Author: Jeff Koltoff (Page 2 of 3)

July is a Hot Time in the Summertime

To say it’s hot is an understatement.  The average temperature in Philadelphia is in the mid to upper 80’s with high levels of humidity.  It seems that most of the middle of the month, average temperatures ran more in the low to mid 90’s.  Between the above average temperatures and the humidity, air conditioners just could not keep up.

We do our best to keep the grumble cool.  This means limiting their time outside in the middle of the day.  We keep them off the cement and asphalt as much as possible.  Lots of cool water available.  And special treats, such as watermelon, cucumbers, cantaloupe, a frozen Kong with peanut butter or home made doggie ice cream.

Shore Run

The third weekend in July we decided to take a little break from the Poconos.  Rachel and I took Saturday for just the two of us.  We headed down the shore to Cape May for the day.  As we were in South Jersey with no real schedule we decided to stop in at Camping World in Swedesboro, NJ.

We have never been in a Camping World store and wanted to see what it was all about.  The store is just off of I-295 and was an easy drive.  Outside, they had a huge lot with many different types of RV’s available for sale.  They had about eight service bays filled and many rigs either waiting to be worked on or for their owners to return.  Rachel and I had the same reaction to the retail store, it was small but had a nice selection of camping and RV related items.  We figured we would do any shopping from Camping World on their website.  Greater selection of items to choose from.

After our visit to Camping World,  We headed to Cape May.  On the way, we passed a couple of campgrounds.  Naturally, we had to stop in and take a look around.  Really liked Avalon Campground.  Seemed quiet, clean and well cared for.  The roads within the campground are a little narrow, but nothing we can’t handle.  They have seasonal rentals from mid-April to early October. We like to start the camping season as early as we can and extend it as late into the fall as possible.  Just not sure if a shore campsite would work for us for the season.  More thought will be given to this idea.

Decided we “worked” enough on this Saturday and deserved some time to unwind.  So we headed to the Willow Creek Winery located at 160-168 Stevens Street, West Cape May, NJ 08204.  We found this little gem a couple of years ago after leaving the Cape May Lighthouse.  They have a great selection of wines and menu of lite foods that accompany the wines perfectly.  This is a must stop if your in the Cape May area.

We finished the day at one of our favorite restaurants down the shore, the Tuckahoe Inn at 1 Harbor Road, Beesley’s Point, NJ 08223 (just outside of Ocean City, NJ).  The Tuckahoe Inn holds a special place in Rachel’s heart.  Often her parents would drive down on a Friday night just for dinner.  When Rachel was younger, she would often join them.

The food is superb.  The wait staff is very friendly, knowledgeable and accommodating.  Word of advice, if you’re planning on dining here during the summer season, call ahead to make reservations.  Tuckahoe Inn has plenty of dining space, but they do book up quickly.

Sadly, the day went by too quickly.  We went home and spent the rest of the weekend with the pugs trying to stay cool.

Another Hot and Humid Week

The next week was even warmer and it seemed like the humidity was higher.  

Rachel was planning on going up to the Poconos Thursday night with the grumble.  However, after running some errands and taking all of the dogs out for a potty break before dinner she was exhausted from the heat.  When I got home, she asked if I wanted to drive up to Home d’Pug RV and go to work Friday morning from there.  I agreed.

The pugs got so excited as we started to pack the car.  They know when an adventure is about to start.

Arrived around 9:00 pm.  Unpacked the car, walked the pugs, they all got treats and then we settled down for the night.  Having two A/C units cools down the RV in quick order.  Was up by 5:30 the next morning and on my way to work by a little after 6, as it is a little over two-hour drive to my job from Home d’Pug Rv in the Poconos.  But so well worth it to have a few more hours in our little slice of heaven.  After work, I headed back to spend the rest of the weekend.

Rest of July – Misqueto City

The rest of July we continued to try and beat the heat on the weekends at Home d’Pug RV.  However, the mosquitoes have taken over.  We are trying everything to deter them as-well-as deal with the itching from the many bites.

With so much in the news of diseases that are carried by mosquitoes, we conferred with our doctor.  As we have no other symptoms other than itching, we have nothing to worry about.

We have tried all types of creams, ointments, and lotions.  So far nothing is working.  Any suggestions are welcome.

