Nov, 2001


Subscriber count 3528!
Welcome new Subscribers!

Inside this issue:

- From the RVers Corner Mailbox Butane Vrs Propane
- Winter Getaways By Peggi McDonald (part two of two)
- Travel in Mexico By Peter Bassel
- Misc. tips Thanks to Peggi McDonald!
- Quick tips for around the house http://www.todayshomeowner.com/solutions/
- A home made backup camera system By John Stead
for under $100

Joke of the Day:
Classified Ad Section:


From the RVers Corner Mailbox Butane Vrs Propane

Dear RVers Corner Editor:

I appreciated your article on propane in the October Newsletter, and have a
suggestion, as well. You may want to mention the difference between butane
and propane. Here's why:

In the early fall of 1978, we lived in Kansas and filled our motorhome up
with propane (or what we thought was propane) and headed for Utah. It was
mighty cold that night in Vernal, Utah, and none our propane appliances
would work. The next morning, we consulted a local propane dealer, and he
told us that the folks in Kansas had probably filled us up with butane,
rather than propane.

Any propane system relies on the fact that the fuel will be in vapor form
when it reaches the burner. Butane, it turns out, vaporizes (reaches the
boiling point) at about 32 degrees F. At temperatures below that it is
likely to remain a liquid. Propane, however, reaches the vapor state at
temperatures as low as - 44 degrees, which makes it much more useable in
cold weather conditions.

Back to our story: Sure enough, we drained the tank, refilled it with
Vernal Utah propane, and went on our way and never had a problem with the
system after that. A local dealer here in Albuquerque says most dealers out
west don't use butane, but you may encounter it now and then "back east."
If that be true, our fellow RVers need to keep this in mind when they are
traveling to various parts of the country.

All the Best,
Jim Mercer
Sandia Park, NM

Thanks for the reminder, Jim!


Winter Getaways by Peggi McDonald (part two)

As winter approaches John and I continually answer questions about where to
go and what to expect in a southern destination. The following hints may
help turn your getaway into one of your most memorable journeys.

Q… How much can I expect to pay for winter campground/resort accommodations?

A…Rates vary and at ‘membership campgrounds’ they can be as low as $5-$6.00
(US) per night. However these discount rates are only available after a
payment of high annual dues plus up-front cash to ‘buy into’ a ‘home park’.
On the other hand ‘camping clubs’ require minimal annual dues of approximately
$100.00 US$ with camping rates either 1/2 off the regular price or $10.00 per
night. Some blackout dates (busy time or long weekends) do apply. The last
chapter of my FREE downloadable e-book ‘RV Living: Facts, Tips, Hints and More
Volume One’ explains membership camping and camping clubs in detail. See the
home page of http://www.rvliving.net for more info.

Most non-member private resorts charge overnight rate of $15-$25.00 (US$).
The majority of these private parks only accept reservations for their low
cost monthly rates for three to five month periods. As a result extended
stopovers usually translates into camping for less. Monthly rent can be
as low as $200.00 in a small quiet off the beaten track park in Texas to
$450—$600.00 and more at a busy Florida/California resort. The very large
parks will most likely have a few sites available all winter but expect
the smaller intimate ones to be full from Christmas to the end of February.
If your getaway is only for a few weeks why not consider a late fall or
early spring vacation. Overnight rates may be lower; parks have space
plus many tourists have already gone home so overcrowding is at a minimum.

Q…What is it like being away at Christmas?

A…Christmas in the south is exciting, even more so if the kids and grandkids
join you. Park activities include many special events. RVers and snowbirds
decorate in abundance for all holidays (Halloween, Valentine Day and Easter)
but especially at Christmas. Be sure to pack a good supply of decorations,
visitors who don’t arrive prepared end up spending precious vacation cash to
add a the festive touch to their winter home. It is such fun and so easy to
get into the spirit of the holidays when you can add decorations during warm
weather. When we first began RVing, I wired lights and garland to our motorhome
mirrors, awning, roof rack and ladder. Seeing our special Christmas RV
travelling the highways always brought a smile to those we met along the way.

Q…Can RVers work in a country if they are a visitor?

