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Friday, November 30, 2007

Replace Your Old RV Toilet Seat

Do RVers care about their toilets? You bet they do! Like you I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my toilet because it’s just there and works fine most of the time. So when it’s not working properly it captures my attention (at least once a day). I don’t know about you, but one of the most annoying things to me is a loose toilet seat. You know what I’m talking about, it’s the toilet seat that requires a seat belt because when you sit down you don’t know if you’re going to slide off onto the floor. Usually this is caused by loose bolts. I know you’re thinking, “Yes professor you have a screw loose” but really these toilet seat bolts are usually only plastic and are hard to keep snug on the porcelain. I decided to fix the problem by coughing up twelve bucks and buying a new one. I went to Home Depot and even found one that matched. The nice thing about this new seat is easy removal for cleaning. Just move the retaining clips counter-clockwise and the lid will lift off. Replace the retainers and turn the clips clockwise to reattach the seat. There, now I’ve given you something to think about - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

American Bathing Practices & RVs

RVers often wear hats in the morning to conceal the fact they have "bed hair" and haven't bathed. They'll get around to it eventually because they're RVers and there's no hurry. Seeing this tub the other day reminded me of an observation by famous journalist Ernie Pyle that back in the 1930's most Americans only bathed once every two weeks. You've seen this old style bath tub in westerns with a cowboy leaning back in the suds smoking a stogie while someone (often a pretty girl) pours in more hot water. According to a study by the Environmental Protection Agency, 90% of Americans report bathing once a day while 5 % report bathing more frequently. Unless the 5% unaccounted are RVers, I would assume American RVers are bathing at least once a day. Some RV's actually have short tubs limited only by the capacity of the hot water heater to fill them. Most RV's however, have a shower or some combination of shower and toilet and we are using them! So, sometime between the 1930's and now Americans have become obsessed with bathing. We know it's not due to a desire to enjoy a stogie because it's quite difficult to keep one lit in the shower. It must be some other factor like "feeling clean" or adhering to a social norm or the pleasure of hot water cascading down your skin. For me I like feeling clean and a hot shower "wakes me up". If you're wondering where to invest your spare change you might want to consider putting it into companies that make soap, hair shampoo and body gel because Americans, and especially RVers, aren't about to change their bathing habits. Not even a severe drought in the American South can change that. Americans will still bathe even if they have to use moist towelettes. Keeping it clean - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where Do RVers Prefer To Shower

I was drying off from my long luxurious hot shower at the RV park when I heard singing coming from the stall next to me. It wasn’t the best singing I’d ever heard, but it was pleasant enough and it was a sign of a happy camper. So why wasn’t I in my own RV shower? Most modern RV bathrooms come complete with showers. Sometimes they’re combined with the toilet, shower and sink in one small space like you’ll find in most truck campers. Other showers are luxurious sporting built-in seats and large enough for two and a half people. In my view there’s a two-fold problem with RV bathrooms. First, hot water heaters are usually only six to ten gallons and are rapidly depleted by the first person to shower leaving the next person out in the cold. Second, since the majority of RVs only have one bathroom it’s difficult for two people to share at the same time. This is why I prefer to use the RV park or campground shower facilities. Some park facilities are modest but clean. Whether they are top of the line or modest, I prefer to use them. I can take a long hot shower and have plenty of room to shave and groom and sometimes you get free entertainment. I keep my shaving kit and shower supplies in a plastic tub I carry to the shower. If we’re camped at a WalMart parking lot I just wait my turn for the shower but still operate using the same plastic tub. The reason I like the plastic tub is because sometimes the RV shower facilities where I set the tub are wet from a previous shower. I also keep a clean pair of underwear in my tub and my rolled-up towel as well. The tub keeps everything nice and dry. To prevent picking up a fungus from the shower floor I wear a pair of shower shoes. Some people even carry a small spray bottle of bleach to “sanitize” the shower floor before they step in (they’ve also been known to use this on public toilet seats as well). I think it’s a bit of overkill, but hey, if it makes you feel better why not. So, let’s take an informal survey. How many of you prefer to use your RV shower and how many of you prefer to use the RV park or campground showers? Click on the light blue word "comments" below and tell us your thoughts. Keeping it clean - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing and Road Scholar

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Installing a Handy Assist Device For RV Bathrooms

