Monday, August 14, 2017

Road Trip Summary (Cont.)

The question has come up on what, if anything, we would do differently. There are a few things. Traveling through the desert in the summer was silly. But one of Bridget's must see destinations were the Utah national parks. And one of the things that I had scheduled was the MOA rally in Salt Lake City. Given the MOA history of having the rally in some miserably hot areas, I won't have the rally as a destination again unless it is really convenient and somewhere cooler.

I would've scheduled our travel days differently. Maybe travel for a day or two then stay put for several days. We wouldn't cover as much ground but that was never the goal. We used a planner/calendar put out by a full time RV couple on this trip to keep track of where we stayed each night and how many miles we traveled each day. It was useful information as I had pre-filled in the campground reservations as I made them. This allowed us to see how far we needed to travel between those reservations. And reservations were only needed if we wanted to stay in popular areas such as near national parks especially if it was the weekend. We were generally unable to camp in the national park campgrounds as most of them could not accommodate an RV longer than 30'.

Making reservations the day before worked well enough especially when we could use an app to look for a campground. Many times, the campgrounds would fill up by early evening so it's better to arrive at your destination by mid-afternoon. Most of the Walmarts no longer allow overnight parking. Mostly due to local ordinances. Many of these local ordinances were put in place due to pressure from private RV parks and campground organizations such as Good Sam's. Another reason is there are many that abuse the free RV parking. Examples of abuse are using it like a campground (lawn furniture, awnings, etc), sleeping in your car (no RV), or staying multiple days to months instead of simply overnight.

To us, the only useful time when overnight parking made sense was when we simply needed a place to stop when we were traveling between locations. We used Harvest Hosts for some of these and a casino for another. Walmart or a rest area would've been a last resort.

It would have been really convenient to have some sort of motorbike on the trip. I saw a number of RVs with rear mounted carriers with modest sized bikes and scooters. I wouldn't use a carrier that only fit into the receiver hitch but would reinforce it with some attachments to the trailer frame unlike the one pictured.

I think this post will be continued later. Including a list of apps that we used.

On the maintenance front, I pulled out the anode rod from the RV water heater today as I suspected that it was in pretty poor shape. I had no idea how poor it was. On the right is what a new anode rod looks like. This is a picture from Amazon. Below is what the anode rod from our water heater looks like. Quite a difference. It's essentially completely consumed.

The purpose of the anode rod is to protect the steel parts of the water heater from rusting away. It is made from a magnesium alloy that will corrode faster than the steel components in the water heater. All that is left of this rod is a thin layer of metal on the steel rod in the center which provides mechanical support. If the water heater tank starts to rust away now I know why. Fortunately, it isn't leaking but I should plan on replacing it in the near future. As part of the winterizing process, the water heater is usually drained by removing the anode rod. It's an opportunity to check its condition. Last October, I had asked the previous owner about draining the water heater and he said that he had never done it. I didn't have a 1⅛" socket with me at the time. I had brought one with me on the trip but I had forgotten to check the water heater.


8 comments:

  1. I guess I should check my anode rod....hmmm. Good compilation of notes RichardM....Martha and I both wondered if you'd add some way to carry at least a scooter along on the next long journey.

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    1. The anode rod is easy to check and it is also the way to drain the hot water heater when winterizing the rig. As far as a bike goes, still thinking about it.

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    2. I've winterized the URRV several times, and for the water heater it was just a matter of draining it while opening the petcock...no anode was removed....hmmm.

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    3. I think it depends on the brand of the water heater. This one is Suburban and the anode rod is the drain.

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  2. Your findings are interesting, Richard. It seems that we are all comparing notes about our camping experiences. I've certainly learned that smaller does it, and dragging a motorised two wheeler along would be nice, too.

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    1. Smaller would work better to get into some campgrounds. This 5th wheel is more like a small apartment and can be likened to coming home every night. It sure was nice not needing suitcases or having to dig for stuff in the back of the car...

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  3. I can understand why you'd want to travel around when it was a little cooler out. And your mileage wouldn't have had to be so long if the BC smoke and fires didn't necessitate the long way round.

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    1. I'm not sure how many miles the Alberta detour was. Maybe a couple of days or so...

      I'm hoping that this means no more brush fires for a couple of years.

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