March, 2003

Total subscribers this issue 8426! Last issue 8294!

Welcome to our new 132 Subscribers!

Inside this issue:

- Random thoughts on the RV Lifestyle ... by Les Doll
- In the Beginning ... By Peggi McDonald
- A NOSE AHEAD ... Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
- RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers
- Trust My Mechanic ... My car won't start, what do I do now?
by Austin C. Davis
- The NEW Rverscorner bulletin board!

Joke of the Day:
Classified Ad Section:
Random thoughts on the RV Lifestyle ... by Les Doll

High gas prices, terrorist threats and WAR! These things
will and do affect the way we look at the RV experience. I'd
like to take a look at one of these concerns, in this issue
of the newsletter.

Fuel costs:

Yes, RV's are fuel hogs. There is no disputing that fact.
That big Class A weighs a lot and pushes a lot of air going
down the road. The fifth wheel or tag-along trailer takes
fuel to drag along and the truck camper sticks up in the air
flow and requires more fuel to carry it. Even a tent in the
back of a sub-compact car will increase the load and reduce
the gas mileage to some extent.

Most RV trips are weekend jaunts or the annual two week
get-away. Does the added ten dollar fuel cost for the
weekend or the fifty dollar extra fuel cost really affect
your holiday plans? In most cases, I think not. Often, just
substituting one meal dining out with a hot-dog cook-out
would more than pay for the added fuel cost. Consider taking
a shorter trip to a nearby location rather than driving all
night to reach that weekend Shangrila that everyone else is
racing to.

Consider getting a tune-up for that tow vehicle or motor
home engine. The fuel savings should pay for the cost of the
tune-up, the Earth will be better off, and your engine will
appreciate the attention.

Every lttle bit helps ...


In the Beginning by Peggi McDonald

Because John and I have been writing about our
travels for so long many readers feel we must be wealthy and
have more income than they do. What most may not realize is
we only have one home – it’s foundation is on wheels. Maybe
this story will ensure everyone that the future belongs to
those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

John and I frequently reminisce about the fun and
experiences of our early travels. We bought our first
motorhome a year before retirement in 1985. After a
three-year search we finally found our dream machine ‘Kastle
#1’. She was a so beautiful in our eyes but looking back she
was really extremely well used and not very pre-loved as we
first thought. Her 1983 454 engine was OK, not great, for
power since this unit was only 31’8 “ long. We had No
basement storage to speak of, NO dinette area, NO extra toys
and of course, NO slide. Slides didn’t appear on motorhomes
until the early 90’s. Although we had a roof pod, our space
was limited but we didn’t care, it was fun to visit so many

That Pace Arrow Class A motorhome was our only home for
eight years. We had both retired from the Cdn military with
good (not exceptional) pensions but there would be NO extras
until John’s increase in 1992, four years later he would
receive a bit more; although I still must wait until January
2002 for mine to kick in. So yes we were enjoying our on
the road experiences at a very young age but we definitely
travelled on a budget.

John’s increase enabled us to upgrade to a new motorhome.
We paid cash for the first one when we sold the house. That
seemed like a good idea at the time but now we had no house
to sell. In 1985 we began RVing by the seat of our pants
with little knowledge and few expectations, as a result we
made numerous mistakes. Paying cash for our motorhome was
one of our biggest. We should have invested all of the
house profits and financed our first unit. That way
refinancing the second one would have been an easier
transition and our investments would have continued to
increase. At the time of our second purchase we had to find
mortgage payments from our living cash (yes John’s pension
increased slightly but the payments were double what he

The good part was our compact 10 year old Pace Arrow was
mechanically sound and she sported an awesome new facelift,
plus by now she was a definitely a pre-loved unit. The
dealer took this fact into consideration resulting in a
generous trade-in value. The good news was the dealer
helped us cement a mortgage for 10 years. We burst with
pride as we drove our brand new 37’ 6” Citation Class A off
the lot. Paying a mortgage (we considered it a large loan)
was foreign to us but the thrill of living and driving our
larger gas powered, tag axle Kastle #2 soon made it easy for
us to accept life as it was. The mortgage payment simply
became part of our monthly spending.

