TBUTLER

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About TBUTLER

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 08/26/1946

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  • Gender Male
  • Location NFS Campground at Jacob Lake, AZ
  • Interests Aviation, travel, photography, astronomy, hiking, bicycling, tennis, golf, bowling

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  1. Dometic Penguin II Heat Pump

    We had friends who had their AC/Heat Pump unit replaced several years ago. Professional job, reversed two of the control wires. It must be easy to do that so I would start by double checking the control connections, end to end. If the unit is functioning (heating in this case) and not responding to the thermostat, that also seems to be a control issue.
  2. ZIKA

    Here are some references regarding Zika and effects on older adults. AARP Bulletin The Washington Post The New York Times The New York Times - Reference from Centers for Disease Control This article specifically refers to Florida. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - Zika Home Page From what I am reading here, there doesn't seem to be a great concern about older adults and how Zika affects them. It seems to be generally a flu like disease with some joint pain. The main period of illness is a week or less though some effects are reported to last for months in a few cases. The bottom line is that we don't have enough data to really know but what we do know seems to support the above. The really frightening effects are related to the developing brain. My brain is way beyond that! Prevention is mainly avoiding mosquito bites. Florida for it's part has been proactive with mosquito control efforts and based on my experiences, their expertise should be the best in the world. They have been spraying and taking other steps to control mosquitoes for over 50 years. Use a personal mosquito repellant when outdoors particularly in mosquito prone areas.
  3. East From Moab

    I-70 is a fine drive east out of Denver, across Kansas, downhill all the way . You'll encounter some city driving around Kansas City and again in the St. Louis area. I would avoid peak (rush hour) traffic if at all possible. If you want, both cities have circle routes to avoid downtown, take the southern bypass around KC (I-470) and the northern bypass around St. Louis (MO 370 to I-270). Traffic across Missouri will be heavy at times but nothing that you wouldn't encounter on i-80. Illinois used to have a 55 MPH speed limit for motorhomes and trucks, not sure if it still does, it's been several years since I've been through there. Indianapolis has some sharp turns on the direct route through town. The southern bypass I-465 is best for avoiding downtown. Columbus, OH, take the southern bypass, I-270. Kansas has some nice rest areas with circle drives for RV's. You can park along the circle as long as you leave the pavement open for traffic you can stay all night. They also have dump stations at their rest stops. Kansas has the only toll road, about 70 miles into Kansas City, until you get into Ohio or Pennsylvania. Missouri rest stops are OK for overnight parking. Illinois has restrictions on overnight parking at some rest stops though you will find them choked with trucks parking for an indeterminate period of time. Walmart along the route generally has unrestricted parking except in urban areas. There are also a fair number of RV parks along the route that are close enough for an overnight stop. We use AllStays Camp and RV App for finding Walmart, rest areas and campgrounds for trips like the one you are taking. Travel Safe!
  4. Add-A-Brake System HELP!

    Here is a link to the trademark information. This lists it as a Roadmaster product. Spell it without the hyphens to get links on Google. Here is a link to the AddaBRAKE owners manual on line at the Roadmaster web site.
  5. Snowbirding in AZ and TX