We Have a Toad – Our Towing Set Up

Been asked about the specifics of what we use to tow our Honda CR-V behind the Home d’Pug RV.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to explain our set up in some detail.  First, what is a TOAD?

As in most worlds, there are numerous slang terms.  The RV world is no different.  The vehicle being towed behind a motor home is often referred to as a toad or dingy.

There are a couple of different ways to tow a vehicle behind your RV (we will save that whole discussion for another day).  Our 2001 Honda can be towed 4-down.  This means that all four tires are on the ground.

There are several items required to safely tow a vehicle behind your motorhome.  Our equipment includes a trailer hitch on the RV, tow bar, base plate on the Honda, safety cables, tow lights and supplemental braking system.  The first step was to select a manufacturer of the base plate and tow bar.  It is important to note that most manufacturers have proprietary methods of hooking the tow bar to the base plate on the toad.  We decided to use the Blue Ox system.

We decided to use the Blue Ox system.  This was based on numerous customer reviews and comments in several different RV discussion boards.


Trailer Hitch

Trailer hitch device attached to the chassis of a vehicle for towing.  Trailer hitches come in two main configurations: receiver type and fixed-drawbar type. Receiver-type hitches consist of a portion that mounts to the frame of the vehicle that has a rearward-facing opening that accepts removable ball mounts, hitch bike racks, cargo carriers, or other hitch mounted accessories.  Fixed-drawbar hitches are typically built as one piece, have an integrated hole for the trailer ball, and are generally not compatible with aftermarket hitch accessories.

The trailer hitch was already installed on the 1989 Allegro when we purchased her.  The receiver has a 2″ square opening that receives the tow bar.

Tow Bar and Safety Cables

The tow bar is the most recognizable part of a towing system. It is designed to link your car to your tow vehicle (RV) so that it can be safely flat towed. The function of the tow bar is the same regardless of model or manufacturer. The differences lie in the type of mount, towing capacity and basic design.  Beyond those aspects, there are a wide variety of features associated with the various models (we will not go into that here).

Blue Ox Aladdin Tow Bar

After doing an extensive amount of research on the different manufacturers and models we selected the Blue Ox BX4325 Aladdin 7,500lb Tow Bar**.  The Honda weighs a little more than 3,000 pounds GVW.  Figured a 7,500-pound tow bar would give us a nice safety margin.

The tow bar slips into the receiver and is held in place by a hitch lock.  The two “arms” then are connected to the base plate’s attachment tabs and secured with tow bar pins.

Blue Ox BX4325 Aladdin 7,500lb Tow Bar** tow bar also has telescoping arms as opposed to fixed arms.Tow bars with adjustable arms are easier to hook up. You do not have to drive your toad into an exact position to connect your towing system rather; you pull the telescoping arm out or push it back in, to get the length you need.

A pair of safety cables is used in case the connection between the RV and vehicle being towed fails.  On either side of the hitch receiver, there are “loops” to which you can secure the safety cable to.  The base plate has two corresponding “loops” to connect the other end of the safety cables to the toad.  It is a good practice to cross the cables so the vehicle does not sway across lanes of traffic in case of a failure.

Base Plate

Blue Ox Base Plate for 2001 Honda CR-V

A vehicle that is being towed requires custom-designed base plates that specifically fit its frame. Once installed on your car’s frame, the base plates provide attachment points for your tow bar.  This is the only piece in the system that is specific to the vehicle being towed.

Since we are towing a 2001 Honda CR-V we needed the Blue Ox Blue Ox BX2221 Base Plate**.  The manufacturer’s web site will help you select the right base plate for your vehicle.  Since a base plate is attached directly to the frame of the car, we had our mechanic do the installation.

Tow Lights

It is the law in every state that a towed vehicle have indicator lights.  In our opinion, it just makes common sense.  Tow lights let drivers around you know when you are braking or want to turn – YES, you should always be using your turn signals.

One type of system is to have a system installed in your vehicle that will use the existing lights on the vehicle being towed.  The system we choose has magnetically mounted lights that we stick to the roof of the Honda.  In either type of system, the motorhome provides the power and inputs from a connection point on the motorhome.  This connection point is usually located near the trailer hitch.

You must make sure that the connector to your tow light system matches the connector on your RV.  The most common types of connectors are 4-pin flat connector, 4-pin round connector, 6-pin round connector, 7-pin round connector, and 7-pin flat connector.  The connector on our Allegro is a 6-pin round connector.

