When you camp, you often have to deal with your own shit…

Maintaining recreational vehicle (RV) holding tanks is crucial for a pleasant and trouble-free camping experience. Proper care helps prevent odors, leaks, and other issues. Here are some best practices to maintain RV holding tanks:

  • Use RV-friendly toilet paper: Choose toilet paper specifically designed for RVs to prevent clogs and ensure easier breakdown in the tank. We use Scott Rapid-Dissolving Toilet Paper as it claims to be sustainable and septic-safe. This is also the same toilet paper we use at home.
  • Dump tanks regularly: Empty both the black (toilet waste) and gray (sink/shower water) tanks regularly to prevent buildup and odors. Don’t allow tanks to overfill. It’s a good practice to let the tanks fill to at least 50 to 75% before emptying to get a solid-moving flow rate when emptying. As our holding tanks are relatively small compared to larger rigs, we empty the grey daily when possible and the black weekly (minimum).
  • Flush tanks thoroughly: At least once a month we like to flush the tanks with water. After dumping, flush the tanks with plenty of water to remove any remaining waste. You will want to use a dedicated hose for this purpose separate from your freshwater house. Our Airstream, like many, include a black tank flushing system. We run a separate, orange, hose fitted with a one-way valve to this clean out port and flush the black tank using this port at least monthly.
  • Add tank treatments: Use RV-friendly tank treatments or chemicals to help break down waste and control odors. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for usage. Along the same line of thinking we use household liquid dish soap regularly in the grey tank to break down oils and any solids that may accumulate on the sidewalls of the tank. Typically, we will fill the grey tank to ¼ full and add one cup of liquid dish soap diluted in 1 gallon water to the grey tank before departing to our campsite. This allows the motion of the drive to circulate the dish soap around the entire tank, suspending all the solids in the cleaning solution. We then dump said tank before setting up camp.
  • Maintain proper tank levels: Keep a balance between black and gray tank levels. Empty black before grey on days where both tanks need to be emptied. We defiantly allow the gray water to fill up before dumping the black tank, as the soapy gray water can help clean the sewer dump hose. 
  • Use tank cleaning products: Periodically use tank cleaning products or tank cleaning wands  (if your black tank does not have a flush system) to remove deposits and buildup on the tank walls. Follow the product instructions for proper usage.
  • Monitor tank sensors: Tank sensors are great for a status update on how much capacity your tanks have available at any given time but can sometimes give inaccurate readings if the tanks have accumulated solids along the sensor line. This is why it is very important to maintain clean, healthy holding tanks. In the event of a tank sensor mismatch one can always use a flashlight to visually inspect the black tank level if your toilet dumps right into the tank like ours or external tank monitoring systems to get a more accurate idea of the tank levels.
  • Prevent freezing: If camping in colder temperatures, take measures to prevent tanks from freezing. Use tank heaters, insulate exposed pipes, and consider adding antifreeze to the tanks. Handi-heat magnetic heating blocks are perfect for this application and have allowed us to dry camp in temperatures well below freezing for weeks.
  • Check for leaks: Regularly inspect the tanks, connections, and valves for any signs of leaks. Fix any issues promptly to avoid more significant problems down the line. This spring we are going to be replacing the dump valves on both holding tanks as preventative maintenance. After four and a half years of near-constant use, it’s time.
  • Protect tank vent: Ensure the tank vent is clear of debris and functioning properly. This helps maintain proper airflow and prevents odors from escaping into the RV.
  • Educate all users: Make sure everyone using the RV is aware of proper tank usage and follows the recommended guidelines. We go over toilet and shower basics with each of our overnight guests as to ensure that there is enough capacity for everyone during the camping adventure. Educating users helps prevent misuse that could lead to problems.

By following these tips, you can maintain your RV holding tanks effectively and ensure a more enjoyable camping experience.

A Short Guide to RV Tire Care and Maintenance:

Embarking on a journey in a recreational vehicle [RV] is an exhilarating experience, filled with the promise of adventure and discovery. While you may have meticulously planned your route and prepared your vehicle for the road, one crucial aspect that should never be overlooked is tire care and maintenance. The condition of your RV’s tires plays a pivotal role in ensuring a safe and smooth journey. In this guide, we will delve into the essential practices and tips for maintaining and caring for your RV tires.

