February 2009

Wisdom Newsletter

Woodall's Wisdom
Woodall's February 2009 eNewsletter.

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Woodall's Wisdom Newsletter, February 2009 font>

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Ann This is a time of year when many of you may either be storing your RV, or sitting out winter in it where there's a balmy southern clime. Some of the more intrepid in the audience may even be on the road. Either way, there's something interesting, informative and above all, useful for everyone in this issue of Woodall's Wisdom.

We've talked a lot about traveling with dogs; this time around, Julee covers cats for feline fans. Alan has some great ideas for upgrades you can do before spring travel, and how to save money on campgrounds when you do travel. Mark's insightful remarks on electrical system questions should not be missed. Bill will take you on a tour of the future of power systems. And of course, there is another delicious recipe, a great destination right in your area, as well as a feature in the Camping Life Corner on how some RV companies are going "green."


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Where To?

RVing with Your Pet

RV Tech

Book of the Month

Mark My Words

Woodall's Recipes

Gadgets & Gear

A Few More Important Words
2009 10th Rally Banner
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By Charles Shugart Jr Sponsored by Woodalls

Death Valley: More Than Just Desert

Located on the border between California and Nevada, Death Valley was identified by the famous American scenic photographer Ansel Adams as one of only two places where he would never run out of exciting things to photograph. For those who know Adams's work, that is high praise, indeed. (The other place was Point Lobos-along the California coast, just south of Monterey.)

Death Valley is not, however, easy to appreciate. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the light is "flat" almost everywhere and the incredible textures disappear under direct sunlight. Photographers understand that during the first couple of hours after sunrise, and the last couple of hours before sunset, landscapes sometimes offer "golden light."

Some travelers–particularly campers–spend those early golden hours cooking, eating and relaxing. Then, about 10 in the morning, they pile into their cars and look for the magnificent sights they've seen in travel articles, brochures and calendars. By four in the afternoon, they're hot, thirsty and tired. Having seen little they consider memorable, they return to camp–unfulfilled. Try sightseeing the way serious photographers work. You'll love it!
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RVing With Your Pet
www.woodalls.com/email Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

I have always been torn between letting my cats outside and keeping them in. As a long–time cat lover, I know that cats that stay inside live a lot longer than cats that are let outside. Yet, I have lived in situations where my cats have had a cat door, so I know the happiness that cats find in the outdoors.

In this article we will cover how to take the best possible care of your indoor cat. Then, in the next article we will discuss letting your cat outside.

While researching this issue, I typed in the term "indoor cats" into Google and I got half a million results! I did find an Indoor Cat Initiative sponsored by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. They have some nice recommendations on how to keep your indoor cat interested, happy, and healthy. They have a great checklist that covers the basics for indoor cats; here is an excerpt of the list with my comments for how we apply them to RV cats.

Litter Boxes

Obviously, finding a place in your RV for the litter box is the number one job for cat owners. We kept ours in the shower for years, but I got tired of moving it out and cleaning up the floor of the shower every time I wanted to take a shower. So, now it is in the vanity area, taking up the entire space in front of the bathroom sink. In other words, no matter where you put a litter box in an RV, it will probably be in someone's way. Incidentally, cats are inherently lazy and here is why I know that. When we lived in a large house, we had four litter boxes strategically located throughout the house for our cats. And, every time one of them had to go, they went straight for the nearest box, even if there was another cat already in it and they would have to wait to use it.

There are, of course, some very creative places to put a litter box; we have even had some readers cut a hole in the floor of their motorhome so that the litter box can be placed in the cargo compartment.
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By Alan Lidstone Sponsored by Woodall's
Change is in the Air (and on the Road)

RV FinanceCenter As spring approaches, many RVers would like to get up to date about upgrades and products for their RV and what changes and improvements are in the new RVs.

The RV industry and its many suppliers have been working to provide more for the money in terms of fuel efficiency, technical innovation, safety, luxury, and products to make RVing more enjoyable and safer than ever.

