Kirk Wood

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About Kirk Wood

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    Major Contributor
  • Birthday 09/18/1942

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    Seasonal traveler, now based in Lindale, TX.
  • Interests
    Volunteer work-camping, most outdoor activities.
    Writing for RV magazines especially for Escapees Magazine.
    Photography, particularly wildlife.
    Grandchildren! (we have 5 grandsons & 3 granddaughters).

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  1. I just emailed you a copy of my favorite checklist.
  2. The next Escapade will be held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds at Sedalia, MO. The dates are May 27 through June 1, with early arrivals begining on May 25 and final departure on June 2, 2018. Planning has already begun and staff positions will be filled in a few months, once the directors are given a few weeks to relax and recharge. While Bob & Molly set a very high standard in their years as directors, Jean & Duane have proven to be up to the task of continuing to build upon what the Pinner's did so you can look forward to more of the best from the past as well as exciting new features in the future! I would encourage everyone to start to plan now to attend the event and to be ready to register as soon as registration opens as full hookup sites always fill first and choices very quickly become limited.
  3. It is quite likely that your converter has a power plug on the supply and the manufacturer just put an outlet near it on that same circuit, plugging the cord into it. I have seen many an RV wired in that way and all that you need do if this is the case is to add a circuit breaker that supplies a new outlet and then move the plug to it but for your purpose, you can just pull the plug to the converter if it is wired in that way. I happen to like that manner of installation since it is so easy to isolate the converter and there is nothing at all wrong with doing this. The place to start is by looking at the converter and trace the power supply cord to it's connection if you have not done so.
  4. This subject brings up an interesting question................ Has anyone reading this thread ever had any sort of problem which a locking fuel cap would have prevented? It is very difficult to prove things which have been prevented from happening, so real stories would be of interest. I have heard antidotal stories on the subject so I'm only interested in first-person stories, which happened to you. In my experience, I have owned vehicles with a locking cap and others that didn't but am not sure just how important they really are.
  5. Since there are a lot of opinions on safety issues being expressed, I'll share mine as well, but with the warning that it is only an opinion since I'm neither a scientist or a statistician. A blowout is dangerous with any moving vehicle and the faster it is traveling when that takes place the higher the degree of risk. Based purely on general observations, I suspect that they happen more on trailers of any type than on motorized RV's, probably because the driven vehicle is far easier to detect a tire problem early when traveling before it actually explodes. I suspect that the result of such events is more determined by luck than by skill or type of RV, as either one can destroy major parts of an RV at highway speeds but neither of them are certain to do so. I consider tires to be part of my safety equipment and so I never base my choice of when to replace them or what tire to buy upon the cost as much as the reports and ratings of the tires. I believe that in the event of a major wreck, the trailer is probably more survivable than would be most motorized RV's because you do not travel inside of the trailer and are in a vehicle that falls under the highway safety equipment rules and they have fewer things to become airborne in such a disaster. I still prefer travel in a class A, and accept the risk involved. Life comes with various degrees of risk and RV travel is no different. The key is not to stop traveling in the way you most enjoy, but rather to learn as much as possible about ways to lessen that risk and then enjoy your life knowing that you have done what you are able, then move on.