We decided to go with magnetically mounted lights.  Our choice was the Larson LED Tow Lights With Magnetic Base** with the 6-pin round connector, model HDTL-LED-2X-M-30.   The Larson Electronics describes the HDTL-LED-2X-M-30, “a wired magnetic tow light consisting of (2) round 2lb tow lights, (2) 90# temporary magnetic mounts, a 30ft standard cable ending in a customizable trailer plug, and 7” of wire space between the two tow lights. The durable LED lights on this unit are stop, trail and turn capable and emit a very visible red light that is very clearly signaled to other drivers, helping prevent rear end accidents and other potential road oversights.”

Supplemental Braking System

What is a supplemental braking system and why do I need one?  A supplemental or auxiliary braking system helps shorten the overall stopping distance and keeps your legal with all North American towing laws.  Most states require that any towed vehicle have its own braking system.

We purchased the Hopkins 9499 BrakeBuddy Classic Braking Package**.  The package includes the brake actuary, breakaway system, and alert system.  The brake actuary sits the floor between the driver’s seat and the brake pedal.  The actuary is then clipped to the brake pedal.  When the system senses that the RV is slowing, it will “push” the brake pedal and help slow the toad.

The breakaway system will apply the brake to the towed vehicle should it become separated from your motorhome.  The alert system will provide you an audible notification in the RV should you have it installed.  Installation of the alert system is simple.  A transmitter is connected to the BrakeBuddy in the towed vehicle.  The corresponding receiver is plugged into a cigarette lighter or other powered 12v socket.  A cord is connected between a pull-pin on the front of the toad and the RV.  Should the pull-pin get pulled out, the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver that gives the driver an audible alarm.

This part of the overall system is not only the law but helps everyone on the road to travel safely.

In a future post we will talk about how all of this fit together and some lessons we learned.

**Affiliate Link


4th of July – Sit Down & Patch My Bones

Ollie misses his dad

After almost two weeks on the road, it was time to get away for some serious rest and relaxation.  As the pugs were not with us on “tour”, we felt they deserved some quality time with us.  So we went to Home d’Pug RV from June 30th to July 9th.  Actually, Rachel and the grumble stay up there all that time.  I had to come home for work July 5th through the 7th.  After work on the 7th, I made my way back to the Poconos.

I had to come home for work July 5th through the 7th.  After work on the 7th, I made my way back to the Poconos.  Ollie really missed his dad while I was away.  He decided to sleep in one of the captain’s chairs.

Being an extra long holiday weekend, the campground was packed from Friday until check out on July 4th.  Generally, the weekenders who camp around us are not a problem.  Fortunately, we were able to get the much-needed rest and spend quality time with the pugs.  They were not complaining.


The DELAWARE WATER GAP / POCONO MOUNTAIN KOA is about a mile down the road from Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.  As part of the holiday festivities, on July 3rd Shawnee had a fireworks display.  Fireworks may be beautiful, however, many dogs are scared by the loud noises the make.  Knowing this we had a plan.

grumble 7/4/2017Before it got dark out, all the pugs went for their final walk of the night and got their treats.  Everyone snuggled in on the sofa (laid flat in its bed configuration) and we put on a movie.  The volume was turned up much louder than normal in an effort drown out some of the noise from the fireworks.  It worked mostly.

Ming, Rosie, Ollie, and Sugaree (who is deaf) all snuggled down and slept through most of the noise.  Casey Jones was another case.  She was terrified by all the noise outside.  Finally, I was able to get her to snuggle into my shoulder and she settled down but was still on edge.  After about 45 minutes the fireworks ended.

We will have to rethink staying in the RV when Shawnee has fireworks planned.


bear walking along 209

Bear walking along Route 209

It’s Sunday, July 2nd around 10 am and we decide to go to one of our local favorite diners, Mullers, for a late breakfast.  As we are making our way South on Route 209 traffic starts to slow.  I look to my right to say something to Rachel and the only thing that comes out of my mouth is – Bear!  Rachel looks at me “like, yeah, right!”  She realizes that I am looking past her and she turns to her right and guess what she saw.  YUP!  A bear walking in an open field right next to Route 209.  Rachel quickly grabs her cell phone and gets a couple of pictures of the bear.

