Category Archives: General Info


Electric spark generator
This is the electric spark generator I used to replace the piezoelectric igniter in the RV range. Now the burners light, every time, with one quick, quiet push of a button.

Pretty much everyone with an RV knows what a pain in the keister the piezoelectric stove igniters can be. Though they seldom wear out, they have been widely acknowledged as one of the most problematic, unreliable technologies used in RVs as well as a source of RVer frustration. They require turning a knob and make a loud bang whenever they are used. Everybody knows when the water for morning coffee is being put on to boil because the dang igniter wakes up everyone in the RV. All too often one turn of the knob and one loud bang isn’t enough because they don’t always light the burners on the first crank of the knob. Sometimes they just don’t seem to work at all. Many people have given up on these in favor of BBQ lighters which can be similarly finicky–they too commonly use piezoelectric igniters.

Because these piezoelectric igniters have made RVing cooks everywhere unhappy, including in my RVs, I set out to find a better system. I have! It took a little bit of doing but it was not a difficult modification–I just finished installing an electric spark generator, the type that’s commonly used for gas grills. HERE’S HOW…


A lot of memories on just one page: Double tick marks pointing west along I-40 tell me I drove that route twice with the RV. I can see I traveled 395 southerly twice, once turning west along I-40 and once heading south to I-10. Places where I camped, Shady Lane RV, Yucaipa Regional Park and Joshua Tree BLM South, are written with a Sharpie ultra fine point. I can also see that I traveled I-10 heading east one time.

I bought my first RV in 2013. Since then I’ve RVed coast to coast a couple times and have made a number of trips months in duration. In all I’ve logged tens of thousands of RVing miles, from near Canada in the North to Mexico in the South, the Pacific ocean to the Atlantic.

All of that required some serious route planning and route planning for an RV, as you probably already know, can be very different than route planning for a car. RVers, except perhpas those with the smallest of RVs, need to be concerned with things that people driving cars never have to think about: weight, length, height, width, road grades, special speed limits, where you’re allowed to drive, where you can travel with propane tanks and where you cannot, etc. [READ MORE…]


Installed: Stainless Steel T-Style Entry Door Latch
Installed: Stainless Steel T-Style Entry Door Latch. (See article for specifics)

It only took four years of being frustrated by the entry door to my RV slamming shut with every gust of wind before I undertook the task of installing an entry door latch on the RV–I don’t like rushing into things. LOL. Well, I just finished installing a latch and boy was it a chore and a half. Who knew there would be so many considerations? It would have been a lot easier had I attached it only to the outside wall of the RV instead of drilling all the way through to the inside, but I thought it would be more secure going all the way through the wall. Here’s how I did it…[READ MORE]


Colonial Peak and Pyramid Peak above Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake roadside overlook
Colonial Peak and Pyramid Peak above Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake roadside overlook

Newhalem Campground (A.K.A. Newhalem Creek Campground) is situated in North Cascades National Park and is located near the tiny town of Newhalem WA. The North Cascades are rugged and beautiful. Their lush green is due in large measure to the abundant rainfall the area receives. Lakes and rivers have a green or turquoise color from glacial runoff. There is a rich history of human occupation in the area dating back thousands of years.

Newhalem campground is heavily wooded and next to Newhalem Creek which can be heard from some of the campsites. It is very green with ferns, mosses, and tall trees. Campsites are well shaded. We felt as if we were in the middle of the forest, which in fact we were, and loved looking out of the windows of our 5th wheel.

We were there during the week in mid-June and Loop C was virtually empty. That said, signs placed on the campsite posts at each site indicated the place was booked solid for the upcoming weekend. Another interesting sign indicated that unreserved sites were free. I don’t recall ever seeing that before.

We enjoyed a number of short hikes up to 4 or 5 miles in length, some quite a bit shorter in the neighborhood of a few tenths of a mile, sometimes on boardwalks. There is hiking for all levels. We also took in the Diablo Lake Overlook which is found at roadside and provided for views shown in the photos below.

More details about Newhalem Campground are included in my Campground Report. [READ MORE…]


Restoring Your RV Roof with RussOnTheRoad’s Three Minute Easy-Peasy RV Rooftop Bleaching Glop. No Scrubbing Required – Free Recipe

Click or tap to enlarge. This is an unretouched photo showing sections of my RV’s mildewed roof before and after I used my bleaching glop. The bleached area isn’t perfectly white but it’s a lot better than it was and I’m hoping the sun will bleach out any staining that remains. Time will tell.

Recently I went up to the roof of the RV. I don’t remember why it was that I did, but when I got up top I was horrified to find that the roof was covered by black looking mold or mildew in places. As if I didn’t already have enough problems to deal with!

And so I panicked, thinking that my roof may have been destroyed and also knowing it costs thousands of dollars to have a new one put on a 5th wheel such as mine. Well, the good news is, if you can call it “good”, that I found out from Dicor, the company that makes the EPDM roof membrane that is probably used on most RVs, that their EPDM rubber RV roofs do not support the growth of mold and mildew in terms of providing nutrients for them to feed upon. What this means is that mold and mildew, if growing on the roof, are not so much attacking the roof as they are just living on top of it. So, this means that mold or mildew growth aren’t a major concern when it comes to the overall health of an EPDM roof. Phew! [READ MORE…]


Close-up of male Anna's hummingbird
Meet Mr. Glisten, the little male, Anna’s hummingbird that visits the RV every day. My feeder (details about it in the article) attaches to the dinette window so when he visits he’s just inches away.

