Which heater is best: Forced air, ceramic or catalytic?

By Greg Illes We were up on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, boondocking out in the Kaibab Forest at around 8,500 feet elevation. It was October, and the nights were regularly dropping into the 30s (F). Our stock cabin heater, a standard Suburban 30,000 BTU fan-driven beast, had long since been sidelined in favor of a small propane…

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“To sleep, perchance to dream …” — but not behind the wheel

By Greg Illes (with apologies to Billy Shakespeare) Healthy sleep is one of the most talked-about subjects in many walks of medicine, and with good reason. Good sleep makes for a good life. Sleep – really solid, deep sleep – is the time when the body and mind heal up from the day’s rigors. Sleep time is about the only…

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Engine monitors: Drive with safety – and frugality

By Greg Illes In 1996, the U.S. auto manufacturers began adhering to (another) new standard. This time it was the On-Board Diagnostic port, or OBD interface to the engine electronics. This port (since evolved to OBD-II) allowed access to a host of engine parameters, from water temperature to fuel flow and other critical operating numbers. The OBD also reads the…

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Why would you want a composting toilet?

By Greg Illes We’re now three years with a composting toilet. In that span of time, we’ve used the toilet continuously for anywhere from 3-4 weeks to 4-5 months. Total usage in three years was for a total of about 9-10 months, so I feel that we can speak reasonably authoritatively about it. Our original motivation was to “do without”…

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How about a desert sea serpent? But wait, there’s more…

By Greg Illes Sprawled across the back lots of Borrego Springs, California, are dinosaurs. And prehistoric camels. Miners, farm workers, battling bighorn sheep and, yes, a monstrous sea serpent – well, to be more precise, a desert serpent. The brown rust of the iron sculptures doesn’t glint in the sun, in fact it blends gently into the desert until you…

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Keep that RV going straight down the road

By Greg Illes There are a lot of RVs that don’t always drive straight down the road – and it’s not always someone else’s rig. If your rig is squirrelly, you don’t have to just live with it – there are some remedies available to you. Sometimes the cause is a subtle error in driver technique; sometimes it’s chassis issues or…

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Why would you want a lithium battery pack?

By Greg Illes Lithium batteries have truly extraordinary advantages for certain types of RV life — but they have their “dark side” as well. You need to be very well informed to make the “lithium decision.” First off, NO, they won’t catch fire There are literally dozens of lithium battery chemistries extant, and the one used in vehicles is lithium-iron-phosphate.…

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Solar Basics – Know how to determine your solar system

By Greg Illes Books can be written (and have been) about all the nuances of solar power. For your RV, this article is meant to be a “thousand-foot view,” a way to see the entire landscape of solar power, without getting bogged down (yet) in too many details. I’ve tried to cover a lot of factors, and not too deep,…

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