One of the things that we like most about our camp site is that it faces a wooded area.  Often, we get to see or at least hear some of the wild life that wonders close to if not into the campgrounds.  We have seen deer, wild turkeys, chipmunks, squirrels and a great number of different types of birds.

Doe through screen window

Wild turkey on hill behind rig


On Tour – What A Long Strange Trip

Back from seeing Dead and Company and time to catch everyone up on our goings on.  Here are some highlights and misadventures.

On Tour with Dead & Company (Kind of)

dead-company-2017-tour band pictureAs mentioned in a very earlier post, one of our goals with our RV was to travel to see concerts and music festivals.  If you don’t recall, let’s get you up to speed.

In December 2016 Dead & Company announced a summer tour.  As longtime Deadheads, we decided that our holiday gifts this year would be tickets to see several shows.  We got tickets to six shows.  The RV would be our home on the road and we would tow our 2001 Honda CR-V.  That was the plan anyway.

Towing the Honda CR-V

In order to make the plan work, we had to setup the Honda with a base plate, get a towbar, supplemental braking system, and towing lights.  After much research, we selected the Blue-Ox equipment.  All of the equipment was ordered, base plate installed (that is a story all by itself) and we were ready to hit the road.


The one thing that I forgot to check was the towbar fitting into the hitch on the back of the Allegro.  As (our) luck would have it, it did not fit due to a large amount of rust in the receiver of the hitch.   Therefore, we had to resort to plan B.  Plan B was to leave the RV at our site in the Poconos and drive the Honda to the first threes shows in Burgettstown, PA, and Boston, MA.  On our way home from Boston we picked up the RV and took it to our regular mechanic in Philly to get the hitch fixed in time to take the RV towing the Honda to Bristow, VA.  Thankfully, it was done in time.

Back to the plan

Left Thursday morning with the Honda in tow for the show that night in Bristow, VA at Jiffy Lube Live.  Life was great again!!!  This until we got into the Washington, D.C. area.  Let me just say, traffic is a nightmare.  Don’t know how people do it to commute on a daily basis.  The worst part is trying to change lanes in a 31′ RV with a car being towed behind.  Most people just would not give us a break.  Next time we travel this part of the country will find a different route or plan on going through in the middle of the night.


We spent Thursday night at the Prince William Forest RV Campground in Dumfries, Virginia.  We choose this campground because it was only about 30 minutes away for Jiffy Lube Live and a very easy drive.  For the little time we spent there, it seems like a very nice place.  Very quiet.  Not a lot of kids evident.  You are right on the edge of the forest and close to hiking trails.  The staff was very friendly, courteous and helpful.  Will have to return when we can spend a little time – of course avoiding the D.C. traffic nightmare.

Back to the Poconos

Friday was our travel day.  We drove the RV towing the Honda through some of the worst traffic I have been in ever.  In trying to get around Washington D.C. we could not make one of the left lane exits and was forced into downtown D.C. traffic.  All in all, it was not as bad as it could have been.  Finally, made it back to I-95 North.  Our next traffic nightmare was a couple of miles South the Baltimore Harbor tunnels.  Traffic was moving at a snail’s pace.  We finally got through the tunnel and traffic moved at a “normal” pace again.

Hit the Delaware state line and decided it was time to stretch our legs and grab a quick bite to eat.  Once we got going again it was not long until traffic returned to a snail’s pace.  Later on, we learned that there is construction on I-295 that backed up onto I-95.  After the split between I-295 and I-95 traffic moved smoothly again.

After more than 12 hours (including stops for gas and food) we finally made it back to our seasonal spot.  Had a little difficulty getting into our site there were several cars parked around it.  This prevented me from having the room swing the rig around and back into our site.  Once the cars finally moved I was able to back the rig in “like a boss” as one of the tent campers near us said.

Back on tour

Once we got everything setup we crashed.  Spent Saturday morning just chilling.  Early in the afternoon, we drove the Honda into Queens, NY to see the show at Citi Field.  After the show, we headed back to Home d’Pug RV in the Poconos.

Sunday afternoon we left the Poconos for our final stop on the Dead & Company 2017 Summer tour in Camden, NJ.  After the show, we headed “Back home, sit down and patch (our) bones, and get back truckin’ on.”


A Couple of Quiet Weekends in the RV

June is here and we are ready to be going on tour.  We are seeing six shows of the  Dead & Company 2017 tour.  The month started out with a couple of quiet weekends working on some minor projects and modifications.

Modifications and Improvements

We are slowly making small changes and modifications to our 1989 Tiffin Allegro and planning more.  A couple of the old dirty, rusty blinds were removed – not to be replaced.  Went to change the shower head only to discover we purchased the wrong type of replacement head.  As the shower is a small space we found a shower faucet with a smaller profile that will work with the shower head we already bought.

The kitchen and bathroom have wallpaper that we absolutely despise.  To give these areas a more modern look we are going to be installing tile.  In order to save weight and ease of installation, we will be using peel and stick tile sheets.  Measurements have been taken.  Now we just have to decide on colors and patterns.  This is going to be the fun part.  Will keep you updated on our progress (with pictures).

Additionally, we moved one of the bath towel racks from next to the toilet to a bedroom wall.  Now the towel is not hanging next to you as you sit to contemplate life and whatever else you are sitting there to do.

We are in no real hurry to get all of our planned modifications done.  Home d’Pug RV is for relaxation and adventure.  It is not our intention to spend all of our time working on the rig and not enjoying our surroundings and quiet time together.

Getting Ready

As we talked about previously, we are getting ready to “go on tour” with Dead & Company.  No, we will not be on stage with the band.  We will be going to 6 of 7 shows the last two weeks of this month.

We will be towing our 2001 Honda CR-V behind Home d’Pug RV.

Stay tuned for our first major road trip in our 1989 Tiffin Allegro (aka Home d’Pug RV).

Memorial Day 2017 – Day of Remembrance

memorial for dogs lost in warIt is Memorial Day Weekend.  Day of remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms afforded us as citizens of the United States.  For us, it is also a weekend to relax after Milwaukee Pug Fest.

Milwaukee Pug Fest

Made it back from Milwaukee Pug Fest in one piece – 1400 miles round trip.  We spent six days on the road; two days out, two days in Milwaukee, and two days home.  While we could do the drive to and from in a day each way, it would be a very long day in the car with our pugs.

We did not take all of our pugs.  Rosie, Sugaree and our PPSNR forever foster Casey Jones joined us for the road trip.  Ollie and Ming stayed home with our pet sitter, Tracy of Supertrifecta Pets.  Ollie stayed home as he does not do well with other male dogs.  This comes from the way he was treated as a puppy.  Ming, as she has gotten older, does not like long car rides.  So in order not to stress them out, they stay home.

Pug Fest was a blast!  We had a chance to meet up with a lot of old friends from across the country.  Make new friendships and get a chance to love on all the pugs.  This year Philly Pug & Short Nose Rescue had two booths at the main event.  We were busy from the time the doors opened until the end of the day.  Did not get a chance to sit down all day.  It was financially successful for the rescue.

Long Weekend Ahead

After such a busy week at Milwaukee Pug Fest, we were all looking forward to a long relaxing weekend with all of the fur kids in the Poconos.  Thursday night we packed the cars.  After her doctor’s appointment Friday morning, Rachel packed up the kids and went to Home d’Pug RV.  I was fortunate that my boss closed the office early.  As we packed the cars the night before, I left for the Poconos right from work.  Time to sit back and relax.

Wishes to everyone for a happy, safe holiday weekend.  And remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedoms as citizens of the United States of America.


Rainy Day Pugs – 12, 10, 8, 5, and 4

This weekend it was rainy day pugs.

radar image of rainAnother weekend in the Poconos at Home d’Pug RV.  Another weekend of rain (mostly).  We had a Nor’Easter come through the Mid-Atlantic states Friday night into late Saturday night.  So what to do on a wet, dreary weekend.  Go to the winery of course.

Franklin Hills Vineyards

Our campsite is down the road a short way from Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.  Several weekends during the non-ski season they run weekend activities.  One weekend that we were at the Delaware Water Gap / Pocono Mountains KOA there was a food truck festival.  One of the vendors was the Franklin Hills Vineyards.  Rachel and I sampled a couple of wines and really liked a few.  A few weeks later we visited the vineyards and had a lovely time tasting a few more varieties of wine. 

So, on this rainy, chilly Saturday in May we get the pugs settled in and go for a drive to Bangor, PA and Franklin Hills Vineyards.  They had a couple of different varieties of wine available.  Naturally, we had to do a taste test.  We ended up buying a mixed case of wine.  No, not all the bottles are for us.  Two bottles are for friends we are seeing next weekend in Milwaukee.