    We've been wintering in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) since 2001. We obviously love the area. There are plenty of RV parks to choose from and they range from the really nice with paved parking and ready storage sheds for your outdoor supplies to simple gravel and dirt parks. So you can go as inexpensive to as expensive as you desire. Parks are located generally from Mission to Brownsville along US 83 and US 83/77 and also out toward Port Isabel and South Padre Island. You can find several sources of information on parks in the RGV. Selected RGV Parks, Many More RV Parks in the RGV, You might find other references, there are something like 70 different parks. The cost of living in the RGV is really low. We now have a lot for a mobile home and can park our motor home on the same lot. Rent is less than $4000 for the year. RV lots in our park rent for less than that but you have to pay your electric bill. You can of course get a lot for a day, a week or a month. Many people decide to make improvements to their lots and thus rent them for the annual fee. You won't find that arrangement in every park but some allow individual improvements. Another reason to go seasonal is that if you are staying for four or five months the difference becomes smaller and if you like the location, the annual is the way to guarantee your lot. You will find parks that have many organized activities to keep you a busy as you want to be. Likewise, if your idea is to relax, enjoy the sun and warm weather and maybe make a few friends, you don't have to go all out chasing every activity. Some parks have heated pools, others have dance halls with a regular schedule of dances. There are parks located near state parks and parks located right near the beach on South Padre Island. Some parks are located in or near cities and others are in rural areas. The RGV is a major metropolitan area with plenty of shopping, dining, entertainment and recreational activities within an easy drive from almost anywhere. We play golf once a week almost all winter. There are always a few days when it is too cold for us (but not the Canadians). If you play golf you'll benefit from the experience you have gained with the wind in the Panhandle. You will have no problem finding people to join you in golf, tenns, instrumental and vocal music, theatrical performance, and a host of other activities. Fishing opportunities abound with the ocean fishing out of South Padre Island being the deluxe version. If you are interested in wildlife, the RGV is a major destination for migrating birds. They come from all over North America, some winter here others pass through in fall and spring as they journey to Central and South America. In addition there are quite a few birds that come from Mexico and are found nowhere else in the United States. Numerous nature centers as well as the State Parks feature the wonderful variety of birds and people come from all over the world each fall for the RGV Birding Festival in Harlingen. The RGV also features the National Butterfly Center in Mission. Butterfly enthusiasts journey to the RGV as well and the wide variety of North and Central American butterflies can be see There are several college campuses, multiple quality hospitals with many specialists in senior care. The valley is definitely multicultural and as far as we are concerned, this is a delightful experience. There are many immigrants from Mexico here, some have been here for generations and others have very recently arrived. You will find several languages spoken almost everywhere. I always recommend that you come south without reservations or with reservations for a short period of time in one park. Use your time at the first park to go out and explore the valley and visit several other parks to get an idea of what is available. In recent years parks saw a decline in visitors with the increased prices for fuel but that has now passed and there are more visitors. The peak time is in January and February, at other times, most parks have some spaces available. The hot summer weather begins to abate in early October. We usually return sometime in late October, family schedules dominate our timing or we would be there in early October. Our winter months are December and January. During those months temperatures will frequently be in the 50's and 60's during the day with night temperatures in the 40's and 50's. There are usually a few days when the temperature drops below freezing by a few degrees. Last year we had no freezing temperatures and several years ago we had three periods of freezing temperatures for two or three days. We even had snow one Christmas Eve, about 3 or 4 inches that melted by the next afternoon! February usually sees temperatures starting to warm and by March days are usually around 80 degrees and nights in the 60's. April and May it warms up by the end of May we are long gone for the summer. April generally begins the real retreat of the snow birds, Easter and tax schedules drive people back to their northern homes. We pack the motor home and head for cooler weather, family visits and exploring the USA and Canada.
  6. Now that the problem has been resolved, another issue is present in the picture. The tank flush is hooked up to a garden hose. Unless flushing the black water tank is in progress, this can be a problem. I had a friend who was parked for the winter in a campground and simply kept the flush hose hooked up to the coach. One day the water was shut off in the park and everyone was cautioned to turn off their water. When the line was repaired and water in the park turned on, campground workers, trying to be helpful came by and turned on the water for everyone at their post. They also turned on the flush hose. The result was new flooring and a real mess to be cleaned up. I would never leave that hose connected, you just never know who is going to try to help you by turning on the water for you!
  7. 30 AMP RV To House 110/120 Adapter

    I've lived in the motor home parked in my mother's driveway for a month at a time with nothing but a single 110/120V outlet. We have the inverter on full time and the batteries are being charged in addition to using lights and TV. At times we had to run the furnace which runs off the battery and the charger replaces the charge between times when the furnace runs. We never used the air conditioners or heat pumps and when we used the microwave or the coffee pot, everything else was off. Check the breaker box in the house and find a 20A circuit. Sometimes lighting circuits are 15A and in older homes some of those circuits could have outlets. We had a 15/20A converter to 50A in a single plug and have used it frequently. The longer your extension cord, the greater line loss so try to use the beefiest and shortest extension cord you can get. A 15A extension cord on a 20A circuit effectively turns it into a 15A circuit. I used a 15 foot 20A cord to get out of the garage to our 50A cord. Our coach has a power management system that automatically senses the incoming current, 50A or 30A. When we go to 20A we have to press a button to set the system for incoming current at 20A. Doing this sets the power management system to sense when current is nearing 20A and it will shed loads to keep the usage under 20A so you don't trip a breaker. If you don't have this kind of system, and you trip a breaker it isn't a disaster, just reset the breaker and make a note of what was turned on when the breaker tripped. Keep in mind also that when you first plug in, your battery charging system may be putting a pretty strong draw on the current until the batteries are fully charged. Give it a few hours before you further load the system.
  8. Best Loading/Storing Experiences

    Each coach has it's unique storage opportunities and challenges. In general, for fixed basement storage spaces store materials that are used regularly just inside the door and those that less often used at the back of the compartment or in a pass through compartment, in the center of the coach. Time will help you sort those you use most often. Storing frequently used items in a container of some kind will allow you to pull them out quickly when you need something behind them. If all your items are stored in easily moved containers, you can empty a whole compartment very quickly without having to rearrange lots of individual parts to put everything back in place. If you have a slide tray in your basement storage, store your most used items on that tray, it is far easier to access items on that tray without having to move everything in front. I stack things on the sliding tray and use very long bungees to strap them in place so they won't slide off and block movement of the tray. I have all my cleaning materials in a basket (like a laundry basket with open sides) so they are all together. Open sides allow better air circulation so damp items will dry faster. My freshwater hoses are in a basket, washing hoses are in another basket. I have 50A and 30A extension cords in another basket. I found the baskets at Walmart last year. They are black with handles and are convenient size to move, can stack inside the basement and I don't have to fiddle with lids. I use containers with lids for all the small parts (replacement and repair parts, miscellaneous hardware and a few other items in that category). Those containers are about 5 inches deep and fit inside the slide tray. Four of them form the bottom layer on that tray with lawn chairs and other tool boxes stored on top of them. I broke down and got a multi-drawer tool box last year, best thing I ever bought. I eliminated several smaller tool boxes and everything is much easier to find than digging through bunches of different toll boxes. One drawer for wrenches, socket and open ended. Another drawer for various pliers and cutters. A drawer for screw drivers and bits and drill bits. The last box gets all the miscellaneous tools. The top compartment under the lid gets the big tools, a drill, a power screw driver, jig saw and chargers for all.The box fits the width of the slide tray and can be accessed without pulling out the tray if desired. It will slide under center so I can pull the tray out both sides of the coach. Below the slide tray is space for thin tools like my long reach tree trimmer, some scrap boards for spur of the moment fixes. Along side the tray I store other useful thin items, my step ladder folds 1.5 inches thich and a bungee holds it against the side so it won't interfere with the tray. I keep a small folding two wheel dolly also stored along the side with a bungee to hold it in place. What? You don't have a slide tray. There are lots of people who make them, custom for your coach, well worth the money for the convenience. There are spaces on the roof of our basement storage that are above the center rib and can't be used for sliding trays, those are dead areas that are good for light items like the pool noodles that I use to prevent concussions from walking into storage doors and slide-outs, I store pipe insulation for those few times when we are in really cold weather and I need to insulate the water hose. I use screw eyes and bungees to hold those items in place. All my water connection parts are stored in trays that I added to the water/sewer compartment on our coach. Dogbone electric adapters are stored on hooks in the compartment with the electric cable. Our pantry had a dead space above the top shelf. I built wine glass holders in that space. Bungees strung across the space keep the glasses from sliding off the rack. Glasses are wrapped with non-slip shelf liner cut to fit and held in place by rubber bands. The bottom of the pantry also has a similar space well above the doors and out of sight. I got loop wine storage racks at IKEA. I used half of each rack for the bottom of the bottle and the neck of the bottle rests on the part of the cabinet above the doors. Six more bottles of wine than we could store otherwise. I have added a shelf to our coat closet at the top of the closet behind the coat hangers. There is just enough space for our cold weather hats and gloves. In our bedroom there were two large cabinets under the TV. We could stack clothes in there but stacked clothes soon become a jumble. I added a shelf to each cabinet to divide them into more useful spaces. I don't expect you will find all these things in your coach but these ideas may help you look at unused spaces for storing materials.
  9. Replacement third brake light lens

    Try posting this on the Forum as opposed to a blog. The Forum is where you will find answers to your questions. Blogs are for stories about motor home travels and adventures. They tend to be continuing stories as opposed to the questions and discussions of problems on the Forum.
  10. RV Park Shore Power