In March 1999 we finally moved into a diesel pusher. When
another small monthly pension increase surfaced, what
started as a joke at the Hamilton, Ontario RV show ended
with us driving Kastle #3, a 1995 Luxor by Winnebago, into
the sunset. It took us 14 years to reach this pinnacle but
finally we were driving the unit of our dreams even if it
was four years old. Payments remained almost the same but
this time our four-year-old unit was mortgaged for 20 years.
Our investments continue to grow while the bank allows us
the privilege to drive the machine of our dreams. The Luxor
came with many options but it had no slide, although we
don’t miss what we never had. (After our renovations we now
have the space of a slide from the inside-see our Renovation
story on www.rvliving.net/renovationscont.htm) Each time we
simply moved into an RV that fit the budget. Our car ‘new
to us’ was a one-year-old rental with an extended warrantee;
we saved approximately $5000.00 buying this way.

In 2000 a small windfall enabled the addition of the
washer/dryer, roof mounted dish, and our mural. Although the
vented washer/dryer was an expensive after market item, this
is our home. For 14 years we paid excessive money to
Laundromats. After endless weekly treks we consider our
washer/dryer combo a necessity instead of a luxury. In 2003
we still feel this W/D is our most valuable amenity and the
satellite dish runs a close second. John now can stay on
top of how his favourite sports teams are performing and I
keep up with the Young and the Restless regardless where we

While reflecting on our early travels, no matter what Kastle
we had at the time, the joys of this outstanding lifestyle
created such fantastic memories. Although out of necessity
we learned to budget and find ways to stretch each dollar,
the pleasures of a roaming life far exceed any hassles
watching our budget. Thankfully neither John nor I
participate in expensive hobbies such as golf or tennis, we
also don’t smoke which helps to extend the cash flow.
Although in the last few years our monthly costs for
groceries and incidentals has increased to $6-700
Cdn.--while in the USA with the exchange that equals $900

That is it for today, Tune in next month for part two of
this story.

Peggi and John are RV Lifestyle Consultants and Fulltime
RVers going into their 18th year of on road travels. Peggi’s
best-selling publication Spirit of the Open Road and her
ebooks RVLiving: Facts Tips Hints and More Vol 1 and II are
featured on www.rverscorner.com. Log onto the McDonalds
website www.rvliving.net for mega lifestyle information for
ALL RVers.


A NOSE AHEAD ... Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

Great leaps in your daily productivity do not always require
great leaps in your efforts. You work hard enough already.
Make small little improvements on a regular basis and you
will enjoy the cumulative effect of these improvements that
will move you a nose ahead of where you would have been,
increasing your productivity.

For example, take just a few minutes each day to make one
improvement in your job or your home life. (Make sure you
have enough supplies, move the fax machine closer, schedule
some family time, etc.) Over the year, you will build in
365 improvements in your life and be a nose ahead, enjoying
more in less time.


RV Glossary - terms and phrases used by RV'ers (continued)

HEAT EXCHANGER - A heat exchanger is a device that transfers
heat from one source to another. For example, there is a
heat exchanger in your furnace - the propane flame and
combustion products are contained inside the heat exchanger
that is sealed from the inside area. Inside air is blown
over the surface of the exchanger, where it is warmed and
the blown through the ducting system for room heating. The
combustion gases are vented to the outside air.

Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) - Gross trailer weight is the
weight of the trailer fully loaded in its actual towing
condition. GTW is measured by placing the fully loaded
trailer on a vehicle scale. The entire weight of the trailer
should be supported on the scale.

HEAT STRIP - A heat strip is an electric heating element
located in the air conditioning system with the warm air
distributed by the air conditioner fan and ducting system.
They are typically 1500 watt elements (about the same
wattage as an electric hair dryer) and have limited
function. Basically they "take the chill off"

HITCH WEIGHT - The amount of a trailer's weight that rests
on the tow vehicle's hitch. For travel trailers this weight
should be 10% to 15% of the total weight of the trailer. For
fifth wheels this weight should be 15% to 20% of the total
weight of the trailer.

HOLDING TANKS - There are three different holding tanks on
most RVs; fresh water tank, gray water tank and black water
tank. The fresh water tank holds fresh water that can be
stored for later use. The gray water tank holds the waste
water from the sinks and showers. The black water tank holds
the waste from the toilet.

HOOKUPS - The ability of connecting to a campground's
facilities. The major types of hookups are electrical, water
and sewer. If all three of these hookups are available, it
is termed full hookup. Hookups may also include telephone
and cable TV in some campgrounds.


Trust My Mechanic ... by Austin C. Davis

Reader Question: My car won't start, what do I do now?