  6. Since we are comparing tow vehicles with a small travel trailer, I'll share our experience, just to give one more real life example of the differences for you to draw your own conclusion from. Pam & I were forced from the road due to health issues to leave our fulltime motorhome and so we now tow a travel trailer of about 20' in length and which weighs under 4000# gross weight when fully loaded. We began this part of our adventure towing the little trailer behind an SUV which was rated to tow 5000# and was equipped to do so. The SUV when operating alone would get about 22 mpg highway and probably around 18 mpg overall. We were not unhappy with the way it handled the trailer but when on uneven roads or in windy conditions it was a bit of a chore to drive and our fuel consumption with the trailer in tow ranged from a high of 14 mpg to a low of 9 mpg with an overall of about 11 mpg, gasoline. We were not unhappy with the result and we felt reasonably safe in doing so, but opportunity knocked and we were able to purchase a 3/4 ton, diesel truck with 4 door cab and short box to tow with. I would never had believed the improvement it made, had I not experienced it, even though I did understand towing weights and knew that the truck would be better. Results were that towing the trailer went from some degree of work to a situation where I had to be careful to remember that the trailer is behind us. Our first long trip was from east TX to VT and then MI and IN, eventually returning to TX, for a total of more than 7000 miles. The truck climbed all but the steepest of grades without even shifting down from overdrive and while the truck running empty got about 19 mpg, with the trailer in tow we ranged from a low of 12.7 mpg to a high of 14.8 mpg. In both vehicles, we typically traveled at about 60 mph. Even in windy conditions and on steep grades it was seldom that there was any noticeable difference in driving with the trailer. But that is only part of the story which may be of interest to you. Since our RV is short on storage space, we added a shell to the truck bed, replacing a tonneau cover for better access. We have just completed a trip from Texas to southern CA with the exact same equipment, plus that shell and probably 200# or more of additional things in the truck bed. Thus far we find that the addition of that shell has changed the aerodynamics to improve our fuel mileage significantly. Our consumption of diesel has gone to a lo!w of 12.7 mpg in a high headwind with uphill much of the distance, to 16.3 mpg when traveling between Tucson & Quartzsite! It is a bit early to draw a complete conclusion on the effect of the shell on fuel consumption, so I'll try not to get excited until we complete the return trip and double the total mileage, but thus far it would seem that the aerodynamic improvement has been more effective than the impact of increased weight with the power/weight combination that we now travel with. Much more important, however, is the fact that there is little doubt that we are much safer and travel is much easier that it ever was towing with the SUV. My bet is also that the annual fuel cost will be little different than it was with SUV because of the much improved mpg when towing.
  7. Unless your waste tanks are quite small, I think that this would be a good idea. We started our fulltime adventure without one and then got one that was half the size of our waste tanks when we accepted a campground host position with no sewer.(Just guess how I learned that you need a level indicator with a small tank ). With the RV which we had there was a fairly large storage bay at the far back which our axle weight limits didn't allow putting much weight into so I carried it there for the remainder of our tie on the road but only used it rarely. We still own it and even now with our smaller waste tanks in our present part-time travel trailer, I only take it along when I anticipate the need as it really isn't that difficult to move to a dump station if you must and we have learned to stretch the length of time our tanks will keep us. While there are things which are important to consider if you use one, these tanks are not a vital part of the equipment that most of us need.
  8. For long-term, constant use the #1 thing in importance is the quality of construction. All RV's use pretty much the same appliances so they are not all that critical to the question but things like drawer construction, sliders & hardware, cabinet materials (particle board or plywood), sidewall construction, insulation, window type (aluminum frame, steel frame, dual pane), and a very long list of other issues become of critical importance. All three of the units that you have listed fall into the mid to lower price range and the way that manufacturers make RV's cost less is by using cheaper materials and construction techniques. It is also important to realize that better construction and quality of materials will always mean a higher weight. I have owned both upper quality rated & light weight RV's and without exception, the lighter weight units are more difficult to cool in hot weather and to keep warm in cold weather. I will wager you that the unit which is 8300# but only 2' longer than the one at 6500# will have far better materials used in in, as well as things like 2 air conditioners, and most likely better windows, better cabinets, and many other important differences. The old saying "beauty is only skin deep" very much applies to the RV world. Manufacturers are talented at making cheap look pretty. Since you are looking at used RV's, the thing that is just as important in this choice as the quality of build is the condition it is in now. There is no RV that is so well built that none of them ever have problems and even the very best one can be turned into junk in a few years of neglect and abuse. Since you are planning to make the RV you purchase your only home for years to come, you would be wise to get professional help in inspecting & evaluating it before you spend any money. You would never buy a new house without the use of a professional house inspector and it is not wise to do so with an expensive RV either.
