G has a "swell" time kayaking

G has a "swell" time kayaking
G has a "swell" time kayaking on Lake Michigan

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico
Dawn on the Gulf of Mexico

Warren Dunes Sunset

Warren Dunes Sunset
Warren Dunes Sunset

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Winterizing - Water System

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Morning in New Mexico
Roadtrek makes a variety of models on a variety of chassis. The following is from my experience as a 210P owner. However, portions may also apply to the 190 which is also on a Chevy Chassis.

Here's what Roadtrek's website says about the 210P, from their website on October 17, 2018:

"Is the water system designed for winter use?
In 190 and 210 models, we’ve added a second fresh water tank inside. By using RV anti-freeze in the black and grey water tanks, the water system can be used in below freezing conditions to 10° F (-10° C). In the 170, SS, and RS models, the fresh water tank and lines and water heater should not be used in below freezing temperatures. However, you can still use the sink and toilet by carrying a fresh water supply inside the vehicle and using RV anti-freeze in the black and grey waste water tanks."

However, there is a difference between "Winterizing" and "Long Term Winter Storage". This post looks only into the aspects of winterizing the water components of a Chevy based Roadtrek.

What is "Winterizing"?
Because my Roadtrek has water systems that can freeze, certain steps MUST be taken to assure that when it is subjected to below freezing temperatures that pipes, the water heater, tanks and so on will not freeze and be damaged.

Why is this possible? When water freezes, it goes from a liquid to a solid. When water freezes, the water molecules freeze in a hexagonal pattern and the molecules are further apart than they were in liquid water. That re-arrangement causes the volume to increase about 9%.

It is this realignment and expansion that is the problem. It can burst pipes, damage components, valves and so on.

Winterizing addresses this problem by taking steps to avoid damage to the water filled components of your Roadtrek, including the fresh water system, hot water heater, and drain systems including the pipes, valves, water pump, toilet, p-traps, gray tank, black tank and macerator.

Other Resources
If you are a member of the FMCA Roadtrek International Chapter, you can also go to the excellent article by C. A. Campbell which is on their website, and which goes into all of the aspects of winterizing. The title of that article is: 


You can also get additional information about this by reading the most current Roadtrek manuals. For example, I was able to download a 2016 Roadtrek 210 "How To" manual which has a section on "Summer and Winter mode" as well as "Water System Winterizing"


Approaches to Winterizing
There are two approaches.
  1. Drain all water out of the system and use a special anti-freeze to replace the water and protect your Roadtrek.
  2. Use air to blow out all of the lines, etc. However, that still requires anti-freeze in the drains (p-traps), toilet and gray and black water tanks, and the macerator. 
Roadtrek does not recommend using compressed air to blow out the fresh water lines. Why? Because of the possibility of damage.

Who is to do this:
There are three choices:
  1. Do it yourself.
  2. Have a qualified RVing friend assist you or do it for you.
  3. Let a dealer do it. 

My approach:
I do it myself, with help from G. I purchase two gallons of "pink" anti-freeze suitable for potable use (about $8-10) and I add it to the two fresh water tanks in the Roadtrek 210P. I then pump it throughout the piping system. Some is also added to the P-traps in the bath and center aisle:

My procedure:
  1. Completely drain the gray and black water tanks. 
  2. Park level, or with the front of the 210P slightly down. 
  3. Be certain the water pump is off
  4. Be certain the valves to the exterior shower valves are open.
  5. Open the tank #1 (exterior tank) drain valve. This is accessible with the slide out. 
  6. Open the valve connecting the interior fresh water tank to the exterior one; this connects the two tanks, and allows any water in the interior tank and connecting piping to flow to the exterior tank, emptying them. 
  7. Open the valves at the exterior shower, the kitchen sink, and the bathroom sink. (I put the kitchen area sink faucet valve into the "center" position and "up" which opens both hot and cold. 
  8. Remove the anode from a "cool" hot water heater. (step back, as the contents will flow out).
  9. Hold my foot on the toilet Foot Pump and allow that part of the system to drain.
  10. After the entire system is drained of fresh water, close all of the valves at the various points: exterior shower, kitchen sink and bathroom sink. 
  11. Change the valves for the hot water heater to "bypass" mode. 
  12. Replace the anode in the hot water tank. 
  13. Add about 1 gallon of ""Pink" antifreeze at the interior tank (#2) fill point (at the rear door). This will flow from the tank (#2), through the connecting piping to the exterior tank (tank #1). 
  14. Add about 1 gallon of "Pink" antifreeze at the exterior tank (#1) fill point (at the driver's door).
  15. Save some anti-freeze for the P-traps in the floor of the bath area and the center aisle. 
  16. Turn on the water pump.
  17. Open the cold water valve at the exterior shower until pink anti-freeze comes out. The close.
  18. Open the hot water valve at the exterior shower until pink anti-freeze comes out. Then close.
  19. Open the cold water valve in the bath until pink anti-freeze comes out. The close.
  20. Open the hot water valve in the bath until pink anti-freeze comes out. Then close.
  21. Open  the cold water valve in the kitchen sink until pink anti-freeze comes out. Then close.
  22. Open the hot water valve in the bath until pink anti-freeze comes out. Then close. 
  23. Flush the toilet until pink anti-freeze comes out. Run it a bit longer to get more into the black tank. 
  24. Add anti-freeze to the P-trap drains in the bath area and in the hallway. 
  25. Dump the black tank until anti-freeze comes out. This assures that the macerator has anti-freeze in it. 
  26. Go to the city water fill point, remove the cap, remove the screen and press on the check valve stem until anti-freeze comes out.  Note: this is a step most don't bother to do. 
  27. Turn off the water pump.
  28. "That's all, folks".