  1. Regular Inspections: The foundation of proper tire care lies in regular inspections. Before every trip, take the time to visually inspect each tire for signs of wear, bulges, or cuts. Check the tire pressure using a reliable gauge and ensure it matches the manufacturer’s recommendations. Underinflated or overinflated tires can compromise safety and fuel efficiency. Use a depth gauge to check how much tread is on each of your tires according to the instructions that came with the tool. Having to little tread can impact handling in many driving conditions. Unevenly wearing tread could mean that there is an alignment problem.
  2. Proper Inflation: Maintaining the correct tire pressure is critical for the overall performance of your RV. Underinflated tires can lead to increased rolling resistance, reduced fuel efficiency, and uneven wear. On the other hand, overinflated tires may result in a harsh ride and increased susceptibility to road hazards. Refer to your RV’s manual or the tire manufacturer’s recommendations for the optimal tire pressure.
  3. Rotation Schedule: Tires on an RV do not wear uniformly due to variations in weight distribution. Implementing a regular tire rotation schedule helps ensure even wear and extends the lifespan of your tires. Follow the rotation pattern outlined in your RV’s manual, typically involving rotating the tires from front to back and vice versa.
  4. Alignment Checks: Misaligned wheels can lead to uneven tire wear and compromise handling. Schedule regular alignment checks to ensure that your RV’s wheels are properly aligned. If you notice uneven wear patterns on the tires, it’s a sign that an alignment adjustment may be necessary.
  5. Weight Distribution: RVs come in various sizes and designs, and proper weight distribution is crucial for tire health. Overloading specific tires can lead to excessive strain, resulting in premature wear. Distribute the weight evenly and avoid exceeding the manufacturer’s weight recommendations for your RV.
  6. Sidewall Inspection: Pay close attention to the sidewalls of your RV tires. Look for any cracks, bulges, or signs of damage. The sidewalls provide essential structural support, and any compromise in their integrity can lead to tire failure. If you notice abnormalities, consult with a professional to assess the extent of the damage.
  7. Temperature Considerations: Tire performance is influenced by temperature. Extreme heat can cause tires to overheat, leading to blowouts. In hot weather, monitor tire pressure more frequently and consider reducing your speed to minimize heat buildup. Similarly, in cold weather, ensure that tires are properly inflated as cold temperatures can result in pressure loss.
  8. Speed Considerations: As a tire rolls, it flexes and experiences deformation. At higher speeds, the frequency and intensity of these deformations increase. The repeated flexing generates heat within the tire. Excessive heat can accelerate the aging process of the tire compound, making it more susceptible to wear and reducing its overall lifespan. The higher the speed, the greater the friction between the tire and the road surface. Increased friction results in more abrasion, causing the tread of the tire to wear down more quickly. This is particularly true for soft or high-performance tire compounds designed for enhanced traction, as they are generally more prone to wear. As the tire’s temperature increases the pressure will also increase. This is normal.
  9. Storage Practices: When your RV is not in use, proper storage practices can significantly impact tire longevity. Store your RV in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. If possible, lift the RV off the ground using jacks to relieve pressure on the tires. Covering the tires with UV-resistant tire covers can protect them from the damaging effects of the sun.

Conclusion: Prioritizing tire care and maintenance is not only a matter of safety but also a means to enhance the overall performance and longevity of your RV. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you ensure that your RV tires are ready to take on the open road, providing you with a worry-free and enjoyable travel experience. Remember, a well-maintained set of tires is your ticket to smooth travels and countless unforgettable adventures.

2024 Travel Map – Upcoming Plans

We’re currently in Palm Springs, California USA as I type this. We’ve been at this RV Resort since the sixteenth of January and will be staying here until mid-February. Before traveling to Palm Springs, we spent the Holidays in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

We really don’t know what our full plans for 2024 are as of yet. We know we will be in Caroline, Alberta, Canada this coming summer and that we have three or four trips where air travel will be required: Nashville, Chicago, and Boston. Dates for Nashville and Chicago are set as is middle-of-nowhere PA. Boston is still up in the air.

We need to be in Santa Cruz this fall.

Other than the above, everything is up for discussion.

The Role of Regular Water Filter Maintenance in RV Living

Long-term recreational vehicle (RV) camping offers a unique and adventurous lifestyle, allowing enthusiasts to explore diverse landscapes and create lasting memories on the road. Amidst the excitement of the open road and picturesque campsites, it’s easy to overlook essential aspects of RV living, such as water filter maintenance and replacement. In this blog post, we delve into the importance of changing water filters during long-term RV camping, exploring the reasons, benefits, and practical tips for ensuring a clean and safe water supply throughout your journey.