Pugs, Rain, and Saturday Night

By the time we return to Home d’Pug RV it is dinner time for the pugs.  If you know nothing about pugs there are two things you will learn very quickly.  Pugs are stubborn creatures and most hate rain.  Taking Rosie, Ming, and Casey out in the rain is a no go from the start.  For them, we lay out pee pad (puppy training pads).  They have learned to use them when they need to.  As Rachel would say, “Ollie is a boy and does not know any better.”  Sugaree is blind, so we carry her in and out of the RV.  While she is not happy about the rain, she will go about her business.

Now that the kids are fed, walked (mostly) and napping, we had a bite to eat and opened a bottle, I mean two, no your right three bottles of wine by the end of the evening.  Did I mention that we like the wines from this vineyard???  With full glasses of wine in hand, we relax and watch a movie.

Sunday Morning

As has become our ritual, Sunday morning after breakfast is time to do some work around the RV.  Today’s project was trying to clean some of the dirtiest spots in the carpeting.  We brought with us our BISSELL Spotbot Pet Handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner* (an item worth its weight in gold).  While the dirtiest spots did come out, it just highlighted how dirty the rest of the carpet really is.  We will spend a little move time and effort deep cleaning the carpet one area at a time.

New Construction at KOA

In an effort to increase rentals, Delaware Water Gap / Pocono Mountains KOA is adding a couple of new cabins on existing tent sites.  While the construction does not add to the natural beauty of the area.  Once they are done they will blend in as nice as possible.  

There is one problem with the construction that came front and center on Sunday.  It seems that the construction crews would tap into the closest power pole available.  Normally I would not object.  However, the seasonal sites are charged monthly for their electrical use.  What upsets both Rachel and I the most are two things.  First, we were not informed in advance, and second, we are getting charged for electric that we are not using.

Did not have a chance to talk with the manager before we left Sunday afternoon for home.  I did send her a detailed email and currently awaiting a reply.  Heard back from the manager on Tuesday afternoon.  She needs to discuss the details with the owner but assured us that we would not be charged for usage by others.  She does not think that the owner was aware that this has been going on most of the month.  We shall see.

Not visiting Home d’Pug RV next weekend

As mentioned earlier, we will be in Milwaukee next weekend.  We decided not to take the RV on this trip.

What is in Milwaukee?  Well, pugs and lots of them.  It’s time for the 13th Annual Pug Fest run by Pug Hugs Pug Rescue and benefits Pug Hugs rescue and the other rescues in attendance.  Our rescue, Philly Pug & Short Nose Rescue, will be in attendance for the third year and this is personally our fourth year in making the pilgrimage to Milwaukee the third weekend of May.  

Hope you have a great weekend.

“I’d rather be in some dark hollow”

🎶”I’d rather be in some dark hollow where the sun don’t ever shine.  Then to be in some big city…*🎶

It was a cold, damp weekend at the Home d’Pug RV this weekend.  Eager to get out of the big city we decided to not let the weather hold us back.  On Friday Rachel had the day off.  She took the opportunity to sleep a little later than normal (lucky girl).  By late morning she had the car packed, the pugs in their safe places within the car, and was on the road to the Poconos.

Meanwhile, I was in the salt mines working hard.  (Yes, I know, “Poor Jeff”)  After work, I headed up the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike.  An hour and a half later I joined Rachel and the grumble.  We were all so happy to be at Home d’Pug RV for the weekend.

Repair needed to be made

Since we bought the rig last July one of the nagging problems that needed to be fixed was the temperature and pressure relief valve on the hot water heater.  If it drips slightly you most likely need to replace the valve.  The temperature and pressure relief valve on our hot water heater did not drip.  Water poured out of it when the temperature and pressure increased.

Have you ever looked at the location of the temperature and pressure relief valve on the Suburban hot water heater?  There is not much room to work in there.  Also, not sure if I had the right tools for the job.  So we called in a professional to do the repair.  Cost a pretty penny to have a mobile RV repair person come to our site.   It was worth it in the time not spent and aggravation of having to break camp to take the rig to a local (relative term) repair shop.  Sit around while they did the repair.  Then come back and reestablish camp.  There are better ways to spend your time away from the salt mines.