Many RVers need a little assistance in the bathroom like conveniently placed grab bars which are available at hardware stores. These are the bars you see in handicap bathrooms. Most hardware stores will stock grab bars in white or the silver brushed metal color and they can special order brass and beige. These come in handy when you're trying to keep your balance or steady yourself while entering or exiting the shower. They are also handy when placed by the toilet. Our motorhome has a pocket door where I wanted to place one of these grab bars, but the wall that houses the pocket door is too thin to support the weight. I solved this problem by installing half of a disability toilet hand rail. These can be purchased at many drug stores or at disability/mobility stores. Sometimes you may find one at a Thrift store. They’re easy to install by removing the toilet seat bolts, then inserting the aluminum holding plate under the toilet seat and reattaching the seat and bolts to the toilet. Next you insert the arm into the holding plate. You can adjust the height of the arm by moving the bottom leg up or down the peg holes. This application allows you to have support without having to drill any holes or make any other modifications to your bathroom. If you purchase a new RV it’s easy to move this nice feature with you. Keeping ideas rolling your way - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing, Dr. of RVology and ROAD Scholar

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Keeping Your TP Dry in RV Combo Bathrooms

RVers enjoy a tremendous advantage over traditional campers, that being the RV bathroom. This important RV feature allows you to stop anywhere and relieve yourself. An informal survey revealed that women RVers appreciate this particular feature far more than men. Men tended to rank the refrigerator as a higher priority item, but overall the RV bathroom is a high priority item to both sexes. Our first two RV’s didn’t have a bathroom. Purchasing a port-a-potty for a pop-up trailer seemed a waste because you couldn’t get into the pop-up while you were traveling and once you were at the campground you had access to the camp bathroom facilities. So we just made due until we purchased our first RV with it’s own bathroom. It was a Komfort Lite travel trailer and we quickly discovered how great having a travel along bathroom could be. It’s so much more convenient to be able to pull off anywhere instead of having to wait until you come across a rest stop. The bathroom was a combo unit which means that you could sit on the toilet seat while you took a shower. These small RV bathrooms are a great use of space, especially when space is a big factor such as in truck campers and other smaller RVs. They were certainly easy to clean, because you could use the shower head to hose everything down once you were done, including the toilet. However there is one major drawback and that is the problem of keeping the toilet paper dry. We had a shower curtain that was supposed to “guard” the area where the TP hung but it didn’t work. If you’ve ever tried to use wet toilet paper you know it’s a complete waste of time. Several ideas have come along that attempt to alleviate this problem in the combo environment. This roll-down protector seeks to keep the TP dry using the "roll-top-desk" method. I’m not sure how well this works, so if you have one of these, please leave a comment and tell us. The next method is the “safe deposit box” method that locks the roll inside a dry cabinet. This seems like it would work well, but again I don’t own one, so if you do, let us know how it works by telling us in the light blue “comments” section below. The ultimate way to keep your TP dry is to remove it from the combo room or keep it in a zip-lock plastic bag. The problem with this is that it eliminates the convenience of having the roll ready to go. You may also forget to put the roll back and that would cause more problems than I care to contemplate. Regardless of how you keep your TP dry, isn’t it great to have an onboard bathroom? Too often I take things like this for granted, but it wasn’t that long ago we didn’t even have indoor plumbing. Helping you to keep rolling along - Jim Twamley, Professor of RVing, Dr. of RVology and ROAD Scholar

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Find The Shampoo With Your Eyes Closed!

We’ve been looking around for a liquid soap dispenser for the motorhome shower but couldn’t find one we both liked. We looked at several RV stores, WalMart and Lowes but finally found the model we liked at Home Depot. It’s called “The Dispenser Classic” and is a three container dispenser. They have several models available. You will find them near the plumbing and bathroom fixture section at Home Depot. Once you get it home you will need to determine the place you want it. I had Marilyn get in the shower and pretend she was using the dispenser in order to find the best place to put it. The reason this is important is because you will be affixing it to the shower wall with silicone glue. Carefully clean the shower wall and then use some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to clean the area. This step will help the silicon glue adhere better. Next apply the double stick tape (which is really just to hold the dispenser in place until the glue dries). Spread the glue on the designated places on the back of the dispenser (use the entire tube supplied with the kit). Now you are ready to apply the dispenser to the wall. Carefully place it where you want it and firmly press it against the wall. It takes 24 hours for the glue to dry and you are not supposed to put any liquid into the dispenser until the glue has thoroughly cured. The nice thing about these dispensers is that when you travel, you don’t have to put the shampoo away because it’s already neatly organized on your shower wall and won’t fall over even on the roughest roads. Jim

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