Gerald Voigt
Author Archives: Gerald Voigt

Bye Bye Dolly Its Been Fun To Have Towed Ya

If you follow us on Facebook, you already know that we have recently made some changes to our RVing lifestyle. For years now we have wanted to replace our towed with something that we could tow four down and the vehicle had to be multipurpose including off road exploring.

So, after much looking as something to occupy some of the long days during this health situation, the one we all have all been keenly aware of, we searched for a used Jeep. Given we have spent the last several winters in Arizona where Jeeps are immensely popular it goes without saying its popularity there drives up the prices.

New JeepersIt was not until we returned to our home area in Wisconsin did, we come across a gem while out doing some other shopping and errands. On one of the local dealerships lots was a used 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JK) with the Sahara trim package for what we considered a more reasonable price. After having our Honda Accord appraised and a comfortable trade in offer accepted, we made the deal and drove our new to us Jeep home.

Going from dolly towing a sedan to flat towing a Jeep requires some adaptation. First, we considered using the dolly to tow the Jeep around until we could get the appropriate towing system but upon reading the Jeep Owner’s manual that idea was eliminated. You cannot tow a Jeep Wrangler other than flat on all fours or up on a flatbed trailer.

Dolly being towed away.

Good Bye Dolly!

Shedding ourselves of an unnecessary tow dolly was rather quick and easy. I gave it a thorough washing and snapped a couple of pictures of it and listed it on Facebook Marketplace. I had a clear idea of what a new one cost and set my pricing accordingly to make it affordable and appealing to someone who needed one. Within hours of posting the listing I had an inquiry.

Never jump at the first offer, especially when the person wants it for as close to free as possible. I left myself some negotiating room, but literally giving it away was not an option. The income generated was going to offset the costs of the tow system for the Jeep.

I let the ad run through the Memorial Day weekend and did not get any other nibbles although it was being watched by several people. I updated the price, dropping it by around one dollar, which was enough to spark someone’s interest. The negotiations began and when it was done, I made a one-day cash only deal which the person accepted and the next day arrived cash in had and took possession of the dolly.

 

We purchase our Tow Master Dolly new in 2013 just prior to going full-time. In that time we install three sets of tires, only paying for one set out of pocket. Two years ago I replaced the wheel bearings out of precaution more than necessity. We replaced the tie down straps about three years ago. Overall, it saw more than 50,000 miles over the last seven years without any complaints from us. Yes, it was cumbersome to use in the beginning but soon we got the hang of it and it was weaved into our traveling routine. At the time we had a vehicle that couldn’t be flat towed, even replacing it with yet another. While there are benefits to flat towing, don’t kick the idea of using a dolly aside. It can be an affordable option if you already have a vehicle you like and can’t afford to replace. We recovered about 80% of the cost to purchase and maintain it, which shows a dolly is a viable option financially.

Immediately, we ordered the mounting hardware, tow bar and required accessories to connect the Jeep to the back of the coach. I had been doing some online research on what brand and equipment to get and found the best prices on Amazon. Sure, I could have gone to a dealer but there were none listed close to where we are and ordering it through a local RV or parts house meant paying their ridiculous markup. By jumping on getting them ordered, they were in stock and prices were still good.

Vendors selling on Amazon will start out with an attractively low price, then ratchet them up as they start to sell.

I will be doing the install myself, fortunately the process on the Jeep is relatively easy to do with only some minor cosmetic cutting in the lower plastic skid shield which I am comfortable doing given my fabrication background. Soon, the parts will arrive, and I will start the process of installation and I will share the process with you here on our blog.

Sewer Smell Fix

Sewer Vent

The sewer system in your RV works the same as in a home, with one exception, there are tanks to hold the contents until ready to dump into a septic or sewer main.

In order for liquids to flow through a pipe, air must enter behind the fluid to prevent a vacuum thus stopping the flow. A simple example of this is filling a drinking straw with liquid, then placing your finger over the end. The contents of the straw stay in place until you remove your finger and release the seal allowing the liquid to flow out the other end.

ISewer Ventf your RV is more than 10 years old or if you primarily stay in drier climates and you’ve tried all of the other tricks to eliminate gray tank odor, then consider this. Replace the drain vents that are usually located underneath the sinks. A shower may or may not have its own, usually connected to the bathroom sink if in close proximity of each other.

 

Inside of the vents, there is a rubber membrane that acts as a valve. Over time these valves can dry rot and not move to close off. (Like the finger on the end of the straw works.) Once these disks loose their elasticity, they stop moving freely and stop functioning properly. This allows for gases to back up (and liquids) and pass out thru the valve opening.

These are easily replaced. I just purchased three for our rig off Amazon for just under $7.00 a piece. Unscrew the old one, then screw in the new one.  The hardest part is reaching some of them, but fortunately for me, mine were within easy arms reach.

So, if you’re dealing with gray tank odor and have cleaned your P traps, deodorized the tank and emptied the holding tank completely and you still are getting odors inside the coach…check the condition of the vent valves and replace if the rubber membrane feels dry or hard to the touch.

Adapting To Covid19 Restrictions

RV Security and Safety Badge.

The COVID19 Crisis is constantly evolving not just day by day, but now hour by hour as we have found out firsthand.

Living the RVing Lifestyle requires the ability to adapt. There are influences outside of your control that will impact your decisions and many of us are finding out that even this pandemic known as Covid19 is just such an influencer in our day to day decisions.

We were supposed to move to a different RV resort in a different city not too far from where we are currently staying. We have a reservation, but we have been weighing the pros and cons of relocating. With the social distancing and self-isolation, going from a rural venue to one inside a major city, the risk of exposure increases. Not that folks in the RV resort won’t be respectful of each other’s space, it’s a matter of density of the population.

More people in stores while shopping for necessities, increases one’s chance of accidental contact with someone who is a carrier who doesn’t display symptoms. Our decision involves looking at our budget, staying put will cost us more out of pocket but we feel that it is cheaper than getting infected and the physical costs associated with the virus.

Reports of parks, including the one we are currently at have now said “NOT ACCEPTING NEW ARRIVALS.”  For those heading here, it will be an unexpected surprise upon their arrival. Hopefully, you if you are traveling today or are planning to travel in the coming days you wisely call ahead to make sure that your destination is open and accepting arrivals.

For us, we’ve enjoyed our time where we are and had wished we could have stayed longer…which as it turns out we will be. Hunkering down for us is easy as we work from our RV and have plenty to keep us busy. To break up the day, there are plenty of regular RV maintenance and projects to attend to. Given that we are in the desert southwest…walks in the desert offer plenty of sunshine and exercise which helps keep the body and mind sound while still practicing social distancing.

The drawback with our decision is we were forced to choose to either extend only for one more night or a month as those are the only two options given. We chose the month and will have to adjust our planned stays going forward. They are doing what they can to ensure folks stay put and self-isolate until this crisis is adverted. This is now becoming a common practice with parks we are learning…so call ahead and expect the unexpected. Don’t stress over what you can’t control and enjoy the journey even if it is temporarily interupted. Stay healthy and safe!

 

 

Pay Attention To The Signs

RV Security and Safety Badge.

Almost everyday there are images posted online on the various RVing social media platforms that show a serious accident involving an RV, whether it be a travel trailer, fifth-wheel or some type of motorhome.

Most of these accidents are or were preventable had the owner paid attention to the signs. I’m not talking traffic signs, although there are those incidents that are a direct result of ignoring them as well. The signs I’m referring to are internal – things you or your traveling companion may notice or pick up on.

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