Bell ExpressVU Signal No Longer Available in Most of US

It’s bad news for Canadian RVers travelling south of the border. Late last year, Bell ExpressVu changed satellites and the new satellite footprint only covers a small band of the northern US, not at all the area most snowbirds travel to. Rumor has it that part of the reason for this change of satellites was a condition of the contract renewal for Bell to rebroadcast Dish Network’s programming. Evidently the Americans are not impressed when you lobby aggressively to keep them from doing business in your country. Have a look at Bell new footprint at the Telesat dot com website. Since my wife and I do most of our motorhome travel to the US, I’m very disappointed that my Bell receiver is now pretty much a boat anchor. Since the second receiver charge from Bell is only a few dollars a month, this was the most cost effective way for Canadian RVers to have satellite TV in their rigs. However, these RVers have always been hassled by Bell if there is any kind of a whiff that you’re receiving signals in the US, actually cutting off your service if you called in on a US number, connected the receiver to a US phone line, or even inquired about using your receiver south of the border. Star Choice (now Shaw) has been more reasonable, but their programming and interface left something to be desired when I looked at their offering a few years ago. Which makes Shaw a good option, right? Well, maybe not so much. Shaw’s satellites require a larger elliptical dish to receive the signal, especially farther south in the US. If in-motion viewing is important to motorhomers, you’re out of luck because there are no in-motion domes that will work with Shaw. This leaves you with a couple of options. You can completely replace an existing in-motion dome with an automatic or manual motorized larger dish. The downside here, aside from the loss of in-motion signal, is that your dish’s mechanical parts will be exposed to the elements. The other alternative is to buy another dish mounted on a tripod that you will need to set up at every stop. Obviously a hassle to do, plus the larger dish will eat up valuable storage space that is always at a premium. Shaw might be a temporary fix anyway, because they’re planning a satellite change in the next year or two which may involve a Canada-only footprint. Thankfully, the entrepreneurial Americans are ready to take your money. Check out the traveller’s subscriptions available from Dish Network or DirecTV. You can go month to month and they’re happy to take your Canadian credit card and address. The nice thing about this option is your existing automatic in-motion dish will probably be set up to allow you to easily switch to a US provider. My suggestion is to cancel your Canadian home satellite provider for the months you’re travelling in the US, and use a US carrier. Just remember that you […] Read more »

RV Roadtrip Back Pain

Packing up for another extended roadtrip in your RV, you can’t wait to drive 20 hours across the country to explore a new part of America! There’s only one downside Sitting for hours upon hours. You know how bad it is for your posture and your back, and you can feel the strain it causes after a long drive cross-country. But up until this point, you’ve just accepted a sore back as a fact of RV living. Not anymore! It’s mission-critical to enjoy every moment on the road. You don’t want to be held back by a completely preventable physical condition! So if getting rid of back pain is important to you, take these 7 steps before, during, and after driving, and your sore back will be a figment of the past! 1. Practice Perfect Posture – Having good posture is one of the best ways to avoid sore backs while on the road. What’s perfect posture look like? Make sure to sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your butt should touch the back of your chair. In order to achieve this position, follow these steps: sit at the end of your chair and slouch; draw yourself up and curve your back as much as possible – hold for ten seconds; slightly release the position. Practice this for a week before your next RV trip to ensure perfect posture next time you’re on the road. 2. Tennis Ball Anyone? – Using tennis balls to help release tension is a common method used by sport trainers and physical therapists. You’ll need two tennis balls in two different socks for this exercise. The intent here is to stretch out the erectors, the long muscles that extend from your lower back up to your neck on both sides of the spine. Place the two tennis balls in socks behind you, and lay down slowly. extending over the two balls. Start in the low to mid back region, and use your legs to slowly roll your back over the tennis balls. Do this up and down your entire back. 3. Breaks Are Good For The Body – If possible, get up and move around every few hours, no matter where you are. If you’re at work, stand up and stretch. If you’re retired and lounging near the RV, take a walk every couple hours. If you’re on the road driving, be sure to pull off every now and then to move around. Sitting down for extended periods of time is harmful for the back. Release some of this stress by moving every few hours. 4. Streeeetch It Out – If you have chronic pain, make sure to correct your posture first. Once you’ve mastered posture, learning how to stretch will do wonders in helping to address back pain. Some common stretches to include in your routine are the back flexion exercise and the knee to chest stretch. For the back flexion exercise, do the following: While lying on your back, […] Read more »

