Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Every couple of weeks we dip into the “mail bag” to share the thoughts of our readers. This time around, you all were particularly prolific in your comments – we apologize that to maintain a short enough column (and our sanity) we’re only able to share a fraction of your thinking.
Trials and tribulations
When Editor Chuck Woodbury shared the ins-and-outs of keeping rvtravel.com running despite economic challenges, many of you wrote of your appreciation for the work. Thanks, all! Reflecting what many wrote, Donna and Bob sent their back-pat: “Have enjoyed your newsletter for a dozen years now. The articles are always very informative. If it weren’t for you and your honesty, we’d have probably gone out and bought a new motorhome. Family members bought a new 2015 and had nothing but problems that the dealer service department could never remedy. We have decided to hang onto our 2006 Winnebago 38 foot Adventurer. We love it!! We make an automatic monthly contribution to the newsletter. Thank you for the great newsletter.”
However, some were still a bit put-off by what they deemed ‘a negative’ tone that sometimes presents in our editorials. In his editorial, Chuck had written the comments left by ‘Bob,’ who felt Chuck was too much on the dark side. And Mary takes Bob’s side, evidently. “Chuck, Bob was right. If you go back and read a year or two of your editorials and then go pull out any printed copy of your RV newspaper we used to subscribe to, you have gotten quite grumpy in your old age. Once in a while something up beat? Poor Bob, you jumped on him with your problems. Is there any joy in your life? Can’t get a reservation, can’t get a pull thru, roads are too narrow. Steak overdone? Life’s a bitch, then you die–but I can read that on Fox News. An occasional glimmer of hope, please. Overcome. Conquer. Thrive.”
Chuck’s response to Mary followed: “I just don’t see it that way Mary. My life is wonderful. I am no cheerleader for the RV industry, although I am a cheerleader for RVing. I ‘jumped on Bob’? Did you happen to notice I did not use his last name or where he lives? I simply answered him. Ya want me to make up a little story so I don’t hurt his feelings? I would guess that if Bob read what I wrote in today’s newsletter, he is probably happy that I acknowledged his question. I doubt he feels that I ‘jumped on him.’ But that’s just a guess on my part.”
Nels chimed in with his thinking on the whole flap: “As long as your negativity keeps the industry on its toes, keep up the good work. Actually, I find it refreshing to read the truth about these things. I also have the Amazon Canada link bookmarked. Please keep up the great reporting and stories.”
No “shortage” of questions on electrical outlets
Our “how-to” piece on replacing shore-power outlets in your RV may not have been shocking, but it did get some mental “juice” flowing.
Bonnie wrote about her experience: “We went to replace the ground fault interrupter located in the bathroom, because we kept smelling hot, burning wires. Took it off and definitely was burnt on the plastic near the screw. We were told that happened because the wire was hitting on the plastic itself. Never knew screws can come loose on these from traveling! Beware! Also the new part, we could not get button to push in on it even though we bought the right amperes. A guy at the store said they are VERY hard to push in and advised us to use a screwdriver or something to push it in. We tried, we couldn’t get it to push in. Why would they need to be made like this? Impossible to set!”
Steve, who writes as a licensed electrician responded to Bonnie’s dilemma: “The terminal screws can and will loosen because the wiring is copper. Copper will expand and contract due to heat and cold. When the wiring contracts, the vibration of the RV will loosen the terminal screws. This same effect can happen in a normal house. In reference to your GFCI, the reset button is designed to be pushed in with a little resistance. If you have to push the reset in with anything beside your finger, you would have a defective GFCI.”
Since our original story suggested replacing the factory-equipped outlets with new 20-amp outlets, it raised a question for Paul. “Replacing existing outlets with a 20-amp outlet. Aren’t the existing circuits/outlets 15-amp?”
To which ‘Solar Steve,’ responded, “Yes, 20-amp outlets, when you can find them, are built a bit more durable than the 15-amp and will last better in circuits with heaters or hair drier heavy loads. But always use the screw wire connections on any outlet, never the wire push-in types that make installation easy, but compromise electrical reliability.”
Clean up those rodents?
Lately it seems like we’re just stirring up all kinds of controversy. One of the latest was fomented in a story we ran on whether Irish Spring soap is like an “unwelcome mat” to mice. Here’s what some of you opined.
JF says, “Mice & rats are actually attracted to soap regardless of its odor. What will work is moth balls.”
But Diane begs to differ: “We have used both Irish Spring soap and moth balls. Neither worked. I guess our mice are just too smart!!!”
And Bruce either has both smart and dumb mice, at least it would seem that way: “We used Irish Spring one year–it worked great. The next year they chewed on the bar of soap. I have better luck running a trap line.”
It’s raining dogs and cats
Finally, we wrap up with still another contentious topic: Dogs in the campground. The “RV Shrink” posted a problem suffered by some of his “patients” having to do with the wife who wanted to RV with the dog, while the hubby wasn’t too keen on the matter. From what we heard in response, this is another matter where you’d be better off getting oil and water to mix.
Kurt writes, “Dogs in campgrounds are our #1 gripe. We don’t pay fees to hear someone’s dog bark hour after hour. They leave the wretched things in their RV then go away for the day….the dog,of course, barks every minute they are gone….but of course shuts up the second they return… so of course they don’t believe there’s a ‘problem’. We now have zero tolerance for barking campground dogs. We WILL find a ranger (whatever) and have the problem dealt with. In two cases this resulted in the dog owners having to leave or board their dogs! Beware….we could be next to you next stop…!!!!!!”
Randy offers Kurt a suggestion in return: “Wow, I understand your point to your complaint. But sometimes maybe talking to the person instead of jumping to a ranger. Maybe with iPhone you can tape what’s going on and prove it to the owner. I’m sure 99% of RVers respect your needs as well. Address it with them before running to management. Then if you did what you feel all you could do, then I am 100% behind you.”
And dog owner, Jann, puts in her own ‘bark’ on the matter: “Not all dogs bark ‘every minute they are gone.’ We always wondered about ours, so there have been a few times we introduce ourselves to our next door neighbor and told them we were leaving, and to please let us know if they hear her bark, as we do not want to disturb them. Each time they say they hear a couple of barks and then all is quiet. We also use the crate and our dog loves it and feels safe there. I think a lot of campers just don’t like dogs no matter what. Well, they are a fact of life and I, for one, don’t always like all people either.”
So, how to keep your traveling pet from barking? Get a cat! Says Sharon, “Our two well-behaved cats are wonderful traveling companions. They are very affectionate, contrary to what many believe. We can leave for an entire day without problems. My husband has often said you don’t have to walk a cat, as someone goes by with their dog on a rainy day.”
Keep those cards, letters, and e-mails coming!