I. Understanding the RV Water System:

Before delving into the significance of water filter maintenance, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of the RV water system. Most RVs come equipped with a freshwater tank, a water pump, and various water lines that supply water to faucets, showers, and appliances. Additionally, RVs are usually equipped with a metal screen water filter designed to remove small particulate from the incoming water supply. It is up to campers to add additional filtration to remove other impurities and ensure the water is safe for consumption. Some of the higher end or larger RVs include these filters or even reverse osmosis systems.

II. The Importance of Water Filtration:

A. Ensuring Water Purity:

Contaminant Removal: The first line of defense against particulate contaminant is typically a mesh screen at the water inlet as well as a second mesh screen before the water pump. These basic filters keep small rocks, bits of plastic, and other chunks that may be in the local water supply from causing damage to the water system. 

Unless the RV is equipped with additional filtration, campers can, and should, added in line water filters designed to eliminate contaminants such as small sediment, chlorine, bacteria, and other impurities that may be present in different water sources.

Health and Safety: Consuming contaminated water can lead to various health issues, making water filtration a crucial aspect of maintaining well-being during long-term RV camping.

B. Protecting RV Plumbing:

Extending Appliance Lifespan: Sediment and impurities in water can cause damage to RV plumbing and appliances over time including the water pump, faucets, dish washer (if equipped), and washing machine (if equipped). Water filters act as a protective barrier, preventing these issues and prolonging the lifespan of your RV’s water-related components.

Reducing Maintenance Costs: Regular water filtration reduces the need for costly repairs and maintenance, saving RV owners both time and money.

III. Signs It’s Time to Change Your Water Filter:

A. Decreased Water Flow:

Understanding Flow Reduction: A decrease in water flow can indicate a clogged or outdated filter that needs replacement.

Importance of Adequate Water Pressure: Proper water pressure is essential for various RV activities, including showers, dishwashing, and toilet flushing.

B. Unpleasant Odors or Tastes:

Identifying Water Quality Issues: Strange odors or tastes in your water signal potential contamination or filter deterioration.

Maintaining Enjoyable RV Living: Regular filter changes contribute to a pleasant overall RV living experience by ensuring clean and refreshing water.

IV. Practical Tips for Water Filter Maintenance:

A. Regular Inspection:

Visual Checks: Perform visual inspections of your internal water filter screens for signs of wear, clogs, or damage.

Schedule Routine Replacements: Establish a schedule for changing water filters based on manufacturer recommendations and usage frequency. Metal screens leading up to the water pump should be cleaned every three months of constant usage or after each camping trip.

B. Choosing the Right Water Filter:

Understanding Filtration Levels: Select a water filter that meets the specific filtration needs based on the water sources you encounter. 

0.5-Micron Filters: Ultrafine filters can remove most bacteria, cysts, protozoa, and other contaminants down to 0.2 microns in size or larger such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium parvum.

1-Micron Filters: 1-micron filters are capable of removing most bacteria and parasites including E coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella dysenteriae as well as some viruses like Hepatitis A virus (HAV). This provides a more open pore structure allowing for higher flow rates while still providing adequate protection against harmful contaminants present in many public drinking sources today.

5-Micron Filters: 5-micron filters are best suited for applications where sediment removal is required without sacrificing flow rate.

10-Micron Filters: 10-micron filters are best suited for removing pollen, beach sand, and other larger particulate without a significant reduction in water pressure.

Compatibility with RV Systems: Ensure that the chosen water filter is compatible with your RV’s water system.

C. Proper Installation Techniques:

Following Manufacturer Guidelines: Adhere to the installation instructions provided by the water filter manufacturer.

Seeking Professional Assistance: If unsure, consult with RV maintenance professionals for guidance on proper installation.

In conclusion, the importance of changing water filters during long-term RV camping cannot be overstated. From ensuring water purity and safeguarding RV plumbing to enhancing the overall camping experience, regular filter maintenance is a fundamental aspect of responsible and enjoyable RV living. By prioritizing water filtration, RV enthusiasts can embark on their journeys with confidence, knowing that a clean and safe water supply awaits them at every destination. So, as you hit the open road in your RV, don’t forget to make water filter maintenance a top priority for a hassle-free and unforgettable camping experience.