I get tons of e-mails each week that ask this very simple
question. Unfortunately when asked that way it is all but
simple. Okay so what happens when your car won't start? A
gasoline engine needs three key ingredients to operate: 1)
fuel (there has to be something to burn), 2) a spark to
ignite the fuel, and 3) some way for the fuel to meet the
spark and ignite a fire--this is the compression.
Compressing fuel in a confined cylinder inside the engine,
then introducing a spark from a spark plug will produce a
small explosion. This explosion process is what generates
horsepower. For a great illustration on this process Click

So before you call the mechanic and tell him your car won't
start, ask yourself this question FIRST, "What is missing in
the equation (fuel, spark, compression)?" You went out to
your car today, and the car won't start... how? Suppose the
engine won't turn over. When I say the engine won't turn
over, I mean when you turn the key the engine
goes...blank..(nothing is happening). The radio and the
lights may still be functioning fine.

What are the things that cause the engine to turn over? The
battery and the starter are the two most important. If the
headlights are on and are bright, then we could probably
assume the battery is up to snuff and doing its job. The
starter takes electricity from the battery and turns the
engine over to start the piston explosion process I
described earlier. So in this case there is probably a
problem with the starter, or something is hampering the
electricity from the battery to the engine or starter (maybe
burned or damaged wiring or a bad ground connection).

The other type of "no start" occurs when the engine turns
over like it is trying to start but will not start. So the
battery and the starter are doing their jobs, but we are
lacking one of the main exploding ingredients. Is there
fuel? Look at the gauge first (we still get cars towed in to
the shop and the no start correction is adding gas to the
tank!) Do you have compression? Does the engine sound like
it is turning over fully, or does the engine sound like it
is turning over too fast or too slow? A broken timing belt
or timing chain will cause the engine to turn over very
easily and very fast because the compression process is not
taking place.

Is there spark? This is not as easy to determine as it
sounds, and can require some tools and experience to test.
Now you probably don't care to "do it yourself" from here on
out, but at least you have ruled out the battery, the
starter, and a lack of fuel in the tank. This little bit of
effort on your part saves the mechanic a lot of time trying
to guess what happened and why, and you might actually find
the problem yourself.

Is the car in PARK? I have been to many roadside assists
only to find out the car is still in DRIVE. The engine will
only start in park and neutral. Do you have an anti-theft
device, and is it working properly? If it is a stick shift,
do you have the clutch pedal depressed? Are the front tires
up against the curb? Sometimes it is very hard to turn the
key if the front tires are in a bind on a curb, or if the
car has rolled back a bit after it was placed in PARK. If
this is the case, you can turn the steering wheel real hard
to the right, or try to physically move or rock the car
forward to release the key.

If you still have trouble it is time to call the tow truck.
When you call the shop to inform them your car is on its way
into their shop, you should be specific in the nature of the
"no start" you've experienced. Saving your mechanic time
should save you money.

I talk about this and other problems in my money saving
eBook "What Your Mechanic Doesn't Want You to Know"

Joke(s) of the Day:

One day a lawyer was riding in his limosine when he saw a
guy eating grass He told the driver to stop. He got out and
asked him, "Why are you eating grass". The man replied,
"I'm so poor, I can't afford a thing to eat."

So the layer said, "Poor guy, come back to my house."

The guys then said, "But I have a wife and three kids." The
layers told him to bring them along.

When they were all in the car, the poor man said, "Thanks
for taking us back to your house, it is so kind of you."

The layer said, "You're going to love it there, the grass is
a foot tall."

Q: Hear about the terrorist that hijacked a 747 full of
lawyers? A: He threatened to release one every hour if his
demands weren't met.

Engineering In Hell

An engineer dies and reports to the pearly gates. St. Peter
checks his dossier and says, "Ah, you're an engineer --
you're in the wrong place." So, the engineer reports to the
gates of hell and is let in. Pretty soon, the engineer gets
dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and starts
designing and building improvements. After awhile, they've
got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and
the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day, God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a
sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?"

Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air
conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's
no telling what this engineer is going to come up with

God replies, "What??? You've got an engineer? That's a
mistake -- he should never have gotten down there; send him
up here."

Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff,
and I'm keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue."

Satan laughs uproariously and answers, "Yeah, right. And
just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"




SPIRIT OF THE OPEN ROAD by Peggi McDonald is a 'must have'
for all RVers, both novice and experienced travelers.
Although written from a Canadian point of view it is 95%
generic and a valuable guide to RVers from all countries.
For complete details -



Les Doll - RV Technician My advice is free and worth only
what you gain from it!