. You are not going to get a 40 ft. coach into many small National Forest campgrounds with small sites and tight roads. Campground trends are growing. Because there are so many larger units on the road, campgrounds are being designed to accommodate them. I also see a trend in manufacturers downsizing the diesel pusher. You can now find nice units under 30 ft. Most dealers will let you test drive the units they sell. You should try a few shorter coaches and see if you feel more comfortable with a unit that does not require a driving plan that entails connecting the dots.
 --Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

RV Sewer Solution

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
You mentioned a few weeks back that you used some kind of sewer disposal unit that worked like a macerator using water to break down the solids. I am still trying to find the unit you were referring to. I am hosting in a park that offers me hookups but I have to move once a week to dump. If I could pump 50 yards I wouldn't have to move. We end up spending one morning a week putting everything down and away just to drive next door to dump. You could help restore my sanity if you could solve my sanitation situation without the need to move.
--Dirty Swirly in Sweetwater

Dear Dirty:
No problem. It is called the SewerSolution. You can buy them in many places. I think I bought mine on Amazon. It works great. I bought extra hose that hooks into pvc connected to my sewer system. I am moving it over 200 ft. with no problem. I suggest a clear sewer valve extension. I bought two as one did not extend far enough for the unit to clear my slide valve lever. Also the clear fitting lets you monitor the emptying process. I was a little suspect before ordering this unit. Now I can say that it is everything it is advertised to be. I carry it while traveling but have never had a need to use it on the road. With the extra hose I purchased I can reach about 30 ft. I would imagine that large diameter coil hose would work as well as my pvc pipe to extend your reach. It's much cheaper than the grinder type, but it is necessary to have a water connection for this to operate. From the sounds of your situation this would solve your current problem of moving every week and possibly even restore your sanity, depending on how long it's been missing. I can tell you this sure beats hauling a little blue honey wagon around the campground. When you do that, everyone not only knows your business, they know you're hauling it behind you.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Right to Arm Bears

Dear R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I travel full-time a bit differently than most people you write about. We have a motorhome and we live most of the year in National Parks. We spend more nights sleeping on the ground than in our rig because we are backpackers. We usually hike a week at a time in some of the most extraordinary landscapes on the planet. My reason for writing is in reference to a question you had on carrying a weapon while traveling. We are not anti-gun, but now that people can carry weapons in the National Parks it makes me a bit uneasy. Not so much that they will use the weapon on us, but the fact that they may shoot and wound a large animal that we will run into next. I know you are a backpacker and I am wondering about your take on this issue.
--Not packin packer in Pocatello

Dear Pocatpacker:
I don't like it at all. I am not anti-gun but I am definitely anti-gun in the National Park backcountry. Since that legislation was shoe-horned in with the Credit Card bill, I run into many hikers packin a pop gun (45) that they think will stop a grizzly in his tracks. I always stop and say, "You know the rule, right?" They say, "There's no rule." I tell them there is. The rule is you save that last bullet for yourself because the first volley isn't going to stop that bear. I actually get a laugh when I see people who consider themselves light-weight backpackers. They measure every ounce they carry, then add two pounds of guns and ammo. I think if you are that afraid of what might eat you in the backcountry you should just stay in the front country where you may actually need a gun. They taught me about fire-superiority in the Marines. I guess that means I would have to carry a weapon in the backcountry if I was concerned I might run into bad people with good guns. I do not choose to do that. It has become a problem for the Park Service also. Front country rangers are well-trained in law enforcement. Now it is becoming necessary for the Park Service to train backcountry rangers in the same way, as more hikers are carrying weapons. I know this will bring me a lot of comments. Just let me say, I do support the right to arm bears.  I prefer to carry bear spray. I also plan to do something most people do not do after they spend fifty bucks on a can of bear spray. I actually read the instructions. I run into so many people in Glacier National Park every year carrying expensive bear spray and they don't even know how to release the safety. I have only used my bear spray once. I accidentally shot myself in the crotch. Oh man, am I ever glad I didn't have a 45.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink