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12 September 2017

Solar Shower For RV'ing


Solar Shower For Your RV


Solar shower in place on the rear ladder of our trailer.
Solar Shower in Place
If you have not yet purchased a solar shower for your RV it is time. Once you have used one you wonder why you waited so long.


Not only do you save on energy but also your holding tanks will not fill up as fast. This is especially true when boondocking or camping in parks with limited services.


Some people think that the water will not heat up fast enough. Worry no more, as long as you have a bit of sunshine the water keeps heating up.


In full sunshine you will have warm water in 3 hours. The water can actually get to hot, so check first and if it is hot, just add some cold water.


The Solar Showers are very affordable, starting at $10.00 (yes that's right, ten dollar) and go up from there.


Solar Shower
Solar Shower

We have two, Super Solar Shower, one smaller, 2.5 gallon and one larger, 5 gallon. Water is heavy so keep that in mind. Five gallons weigh in around 40 lbs. You do not have to fill up the whole bag, but a larger bag is nice not to have so you don't have to refill all the time.

A five gallon Solar Shower is enough for 3-4 showers. The smaller bag is also great for doing dishes and rinsing feet etc.


Deck and Balcony Tiles
Deck and Balcony Tiles

Lay out the remaining tiles and use as stepping stones.
Remaining tiles makes great stepping stones.
Now, it can get a bit messy where you are standing having your shower, so what we did, we went to Home Depot and got some Deck & Balcony Tiles.


These plastic slotted tiles are 1 x 2 feet come in different colours. Five in a package.


They interlock with each other and no tools required to put together. We put two of them together for a platform to stand on when having the shower.


The other three tiles we use as stepping stones to get back to the out door carpet. This keeps the dirt off your feet and out of the RV.

Cheers,

Anders


03 July 2017

To Drive or Not to Drive in Central America


Is it safe for me to drive in Central America?


Doug and Johanne Dyer Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua. Doug is the author of A Tale of Two Geckos
Doug and Johanne Dyer in Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua.
Doug is the author of A Tale of Two Geckos
The following post is from a good friend of mine Doug Dyer. Doug and his wife Johanne are enjoying life house sitting all over the world. Here is their website. Thanks for the post Doug.


Doug just recently wrote a fantastic book called "A Tale of Two Geckos: We Transformed Our Lives and So Can You!"


If you want the US version of Amazon, its here.  Once you get started reading you will not be able to stop.


You can get a digital copy at Amazon. No Kindle required just download an app for your pc, apple, android or what have you.  The book will change you and is so inspiring. The best part it is only around $1.00..... got to love it.

Doug and Johanne also writes for International Living and House Sitting Magazine.

OK, on to the actual guest post from Doug.

Is it safe for me to drive in Central America?


A busy street in Granada, Nicaragua Central America
Busy Street in  Granada, Nicaragua
I have recently been confronted with the above dilemma and you may well be too.


Let me share with you what I experienced when I mustered up my nerve and got behind the wheel of a car in Nicaragua.


Chaos like you cannot anticipate meets you as you pull out onto the road. All of your senses come to full attention, adrenaline rushes in.

I don’t remember this being on my driver’s test – ever!!

Travelling in Catarina, Nicaragua by car can be a challenge. As long as you get there it's ok.
Travel any which way. What ever takes you there is OK.
Catarina, Nicaragua
Be prepared for a myriad of massive trucks, barreling buses, taxis, horse carts, tuc-tucs, scooters, bicycles and pedestrians all vying for the same narrow ribbon of concrete that is misnamed  a highway.


To me there is no rhyme or reason, but somehow it all seems to have a flow.


The road way itself is littered with the pesky pot holes and heavily camouflaged speed bumps.


Cattle on the road Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
Cattle on the road, Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

You can find anything on the road in Central America. Oxen pulling a load. No plans for a wrestling match here.
Oxen pulling a load. No plans for a wrestling match here.
Ometepe Island, Nicaragua
Don’t be looking for signage or directional arrows for guidance as they are most often forgotten or misplaced.

Sometimes what you think is actually a road headed back to town will instantly morph into a goat trail or alley into someone’s yard.

Oh and that one way that I headed down in the wrong direction? The locals were generally amused and forgiving.

I have yet to mention the living moving obstacles which will include; dogs, chickens, horses, cows, lots of cows, and the old guy pushing an ice cream cart.

Little kids laugh and play unsupervised along the sides of the road and the buses load and unload at will.

The other day I found myself in the driver’s seat staring down a very large bull that had little interest in giving way to little old me. In good time he and his buddies shuffled along down the road.

Of course this is what you see in the light of day; don’t even consider venturing out after night fall, lighting is optional.

So did I answer the question?  Not really but maybe you get the picture.

Doug and Johanne Dyer, The Joyful Travellers

04 February 2017

Preventing RV BBQ Flare up


Tip for preventing flare up on your RV BBQ


RV BBQ Ready to go. In Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona.
RV BBQ Ready to go. In Organ Pipe National Monument, Arizona.
Most BBQ's that come with RV's are pretty small and most come with only one burner.