Replacing Rivets, It’s A Part Of Life On The Road

Airstream says there are over four thousand rivets in each of their coaches, and I believe it. The exterior shell is held together with buck rivets, requiring a team of two to install. Each buck rivet is placed in the hole, then as one operator holds the rivet in place with a bucking bar, the other operates the rivet gun, smashing the rivet into place creating a very strong mechanical bond between the two pieces of aluminum. This is much easier, and faster, than trying to wield aluminum. Buck rivets stand up well to vibration over time and have been Airstream’s method of choice for the aluminum outer shells since the beginning.

This article is not about those buck rivets. It’s about the rivets used inside the coach, the open-end blind rivets, also known as POP® rivets. While very strong these rivets do eventually weaken due to the vibrational stress of towing the coach over harsh roads. Luckily the process for replacing open-end blind rivets is simple and only requires two tools and some replacement rivets. The tools being a drill with a 1/8th inch metal bit and a pop rivet gun. Replacement rivets can be purchased from Airstream or, if you know what you’re looking for, from any hardware store.

Cordless Drill and ⅛” Bit

Arrow Branded Pop Rivet Gun and Rivets

During our epic road trip from our home in Winnemucca down through Albuquerque to Austin, New Orleans, Orlando, Saint Augustine, Delaware, and at the time of this writing, Nashville, we had to replace five open end blind rivets.

Two in the ceiling, two along the galley seam, and one by the stove.

Replacing the rivets is easy:

  • Simply and slowly drill out the holes with the ⅛” bit until the broken rivet falls back into the wall or onto the floor.
  • Clean the area with a rag.
  • Install the new rivets with the pop rivet gun.
  • Clean the area again, vacuum up any metal shavings from the drilling.

At the end of the day we’ve done this so many times that it’s second nature. This is the first time I’ve written it up.

2023 Travel Plans Thus Far

It’s time to look at the big board!

2023 Travel Map

After the turn of the year our first stop will be Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Our good friend is getting married and I’m part of the wedding party.

Then we’re back home for a few days before heading west to Reno for building materials as well as medical appointments. Living in a small town means that for certain types of medical care, we need to travel to one of the larger cities around us. It’s not a problem as living in a small town also means access to hardware stores and building materials is limited as well. So the second week of January we’re off to Reno for doctors visits and additional building materials.

After Reno we’re heading south to Las Vegas, Nevada to visit friends, then across to Tucson, Arizona to take Interstate 10 all the way to Orlando, Florida for the afore mentioned wedding. Along the way we plan on stopping in Austin, Texas for a few days to visit co-workers, New Orleans, Louisiana, because we can, and then to the wedding.

Once the bridge and groom have left for their honeymoon, we’re going to point the compass northwest and head to Saint Louis, Missouri to visit friends and slowly make our way across the planes states homeward bound.

Back home we will deep clean the Airstream, correct any problems that need correcting, turn on the sprinkler system for the trees, and get ready for our trip to Goldfield for a camping event, more than likely via Seattle, Washington, for fun.

Then we’re off to Canada for camp before heading to Austin for work.

Anything after August next year is nebulous except for Chicago in December.

2022 Travel Recap

It’s been a busy year of travel for us. By the time the year is over we’ll have visited twenty of the United States and one Canadian Provence.

Unlike the last two years this year we’ve done some travel by airplane!

Our big trips this year included a visit to Palm Springs where we drank too much, made new friends, and had a good time. Second big trip was to Seattle where we saw friends, ate good food, and bought a new truck in Bend, OR on our drive home. Then it was off to points California for work and play before heading to Canada for two weeks of camping in the woods. Our last big Airstream trip was to Wisconsin to visit friends and camp for another two weeks.

Up next is a multi-state flight affair from Vegas to Chicago to Orlando to Boston and back…

Happy Hanukkah

But what is Hanukkah you may ask?

Hanukkah is also known as The Festival of Lights and **The Festival of Rededication. Hanukkah is the eight-day celebration that starts on the 25th day of Kislev; which may be in December, late November, or early January (as was the case last season). The festival is observed by the kindling of lights on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah; one on the first night, two on the second, three on the third, four on the fourth, five on the fifth, six on the sixth, seven on the seventh, and finally all eight on the final evening of the holiday.

There are several historical accounts of the birth of Hanukkah. Wikipedia has a nice write up – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah

** The holiday was called Hanukkah meaning “dedication” because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration under Antiochus IV. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the Miracle of the Oil. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days – which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil.

