Introductions are in order

So this category is about my new pup Scout, and about life in an RV with a dog.

I adopted Scout from the LaGrange Humane Society on December 29th, 2017, and we quickly began adapting to life together in an RV. She’s a quick learner, full of energy, loves to take naps in between excursions, and insists on scouting out every single molecule of space in the TT, which means nothing is safe from her! 🙂

 

 

Chill, no chill

I’m having all kinds of fun down here in Georgia, but the weather is a special kind of adventure here these days.
So far, in the last 10 days, it’s been as warm as 65 degrees, and as cold as 20 degrees; all of that in 10 days!!
Luckily, i’ve got an oil-filled heater, and let me tell you, it’s SO NICE to have on the COLD nights. I wish i’d known the difference sooner, but now that I do, i’d like to share a little of my research with you.
When it comes to electric heaters, which are awesome while you’re connected to shore power (unless you’re on a metered connection!) there are a few different things to consider:

  • Convection heaters warm the air around them, which means they take awhile to heat up a whole room, but they do a great job of keeping the room warm for a long time. Radiator heaters fall into this category.
  • Radiant heaters warm the objects around them, which are great for immediate heat, and work best for short term use.
  • Here’s a link to more useful information about heating types.

 

In my TT, I have a small space heater in the bedroom, and a large oil-filled (radiating type) electric heater in the main room. I also have a large space heater for the big room, but when it drops below 40 outside, the oil filled heater does a much better job of keeping the place warm.

The other thing I really like about the oil-filled heater is that it helps to keep the floor, and under the floor, warm, which means the furnace doesn’t have to run nearly as much to keep the place warm!

One last note on space heaters: I much prefer the type of heaters that have analog thermostats, the kind with a knob and switch, instead of a digital thermostat so that if/when I trip a breaker, or if the power goes out temporarily, I don’t have to run around resetting heaters every time. Instead, the switch and knob stay where I left them, and when power comes back, they’re automatically on and running again.

Alphabet soup for RVer’s

Letters and numbers and acronyms, oh my!

There’s a lot to learn about RV life, but it’s never been easier with all the tools the internet has to offer. Often times when you’re browsing the forums, digging around in social media, or surfing youtube, you’ll find an alphabet soup of initials, acronyms, and short hand that can be confusing at first. Let’s shed some light on these terms:

THE BASICS

  • RV: Recreational Vehicle. Technically, any vehicle that’s designed specifically for recreation, but usually means something to do with living out in the wild.

 

BODY STYLES

  • MH: Motorhome. A unit that you drive, camp in, and enjoy life with.
    • Class A:
    • Class B:
    • Class C:
  • TT: Travel Trailer. This is a unit that you tow with another vehicle, usually known as a ‘Tow Rig’. Another post about towing.
    • Bumper Pull: This is a trailer that you pull with a ball connection behind your truck, attached on, or near, the bumper.
    • Fifth Wheel: This is a trailer that connects using a pin on the trailer, and a plate on the truck. You’ve probably seen a lot of these on tractor trailers all over the place, but they’re also popular in the RV world. By placing the tongue weight directly over the rear axle, you gain more control, and a higher tongue weight capability.
    • Gooseneck: This is a trailer that works much like a Fifth Wheel, but instead of a pin and plate, the Gooseneck has an arm that sits down on a ball mounted in the bed of the truck. Gooseneck trailers are most common in Agriculture use, and allow a higher tongue weight, and better control, by placing the tongue weight directly over the rear axle.
  • Other towing:
    • TOAD: This is a car that’s towed behind a Motorhome, not on a trailer of any kind.
    • Tow Dolly: This is a two-wheel, short trailer that’s designed to have one end of a car on it, but the other end of the car rolls freely on the ground behind the trailer.
    • Car hauler: This is a longer trailer, usually with two axles, that’s designed to tow a car completely off the ground.
    • Enclosed trailer: This is a trailer that’s fully enclosed, like a box trailer, and can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Sometimes people will haul cars or motorcycles in these, other times they’re just for carrying extra stuff on the road. Especially handy for full time RV’ers.

 

CAMPGROUNDS

There’s several different types of camp sites, camp grounds, and connections for these.
A camp SITE is the individual site where you set up camp.
A camp GROUND is a collection of camp sites, and often include other amenities such as bath houses, laundry, a pool, and other such facilities.
When we’re talking about hook-ups, there’s two main types:

Primitive Camping: These are camp sites without any kind of connections. Great for boondocking, sometimes these sites aren’t even level or groomed in any way.

Improved Camping: These are camp sites that offer some kind of hookups. For tent sites, it’s usually just power and water, but for RV’s, we’re usually talking power, water, and sewer.

POWER
Power can be 20, 30, or 50 amp service, and sometimes there’s a combination of two, or even all three, at one spot. When you call ahead or check out the website for a camp site, make a note of what power options that have available. (Another post on amp numbers).

WATER
Water connections are usually just a standard garden-hose style spigot, just like you’d find at home. Sometimes you need a pressure regulator, but we’ll talk about that in another post.

SEWER
Sewer connections are really nice to have, especially when you’re going to stay in one place for awhile, so you can dump your waste tanks any time you want. Most of the time this is a 4″ white (or black) pipe with a threaded fitting on the end that you screw a connector into, and then connect your sewer hoses to.

CABLE
Some campgrounds have local cable channels available through a cable connection at your site. If they it, you can use a regular TV cable to connect your rig to the campground connection.

 

Camco Dogbone Circuit Analyzer

When I bought my TT I realized that I would need some kind of external circuit protection since I didn’t have anything built in. My TT does have a circuit breaker panel, but in the event of major electrical issues at a park, I didn’t have anything to protect my home on wheels!
I did a lot of research before I bought one, and the first one I bought was a $250 circuit protection device that was great, but it wouldn’t work with an extension cord, so I had to send that one back. That device was designed to keep tabs on volts, amps, and ohms of the power source, and included a power ‘cut-off’ feature, but it wouldn’t function if I used it with an extension cord, which is something I wanted to be able to do if ever needed.
So, back to the drawing board, and I finally settled on the Camco ‘Dogbone’ circuit Analyzer for it’s combination of function, price, and simplicity.
This one has built in surge and fault protection, which is great if there’s too much voltage or amperage, but it won’t do anything for under voltage or under amperage. It does let me know with the built-in lights if there’s a polarity or ground issue with the power source, so I always plug this in first, then plug my TT into it.
This device is terrific; it’s fairly light and compact, not at all difficult to operate, and has no moving parts to worry about breaking. I also like that the whole unit is weather resistant, and while that seems like it should be obvious, there are devices on the market that are not weather resistant, so be aware of that when you’re shopping for one.
So what do you use for your RV electrical protection?

Towing connections

Bumper pull? Fifth wheel? But I have a dually, so wouldn’t it be a seventh wheel? Or an eighth since I have a spare, too?? What in the world do these things mean?!?!

Well dear reader, i’m glad you asked! Today we’re going to talk about hookups, and i’m not talking about dating ;).

(More info coming soon!)

When we’re talking about towing, there’s two primary parts:
The Tow Rig: This is the vehicle doing the towing. Often a pickup truck, this can be any vehicle that’s capable of towing your trailer.
The Towed Vehicle: This is what’s being towed, and is usually a trailer, though it’s possible to tow other stuff too (another post!).