This makes it hard to cook meat that has more fat in it, like a pork roast of even half a chicken with bone in and skin on. The flare up can be a real pain.


The little BBQ we have on our 5th wheel is a good little BBQ but again it has only one burner and cooking one of my favourite "half chicken with bone in and skin on" can be a challenge to say the least.


What I do to prevent flare up is use tin foil to make a little "pan". I use the heavy duty tin foil you can buy at Costco. It is really good and strong.


Take about 18 inches and fold in to a size that fits the meat you are going to BBQ.


If you cook two large chicken breast, bone in and skin on, make two pans to fit each chicken breast.







When you fold the tin foil make sure the shiny side is up to reflect more heat. Make little edges so the grease will not run off and cause more flare ups.

Whole Breast of Chicken, Bone in, Skin on. A Small Tray For Each Chicken Breast.
Whole Breast of Chicken, Bone in, Skin on. A Small Tray For Each Chicken Breast.

Asparagus cooking in trays with the left over fat from the Chicken. Just cook till crisp.
Asparagus cooking in trays with the left over fat from the Chicken. Just cook till crisp.

A glass of rosé wine goes just great with chicken.
A glass of rosé wine goes just great with chicken.
Once your chicken is cooked wrap it in some more tin foil and let sit 10 min or so. It will continue to cook.


Now if you have some asparagus ready, throw them on the BBQ in the grease that's left on the pans or trays.


Cook till crisp, don't over cook.


Match this wonderful chicken with a nice glass of Rosé. Serve chilled.


Well, I hope that works for you.

Cheers,

Anders

16 January 2017

Replacing Battery And Propane Vents


General Maintenance of Your RV - Replacing The Battery Box Vent and Propane Compartment Vents


Cracked Vent
As your RV gets older and it is exposed to the elements some of the plastic just cracks and need to be replaced.


This was the case with two of my three vents.


I have one for each propane tank and one for the batteries. They are often referred to as Battery Box Vents.


This is a pretty easy job and can be done in less then half an hour.



Stuff needed for this job:
  • Philips Screw driver
  • Flat Screw driver
  • Caulking gun
  • Caulking
  • Paper Towel
  • Spray Nine cleaner or Windex

Cleaned up vent hole on trailer for the battery box vent
Cleaned up vent hole on trailer

New Battery Box Vent in Place
New Battery Box Vent in Place.
Remove the four screws holding the vent in place and put to the side. You will need them again.


If the vent does not come off, grab the flat screw driver and from the side give it a gentle tap and it will fall off.


Remove any excess old caulking. I found that the flat screw driver works well, just gently scrap it off or use a plastic scraper of some kind.


Clean off with cleaner and paper towel. Let it dry.


In the meantime, turn the new vent upside down and put a bead of caulking close to the outside edge and completely around the four holes.


Install the vent and as you tighten the screws up the caulking will ooze out on the sides.





Make sure not to tighten it to much. The plastic will crack.

You can clean up the excess caulking or leave it, your choice.

Cheers,

Anders





Head in The Toilet. Aqua Magic Style ll Water Valve


Changing The Water Valve in Aqua Magic Style 2 Toilet. Part # 42049


Aqua Magic Style II Water Valve Kit
Aqua Magic Style II Water Valve Kit
Instructions for Aqua Magic Style 2 Water Valve Kit
Instructions for Aqua Magic Style 2 Water Valve Kit

Sometimes things on the RV or in our case the 5th Wheel Trailer breaks down.

In our case the water valve in the RV toilet would not shut off. The water just keeps running.

This happen to us after sitting for several months and not being used.

It was actually just before Christmas and we had several of our kids and grand kids coming up and we needed the extra space in the trailer.

I filled the trailer up with water and then turned the pump on and the water in to the toilet just kept running.

Living on a small little Island in the Pacific Ocean there was not a hope of getting a new valve for the toilet.

So what I did in the meantime was to install a brass shut off valve on the waterline.

This way the toilet could still be used. A bit of a pain having to shut the water off manually, but way better then not having a toilet at all.

We had a trip planned to California and Arizona starting New Years Day. I could always pick up a water valve there or on the road down some place.

Actually as I am writing this blog post we are camped at Palm Springs Oasis RV Park in Cathedral City, California. This is a very nice park by the way.

I got the water valve for the Aqua Magic Style II, part number 42049 from a local dealer here in the Palm Springs area called Benlo Co. RV Service and supplies. Very good and efficient.

This is what you need for the repair:


Stuff needed for the repair job of the Aqua Magic Style 2 toilet
Stuff needed for the repair job.
  • The Aqua Magic Style II replacement kit. Part number 42049. Comes with instructions.
  • Three large Garbage Bags
  • A set of latex gloves
  • Head lamp or flash light
  • Plumber Pliers
  • Needle Nose pliers
  • ½ inch Wrench
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Flat Screwdriver
  • Vaseline
  • Phone and or Digital Camera
  • Roll of Paper towel or Rags
  • Towel
  • Spray Nine or other disinfectant cleaner
Have a good look at your repair kit/water valve kit. Make sure all the pieces are there. When you dismantle the toilet take pictures as you go. They will come in handy if you forget some steps. If you have lots of room beside your toilet (on the Pedal side) you do not need to remove the toilet. However most bathrooms in RV's are pretty tight.

Removing the Aqua Magic Style II Toilet:

  • Before you start, spread a large plastic garbage bag on the floor. 
  • Clean out toilet well, empty the black tank and flush well. Add deodorizer and whatever liquid you use for the black tank. Use Spray Nine and clean the toilet well. 
  • Turn off water pump or disconnect water supply. Drain all water inside using the Pedal.
  • If you have a pressure tank installed like I do, make sure to drain/release all the pressure in the lines or close by pass valve.
  • Disconnect the water supply to the toilet. You may need a set of pliers or plumber pliers for this. Put some towels around the supply line to catch any water coming out.
  • Using the flat screwdriver pop off the plastic caps covering the Flange Nuts.
  • Grab the ½ inch wrench and remove the Flange Nuts. Note that these nuts are not super tight. Important when you install it back again.
  • Lift the toilet straight up and lay it down on the garbage bag on its side, pedal side up.
  • Use second garbage bag to cover the hole in the floor.
Toilet removed. Note brass water valve I
installed on the water line at the back of the toilet.






Now is a good time to take some more pictures even from the bottom side so you can see how the Closet Flange Seal fits on to the bottom of the toilet.... I know it may not look pretty.






Removing the Aqua Magic Style ll Water Valve.

Grab handle and make a quick jerk for  the handle to come off.
Grab handle and make a quick jerk for
the handle to come off.

  • With the toilet laying on its side, use your left hand holding the toilet bowl, grab the pedal with your right hand and give it a quick jerk up and off. I know what you are thinking, you are going to break the darn thing, but not so. Just give it a good pull and it will snap off. Put it to the side.
  • Take some more pictures of what you see.
  • The next step seems impossible but it works.... using your right hand, put your thumb in to the depression of the valve, fingers under the retainer, lift slightly and turn clockwise and it will come off just like that.
  • Put to the side. I use the sink (close drain) or shower to put all the stuff in. Another picture maybe
  • Grab your needle nose pliers and remove the Water Inlet Seal and compression spring (this is the sucker that caused the problem to start with). Put to the side.

Installing The New Aqua Magic Style II Water Valve

Close up of the Water Valve Cartridge Assembly. Note you will not have the brass valve on the far left. I installed that to be able to turn the water off
Close up of the Water Valve Cartridge Assembly. Note you will not have
the brass valve on the far left. I installed that to be able to turn the water off
  • Using the Philips screw driver, insert the new Water Inlet Seal Assembly. The Spring only goes or fits one way in to the seal assembly.
  • Put a tiny bit of Vaseline on the O-Ring on the Valve Cartridge.
  • Insert new Water Valve Cartridge Assembly until fully seated. Note, if the Water Valve Cartridge Assembly is apart the Valve pice fits in to the Cartridge from underneath not from the top. Also make sure the O-Ring has not fallen off. It makes a big mess when you turn the water back on again. Yes I did experience this.
  • Rotate retainer until it clicks in to place.
  • When installing the pedal back in to place, you will need a bit of patience... a bit of swearing helps as well.
  • Place Water Valve Arm in closed position.
  • You have to make sure the arm lines up in three places. First the Water valve arm and the spring pedal pivot, then you push down (like you would step on the pedal) a bit and the drive arm pin fits in. 
  • Once in place keep pressure on it and then give it a good whack. It will snap in to place.
  • Set toilet up on plastic bag and operate the pedal several times making sure the waste ball opens and closes properly. If the pedal falls off you screwed up, do it over again. I'm talking from experience here.
Once you have it all back in to place it is time for dirty work and time for the latex gloves, just slip them on..... and pretend you are a doctor doing a prostate check.

Remove the old Closet Flange seal and discard in third garbage bag. Using rags or paper towel clean out the flange. This is the time when you also clean out the floor area where the toilet sits on and the Closet Flange Seal meets the floor area.

Installing Aqua Magic Style II toilet

Aqua Magic Style 2 water valve installed, toilet in place.
Aqua Magic Style 2 water valve installed, toilet in place.
  • Install the Closet Flange Seal on the toilet itself. Lip side down.
  • Remove plastic bag from opening in the floor.
  • Remove and discard latex gloves.
  • Lift up toilet and align the flange bolts when gently setting it down. Now have a good look at which way the toilet is facing. You have some room for adjustment here. Turn it one way or the other to make it fit best for your bathroom.
  • Tighten the Closet Flange Nuts...... IMPORTANT. Do Not Over tighten. The Flange will break if you get to rough with it. Just tighten it till the toilet does not rock any more.
  • Replace the nut/bolt covers
  • Hook up the water lines again
  • Turn on water and flush the toilet several times and check for leaks.
Thats it, your done!  After a week or so check for leaks and make sure the toilet is not lose or rocking.

Cheers,

Anders