However, non-Talmudic sources include no reference to the eight days of oil that has come to be a popular understanding and modern practice of Hanukkah. The Hebrew deuterocanonical books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees record different reasons as the origin of the eight days of Hanukkah. 1 Maccabees reads that, “For eight days they celebrated the rededication of the altar. Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the rededication…should be observed…every year…for eight days. (1 Mac.4:56-59)”

2 Maccabees says, “The Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths.”

Another interpretation for the 8 day ceremony is that it commemorates the story of Hannah and her 7 sons. The story depicted in the Talmud and in the Book of Maccabees accounts how Hannah’s 7 sons were tortured and executed according to Antiochus’ policy when they refused to bow to a statue and to taste pork. Hannah herself committed suicide after the death of her sons.**

Happy Hanukkah to all my friends in cyberspace!


Fall Fun Facts Part 2: recipe Edition

In our last installment we spoke about Apple Picking, Folk Lore, and The Do’s and Don’ts of Leaf Peeping. This time we shall explore my favorite recipes of the season starting with something to drink – Spiced Apple Cider, something to eat – Beef Stew in a Pumpkin and something for dessert Apple Pie.

Hot Spiced Apple Cider:

  • Ingredients:
    • 6 cups fresh apple cider
    • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (more or less, to taste)
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 6 whole cloves
    • 6 whole allspice berries
    • 6 strips orange peel
    • 6 strips lemon peel


Pour the apple cider and maple syrup into a large stainless steel saucepan. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, orange peel and lemon peel in the center of a washed square of cheesecloth; fold up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the bundle, then tie it up with a length of kitchen string. Drop the spice bundle into the cider mixture.

Place the saucepan over moderate heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cider is very hot but not boiling.

Remove the cider from the heat. Discard the spice bundle. Ladle the cider into big cups or mugs, adding a fresh cinnamon stick to each serving, if you like.

Beef Stew in a Pumpkin


  • A plump, very fresh, 10 – 12 lb pumpkin with a wide, steady base
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef, cut in 1″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3 large minced garlic cloves
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup madeira or dry sherry
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 lb zucchini, slices about 1/4″ thick
  • 1 cup corn
  • 12-14 dried apricots
  • 12-14 pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves


Scrub pumpkin well.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in 5 quart casserole over medium heat. Add beef in batches to brown on all sides. Warm brandy, ignite and pour over beef. Transfer meat to platter and set aside. In same casserole pot, combine oil, onion, green pepper and garlic, cooking over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add stock and madeira and bring to boil. Scrape sides and return meat and juices to pot.

Stir in tomatoes, salt, oregano, pepper, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes. Add potatoes and cook 15 minutes more. Stir in zucchini and cook 10 minutes more. Add corn, apricots and prunes and cook another 5 minutes. Keep stew warm on low heat while preparing pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut pumpkin about 3 or 4 inches from top to form a lid and do not remove stem! Scrape out seeds and string fibers from lid and base. Brush melted butter inside pumpkin and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Replace lid and bake pumpkin in roasting pan about 40 minutes.

Pour juices from pumpkin into stew and stir well. Place stew into pumpkin and bake about 15 minutes longer.

Apple Pie


  • For crust
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 6 to 7 tablespoons chilled orange juice
  • For filling
    • 2 generous tablespoons coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
    • 2 generous tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots
    • 2 generous tablespoons finely chopped dried peaches
    • 2 tablespoons orange juice
    • 2 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
    • 3 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel


Make crust:

Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl; add butter. Using fingertips, rub in butter until pieces range in size from rice grains to peas. Add shortening; rub in until pieces are size of small peas. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons juice over, tossing gently with fork to blend. Continue adding enough juice 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; divide into 2 parts, 1 slightly larger than the other. Flatten dough onto disks. Wrap in plastic; chill 1 1/2 hours or up to 1 day.

Make filling:

Mix cherries, apricots, peaches and orange juice in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Mix in apples, flour, cinnamon and cardamom; then mix in honey, butter and orange peel.

Position rack in bottom third of oven, and preheat to 425°F. Roll out larger dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhand to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Using fluted pastry wheel or knife, cut dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into bottom crust. {Step Two} Arrange 6 pastry strips evenly atop filling. Arrange 6 more strips at right angles, forming lattice. Fold under ends of strips with overhanging dough. {Step Three} Crimp crust edge decoratively.

Bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until apples are tender and juices bubble thickly around edge, about 1 hour 10 minutes longer. Transfer pie to rack. Cool 1 hour.