    For a load test, I always check our Aladdin System built into our coach. It shows the voltage in real time. In summer that means I watch the voltage as the air conditioners come on. If it holds steady or drops only slightly we are OK. We've been in parks where the voltage will drop from 120 to below 100 with one air conditioner on. Alaska, Maine, Newfoundland are a couple of locations where this occurred. In those cases, we either move to a new site or to a different park or we don't use the air conditioners. When this happens it is a clear indication that the wiring is insufficient, either too small a wire for the amperage or too long a run (which requires larger wire size) from the supply to the post. This should not be a problem in modern parks but those that are older it is a serious problem. Park owners will try to tell you it is a problem with the electric company. I tell them that I'm certain that the generators aren't suddenly lugging because I turned on my air conditioner! The problem is 100% in the size of the wire in the campground.
  11. Riverpark Infotainment GPS

    I would give up on the Riverpark system, how old is that? Get a stand-alone GPS. You can get a large 7" screen GPS for around $200 and that includes lifetime map updates. I have never used a dedicated RV or Truckers GPS. I want the driving stuff, not all the RV resources, I can get those from dozens of other dedicated sources for that information. I like Garmin GPS systems but there are others that perform as well. Other than downloading the map updates, you have all the maps you need on board at all times (including all of Canada). No need to download maps for a specific trip. I like having the GPS on the dash in front of me with automatically zooming illustration for turns, etc. The Garmin shows what lane to be in for intersections and interchanges, distance to turn, pictures of the exit signs, etc. It also indicates the next turn when you are on the highway, even if it is 200 miles ahead. That gives us a head's-up as to the route it intends to use. If we want to do something different, we'll take the road we want and it adjusts. I also find the speed indication to be quite useful, it shows the speed limit (usually correctly but not a legal reference - still have to watch the signs) and if over the speed limit it shows our speed in red. It does easy quick searches for stores, attractions, etc. Type in post office and it gives you the location of the nearest 20! Take your pick. The same for Walmart, Lowe's or Safeway. Updates occur several times a year and keep the system up-to-date. In addition, they also make software improvements from time to time to take care of problems that crop up. We do use the maps on the iPad at times if we are having map problems and need to get a second opinion but I would never try to drive from a cell phone or iPad, too much heads down activity unless you have it mounted on the dash in front of you. We took our car Garmin with us to New Zealand and Australia. I purchased the maps for both countries from Garmin. They were on a single Mini SD chip that plugs into the side of the GPS. I had every road in both countries, every round-about, school zone warnings and all the rest. It was one of the best things about driving in those countries. It made adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road much easier to handle.
  12. Plan B

    Yes.
  13. The fresh water tank fill should not go through the water pump. That should be prevented by a back flow valve. If the lever on the valve you mention is turning the valve and the valve is operating properly, then you should be able to fill the tank unless there is some kind of shut-off at the tank also. I'm not familiar with Beaver products specifically so someone who owns your model may have a suggestion.
  14. House Electical Not Functioning