Finding a mobile RV repair person was a little more difficult than one would have expected.  The managers of the KOA gave us a recommendation of a repair service.  Called them and left several voicemails.  Tried emailing them, no response.  Then I went to the great equalizer – Google’s search engine.  Found Trailside Mobile RV Service on Thursday afternoon.  Willing to wait for a time he would be able to schedule an appointment, Tim was gracious enough to squeeze us in on Saturday morning.   An hour later, the wallet lighter we had hot water for the first time.  Life was good.

Time to Relax

Saturday we ran a couple of errands, had breakfast and came back to Home d’Pug RV.  While the rain subsided we set up some plant pots around the site.  Added blocks to the base of our canopy to help stabilize it in the wind.  The rain started to pick up after we walked and feed the grumble.  The entire weekend the rain would stop and start.  We got a chance to start a campfire, share a bottle of wine and enjoy some of the nature around us.

Pump out time

RV tank gauges are notorious for not be accurate.  The tank indicators on our 89 Allegro don’t work at all.  Tried cleaning them.  Still nothing.  Not sure if it worth the time, effort and expense to put in new sensors or just let it go.  Time will tell.

As part of our seasonal rental, we get two pump outs a month as we do not have a sewer hookup on our site.  After doing the Sunday breakfast dishes we asked the office to schedule a pump out of the black and gray tanks before next weekend.

Lesson of week

Spent a good part of the balance of Sunday morning vacuuming under the sofa and dinette benches.  Looks like these areas have not been cleaned is a while (a long while).  I went to vacuum the bedroom area and noticed the carpet in front of the bed was wet.  First thought was that one of the pugs peed back there.  This was not the case.  We discovered the low point in the RV’s gray water system – the shower drain.

Evidently, the gray tank was filled past capacity and backed into the shower and out.  The good news is, the pugs were not in trouble and there was no new leak in the water system.

The lesson learned

When you think it is time to empty your black and gray tanks, it is too late.

The calendar now has a reminder to call for a pump out every other week and after a long weekend.

The takeaway from the weekend

Even if things go wrong.  🎶”I’d rather be in some dark hollow where the sun don’t ever shine.  Then to be in some big city …”*🎶


* Dark Hollow – written by Bill Browning • Copyright © Carlin America Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Time for a Quickie? – How Plans Change and Decisions are Made on the Fly

Time for a Quickie?  How plans change and decisions are made on the fly (just about literally).  

Tie Dye Party

Philly Pug & Short Nose RescueThis weekend (April 21st to 23rd) we were not planning on going up to the Poconos and stay in the RV.  On Saturday our rescue, Philly Pug & Short Nose Rescue, held it’s annual Spring Tie-Dye event at type B Tie Dye Studios in New Hope, PA.  It is always a fun event and we get to see some of our alumni pugs, supporters,  and volunteers.  Sugaree was the only one of our pugs in attendance this year.

Change of course

As we are driving home from the PPSNR Tie-Dye party Rachel asks, “What about going up to the RV for an overnight quickie?”  So the planning started!  Figured that by the time we got home, feed the pugs, packed their food, a few things for us we would be on the road by 6:30 and settled in by 8:30.  So we put that plan into action.

A little after 8:00 Saturday evening we pulled into our campsite.  Ordered a pizza.  The pugs went for a walk, they got their evening snack and settled down for the night.  The pizza came, and we got a chance to eat and spend the rest of the evening relaxing.

Early to rise – NOT!

Sunday morning we actually were able to sleep in until about 9:30.  In our household that is a BIG DEAL.  The pugs like to get up and get breakfast at what they consider a normal time.  Sometimes, we catch a break and they let us sleep until 9 or even 10.  We soak up those opportunities when they are given.  After the kids were fed and walked, we decided to hit one of our favorite local diners for breakfast.  Then we came back and brought the pugs out for a little time in the sun and fresh air.  Before too long, the sun got to be too much for them so back inside they went.

In case you didn’t know, pugs are smushed faced dogs (brachycephalic) and therefore can easily overheat.  Therefore, we keep a close eye on them when they are outside in the sun.

Adventure home

Upon reaching that point in the afternoon when we should head for home we packed up and headed for home.  So we thought.  About half way home we realized that one of the bedroom windows was left open.  So we turned around and when back to the RV.  Took the dogs for a quick walk – if you know Ming,  a quick walk is an oxymoron!  Locked up everything, double checked everything for good measure and left for home.

