Archive for June, 2010

It’s Nice To Have Options

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

We’ve returned home to Colorado early. We were on the road for a month and I believe in that whole time we only saw four sunny days. Rain, rain, rain, or gloomy hot stuffy days. We really don’t know how people live with that. Patrice thinks they are, “water breathers.” I think, once a person becomes acclimated though, they grow gills.

But it wasn’t just the weather that drove us home. After Alumapalooza, we went to Elkhart, Indiana. The rain that dogged us all the way from Wyoming followed us there too, but I spent some time in the library at the RV Museum. Great place, just wish I could get in for $8 per week instead of $8 per day. At least I was feeling productive.

Then disaster, my computer was working okay, but when I shut down for the night, MS Windows XP SP3 automatically installed 11 “updates.“ The next morning, it wouldn’t boot. Couldn’t even get a BSOD. I didn’t have any of my diagnostic software with me – all back home. So, I took it to a local computer repair. Their diagnosis was that the hard drive was bad. Really, is that their best shot? I guess they also thought the crash following the updates was just a coincidence.

They were going to charge me $50 for the diagnostic and a precautionary backup. The tech told me they couldn’t get the hard drive out though because I’d forgotten to give them a key to unlock it. That’s when I asked how they were able to do the precautionary backup. If the computer wouldn’t boot and they couldn’t get the HD out, then there was no way to back up the data. “Oh,“ he said, “let me ask the tech who worked on it.“ I got out of there for $25, but it was still a rip.

Since then, I’ve determined that the updates corrupted the boot sector. I’ll need to buy some special software to recover. The bigger and immediate problem for us though was how to pay bills on the road. I do it all over the Internet, but my passwords and Quicken files are on the computer. I guess I should occasionally make a hard copy of some of that stuff.

While we were still in Indiana we drove over to South Bend to poke around Notre Dame University and link up with my cousin Diane. We really enjoyed the campus. There was some sort of alumni reunion going on, and I think that might be why all the young students and faculty smiled at us and were so friendly. Maybe, they thought we were part of that, but we weren’t.

Then heartbreak, I telephoned my cousin Diane to see if we could get together for dinner. A woman answered the phone, sounded just like Diane. It was her daughter. She just happened to be there to check on her dad, who is still grieving badly. Diane died April 8th she said, “We thought all the cousins knew.” She died suddenly from a brain aneurism.

She was about my age, a little less than a year younger. We had great fun when we were kids during summer vacations, swimming and water skiing in Hudson Lake, playing pick-up-sticks, and other games. I had a crush on her. Is that okay, for a cousin to have a crush? She was pretty, full of energy, smart and talented. And a hard worker, a good mother, a wonderful grandmother. She and her husband farmed over thirty years together, and like a lot of farmers held other jobs to make a go of it. I can only imagine his grief.

I know mine. I feel so guilty for not getting together with them last year when we were up in that part of the country. Seize the day, don’t put off today what you think you might do tomorrow. Tomorrow might not be there.

Still, my initial apprehensions that I had at the beginning of our road trip became impossible to ignore. My instincts told me to exercise the option to go back home. There is no point in staying on the road just for spite. Car and trailer problems, computer problems, depressing weather, sadness all became overwhelming. We don’t have to punish ourselves. We exercised the option that all RV’ers have. We moved on, and have been back home now for three days and each has been ridiculously sunny and beautiful. Flowers blooming everywhere, a gentle breeze rustles the leaves and Monarch butterflies and Humming birds swoop by our third floor windows. What’s more, there is no humidity. The gills are disappearing.

Determining Ideal Tire Pressure

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Today, I gave my Tire Tech seminar at Alumapalooza and afterward, several people asked if I would publish the method I described to determine ideal tire pressure. I didn’t originally author the procedure – that belongs to “AccessMaster” from his post on Airforums way back in April of 2003. He claimed to have worked for Michelin Tire Corporation for 7 years and Yokohama Tire Corporation for 11 years and had given numerous seminars on tire maintenance and correct tire pressures. Since then, I’ve used this method myself and can say that it has worked well for me. I’ve not had an on the road flat or blow out or tread seperation incident (I hope that doesn’t jinx me).

At any rate, use the following procedure with your best judgement as I’m not an expert on tires. I do believe the following makes a lot of sense though.

First, check the pressure when tires are cold. Run them for several miles at normal driving speed (on a day with average temperature). Stop and immediately check the air pressure (or the pressure indicated by your Tire Pressure Monitoring System). It should be higher than when cold but no more than 10% higher.

This may seem counterintuitive, but if the pressure is more than 10% higher you must ADD AIR and test again. For example if you start with 50 psi cold and the pressure builds to 60 when hot, you have exceeded the (10%) since 55 psi should be the maximum safe heat build up pressure. You must ADD AIR – start with 5 psi which would take the tire to 65 psi when hot.

After you run the tire again, the pressure should actually drop slightly because the tire will run cooler. The heat build up causes the tire pressure to increase when under inflated.

On the other hand, if the cold pressure does not change after being driven, then you have more air than needed. Remove 5 psi, BUT ONLY AFTER the tires have returned to cold, then repeat the test, such as the next morning prior to driving again or at the start of your next trip.

Always err on the side of higher inflation, but DO NOT exceed the maximum pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire.

A Tire Pressure Monitor System, such as Pressure Pro, makes this process fairly easy, but if you are on the road when you do this, you will need a compressor or air pump with you.

About the Author

Hi, my name is Forrest McClure. I've been writing for the magazine since its inception. My wife and I travel with our 1966 20' Globe Trotter or our 1986 32' Excella. So, my primary interest is vintage travel trailers.