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Matt

Matt

Cyclists will pedal their way through challenging bicycle rides and races from mid-September through the end of October in the North Georgia Mountains near Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa.

Tuesday, 04 August 2020 18:44

A Pocket Guide to Towables

Motorhomes, 5th wheels, travel trailers, the list goes on... The world of RVs goes far beyond the traditional motorhome and here is the breakdown of all of the different types that you need to know.

Each year there are thousands of new motorhomes and campers of all types that hit the road. While this traveling preference never seems to grow old, it does go through cycles related to the economy and our travel preferences.

Friday, 10 July 2020 16:36

Avoiding Flash Floods While Camping

Flash floods are a very real threat to RVers. You just need to know where to turn for warnings and understand them so you can safely continue your journey to Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa!

Sometimes you can’t get around the need for a bigger refrigerator in your motorhome or towable. The permanent fix is upgrading to a bigger built-in fridge, but that’s also the most expensive solution.

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 10:37

Tow Vehicle and Motorhome Maintenance

Your tow vehicle and motorhome have a mechanical maintenance list aside from the items to make sure your camping needs are met.

The days of striking it rich by prospecting for gold and gems in Georgia are long past, but you just might unearth a mother lode of fun. You’ll also come up with some raw, uncut gemstones and maybe even some gold!

Even if your RV is relatively high end, chances are that the speakers in its standard sound system leave something to be desired.

There are hundreds of options out there for improving sound inside or outside your rig. If you’re not as enthusiastic for big wiring jobs as you are for big sound, plenty of aftermarket speakers are wireless, connecting to your sound source by Bluetooth signal instead of cables. Some have built-in microphones so you can wirelessly use your phone to make and receive calls.

Not all radios or music players have Bluetooth, but your smartphone, tablet or laptop should. If your RV’s built-in radio/music player lacks Bluetooth, it’s easy to upgrade the radio—easier than wiring in multiple speakers—since most RV sound systems are really just car radios. 

What You Need

You will need a 110-volt line or USB outlet to power the speakers and to recharge a speaker’s internal battery. You could also recharge most from a battery bank with a USB port. With the right speaker choice, you can take your wireless speakers outside.

Most of these compact speakers won’t move enough air to be heard over a great distance, but they’ll fill the inside of your RV with quality sound and satisfy a typical outdoor gathering.

Portable Wireless Indoor Speakers

Bose Soundlink Color II

Features: Bluetooth connectivity; 110v/USB rechargeable; pairable for stereo; built-in microphone; water resistant.

Size: 5.6 x 5 x 2.2 in.

Weight: 1.2 lb.

Price: About $130.

The rechargeable Bose Soundlink Color II has good mid- and high range-sound according to reviews. It connects wirelessly by Bluetooth, or by 3.5mm cable. Its built-in microphone allows it to be used as a speakerphone with a smartphone. Soundlink Color II can be paired for true stereo sound. It’s available in black, white, blue, red or yellow. Not all sellers have all colors.

The Bluetooth range is 30 feet, so you should be able to take it outside. The speaker is padded for some shock resistance, and with its iPX7-rated water resistance, it can resist splashes, mist or even accidental immersion in up to 30 inches of water. The “X” in the rating means it is not tested for dust resistance.

Its biggest drawback: Soundlink Color II has weak bass compared to some rivals. If you don’t like being overwhelmed with bass, however, that may be a plus.

Klipsch Groove

Features: Bluetooth connectivity; 110v/USB rechargeable; top-mounted controls or wireless control through connected device; splashproof.

Size: 4.56 x 5.51 x 2.65  in.

Weight: 1.7 lb.

Price: $99

The compact Klipsch Groove produces excellent sound for its size. This black speaker has a 3-inch driver for clear music in all ranges, although some reviews say it distorts a bit on the high end at full volume. Bass is better than from many of its competitors, thanks to twin passive bass radiators.