Being informed helps us make the best decisions to get the products and services we need at the best price. Easy ways to get started for the upcoming RV season include checking out what's new and available at your local RV dealer, Camping World, and the RV shows in your area; and renewing your camping club memberships, such as Good Sam, FMCA, Escapees, and KOA.

Getting or renewing your Camping World President's Club membership will keep the RVing product catalogs and discounts coming. You may also want to check out the major savings of 50% on overnight stays available with the Camp Club USA and Passport America discount camping clubs.

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Book Of The Month More Books
RV Owner's HandbookGet Woodall's great campground directory information in a smaller size that you can easily take with you wherever you travel. Planning on visiting the Grand Canyon this spring? Take the Far West guide. Want to see Niagara Falls in its winter form? Take the New York/New England & Eastern Canada guide. Woodall's offers the unique ability for you to tailor your campground directory library around your favorite places to travel. We know that storage space is important to you when you travel. These smaller editions are packed with the same great detail as our North American Directory… just in a travel–friendly size! Order your favorite regional guides today for just $4.95 each!!

Mark My WOrds
By Mark Nemeth

Hi, everyone! I hope your New Year is progressing well! We'll be putting our RVs back on the road soon, and since batteries really suffer in storage, I thought some battery–related questions would be appropriate this month. Keep those questions coming!


Hi, Mark,

I have a 1999 Holiday Rambler Vacationer, which I purchased used 4-1/2 years ago. I am on my third set of house batteries. I add water frequently, but they won't last. I make sure everything is off before leaving the coach. My current set is about 18 months old, and they are shot. Shouldn't they last longer than that? Also, can I shut down the battery switch in winter without hurting the batteries? A friend told me that the batteries might freeze.

Thanks, Don.


Hi Don,

Your house batteries should last longer than that! How often do you have to add water? If you have to replace more than an ounce or two per cell every month, your converter is most likely overcharging your batteries and boiling off the water. The float charge applied to your batteries should be around 13.5 volts. Anything more than that speeds up water loss and can shorten your battery life. You may be able to adjust your converter output voltage, but many are nonadjustable and, if defective, should be replaced with a quality three-stage charger. Also, make sure that you are buying the correct batteries! Only deep-cycle RV or marine batteries should be used as house batteries. Starting batteries will not last very long as house batteries, as they are not designed to be drawn down (deep-cycled) and recharged repeatedly. I believe that the best way to store your batteries over a long period of non-use is to disconnect them from the rig and store them in a place where the temperature stays above freezing. Charge them about once a month, overnight, with a standard automotive battery charger, and check water levels after charging. This will significantly extend the life of your batteries.
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Do you have a question for Mark?
Please submit your question via email to woodalls@escapees.com

Please remember, material will be edited. Because of the large volume of material and correspondence submitted, individual replies will not be possible, nor can we acknowledge receipt of your material. Selected questions will be answered in future issues of the Woodall's Wisdom newsletter in the Mark, My Words column. The Mark, My Words column also appears in Escapees magazine, a bi–monthly publication of the Escapees RV Club. For more information visit www.escapees.com/magazine
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Cooking On The Road area

4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1–½ cups milk
½–teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1 tablespoon catsup
½–teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¾–cup diced processed American cheese
1 tablespoon margarine

Arrange sliced potatoes in heavy skillet. Blend onion, milk, salt, pepper, catsup and Worcestershire and pour over potatoes. Add cheese and margarine and bring mixture to boil; cover and simmer for about 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender. Turn occasionally. Serves four persons.

Miscellaneous Sponsored Section More Gadgets
Protonex M250-B Fuel Cell
RVs Get a Charge From Future-Power

Want to get a good night's sleep without the noise and vibration from your generator, and not have to worry about your batteries going dead during the night? Or maybe you don't want to curtail your comfort because of curfews in RV parks. The answer could be the Protonex M250–B fuel cell.

It may be years before we're riding around in fuel cell vehicles. But starting in 2009, Protonex Technology Corp., a supplier of advanced fuel cell power systems for portable, remote and mobile applications, will start selling a fuel cell for motorhomes or travel trailers.