Buying RVs on Craigslist

If you’re anything like me you dream of the day when you can wave goodbye to the world and spend your days relaxing on the road with your RV. While all of us have different ideas of the type of RV we want to relax in we can all find common ground in that we want the best deal we can get for our RV of choice. One place to look for that great deal is Craigslist. And while Craigslist has developed a shady name over the years you can’t deny that there are plenty of options there. But should you spend time digging through the sludge? Is Craigslist for You? Many folks simply don’t want to deal with Craigslist sellers. That’s fine, there are plenty of dealers out there that are ready to sell you the RV of your dreams at retail or slightly above retail. For those that are willing to dig through Craigslist listing (and potentially find a great deal) for their RV, it’s very important to be thorough. There are many kind, up-front, ethical people out there that are trying to offload their gently used RV at a reasonable price. But there are also many folks out there that would as soon offload your wallet and sell you a water-damaged disaster at an outrageous price. While there are certainly risks to buying your RV through Craigslist you can educate yourself by digging through those listings and learning how to find a great RV at a great price. So, before going there ask yourself, can you wait 6 months for the right RV at the right price, or do you want / need your new RV now? If the answer is that you need it now then don’t wait, head over to your local dealer and start haggling. If your aren’t in a hurry then read on! Tips for Searching for an RV on Craigslist If the answer is that you are ready to wait then Craigslist might be the place for you. There are so many Craigslist ads for RV’s that it’s almost guaranteed you will find the one you want at the price you want if you are willing to wait. If you want to go that route then it’s time to start digging. For those unfamiliar with Craigslist, you have the option of searching by city. If you are willing to travel to find that great RV than your options open up drastically. For others, you have to set your city of preference and stick to that. Then you have to know your price range. Mostly know the most you are willing to spend so that you don’t close yourself off to the right RV at a lower price than you anticipated. So, pick your high price. Craigslist has a few filters built in so that you can really dial in to what you are looking for and not have to deal with a bunch of noise. Use those filters by plugging in your […] Read more »

How to Prevent Holding Tank Sludge Buildup

For all RV enthusiasts, the RV toilet system is a big deal not only for its important function but also because of the trouble it can cause when maintained poorly. Maintenance is the key issue here and getting to understand how the RV toilet system operates lays the foundation for proper maintenance. It is always easier to handle an appliance or gadget when you have background knowledge of how it works. For this particular toilet system, commonly encountered problems include overflowing tanks; clogged sewer valves and sludge build up in the holding tank. Failure to understand the operating mechanism of the RV toilet system may end up in futile troubleshooting. Sludge buildup in the holding tank is actually a septic tank problem. Firstly, there is need to understand the operating system of a septic tank. The basic function of a septic tank is to collect human waste where the solid waste also known as sludge sinks to the bottom while the liquid waste floats above. As compared the conventional toilet systems, an RV toilet septic tank is intended to hold waste only for short periods of time. Therefore unlike the former which relies on anaerobic bacteria to breakdown the sludge, RV toilet system has a macerator pump. The pump functions to breakdown the waste into tiny bits. Moreover, to aid flow of waste out of the septic tank, lubricants are used. Unpleasant odor from the waste is managed by using chemicals. Consequently, sludge build up in RV toilet systems is a common problem due to the use of lubricants and some chemicals that inhibit bacteria which normally break down the waste particles. Down to the details, how then are these toilets maintained? First of all, using the right chemicals for the septic tank is fundamental. Certain chemicals have a minimal effect in destroying bacteria and are therefore more suitable. Choose chemicals that are free from formaldehyde and its derivatives. The bacteria help in breakdown thus preventing clogged sewer valves and build up of sludge. Secondly, do a regular checkup of the RV tank sensors to make sure that build up is being eliminated when dumping is done. Sometimes, the sensors give false reading so it helps to check. Thirdly, try pouring hot water into the holding tank as it helps breakdown toilet paper and waste material. Finally, preventing holding tank sludge build-up is a matter of following a number of simple handy tips. One of the ways for proper sludge disposal is employing the services of a ‘pump-out’ company which is able to professionally remove sludge from your holding tank. You can also try dumping holding tanks when they are almost full. This way, water will swirl within the tanks thus getting rid of deposits that could be stuck on the sides of the holding tank. The velocity during evacuation is much greater with a fuller tank. This helps to thoroughly flush out all contents. Lastly, you can prevent sludge build-up using something known as the Geo Method. It is […] Read more »