Life is goodOn our way home we were talking about the advantages of having the RV and a seasonal site.  The biggest advantage we see, so far, is the ability to just pick up and go, even if it is only overnight.  We both feel that if we had to go pick up the rig, pack, drive up, set up the rig, etc. it would not be worth it.  However, with the rig already there it was just a matter of getting together few things, pack the grumble into the car and we are off.    Life is good!!!

Lesson of the day

The lesson from this ‘quickie’ was to prepare a checklist and use it every time!  It does not matter if you are arriving at a new destination, leaving your weekend get-away, or breaking camp – HAVE A CHECKLIST AND USE IT!!!

checklist image

On the Road Again – RV Style

It is ready

Talked to the mechanic on Wednesday afternoon.  Great news!!!  The RV is done and ready to be picked up.  This meant that it was time for the Home d’Pug grumble to be on the road again.

We picked up our 1989 Tiffen Allegro from the mechanic this past Thursday morning.  The RV went back to her winter home at the storage lot not too far from our home.  Later Thursday evening we started to load all of the stuff we had taken out as part of winterization.  The early (not too early) part of Friday morning finishing packing and by late morning we were on our way to setup our summer home.

On our way

The ride went well.  It was apparent that work that was done to the suspension and new tires improved the ride.  We also were not trailing much in the way of noxious fumes from the exhaust.  These are all good things.

Mid-afternoon, we pull into the Delaware Water Gap / Pocono Mountain KOA, check in and go to our site for the season.  It did not take long to back the rig into the site and get it level.  Happily, the site was fairly level to start.  Plugged into the power pedestal and wouldn’t you know it, we were operational.  By this point, we were both starving as it had been several hours since breakfast.

The start of the adventure

The pugs settled in the RV, blankets on the floor, dog toys out, and a bowl of fresh water.  As we did not bring much in the way of food stuff with ourselves so we went to a local restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner.  Afterward, we returned to the rig and finished setting up and unpacking.  This is where the first issue showed itself.

At the end of last season, we decided to upgrade our water filter system.  After some research, we settled on the Watts 520022 RV/Boat Duo Exterior Water Filter system (more on this later).  Connected a short 4-foot hose from the water bib to the one end of the filter, no problem.  Connected our longer, fifty-foot hose to the filter only to find out that the hose has a leak right at the connection point.

This was the only long hose we had we had to improvise a short-term solution.  Out came the duct tape.  While it slowed down the leak, it did not stop it completely.  It is too early in the year to start playing around and trying to fix the hose.  So we elected to replaced it with a shorter, ten-foot hose that covered the required distance and did not leave a large coil of excess hose on the ground.

New water filter system

Back to the water filter.  Like may (most?) first-time RV’ers we did a little research on water filters and purchased the common Camco single stage filter.   The smell and taste of the water was still not “right”, so we used bottled water last summer for drinking, cooking, water bowls, etc.  The Watts 520022 is a dual stage filtration system.  The smell of the water is greatly improved.   The water system is in the process of being sanitized so we cannot talk about the taste, yet.  Early opinion is that it was a worthwhile upgrade.

Time to relax

deer in woodsThe balance of Friday night relaxing and spending time with the pugs.  Saturday morning made breakfast and decided that it was time to tackle the next big step in our RV life.  That was to get the hot water heater fired up.  Last summer we did not have hot water within the RV as the relief valve had to be replaced.  We have been staying in campgrounds with showers so this was not a major inconvenience.  It was on my list of things to get repaired/replaced before this season started.  However, our mechanic lets us down.  While he took care of all the other issues we identified, this one was missed.  So we will have to have it replaced here at the campground.  Not a major problem, but what a letdown.

Being in the Pocono mountains the campsite was visited by some of the local wildlife.  Our neighbor is kind enough to leave out corn for the deer and wild turkeys.  As city folk is a site to wake up in the morning and see deer in and around your campsite.  Ollie, the only male in our grumble, was not too happy about this situation.  He ran from window to window to try and get a look at them.

grumble outsideThe rest of the weekend spending time around the fire and enjoying a little R&R.  Rosie, Ming, Casey Jones, Ollie, and Sugaree all seemed to be very happy outside soaking up the sunshine and fresh air.

So happy to back in the RV!!!

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