  9. Congratulations on your big event! We spent about two months in our RV before I could retire when our house sold and we discovered that it was a good think as it allowed us to work out a few kinks before we began to travel.
  10. We lived in a 36' motorhome for 12 years and owned it 14 years and rarely had length issues, but it did happen.
  11. First let me welcome you to the Escapee forums! We are happy that you have joined us and we will do our best to help and support you. I suggest that you take many notes when the dealer does the walk-through and be sure that they actually operate everything to demonstrate that it really works. Warranty issues have a way of waiting for you to leave before they appear, so spending some time in the RV near to your dealer is a good process if at all possible. But it isn't possible for anyone to be certain that no problems will develop after a time so just be careful and make notes when things do go wrong. The chassis manufacturer will be responsible for any warranty issues with that park as very few RV dealers are warranty certified for the chassis.
  12. Safety should be your first priority! Even if nobody is injured, it would not be good to start your fulltime experience by wrecking the new trailer. Be especially careful in turning corners, by both swinging wide and also be very aware of the swing of the rear of the trailer. The RV will take a much wider path in a turn than does your truck so do be careful. I also suggest that you travel slowly, probably 50 mph would be a good first-time speed. Your truck will take far more distance to stop with the trailer so drive as far ahead as possible, anticipating all stops, turns, and traffic conditions as early as you are able.
  13. We have used a portable waste tank but only when parked for long term with no sewer. With the size trailer that you report you are buying, you should have ample sized waste tanks to be able to last a week or more, assuming that you also learn to manage your water use. The gray tank is the first to fill so it is of primary concern. Since places have a dump station, it should be pretty easy to just dump as you arrive and as you leave, unless you plan to stay for long term. With only two of you, that simply means that your waste tanks will not fill as quickly as if there were more people using them. You do need to learn to fill the sink and not let water run, brush your teeth with water off, and to take shorter showers as all of those impact the length of time between need to empty the tanks. One thing that we have learned is that when you use a portable tank, you need to either have one that is just as large as the tank that you are draining, or you need to have a portable tank that has a level indicator so that you can close the dump valve before the tank is completely full, or you end up with a large hose full of waste and nowhere to put the contents. You can also get one that adds on to the vent of the tank.
  14. It is really difficult for someone sitting at the other end of the internet to know how to answer your question.There are two parts to this question, one is driving it and the second part is using it. While there is much to learn in it's use, the driving part could be either a breeze or a disaster Most of the RV driving courses do not come to you so even if you do attend one you will have to get the rig to the school location, somehow. The learning curve involved will depend upon things like your ability to judge distances, to project the tail swing of your trailer (the arc of the rear bumper when the front pivots on the axles in a turn), to judge stopping distances, and a host of other judgment abilities that go with your driving skills to determine the success you will have. If you have no previous experience in pulling a trailer at all, then I strongly suggest that you go out and either borrow or rent a small to medium size, flat trailer that you can see over the bed of and tow it a little and also take it to a parking lot and back it some. A very small trailer is easier to tow but more difficult to back then a longer one. While there will be a significant difference in the fifth wheel from one of these, it will at least give you some towing experience. Backing will be the most difference so don't spend a lot of time on that part but just a little bit may be helpful. The majority of people who do as you are, do so pretty successfully, but there are risks involved so be careful and do everything slowly. Never back without a ground guide that you trust. You need radios or some other means of communication between driver and guide. Always use directions like "driver's side" and "passenger side" and never right or left. Always use the same terms and signals and please do be very patient with each other! Many a fight has begun between couples due to communication issues in backing or parking an RV. The guied must not only anticipate where the trailer and truck will travle but must also watch above for things like tree limbs and other obstructions. About the only advice on the use of the RV which I have is that you read very carefully each of the many manuals that will come with your RV. If you have not done so, it would also be wise to get an RVing book or two and read those as well. There is a great deal of written material about the use and operation of RV's and their appliances so you should have little problem there if you read and follow directions carefully.