A…Legally NO, not unless you have a work visa, but technically many RVers do
exchange services for rent, however bartering is considered as income reference
taxes although many do not report it. Having said that we have one friend who
bakes sweets in the campground kitchen for staff to sell in the park store.
Another camper in Arizona performed ‘in-park’ repairs as a favour to neighbouring
RVers, but he would only accept a ‘tip’ for his services. Some visiting residents
cut grass and perform general repairs or look after the store in exchange for a
free parking space. Selling artistic creations, teaching craft classes, sewing,
computer services and more are often performed for ‘extras’ instead of a pay-check.
The additional cash may help stretch a budget but they’ll never make you rich or
provide enough cash to live on.

Q…Is there any other hints we should know about to have a successful winter getaway?

A#1…Before filling up at a gas station, check the pump. If it states ‘credit card only’
even if you pay cash this pump may ring up a higher amount. On the other hand, not
all stations accept ‘plastic’ as payment; ask before pumping if credit cards are
accepted---some stations are ‘cash-only’. At times you must pay before you pump
(i.e. $10.00, or $20.00---especially after dark).

A#2…Some USA pay phones, especially those in campgrounds are privately owned.
They can, and many do charge exorbitant long distance fees. If your card does
not have an 800 access number to use before dialling a long distance number, then
always dial 1 800 CALL ATT for calls within the USA. For calls to Canada use the
Canada Direct number (1-800 555 1111) as your access number. This way you are
guaranteed agreeable and affordable rates.

Q…Can we take our four-legged babies with us?

A…Dogs and cats freely travel across the border if they have regular shots,
especially rabies. Pets are welcome in most campgrounds however five states
still do not allow dogs or cats into their state parks. Campground directories
and state Welcome Center staff can provide info if pets may be a problem at
your destination. Some parks have pet restrictions as to size and number of
pets. Try negotiating with management staff, they will listen but they do have
the final word. Birds and fish owners experience different restrictions---see
your veterinarian for details. That’s it for today guys, sure hope our paths
cross on the road one day,

Peggi and John are RV Lifestyle Consultants who understand the idiosyncrasies
of the Canadian RVer. Peggi's book Spirit of the Open Road
(See http://www.rverscorner.com/spirit.html for details.)
is one of the most comprehensive how-to publications on the market. Don't forget to
check her web page and download her two FREE comprehensive e-books RV Living: Facts,
Tips, Hints and More---Vol One and Vol Two on http://www.rvliving.net


A brief introduction to what you need to know about ...
Mexican Auto Insurance By Peter Bassel

To drive in Mexico, the minimum required insurance coverage is Civil Liability
Insurance. This coverage protects you in the event you cause bodily injury or
property damage to third parties.

LESS COVER, I.E. 40/80/40. The split limits approach limits the amount payable
for each of the main liability exposure groupings: 1) per person, 2) per
occurrence for bodily injury and 3) physical damage. Ultimately this split
limit approach can lead to a gap in coverage (in other words being partially
uninsured). As a result, one overall limit for liability is much safer and is
called a Combined Single Limit.

Some Mexican Insurers offer lower limits but it is wise to buy at least
US$100,000 Liability Insurance. The increased cost for this amount of coverage
is very small. Additional Liability insurance is available through the better
Mexican Insurers, also at very reasonable rates.
The minimum cost for daily insurance in Mexico is about $4.00 for Civil Liability
only, $100,000 limit Combined Single Limit (CSL). Depending on your US insurance,
some Americans do not need to buy Mexican physical damage cover because it is
covered by your American auto insurance policy but every American traveling to
Mexico should check with their insurer because not all do. Canadians on the other
hand do not have this luxury. Virtually no Canadian insurer provides any cover
for Mexico.

If traveling for more than 25 days or of if an individual wants the flexibility of
not setting the exact dates of entry or exit, they should consider the 6 month or
12 month polices. Six months policies can be purchased for around $150 including
premium tax & policy fees ($100,000 Civil Liability & no physical damage cover) and
12 month polices cost about $180 including premium tax & policy fees.
For individuals who live near the Mexican border or who want a little more
flexibility, 12 month policies are a good option, they are typically only 20-25%
more expensive than 6 month polices.

On top of the liability, most if not all, Mexican insurance programs offer physical
damage cover. In all cases premiums increase in relation to the Actual Cash Value
(ACV) or the used retail value of the vehicle. A vehicle worth $15,000 would cost
approximately $265 to insure for six months (including $100,000 Civil Liability)
and approximately $324 for 12 months.

