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Topics - 2 Frazzled

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Tips and Tricks / Washing Masks on the road
« on: February 25, 2021, 09:05:40 pm »
I probably should have posted this months ago but it looks like we'll be wearing masks for a bit longer so it should still be useful. We are full time and volunteering in visitor services. We see a lot of people every day - outside, at a reasonable distance, with us wearing masks... sometimes them wearing masks too but, unfortunately, not always.

If we've had any human contact, the mask goes to be washed. With two of us in here working five days a week and shopping and visiting a laundromat on other days, we get a pile of masks to be washed. I started with hand washing every night. Bought more masks. Then hand washing every 3-4 days. Bought more masks hoping for a better fit. Now have 8-12 masks to wash at a time if I don't keep up with it.

I have discovered the "Leaky Laundry Barrel" - which sounds terrible but is awesome. We bought a big barrel of Snyder's pretzels (and ate them - we are willing to sacrifice for some things), scrubbed it clean and tucked it under the sink. Mask washing goes like this:

- Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the barrel
- Add several inches of water to barrel
- Put lid on tightly, turn on it's side with lid over the sink and SHAKE to make suds
- Open barrel, add masks one at a time, slopping them through the soap suds
- Seal the barrel, turn on the side (lid over sink)
- Shake side to side, up and down, back and forth
- Let sit for 15 minutes or so
- Shake again (do a little dance, have a little fun... just keep the leaky lid over the sink)
- Dump soapy water and gently squeeze out masks
- Add several inches of clean water
- Seal and shake
- Dump, wring out masks, rinse again individually if desired, wring out again
- Hang to dry
- By morning we have a nice collection of clean masks ready to go again.

NOTE: if you have some of those heavy cotton masks and are in a humid area, you may need to do the old nylon stocking trick and wrap the mask in a dry towel and squeeze it so the towel absorbs most of the water. Then hang to dry.

Yes, I could just wash them in the sink but I like to let them sit in the soap for a bit and the barrel gives me a simple container to shake them and stash them until I'm ready for the rinse cycle.

I've also used the barrel for a shirt I needed that missed the laundry day.

General Discussion / Volunteer Opportunities - social media & photography
« on: January 03, 2021, 10:19:43 am »
Volunteer.gov website has listings for many volunteer opportunities. Some give you a full hook up site in exchange for your volunteer service. Some don't. You pick and choose where to apply.

This week I've noticed two postings for Social Media Volunteers. No campsite but could be an awesome distraction if you live near one of these places: Friendship Hill National Historic Site in PA and Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida. I've seen other postings looking for a photographer.

The parks we've volunteered at have been pushing to increase their online presence and their photo library. Some are reaching out to volunteers to do it. If you have the interest, the photo and/or writing skills and live near a public land that you love, contact their volunteer coordinator and ask if they can use your help.

Volunteer.gov just did a huge redo of their website so postings are coming up slowly. Reaching out may get you that volunteer job before they post it.

General Discussion / Ford cab moisture buildup
« on: December 17, 2020, 07:55:29 pm »
We are on the coast in Oregon. Winter weather here is wet... and wetter. We are volunteering and spend many days in the rain which means we come home with dripping rain gear. We had a baby dehumidifier when we arrived and soon bought a somewhat larger one. We don't really have room for the two foot tall ones but we're starting to consider it.

The problem is the Ford cab. We have insulated glass in the house area and are running the heater 24/7 to keep the air warm enough for the dehumidifiers to work. Even so, the moist air hits the cold windows in the cab and condenses there. We are wiping and using a squeegee and mopping water but we can't get ahead of it.

Any suggestions? Some people cut that silver bubble insulating stuff to fit the windows to block cold. Would that work or would it just trap all that dripping water behind there? I haven't tried draping off the cab because I don't think I could seal it well enough to block moisture. All I'd do is make it harder to get up there to mop windows.

As a side note, we aren't getting moisture along our mattresses as some have had happen. We have the insulated windows and use wedge cup holders on the side of the bed so there is a small air space there.

Has anyone had this and come up with a fix?

General Discussion / Replacing the Sharp connection oven
« on: December 04, 2020, 04:53:07 pm »
Our oven died with a quiet whump a week or so before Thanksgiving. We have our new one in hand and are hoping for some guidance. Has anyone had to swap out the oven? (We have an email in to Phoenix but figure we're after hours there by now). Our rig is overrun with new oven, boxes and bits AND it's our day off so we were hoping to get this going today.