A Case History Example
We once were driving from Illinois to Arizona and ran into a really nasty winter storm in New Mexico. Temperatures were about 50F with rain, but were predicted to fall below 15F for several days. So we dumped the tanks while trekking, and I performed the above procedure while in a gas station. I always carry two gallons of anti-freeze in the rear-under storage compartment.  That night, the temperatures dropped to about 5F. The next morning we awoke to a winter wonderland.

I've found that doing this procedure takes about 30 minutes. I have a funnel stored in that rear compartment too!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Stained deck at the "cabin"

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This is a post update. I've included a link to the earlier post on this subject.  We added a 10 ft x 16 ft deck at the "cabin" and have been very pleased with the result. Final step was to stain it.

This deck was actually constructed of a repurposed one, so the wood was not green and had weathered. Prior to staining we scrubbed it, then hosed it down and allowed it to dry several days.  The deck does get afternoon sun if the awning isn't used.

We chose a Cabot's product. I've used this family of stains since about 1984 with great success. We used "Cabot's semi-solid deck and siding stain" and we chose a neutral color "Beechwood gray" which also lightens the area, particularly at night.

Application of the stain took about 2 hours for the deck, as anticipated. I applied it using a 3 inch brush, on a cool day, and the actual temperatures were 65-75 prior to and during application.  I did the application late morning before the sun reached over the pines. This stain is not to be applied if the deck is in the sun. The stairs took a while longer.  Coverage was per the manufacturer's statement on the can, and it did take a bit more than a half-gallon to cover the deck. The stairs were stained top and bottom, which did use additional stain.

Stained deck and stairs a the "cabin"
Here's a link to the earlier post on the deck installation:

Click to go to earlier post about constructing this deck

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Flamenco Quartet Project

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One of the things about trekking is the opportunity to see anything one wants. We stop by the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks MI because they usually have something we like.

We were fortunate to be in the area and saw a wonderful Flamenco group. I made a sampler video. Enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Fall Weather Changes - Rain and Mist

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With the end of Summer we have moved into Fall.  Some nights as cool as 45 degrees, and some days only reach 64F. Some days are wet, while others are dry.  Some overcast, and some are sunny.  The monarch butterfly migration continues on warm and dry days.  On wet days they hunker down, and are not to be seen.  But as soon as  the sun comes out and it dries out and warms up, then the butterflies work their way south.

Walking shortly after the rain has ended, the mist flows with the wind.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rip Current Rescue

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Update September 25, 2018
Received today over at YouTube.com:
"Hi Norman - this is Teri Hoskin from Michigan Rescue Concepts, - Great Video! - Thank you for giving us permission to use it -We will use it in our rescue boat training seminars. Its very rewarding to see that our products and training make a difference and save a life! Thank you!!"

 Update September 23, 2018
Well, the video was a hit.  It was picked up by WSBT-TV in South Bend and by Newschannel 3 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  ABC reached out and asked "Hello, I'm with ABC News. I hope that you are doing well! Did you shoot this video? if so, may we have your permission to use it across all ABC platforms/partners with credit to you?"

Glad to help! Actually, I'm most pleased to assist the people who trained the responders and provided the rescue craft.

Original Post September 22, 2018 5:36 PM
We had a very full day today and stopped by the Warren Dunes State Park late in the afternoon. There are permanent signs posted about the dangers of rip currents, but there are always some swimmers in the water even when the red flag is up.

Today, a young man was rescued after he was pulled into the lake by a rip current. The emergency responders did a fine job, while we all looked on. One very lucky guy.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hurricane Florence

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Florence - Sept. 14, 2018 8:29PM EDT from Davidson, NC, received via email:
"Florence is huge. It is hanging over Wilmington, 200 miles away. The rain bands from Florence reached Davidson this afternoon. The wind is picking up. It is starting to rain outside. The rain will start in earnest after midnight and continue through Monday night. Three days. [My spouse] and I have been through many hurricanes in our life. The worst was Hugo in 1989. We thought we were safe in Charlotte, but not so!! They eye passed over our house and lake house. So much devastation. They took 300,000 dump truck loads of debris out of Charlotte. We are ready for this one. We live on a hill (on purpose) and there are no big trees nearby. We have plenty of supplies. Our Roadtrek is topped up with gas, water, and propane. Batteries fully charged. If we loose power we have a second home in the driveway. And we can run our house refrigerator off the Roadtrek generator if we need to. Our real concern is for the folks down on the coast. They will need help when the storm is gone. [We] worked on seven houses with Habitat in Biloxi after Katrina. We will see what we can do this time......"   

Original Post (on my other blog) Sept. 13, 2018:
Our weather [currently in the Midwest] will be fine for a few days, but for those in the path of hurricane Florence the next few days will be difficult. For some the difficultites will last for weeks. I hope everyone stays safe on the east coast.   There are a few people living right at the ocean, in the track area who intend to ride it out. I've experienced hurricanes; the actual storm, under the eye, and even the aftermath.  I don't think riding these things out is a smart idea.