The sun is shining, the wind is blowing and I am typing (or is it keyboarding). We have been talking about what to write and if there are any new things we have learned in our adventure with cats in a travel trailer. As we go along, there are fewer major “ah ha” learnings, but we do continue to learn and refine how to live in a small space that has wheels under it. Here are a few thoughts.
Washing the trailer:
It is a good idea to regularly wash the RV. First, it keeps it looking good and protects the exterior for the long haul. But a second benefit equally important is you can check for cracks in seals or around trim that would allow water to get into the trailer. When I washed the trailer this last time I found a small gap around our antenna on the roof. The gap was small, a piece of gum could fill the gap, but big enough to let rain into the roof substructure. Per the recommendation of a veteran RVer, I did not seal the hole with normal silicone caulk, but got a tube of Dicor roofing sealant from Camping World. This product is the same as the original installation.
While washing the trailer, I climbed onto the roof to lubricate the mechanism that raises and lowers the antenna. It was the stiffness when putting the antenna up or down that led me to the manual on routine maintenance of the antenna. A couple of squirts of silicone spray and the mechanism works much better. By the way, the manual suggests lubing twice per year. It was the first time for me, and I suspect the first time for the trailer (we bought it used).
Adding hooks/hanging devises to the trailer:
One thing that seems to be in short supply in all types and sizes of RVs is space to hang coats, sweatshirts, towels and even keys. We prefer not to put holes in the walls to permanently attach any hanging gadget so we have added a couple of hooks that are made under the brand name of “Command”. So far they have stayed in place and are advertised to remove easily without a trace on the wall. In addition, we put up a key holder using a Velcro strip that is also made by “Command”. I expect to add more as we go along. A tension rod in the shower also provides more hanging space as does an over-the-door hanger with hooks.
Internet access is nice to have for email, Facebook and reading the hometown newspaper. The park provides wi-fi at the activity center or we can go to the library in town, but both are not secure. Thus for secure banking and the convenience of using it in our trailer, we added a pre-paid “hot spot” this winter. We have mixed reviews of the hot spot. We have learned that uploading photos or downloading videos eats through data quickly so we save that for free wi-fi . The speed while doing email or Facebook on the hot spot is ok, but heavy duty searching is slower. The cost for the initial device was about $79 (we got ours ½ price though because we bought a refurbished device) and our data is $10/GB. It provides us with options and secure internet, and that is what is important. We also use our phone’s unlimited data plan but typing on the phone is not the most convenient, at least for us, but we keep learning more about what our phone can do. We are not able to tether to our phone for internet service as some people are able to do because we have the pre-paid Straight Talk plan and they don’t allow tethering. For us the $45 monthly unlimited phone/data plan through Straight Talk and the Straight Talk hot spot seem to be working well, although we miss the ease of unlimited quick wi-fi service we have at home. That said, having it be inconvenient to use the internet, gets us off the computer/phone more quickly. Interestingly, from some of the ads on TV, I think the trend is toward unlimited data plans on phones/tablets at increasingly cheaper pricing so by next year it will be interesting to see what we might be using.
Our trailer came with a “jack-knife” sofa, basically a fancy futon bed. Last year we found that the sofa function was not the most comfortable for sitting on for long periods of time so we decided to replace it with two chairs. Because of the structure we had to work around, we ended up with two patio chairs with s-shaped frames so they would fit under the framework left when we removed the “jack-knife” sofa. Sitting is better, not ideal, but better, but the chairs have a ways to go to make it to the “Lazy Boy” I have at home.
We have learned that in order to remotely bake anything evenly in the oven you need to add a pizza stone first and put any pan or item on the stone. This was a tip we learned this year from seasoned campers and it works great. I wonder why the manufacturer’s information doesn’t suggest it as without the stone cooking/baking is impossible because ½ the item burns and the other ½ is raw.
That’s it for now. Thank you for reading our little blog. Please let us know if you have any questions. We may not have an answer, but we will certainly ask around.