    I have to ask. The 30A outlet at your home, is it specifically installed for the motor home? Who installed it? How certain are you that it is wired properly? All 30A circuits are not the same. If it is a standard appliance 30A circuit, like a clothes drier, it would damage the circuitry in the motor home. If an electrician installed the circuit, even if they knew it was for an RV, they may not have installed a proper 30A circuit. A good primer on electrical supply for RV's is RV Electric. Take a look and ensure that you have a good 30A outlet. The correct wiring should have one hot wire, one ground and one neutral. It should be a 110V connection, not 220V. If you are not familiar with electric, get a professional to check the outlet you plugged into. At the same time, if you don't have one, purchase a test meter at a hardware store and have the electrician show you how to use it to check what you are plugging into.
  15. Happy birthday to our National Park Service. One hundred years ago this week, Congress created the National Park Service. There were national parks before the park service was created. The park service became the agency that managed the national parks. In the last few weeks we have visited four parks. At each park we found amazing views, exciting experiences and crowds of people enjoying their heritage. Our first stop on the way west from Denver was the San Luis Valley of Colorado and Great Sand Dunes National Park. The dune field at GSD is located on the east side of the San Luis Valley. Winds picking up sand particles from the dry lake bed of the San Luis Valley drop them when they encounter the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We've seen and walked dune fields before but these are unique for several reasons. The highest dune in the field is over 600 feet high. You can rent sand boards to surf the dunes and many people climb all the way to the top to do just that. Younger sand surfers were busy learning on the lowest dunes. But before you reach the dune field, you have to cross Medano Creek. In the spring, Medano Creek carries large amounts of sand from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the southwestern edge of the dune field. Choked with sand, the stream periodically experiences blockages and then breaks them creating pulses of water that people surf on. In mid-summer the stream flow becomes more docile and it is filled with young children with buckets and shovels who enjoy a great cooling sandbox. Shortly after we reached the dune field, the wind began to pick-up and we were treated to the marvel of dune formation. Sand grains began dancing around our bare feet. With each gust of wind the sands around us began to flow along the ground toward the dune field. Our footprints in the sand were quickly turning into mini-dunes. Moving on toward southwestern Colorado we stayed at a campground across Highway 160 from Mesa Verde National Park. Mesa Verde is a very large park and features hundreds of cliff dwellings of the Pueblo people. There are overlooks to view many of the cliff dwellings but the real highlight is to actually tour some of the dwellings. There is currently one that can be toured on your own. Another that was open to touring is currently off limits because of potential rockfall. Ranger guided tours are available for three others. To manage the size of the audience, you purchase tickets for each tour. The ticket specifies the time of the tour. Tours involve walking and climbing stairs or ladders. To walk the ground where the Pueblo people lived and learn about their lives and their history in this area is an amazing experience. There are also museum exhibits with some of the artifacts from the park. A recent series of fires on the mesa has exposed hundreds of archaeological sites on the mesa surface. Prior to the cliff dwellings, the population lived on the surface where they farmed. The cliff dwellings are the final phase of their history at Mesa Verde. After about 100 years living in the cliff dwellings they were abandoned as the Pueblo people moved on to other locations. In northeastern Arizona is Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Shey) National Monument. A National Monument is designated by Presidential proclamation, National Parks are created by an act of Congress. Canyon de Chelly is an example of a national monument. It is administered by the National Park Service but has limited visitor information. There are cliff dwellings at Canyon de Chelly but none are open to visitation. There are places to view them from a distance. One can be viewed up close by hiking two miles down into the canyon and back out. We made that trek one afternoon. Along the trail we encountered many Navajo people on their way to visit the cliff dwellings. Near he site we witnessed a religious meeting of the Navajo people. In fact, the national monument is located on the Navajo reservation and many of them live within the national monument. Access to the canyon floor is limited to Navajo escorts at all other locations. Jeep and horse tours are available. The canyon itself is quite spectacular in its beautiful formations. Sandstone layers were formed by ancient sand dunes that migrated over the area many millions of years ago. The cross layering within each layer tells the story of the passage of another dune. From Canyon de Chelly we traveled to the granddaddy of all canyons, Grand Canyon National Park. It had been a long time since either Louise or I had last visited the Grand Canyon. Needless to say, things have changed. Louise had been there as a young teen (no year given ), I was there in the late 70's. While the experience was different, the park service is doing a wonderful job of managing the crowds and keeping the canyon accessible to all. Visiting the south rim, large parking lots at the visitors center are the starting point. There are shuttle buses, tour buses and a train to bring you to the park in addition to your own private vehicle. Yes, they do have an RV parking lot. Parking becomes difficult to find early in the day during the peak summer season. Once at the visitors center, a bus system will transport you around the central park area and out to the viewpoints which are scattered along the canyon rim. Walking part of the Canyon Rim trail gives you a constantly changing view of the canyon. You can also ride the shuttle bus from one major viewpoint to another. As interesting as the canyon was the amazing variety of people visiting the canyon. Foreign languages were as common if not more common than English. The story of the formation of the Grand Canyon is the story of Earth's history. Along the rim trail there is a timeline of Earth history. Markers on the trail about every 30 feet mark the passage of 10 million years. Our national parks are a national treasure. Our Senior Pass allows us free entry to these parks. When we got our lifetime pass to these parks we became members of the National Park Foundation, a private foundation which assists in funding the parks. It is a way for us to continue support of our parks while we enjoy our Senior Pass. Find a park near you and drop by to visit this week.