The range of the Groove’s Bluetooth wireless connection is 33 feet, so it’s easy to carry it outside. It’s splashproof but not immersible, with a rating if iPX4. The Groove recharges via a USB port or with the included 110-volt power brick.

The main negatives: It cannot be paired with a like speaker for true stereo, and it lacks a microphone, so it cannot be used as a speakerphone.

Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

Features: Bluetooth connectivity to two devices at once, or connect by 3.5mm cable; memory for 8 devices; big sound in all ranges from twin tweeters, twin woofers and twin bass radiators; adaptive EQ; fine tuning from app or speaker-top buttons; splashproof; recharges by 110v power brick; superior 24-hour battery life.

Size: 14.3 x 7.5 x 7.5 in.

Weight: 13 lb.

Price: $399

If your fifth wheel, travel trailer or motor home is big, so is the sound from the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom: It encases two 1-inch tweeters, two 4.5-inch woofers and two 3.5- x 7.5-inch passive bass radiators. The music quality is stellar. At about $400, so is the price.

The Hyperboom easily fills an RV’s main living area, regardless of size, with quality sound. It has an automatic EQ feature, so no matter where it’s used, the sound adjusts to the surroundings.

Move the party outside, because this might be the ultimate portable Bluetooth party speaker. The Hyperboom is rated iPX4, so it’s splashproof. The battery can last all day and all night—literally. This speaker will give you more sound than you need for an outdoor gathering, even over chatter, laughter and the crackle of the fire pit. Fortunately, you can control the volume as well as the level of bass and treble, so even when the Hyperboom is whispering, clarity is first rate.

The biggest negatives: Big is the operative word here. With its size and all those speakers, the Hyperboom weighs 13 pounds—not everybody’s idea of portable. You must supply the 3.5mm cable if you choose to use one. It doesn’t function as a speakerphone. And although you can fast-forward through tracks, you can’t backtrack.

Outdoor Speakers

If your rig has outdoor speakers that fail to meet party standards, audio dealer Crutchfield recommends adding amplifiers. The amps are wired in before the speakers on existing circuits. You can add improved outdoor speakers, too. Make sure all are marine- or RV exterior-rated. Amps run about $150-250 per channel. Each flush-mount round outdoor speaker generally costs $30-$50.

If your tiny trailer lacks outdoor speakers and you want to add them easily, the King RVM1000 houses two speakers and a light for abut $50. The twist is that although it’s wired for power off an existing light circuit, the RVM1000 connects to your sound system by Bluetooth. There’s no need to run speaker wire.

Remove the standard light and connect the RVM1000 in its place. You’ll have LED exterior lighting but also have sound from a Bluetooth-connected computer, tablet or smartphone.

Image Credits: crutchfield.com

With coronavirus pathogens still present across America, keeping the living area of your RV disinfected becomes more important than ever.

Many of the cleaning agents you’ve been using in your RV living area are effective against coronavirus pathogens, but others may not be. If you decide to use cleaning products aimed at coronavirus pathogens but unfamiliar to you, it’s important to use products properly so they don’t harm fixtures, furniture and electronics.

The federal Centers for Disease Control lists cleaning agents that will kill coronavirus. You’ll have to look for numbers on each cleaning product label to see which qualify as CDC-approved disinfectants. You’ll also have to read the labels of individual products carefully to make sure they are compatible with the varying materials in your RV.

RV living spaces contain materials that are different from those in a motorhome cockpit or tow vehicle interior. For products to safely disinfect vehicle interiors, see our companion piece.

Match Materials, Cleaners

The living area of your RV contains pretty much the same materials as in a sticks-and-bricks home, so you can usually use the same cleaning agents that you would use at home. You just have to make sure they don’t just clean but also kill coronavirus pathogens. Cleaning can remove some virus pathogens but doesn’t kill them.