Hummingbirds on Your Fingers – Flying Emeralds – Jewels in the Sky

This article is about the amazing hummingbird—a few interesting facts, a way for RVers to enjoy them up close and personal, and even how to have them eating out of your hand, literally, and unlike so many who abuse the word “literally” I use it literally.

The lead photo for this article is one I took of a male Anna’s hummingbird that has been coming to visit the RV every day. He comes to a feeder suction-cupped to the window just inches away from the dinette table. I used a zoom lens for this photo then cropped in tighter it after it was taken. Unfortunately, the day was cloudy and gray so “Mr. Glisten’s” colors—yes, I’ve named him—don’t pop as they might on a sunnier day, but you get the idea from this larger-than-life photo.

Diane is excited about hand-feeding hummingbirds. In this article I’ll tell you how to get them to eat out of the palm of your hand, and more. [READ MORE…]


Freebie For Kids & Their Parents

Front Cover: A Touch of Cactus

My better half, the lovely and talented Diane, author/illustrator of entertaining and educational children’s books, has released A Touch of Cactus. This story about a little girl who discovers the great saguaro cactus of the American southwest, teaches children about them and native American lore while offering guidance for children to create their own dioramas.

A Touch of Cactus - Night Scene
A Touch of Cactus night scene in the desert complete with animal eyes glowing in the dark. The eyes are simply sequins, and the rest of the scene was made from poster board and watercolor paints.

The eBook version is FREE today, 2/9/21, here.
The paperback version is here.
Diane’s blog is PizzaBoxBooks.

A Touch of Cactus - Art Supplies
Inside A Touch of Cactus Diane shows some of the “art supplies” she used to illustrate the book. Many of these supplies, probably most of them, are things people often have around the house. Diane is all about re-purposing things at hand in order to make art.


In this photo you can see some of the aluminum channel I used, and some of the diffusing lens that snaps into it after you place the LED strip into the channel. Also shown is some of the LED light strip. I’ve marked the cut points and copper soldering pads on the strip. Note that the soldering pads show + and – symbols indicating polarity.

Are you annoyed by the lack of adequate lighting in the closets or cabinets of your RV? If so, then this is an article you will want to read.

At home I can see fairly well into my kitchen cabinets and wardrobe just from the ambient room light without the aid of supplemental lighting within the cabinets or closet. This is not the case in my RV, however. The pantry cabinets in the kitchen are fully two feet deep–you can barely reach to the back of them–and while room light spills into the upper two of the five shelves the lower three are dark and require a flashlight to see into their recesses. The wardrobe closet in my RV is also impossibly dark inside much of it. See how I added some lights. [READ MORE…]


Full article reading time excluding linked videos about 15-20 minutes.

IMAGINE: you wake up in the morning and as you get out of bed all of a sudden the room starts spinning violently; it’s nothing but a whirling blur. You can’t tell up from down, left from right. You have the sensation that you are being pushed over and pulled toward the floor. You lose your balance fall. From your position on the floor, or bed if you were lucky enough to fall in that direction and not split your skull open on some piece of furniture on the way to the floor, you see the room whirling around you, jerking back and forth violently as it does, and you’re nauseated. Your world is completely out of control, a swirling blur to your eyes and you just want it to stop. This is perhaps the worst and most frightening feeling you’ve ever had. “Make it stop, please God make it stop!” you think to yourself. Luckily, in a minute it does…but only until you begin to move again. “What’s wrong with me? Is it an infection, a stroke, a brain tumor?” These are things that may cross your mind.

What you have just experienced is called vertigo. Something like 40% of people will experience vertigo at least once during their lifetime. One study published on the National Institutes of Health web site suggests that about 73% of BPPV cases affect those between the ages of 31-60 which of course makes up a large percentage of RVers. While it’s not painful it’s one of the worst feelings and most frightening experiences a person can have. I know. I just lived it.

It’s bad enough when this happens at home, but when you’re on the road in your RV where medical care may be more difficult to obtain, the surroundings and medical personnel unfamiliar, it presents an even more worrisome situation.

Since many RVers are likely to run into this problem I thought an article about it might be of some interest and importance by way of a providing framework to cope should the situation arise. [READ MORE…]


Squeezed into site 117 at French Camp
Squeezed into site 117 at French Camp

We stayed at French Camp for one night as it seemed the best option for us as we were passing through from the Sequoia-Kings Canyon area on our way to Truckee, CA. Others may have made that drive in one day but we don’t like to travel for as long as that would require. Knowing that we would be coming from a week of boondocking and passing through California’s San Joaquin Valley which is often quite hot in the summer knew we wanted full hookups in order to have air-conditioning; empty our black and gray tanks, fill up on fresh water as we were headed to a campground without hookups, and to enjoy some nice long showers. [READ MORE…]