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Tips | Helpful Hints, Ideas and Solutions for Today’s RVer

Tips
Build a Smokeless Campfire
Most of us love a warm, crackling campfire. The experience can evoke pleasant feelings of dancing flames, s’mores toasting, ghost stories and sharing time with friends and family. Although a campfire can create wonderful memories, they can also be a lot of work. The wood and fuel has to be carried to the fire pit, the fire has to be started and then someone must stay on watch as a safety precaution. Then, there’s the smoke.

The smell of smoke seems to permeate everything, and it can be irritating to your senses. There’s an age-old saying that “smoke follows beauty.” Although smoke doesn’t necessarily follow beauty, it will seem to follow a person or group of people around it. The reason is simply that the fire is reacting to the changes in air flow.

Most of us take great strides to make sure we have a clean, smoke-free environment, and we should also be mindful of a cleaner way to make a campfire. Many household items contain toxic chemicals and should not be burned, so only appropriate materials should be used. It’s also important to learn what type of wood is best to burn, how to “season” wood so it burns better and how to build a proper fire that is virtually smoke-free. It is possible to have a smoke-free campfire, and I’ve found an excellent step-by-step instructional video by IntenseAngler on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMJov2vbQqg

Propane can also create a beautiful campfire with no smoke or dangerous flying embers. If you have space for a propane bottle, and you prefer a clean-burning propane fire pit, here are two excellent options for around $100: The Camco 58031 “Little Red Campfire” Portable Propane Camp Fire and the Outland 18″ Portable Propane Fire Bowl Premium. Both of these products are available on Amazon.com.

Remember to be a respectful RV neighbor, and don’t allow the smoke from your campfire to invade your neighbor’s RV. Smoke can be a serious hazard to those who have allergies or health issues. In many RV parks, community fire pits are made available to guests.

Learning how to build a clean and smokeless campfire can make your fireside memories even more pleasant.
– Denise Rolen #138913

General Delivery Mail Forwarding
The Escapees Mail Forwarding Service is excellent and has always worked great on the sending end. Tracking down mail at the receiving end can be problematic at times, but obviously beyond the control of Escapees. Large, well-run RV parks usually do well with mail organization, but that is not always true with smaller parks. Some parks, including state and national parks, do not support mail delivery.

Recently I used “general delivery” for forwarding my mail in Colorado while staying at a state park. When I tried to pick up the mail, I was told that the post office I used did not accept general delivery and that I should have specified the main post office a few miles away. My mail ended up being bounced around the state for over a week before finally being “returned to sender.”

I asked the postal clerk how I could determine which post offices don’t accept general delivery. Her only recommendation was to call the post office ahead of time. That is easier said than done. When trying to call a post office, I reached a type of regional facility taking calls, and it took 30 to 45 minutes before I gave up on speaking to a person.

I then discovered that I could search for a post office on USPS.com. Under the list of “Onsite Services,” check to see that “general delivery” is included. The listing for the post office that refused my mail did not specifically say they did not accept “general delivery” mail, but “general delivery” was absent from their list of services.


I plan to check the USPS site before using “general delivery” in the future.
– Steve Johnson #133930

Port-A-Step RV Steps
I saw Mark Nemeth’s review of after-market steps in the “Gadget Box,” in the November/December issue, and I’d like to share another type of RV step I’ve run across.

It’s the Port-A-Step designed by a full-time RVer and manufactured in Emory, Texas. You can visit their website at www.rv-co.com, or call 214-649-9407. Since we live near Pottsboro, Texas, on Lake Texoma, we took a day trip to Emery last summer to check out this product.

Each step is only seven inches high from step to step, which is a plus, and it has a two-feet wide top step. You can buy the steps only, then add a deck later.
– Ted Schwink #115737

Kidde Disposable Fire Extinguisher Recall
A product recall involves two styles of Kidde disposable fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers
and plastic push-button fire extinguishers.

This recall does not include Kidde Professional or Badger branded fire extinguishers or units with metal handles/valve assemblies.

If you believe you may have an affected model, call Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET, Saturday and Sunday), or visit www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

RV SECURITY
After our RV was broken into, my wife, Sharon, and I were left feeling violated and vulnerable. It was a memorable event in the overall RV experience; however, we’ve learned a lesson.

A mistake I made was leaving a Garmin GPS and a dash camera on the dash while parked in a public lot in an inner-city area. I feel these items are what triggered the break-in as both were missing when we returned to the RV. Thankfully, the thief did not access the RV living area. Our poodle probably deterred them from going any further.

Now, I remove my GPS from the dash and hide it along with phones, cameras, laptops and any other valuables.

Another alternative is to pull all the shades and put a sunshield in the front window. If a thief can’t tell if there’s someone inside, they will most likely pass on breaking into your RV.
– Walter Storrs #122064

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