We THINK we need to:
- unplug oven from inside cabinet and feed cord back out to oven space (Can't be done until oven is lifted down. Space between side of oven and wall too narrow. Cord has to feed through three holes: cabinet side + two sides of divider wall. Power cord originates on top of oven. Phoenix shoves excess cord down between two wall pieces to keep excess out off cabinet. We've pulled it all into cabinet to make it easier to pull through as oven comes down.)
- remove stained wood trim board above oven - 2 screws (done)
- remove screws on metal bracket thing above oven (Thinking it is a Phoenix rigged set up to emulate upper cabinet and that oven is screwed to bottom of the bracket)
- remove mounting bolt from behind the grease guards (We only have one of these. Holes for two, one on each side)
- lift oven up off mounting plate then ease down while feeding cord through holes (it's Only 70 lbs - easy right?)

Is there anyone that can confirm this is the right procedure and we aren't going to either rip the oven off the wall or get stuck balancing it in the air while we unscrew something else?

General Discussion / PC 2551 coming on the market
« on: December 02, 2020, 09:43:15 pm »
"Backroadcruiser" is helping "Frank" sell his 2551. Currently in the UP of Michigan. They are getting info together and will probably post here eventually but I wanted to give a heads up. I expect it will sell quickly.
He is selling it with everything in it so it is ready to go camping. If you want more info send a personal message to Bill (backroadcruiser).

General Discussion / Covid Travel Restrictions
« on: November 20, 2020, 12:28:58 pm »

Tips and Tricks / Generator gas line shut off switch
« on: April 11, 2020, 02:38:50 pm »
When we were at the factory last fall we had our generator serviced and Doug installed a cut off switch on the gas line. He then turned the gas off using the switch and ran the genny dry. The switch is at the front of the generator. I'm assuming that means it is between the pump and the genny. We were thrilled because we don't have to exercise it regularly. It should be all good until we need it then we turn the switch on, let the gas pump in and start her up.

That was the plan. Reality is that it won't start again. Service was done in mid-November. It has sat since then. We are about to run North - 2500 miles, to our next volunteer job. We plan to stop only for gas, water and dump stations. We're traveling with a high risk friend that can only do 200 miles per day so it will be a slow run. If we take too long we'll need to get more food. Since boondocking is our main plan, we hoped to have a generator.

- Where is the generator fuel pump? I'd like to whack it in case it has vapor lock (I don't smell gas after our starting attempts).
- Could the pump be damaged trying to push gas against a closed switch? I'm assuming the pump keeps running while running the genny dry.
- Does anyone have the switch and know any tricks?

We're rolling with or without a functional genny. We'll be driving every day so batteries will stay charged. It just would have been nice to kick the genny on to nuke food or power the electric coffee pot. We're set to handle everything with the stove top if necessary.

All assistance greatly appreciated!

General Discussion / Toilet Seals failed
« on: March 06, 2020, 07:56:45 am »
We have a 2013 model 2552. We just had our toilet serviced (John once again refused to let me try to DIY). I had noticed toilet smell when we had our exhaust fan running. There was water in the bowl so I knew it wasn't coming from there. I figured it was the rubber seal at the floor. We never saw leakage around the toilet, just the smell. So, naturally, we did nothing (standard non-repair mode). Recently the water started slowly draining out of the bowl. I did a thorough cleaning to see if paper or something was stuck in the track of the blade but it still leaked past the seal. I started putting Vaseline on the seal at the blade and it would hold water for a while. I showed John a YouTube video with how easy it was to replace the seals... Still no.

Finally John opted for a repair guy. Once he was done he showed us the original bottom seal. It was crumbling and rotted from age. He was surprised nothing was leaking out onto the floor.

So, if you have an older rig and have never replaced the seals, it might be a good time to do it. Especially if you are having other work done. Add that item to your repair list so you don't get stuck somewhere with a non-working toilet.

Tips and Tricks / Organized Dobie
« on: February 11, 2020, 07:39:28 am »
I was reading a blog post from FitRV and they mentioned a supplier Organized Dobie:  https://www.organizedobie.com Cool stuff, check it out!

Tips and Tricks / Shelf stable meals
« on: February 09, 2020, 07:15:52 am »
Looking for ideas for shelf stable meals for our time in the North Cascades. The closest real grocery is about an hour away. Major stores & shopping (Walmart, Costco, etc.) are 90 minutes away. We don't eat seafood so weeks of tuna salad is out. Our freezer will be reserved for meat.

Breakfast is hopefully covered. I make my own granola from dried or shelf stable goods and I'm hoping the little convenience store in Newhalem has milk so I can make yogurt. We use shelf stable almond milk for cereal.

Lunches will probably be pbj on home baked bread when store bought runs out. Cheese and crackers when we have cheese.

Trail snacks are bagged trail mix and granola bars. Fresh fruit whenever we can get it.

Suggestions for breakfast & lunch appreciated.

Now for dinner... This is the tough one as we like at least a little variety, we try not to eat a lot of preservatives and my dehydrator is back in Maryland. So far I've got:
   - canned pasta sauce over dried pasta
   - stove top stuffing with canned Costco chicken
   - quesadillas with canned Costco chicken, jarred salsa & cheese

I was in the army and DO NOT plan to eat MRE's or SOS! We may wind up with a few packaged backpack meals but don't plan to live on them.