Some agents are hard on certain surfaces, so read the labels carefully. Certain foaming bathroom cleaners, for example, can destroy acrylic surfaces. Call your RV manufacturer’s customer service line for advice on what makes up the surfaces in your camper and what can clean them safely.  The number is in your owner’s manual, or you can search for it online. Have your RV serial and model numbers available, since manufacturers do change some materials from year to year.

What To Use

In the living area, disinfect surfaces that you routinely touch: countertops, handles, knobs, cooking surfaces, switches, bathroom and toilet surfaces, plumbing fixtures and dinettes. You’ll also want to clean electronics, including computers, keypads, your cell phone and remote controls, all of which require special care.

In general, to disinfect living-area surfaces, it’s best wear disposable gloves. Even if youi do, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after cleaning.

Do Use

  • Bleach. Use only on colorfast, non-porous surfaces, such as countertops, sinks and ceramic tile floors. In a bottle, mix 4 teaspoons of bleach with a quart of water. Wipe it on and let it work for four to five minutes, then rinse with clear water and wipe dry to avoid damage. Add a cup of bleach to a gallon of hot water for nonporous floors. WARNING: Mix bleach with water only. Combining it with other chemicals or cleaners could generate poisonous fumes or even explosions.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Use the standard household 3 percent solution—that’s the way you buy it— on nonporous surfaces. It’s especially good on metal, such as handles and drawer pulls. Let it stand for about 10 minutes. It actually does not have to be wiped off because it evaporates, according to Consumer Reports. Do not get it on fabrics, which it will stain permanently. Never mix it with other cleaners or chemicals.
  • Isopropyl alcohol. It is safe for most surfaces and must contain at least 70 percent alcohol to be effective. Many disinfectant wipes contain alcohol. It must remain on the surface at least 30 seconds before being wiped off.
  • Disinfectant cleaners and sprays. Use on hard surfaces only, wiping on and allowing to stand 30 seconds before rinsing off and wiping dry. See special instructions from Good Housekeeping on how to use disinfectant spray on a paper towel to clean phones. Clean remote controls, computers and keyboards the same way.
  • Soap and water. This would include detergent, which is even more effective. Soap will clean off grease and surface dirt, making it tougher for pathogens to take hold. Scrub vigorously for soap to be effective, using a cloth or paper towel, plastic abrasive scrubber, or a sponge you’re willing to throw away. The soap breaks down the fatty outer surface of the coronavirus pathogen, rendering it harmless. Let stand for four minutes, then rinse with clean water and wipe dry. Use mild soap and water on leather or cloth upholstery.
  • Disinfectant mop pads. Use one of these on hardwood floors, which would discolor with bleach.

Do Not Use

  • White vinegar. It will not destroy coronavirus pathogens. It can, however, clean the surface of dirt where pathogens can lodge, including on hardwood floors. Let it dry and finish with a disinfectant.
  • Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Only industrial-targeted Simple Green Disinfectant will kill coronavirus pathogens. Regular Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is versatile and will clean surface dirt and grease, so it’s a good way to start on hard surfaces to rid them of the dirty layer where coronavirus pathogens often lodge. But then you must rinse, dry and follow up with a disinfectant.
  • Vodka. It’s not sufficiently strong to destroy coronavirus pathogens. Save it for a martini; don’t use it to clean.

Other Hygiene Tips

The CDC has a page of tips for keeping your home, and therefor, an RV, safe. It includes tips for maintaining a safe home when someone living there has Covid-19.

After cleaning and disposing of gloves, always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. Washing hands frequently and keeping them away from your face is recommended.

The CDC suggests using plastic covers for electronics if they are available.

If you use cloth towels to apply or wipe down disinfectants, wash them with your laundry. Use the hottest water setting appropriate for the load.

For RVers still on the road, it’s important to keep the cockpit of your motorhome or tow vehicle disinfected during the coronavirus pandemic.

