The Oaks at Points South

Well we arrived here on Saturday after leaving Dickens RV in NC.  Trip down wasn’t too bad for a holiday weekend.  We did sit in traffic for a little bit and had an unknown noise coming from the rig when we were in the stop and go traffic just North of our exit.  Found out that we lost the pin to the dolly and the noise we heard was the ramps rubbing the ground as we pulled out.  Got a new pin so that shouldn’t be a problem again.

Finding The Oaks was a problem.  GPS wanted to take us down a road we knew was not correct.  After some searching we did find the proper driveway and pulled in.  All spots are pull through with 50 amp service and full hook ups.  This campground does not have paved roads or sites.  It is basically a sand base and when it is wet, the ruts show up.

I would say this is a transient campground.  Not many seasonal sites that I have seen.  People are real nice.  The area around here has nothing.  Couple of fast food restaurants and gas stations.  If you are looking for entertainment, it won’t be found here.  On the positive side, it is quite and a nice area to walk.  They have a little lake around back complete with alligators (small ones from what I have seen, maybe 4-5 ft).

It is  a nice place to stop for a few nights or a week.  If you plan to sight see, be prepared to drive as most things are 30-45 miles away or more.

Generators

Generators – RV Generators come in various types.  The process however is the same.  An engine (propane, gas or diesel) turns a alternator that creates electricity.  The alternator turns at a constant speed creating 120 v AC Current.  Generators are rated in Watts (A Watt is the current times the voltage)and usually come with two ratings, peak and running.

Wattage is the current times the voltage.  So a 3600 watt generator will supply 30 Amps of current (3600 = 30 x 120).

Peak wattage is the max short term wattage,  such as when a motor (heater or air conditioner) starts up.  Running  wattage is the load that it can support over the long term.  So if your RV has 30 amp service you want a generator that average load rating is at least 3600 watts.  Any thing less will mean you can not run the RV as you normally would.  Anything more, within reason, is a waste as your RV will not allow you to use it.

When inspecting an RV with a generator, you want to run the generator and place it under load.
Before you start the generator, make sure the oil and coolant are at the proper levels.  Not all generators will have coolant.  Some are air cooled.
Load is anything electrical.  So turn on the air conditioners, water heater, microwave for a good 5 minutes.  This will exercise the generator and make sure there are no problems.
It is important to run the generator under load once a month at least.  Rust and moisture will affect different parts of the generator.  Repairs are expensive.

Air Compressors

Air Compressor – Many RV and RVers carry air compressors.  If you don’t have one, I would suggest looking at purchasing one that will work with your RV tires.  Part of the daily trip inspection should be checking and filling tires prior to getting on the road.

Some RV (mostly motor homes) will come with a compressor used to inflate the air bags that act like springs on the motor home.  These will have a port on the compressor or in the basement area for an external air hose.  This external air connection can be used to fill tires.  Make sure you have a good tire pressure gauge and use it frequently when filling tires until you know how much air the compressor is putting out.

If you need a compressor you want to get something that will put out more than enough pressure for the job.  My motor home tires need between 95 and 100 psi.  I purchased an 100 psi compressor and it took forever to fill a tire.  Gave it to my son and upgraded to 150 psi compressor.  Much faster.

Compressors are basically of two types; 12 vdc or 120 vac.  This is an area that cheaper is NOT better.  A cheap compressor will not hold up and will only waste your time, money and maybe safety.  I carry two air compressors, a 12 vdc in the trunk of the car and a 120 vac in the motor home.  Since I have a generator, I can use it anywhere and any time.

If you are buying a rig with a built in air compressor, make sure to check the pressure and operations.  If the air tank has a relief valve, pull it to make sure it works.  Also open the drain plug to make sure there is no standing water from condensation in the tank.  If there is any water in the tank and it comes out muddy or rusty, have the tank checked by a qualified technician.  Rusty tanks can explode and damage the rig.

Websites We Use

There are several websites we use while on the road besides Facebook.  I think the two most important ones are RV Trip Wizard and RV Village.

RV Trip Wizard  is a trip planning website. It cost about $30 a year but it has saved me many times more than that.  You start with entering your location and how many miles a day you want to travel.  It then provides you with a graphic display of where you can go and what campgrounds are in that area.  You can click on a campground to read about it, visit the websites, call them etc.  Once you find the place to go, add it to your destinations and the radius moves for your next leg of the journey.  The map also shows you warnings and danger areas due to restrictions that might be along your route.  Once you finish with the plan, you can print it, export it to Excel or your GPS.

The second website I use is RV Village.  RV Village is a community website.  Members post to a forum like page about current activities etc.  But the more important part is the who is here.  When you log into RV Village you enter where you are currently. The website then shows you who is also there.  You can view their about me section and send them messages.  It is a great way to meet new people.  There are also groups for people with like interests.  I have met several really good people.  It is free and still a fairly new site.  As of today about 12,000 RVers are signed up.