Any ideas for foods/meals that don't require refrigerator or freezer?

General Discussion / Ford F-150 recall
« on: December 21, 2019, 06:22:53 am »

Adventure Anywhere / Putting cell phone antenna on a pole
« on: October 10, 2019, 07:54:43 am »
We'll be spending close to four months at Flaming Gorge during our visitor center stint next summer. The cell signal was not good at the volunteer campground and the other hosts had those long rods on the back of their rigs with receivers on top.

Has anyone done this? If yes, what is your set up? Receiver / pole / mounting mechanism

Our little antenna and booster helped but I'd like to improve it for long stays. Part of our problem was a big rig on each side of us. We had signal before they pulled in. Not so much after.

The ones I've seen appear to be PVC pipe poles which are awfully big and heavy for us to drag around all the time. I'm hoping for a sleeker solution.

General Discussion / Stand alone converter
« on: October 10, 2019, 07:43:49 am »
Our 12 volt system is crashing. Batteries did not seem to charge anymore when plugged in to shore power. We got a good charge with the portable solar panel clamped directly to the batteries but charge level dropped shortly after unhooking it. We replaced the batteries but the problem continued and gradually got worse. We charged nicely when we drove and set up solar whenever possible.

Then we discovered the copper piece that connects the converter-to-battery cable to the battery ring mount was almost totally split off so John was afraid to pull the battery drawer to hook up solar. That was our situation at the Travel Club Reunion when Phoenix USA walked in with Doug and offered free repairs (heartshower).

Doug tested power output from the converter = 12 volts, should be 14.
He rigged a connection to our broken battery cable but converter output remained the same.
He told us converter needs replacement but the direct replace is no longer made so they will install a stand alone converter under the bed near the power panel and move the wiring over. We head for Elkhart as soon as we take care of a few things in Maryland.

My question is: has anyone had this done? I'm hoping for a three stage converter that will eventually handle lithium batteries. We plan to put solar on the roof when we get out to the Portland area and may upgrade batteries then. For those that used AM Solar, what converter do they install?

Adventure Anywhere / RVillage
« on: October 07, 2019, 07:13:59 am »
RVillage is a nifty program that allows people to set up get togethers and casual meet & greets wherever they travel.

The Phoenix Cruiser Travel Club has set up a private group on RVillage. We did a bit of testing using our (awesome) reunion in Charleston as our "get together" and it is looking good. That means we are ready (we think) for any and all members to jump on in. RVillage is free but to get to the private group pages you must be a PCTC member. We waved dues for 2020 so club membership is also free.

Club Members will get instructions in the upcoming newsletter.

Non-club members that join quickly will also get that newsletter. Those that miss it can email the club webmaster to request the instruction sheet. To join the travel club go to phoenixcruisertravelclub.org to sign up.

Adventure Anywhere / Elkhart Campgrounds
« on: August 16, 2019, 03:43:16 pm »
We are sitting in the Elkhart Campground. We had our 45,000 mile Ford service done at Jordan Ford in Mishiwaka today and are having repairs done at the Phoenix USA factory on Monday.

We've camped at Shipshewanna North CG and liked it (custard stand on site, close to Amish restaurants & shops, nice pine trees, clip clip of horse hooves as buggies go by).

We've camped at KOA Middlebury and we're I'm with it (closer more-open sites but nice walking trail and pond).

We've camped at Potato Creek State Park and loved it (large sites, trees, trails and lake but long drive to factory).

We've NEVER camped at Shipshewanna South but friends have and loved it. It is right next to the big flea market and very close to all things Amish.

We were rolling back through Elkhart and figured it was time to try the closest one to our two service sites - Elkhart Campground. I've read comments about the metallic water taste here so I grabbed a glass before we hooked up. YUCK! Strong iron taste. We aren't putting that water in our tank. The campground has some open sunny sites and some shady sites. We got stuck in the back row in full sun with a view and noise of the highway... for five days... Bummer. We're filing it away as a "now we know". The campground is adding another 100 or so sites in the field between us and the highway so they will have plenty of space and the male owner was very nice and quick to fix a broken sewer pipe on our site. It isn't a bad campground, just not for us. Oh, we're in direct line with two of their Wi-Fi poles and it is so anemic we can't hold the connection of see can even get one (one pole is 30 feet away). The answer: "it SHOULD work... Unless you an IPhone or Ipad" - no clue why that is but all our devices are Android or DOS/Windows based and it doesn't work.

For light sleepers, ALL the campgrounds in the area are close enough to the toll road that you hear it at night. KOA probably has the best buffer for the toll road out of the others but gets traffic on its other side. Potato Creek is a good ways south so road noise doesn't apply for that one. Next trip - Potato Creek!

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