True, many states have stay-at-home orders in effect. But thousands of RVers live full-time in their RVs. Many thousands more who routinely hit the road for much of the year probably headed out before extent of the pandemic was revealed. Even as states reopen, following best practices to fight the spread of pathogens that cause the Covid-19is advisable.

Paramount are properly disinfecting your hands and your vehicle interior.

It’s not necessary to wear a mask when you’re inside your vehicle, but put one on before going into a store or to a gas pump, and wear disposable gloves. A mask protects you a bit more and everyone around you much more.

For tips on keeping your RV living area free of coronavirus pathogens, see our companion piece.

Pumping Fuel

Perhaps nothing you touch as an RVer is more likely than a fuel pump handle to be touched by many other people. That means it could contain coronavirus pathogens.

Consumer Reports suggests that you wear disposable gloves when handling a fuel pump, either gas or diesel. You might be thinking, Well, I always wear gloves when I pump diesel. If you store those gloves away after refueling and wear them again the next time you pump, that’s not a good idea right now.

Gloves that touch a contaminated pump handle or contaminated pump buttons may pick up pathogens and retain them. How long? Reuters reports that the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases found that coronavirus pathogens could last several hours to several days, depending on the surface. Disposable gloves can help to counteract that threat. During the pandemic, cover your hands with disposable gloves when pumping.

Disposable gloves aren’t easy to come by right now. If you can’t get them, try using two plastic food storage bags over your hands and properly dispose of them the same as you would gloves.

Clean your hands before getting back into your vehicle with a hand disinfectant. That way, you’re more nearly certain not to deposit pathogens on interior surfaces. If you cant find hand disinfectant, keep soap—either bar soap or soft—plus a spray bottle of water and some paper towels handy, and wash for 20 seconds before getting back in your vehicle. Put them in a small caddy so you can place them on or beside your vehicle for easy access before you get back in. Dispose of used paper towels or wipes immediately.

Disinfecting Automotive Interiors

Disinfecting the cockpit of your motorhome or tow vehicle requires the most attention during actual travel. It’s where you’re most likely to deposit pathogens from your hands as you re-enter after stopping for fuel, food or bathroom breaks. Food has not been found to be a transmitter of pathoens.

Wear disposable gloves to disinfect an interior, then wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water after you dispose of the gloves.

Do use:

  • Disinfectant wipes that do not contain bleach. Use on hard surfaces, especially the steering wheel. Also use them to clean door handles, armrests, control switches and buttons, displays screens, shift levers and paddles, seat belt buckles and the instrument panel cover.
  • Disinfectant, such as Lysol, sprayed onto a paper towel. Apply it to the items above.
  • Alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. They can be used on just about any interior surface, but be warned that keeping alcohol in the vehicle interior is not recommended, since high temperatures may cause alcohol to boil.
  • Soap and water, including dishwasher liquid diluted by water. As noted above for hand washing, soap breaks down the protective covering on coronavirus pathogens. It can do the same on interior surfaces, but it will require some scrubbing—not too much— with a towel or sponge. Rinse with a towel soaked in clear water. Along with dedicated leather cleaners, Ivory soap and water is recommended for leather, followed by a leather conditioner.

Do Not Use

  • Bleach. It can weaken plastic surfaces, making them soft, and can permanently discolor fabrics and other porous materials.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. The reasons are the same as for bleach.
  • Ammonia or cleaners that contain it, such as blue window cleaner. Ammonia is OK on windows if you’re careful about applying it. Spray onto a paper towel, not onto the window, to avoid excess spray. Ammonia will break down the surfaces of plastics, and it can damage touch screens.

Wash Hands Frequently

The CDC recommends washing your hands frequently, 20 seconds each time, with soap and water. Keep your hands from your face as much as possible, even if you touched only a disinfected surface. Launder cleaning cloths with other laundry, using the hottest setting appropriate for the load. Dispose of paper towels and sponges, which may trap germs.

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