A few other insurance policy features to look for include:
Some insurance companies offer limited territory covers, which as a result, offer
dominiums savings. I'm not in favour of these limited territory polices as they
limit customer flexibility. It is like buying an auto cover for one state in the
US only. It does not happen in the US, as it would be a major inconvenience for
insurance policy holders. Why accept a policy like that for Mexico?
Guaranteed Bond & Legal Assistance: Provides you with assistance in the event you
need to deal with Authorities following a covered loss.

Travel Assistance: This includes certain types of travel assistance, including
Medical Assistance, tourist information, vehicle towing, etc.

If towing a boat into Mexico make sure you are covered when it is detached from
the vehicle that towed it into Mexico. A marine policy is required to insure the
boat against physical damage and a liability policy is required to cover your
responsibility to other.

If taking a motorcycle into Mexico, make sure you have both liability insurance
and physical damage. Check carefully most Mexican insurers do not offer physical
damage cover for Motor Cycles.

Thanks Peter! Peter is the webmaster of a very informative website on Mexican
Travel and Mexican Insurance.

http://www.DriveMex.com - Mexican Insurance Online
Buy and print Mexican auto insurance policies immediately on your
own printer. Can also insure boats, motorcycles, trailers, RVs and properties
(home, condo, apartment etc).
Contact: Sales@DriveMex.com or 1-866-367-5053

Tip Sheet Thanks Peggi McDonald!

1) Whenever I purchase a box of S.O.S Pads, I immediately take a pair of
scissors and cut each pad into halves. After years of having to throw
away rusted and unused and smelly pads, I finally decided that this would
be much more economical. And now a box of S.O.S pads last me indefinitely!
In fact, I have noticed that the scissors get sharpened this way!

2) Opening brand new jars can be a feat in itself. Well, I have found a
way to make it the easiest thing to do. Instead of banging a jar of jam,
pickles, etc., with a knife until it loosens up, I simply reach into the
drawer and pull out the handy nutcracker. It adjusts to the size of the
jar and I simply give it a good twist and off pops the lid!

3) Blood stains on clothes? Not to worry! Just pour a little peroxide on
a cloth and proceed to wipe off every drop of blood. Works every time!

4) Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for
inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight
vinegar will get outside windows really clean. Don't wash windows on a
sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

5) Spray a bit of perfume on the lightbulb in any room to create a lovely
light scent in each room when the light is turned on. Place fabric softener
sheets in dresser drawers and your clothes will smell freshly washed for
weeks to come. You can also do this with towels and linen.

6) Candles will last a lot longer if placed in the freezer for at least
3 hours prior to burning.

More tips in the next issue!

A home made backup camera system By John Stead
for under $100

Quoted from John's website:

We purchased a full size Ford E350 one ton diesel van in Feb/2001 to pull our
29ft travel trailer. It became immediately apparent that the rear view mirror
was useless. With the height of the vehicle and the privacy tint, you cannot
see anything. You might as well be pulling a trailer for what can be seen.

I went searching the internet for a rear view camera system that could be used
on the van and/or the back of the trailer, (kill two birds with one stone). I
was very surprised at the prices of the available systems. They ranged from $600
to $1500 which was far more than I had expected to spend.

Additionally, the available systems were supplied with a reverse video dash mount
4" monitor. This monitor is not small by any means. To me, it would be an
obstruction to my forward view.

During the internet surf I came across many small TVs and many small cameras but
no other packages at a lower cost. Of particular interest were the X10 Cameras on
the X10 Home Solutions web site.

I presented this information to my buddy Harold J. Carter who is quite inventive
when it comes to piecing together other peoples' ideas. He convinced me that I
should make my own system. He was sure that it would be more versatile and cost
effective than the store bought systems. That is why I call the system ... "CarterCam".

See this amazing system with complete installation details at John's site

Nice work, John!

Joke of the Day:

A wealthy old man looked around the table at his two sons and five daughters
and their spouses gathered for a family reunion. "Not a single grandchild,"
he said with a sigh. "Why, I'll give a million dollars to the first kid who
presents me with a little one to bounce on my knee. Now, let's say grace."

When the old man lifted his eyes again, his wife was the only other
person at the table.




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This guy really knows what he's talking about!


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 -


Mexican Insurance Online

Buy and print Mexican auto insurance policies immediately on your
own printer. Can also insure boats, motorcycles, trailers, RVs and properties
(home, condo, apartment etc).

http://www.DriveMex.com - Mexican Insurance Online
Contact: Sales@DriveMex.com or 1-866-367-5053


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