The M250–B is a 250–watt fuel cell–based, hybrid power system designed for keeping RV batteries charged. The new M250–B system can provide clean and quiet power for RV enthusiasts without the noise, odor, vibration and carbon footprint associated with conventional diesel or gasoline–fueled generators.

While a PEM hydrogen fuel cell provides the power, you refuel it with a safe, clean, biodegradable mixture of methanol and water. A reformer, which is part of the unit, converts the methanol/water mix into the needed hydrogen where it is combined with air in the fuel cell to produce electricity. The M250–B consumes only a gallon of methanol in eight hours when supplying 250 watts of continuous 10.5 to 14.8 VDC electric power.
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Miscellaneous Sponsored Section
Getting The Most Out Of Your RV

Today, with RV's costing so much money, both in the capital and operating costs, one has to get the most out of the equipment and features of their purchase. So, how can an owner get the most out of the equipment and features from their current, or future, RV?

The answer is pretty basic really: know how to operate and service each item that makes up the rig. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, a large number of RV owners either do not thoroughly read the manuals, or do not retain much they are told or read. Time and time again we hear or read of people asking elementary questions, like, "How do I get the chrome wheel cover off the wheel on my motor home?" Also, one can not assume that a component on a new coach or trailer that appears similar to that of their last rig is, in fact, the same. Perhaps many believe they already know how each component operates or maybe they don't read the manuals as they are waiting for the movie to come out.
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Member Coupons
Would you like to save $$$?
YES! I want to see coupons for attractions and locations that are in my area.

I want to save more $$$!
Take me to where I can see coupons for ALL area attractions and locations

Sign up for your FREE Woodall's membership for more great coupons.

Camp Myrtle Beach.com

Camping Life's Corner

RV's Are Goin' Green
From the pages of Camping Life Magazine

A number of RV companies go eco-friendly this year with lighter weight mainstream products, some unconventional towables, and models made of composite materials

This year, the most important factors to consumers when it comes to motorized or towable RVs is fuel consumption and weight, as the cost of fuel continues to fluctuate, and as consumers are downgrading to smaller, more fuel-efficient tow vehicles. As a result, many companies are adapting to the times, offering smaller, more aerodynamic ultra-light RVs in the quest to shave off weight, and produce products that consume less fuel.

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My trip journal
Follow along with RVers and travelers just like you by reading their trip journal. We've selected the best websites of people who have traveled in North America. These travelers have agreed to let us feature their website. Take a look.

More Journals

Camping Life Magazine

Camping Bloopers
We were on our way back from Nova Scotia heading to Ontario Canada. We do not like taking the main roads, and when we were in New Hampshire on one of the back roads we came across a sign telling us about a low bridge ahead. As we are in metric and the bridge is in feet and inches my wife started to do the math. well she was wrong and we lost the satellite dish, roof air unit and the roof needs replacing.

We have now bought a new calculator.

Ron Woodall
Woodstock, ON

Submit Your Own Blooper

RV Buying Tips
RV Selling Tip, By RV Search

Tip: Know Where to Park

When selling your RV, take some time to find a good place to show it. You want a location that will be easy for potential buyers to get to. If you usually store your RV in a storage facility, consider moving it to a street or parking lot for increased visibility. Just make sure to check with your local government about any RV parking limitations. Not all cities allow RV parking on city streets, and some parking lots don't allow overnight parking. You don't want to end up cited, fined, or towed!

Ready to sell your RV and upgrade to a new model? Check out the featured RV below or see more listings at rvsearch.com.

2006 National RV Tropi-Cal 398LX DIESEL

2008 Monaco Diplomat 40SKQ
Listed price: was $174,995
Reduced to $124,995

"Wow, how rare is this unit, you want a diesel coach priced under wholesale NADA, here it is! Triple slide, diesel 350hp, Allison transmission, under 10k miles, not like new, it is new, too many options to list – check out this quality coach for under $158,000!!! Call for special Internet Pricing." Contact them today to find out more about this RV, or browse their showroom for more great deals.

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