Batteries, Part 2

There are too many types of batteries to cover here.  Basically, the more expensive the battery the better and longer is should last.  Maintenance free batteries simply means that you don’t have to add water as part of the maintenance.

Speaking of maintenance, what maintenance should be performed and when.  If a battery is in use on a daily or weekly basis, keeping it clean and charged is most of the maintenance that will be needed.  If your batteries are being used to provide a limited amount of current, a trickle charger can be used to keep them charge.  Trickle chargers can be AC (house current) or solar.  They provide a small amount of current to keep the batteries topped off.

If the batteries are the type with removal-able caps (IE maintenance type batteries), then you will need to perform a little more maintenance every now and then.  Non-maintenance free batteries will require a hydrometer.  A hydrometer is used to check the specific gravity (acid to water) of the battery.  Its use is to determine if you need to add distilled water or battery acid to the battery.  You simply remove the cap on each set of cells and draw a little bit of the fluid into the hydrometer.  It will tell you the state of the fluid.  Most of the time you will need to add distilled water.  Add a little at a time and retest.

If you are going to put your RV into storage for a while, remove the batteries, place them in a cool (not cold or hot) area and put a trickle charger on them.  This will keep the batteries charged and ready for use.  Make sure to check the non-maintenance free batteries for the proper levels once a month or so.

Finally a full charged battery should read over 13.2 volts or more when not in use and not connected to any type of charger. If the voltage drops to less than 13 volts the life of the battery is coming to an end and should be scheduled for replacement.

Are you thinking of buying an RV?

If you have been following any of my posts, you probably are aware that I have another website dealing with the RV Inspection business.  I try each day to write an article about things to inspect when buying a RV whether it be new or used.  Inspecting a RV is time consuming but worth the effort.  If you can’t do it your self it would be best to have someone do it for you.

The website is called RV Inspection Service (http://rv-inspection-service.com) and I also have a Facebook page on which I post the daily articles (https://www.facebook.com/groups/814797521893318/)

So if you are looking to purchase a new or used RV, please take a few minutes to read up on some things to look at before spending your money on that rig.

 

Getting warmer!

We have finally left North Carolina and some of the colder weather.  Spent the Thanksgiving holidays with our grand daughter and her husband and his family (Jill and David Spivey).  Was a good time and good food.

Left there on Saturday with a mostly uneventful trip, until that noise started.  We were in stop and go traffic when all of the sudden this scrapping noise started each time we started to pull up in traffic.  Naturally we pulled off and checked under the RV, the car and the dolly.  Nothing looked out of place.  But it continued until we got to the campground.  Of course the GPS couldn’t find the campground and after  phone call and stopping for help we located the campground.  While Daisy was checking things out I went to look at the dolly.  Sure enough that was the problem.  Seems we lost the pin that holds the ramps up when traveling.  Not sure how as it is safety pinned.  But anyway that was the problem.  So sometime in the next couple of weeks I need to get a new pin.

We are at The Oaks at Point South.  Nice little campground in southern South Carolina.  Spots are assigned.  No Satellite for me but it appears to be hit or miss as there are a lot of trees with some openings here and there.  Also over the air TV is limited, I think we get 8 channels.  I am getting 4G on Verizon with about 3 bars.  The cell phone amplifier is no help.  Monday will be calling Wilson one more time.

The Oaks at Point South is a small park with 88 campsites, all 50 amps and pull through parking.  It is unimproved roads (sand/dirt) so when it rains the ground is kind of soft.  The area around the campground is pretty much empty.  Once you get about a quarter of a mile in either direction plan on a 25 mile trip to anything.

We will be doing some site seeing tomorrow so I can tell you more about the area then.

Batteries, Part 1

Tip of the Day…Batteries Part 1 – There are two uses for batteries, coach and house batteries.  Coach batteries are those that are used to start the RV.  These are normal 12 v car or truck type batteries and are designed to provide a lot of amperage for a short period of time.  The house batteries are deep cycle batteries which are designed to provide a lower amperage for a much longer period of time.

Most of us will understand the coach batteries and can tell when it is time to replace them.  They will last  3-5 years.  You can tell when a coach battery starts to go bad in that it has trouble starting the engine, cranks slow or dies pretty quickly when the lights are left on.  Maintenance and inspection will be covered below.

House batteries are a little more difficult to cover simply because of the wide range of use and types available.  Let’s start with the purpose.  House batteries are designed to run everything in the rig, from the lights to the fans and heaters.  Almost everything in the RV uses electric from the batteries.  As such these need to provide current (amperage) for a long period of time.  Typically the house batteries can be called on to provide current for days at a low amperage. This type of battery is call a deep cycle battery. All RV run on 12 v DC systems.  However, not all RV use 12 V batteries.  Many motor homes will use 6 v batteries.  6 volt batteries are often call golf cart batteries as that is a primary use for them.  6 volt batteries are designed to provide current over long periods of time which makes them ideal for RVers who want to camp without electric for a few days.