In this episode, we talk about a couple of the challenges we face in living and camping in an RV – from using a CPAP machine to getting instant hot water. We’ll answer a listener question about the first and with the second, have an interview with an official from Truma Corp., who will explain to us how their popular lineup of RV water heaters work and why they have become the de facto standard for new RVs. Plus we have RV News if the week and anther great off the beaten path report from the Burketts.
Show Notes for Episode #237 April 10, 2019 of The RV Podcast:
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
As we always do, lets share some housekeeping notes. One, in this podcast we will mention a bunch of different resources, news stories and web links that will give you more information about the things we’re talking about. Whenever possible, we build in direct links to those topics on the shownotes page for this episode. You can find that at rvlifestyle.com/237
Also, you may have a question you’d like us to answer, or a comment on the things we’re discussing. If so, we invite you to leave us that question or comment on the special voicemail number we have for the podcast – it’s 586-372-6990. If you are driving and can’t write it down right now, just go to the RV Lifestyle travel blog at rvlifestyle.com and scroll down the page. You’ll see that number prominently posted on the blog.
We’re traveling again this week, headed to Phoenix, AZ and the annual Super B RV Show that specializes in just small motorhomes – Class Bs and Cs. It will be in the State Farm stadium in suburban Glendale.
The show runs Thursday through Sunday, but Jen and I will be there Friday and Saturday, meeting and greeting and doing live reports from the show for our RV Lifestyle Facebook followers Friday at 3PM Eastern time and for our YouTube RV Lifestyle followers Saturday at 4:30 PM Eastern.
Also this week… look for a special announcement about our latest 7 Stop Adventure Guides, this one on Utah. It will be released this week!
We’re very excited about this new ebook as Utah is a simply awesome state and this practical travel guide will help you streamline your plans and find the perfect places to stay as you see the amazing geography of Utah.
Meantime, here’s the RV News of the week.
RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park urged to keep a safe distance from edge
Officials at the Grand Canyon National Park issued a warning to visitors last week, urging them to stay a safe distance from the edge of cliffs after a 67-year-old visitor fell 400 feet to his death. This marked the third person to die in the park in eight days.
Save the date: Lottery to see synchronous fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park to open April 26
If you’re interesting in viewing the synchronous fireflies at the Great Smoky Mountains, be sure to enter their lottery between April 26-29. The synchronous fireflies flash their lights in unison every night, attracting so much interest, you have to win a lottery to see them. Our friends Tom and Patti Burkett did find a few other places to go (click here) that do not require a lottery but you need to plan ahead.
Who will buy what’s left of Roadtrek?
What’s left of Roadtrek Motorhomes will soon be decided in a receivership courtroom in Canada. The deadline for bids by interested parties to purchase the assets of the Erwin Hymer Group of North America, the maker of Roadtrek, was yesterday. At last report, nearly two dozen parties signed confidentiality statements needed to officially do so. No word yet on when the court and the company will review bids and select a buyer. But bad news keeps coming out about the company. There was a story out last week that Hymer of North America apparently sold tow behind trailers without conducting required safety tests.
Do-it-yourself camper van sales aren’t officially tracked by industry but are growing rapidly
We have reported extensively this year on the growing rise of the build-it-yourself camper van movement (click here or here) but wanted to share a story another publication released. The story examined the rise in build-it-yourself camper van enthusiasts who are not in the official Class B shipments the industry publishes monthly, but represent a hugely growing segment of the market.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping
LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
We received some great feedback from a listener who took Jennifer’s advice to try before they buy, to rent an RV and take a trip to see how it fit.
Another listener asked us about the Murphy Bed in our new RV and also about battery drain by CPAP machines.
RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
Our guest is Billy Didonato from Truma Corp., whose line of instant on hot water heaters are rapidly becoming the standard in the RV world.
MIKE WENDLAND: How’s this work? How much propane does it use? And why are so many RV-ers moving to Truma?
BILLY DIDONATO: Very good questions. So, first of all we’ll talk about how it works. The way that the Truma AquaGo works is by on demand technology. Whenever we introduce flow by turning on a fixture, a shower, a faucet, something like that, the flow sensor within itself is measuring not just the flow rate, but also the …
MIKE WENDLAND: And this is the sensor.
BILLY DIDONATO: Yes sir. Also the temperature of the water that you want to heat. It’s then determining how many BTUs it has to put out to heat that water to about 120 degree output temperature. Okay? So, this burner is actually modulating. It’s not a one stage, it’s not a two stage, it’s not a one size fits all burner BTU output. It’s actually modulating. It’s the first time this burner set up has been in the RV industry. So, that’s why we’re getting not just a never ending supply of consistently tempered water, so we get that stabilization, but we’re also using very little propane to do it.
We found that you could take a 20 pound propane cylinder, like on your barbecue at home, you could take a 20 minute shower every day for just shy of a month before you’d have to refill that 20 pound propane cylinder. So, it’s very efficient because it’s only heating that water, only using up propane when you need to heat that water.
MIKE WENDLAND: And in terms of any electrical consumption, is there any battery drain?
BILLY DIDONATO: The AquaGo Comfort and Comfort Plus models, that’s going to be using two and half or less amps. We have another amp that does not offer freeze protection, the ability to clean the system yourself, that’s going to be pulling one and half or less amps, because it doesn’t have the recirculation pump.
MIKE WENDLAND: And walk me through here where the water goes, and where these pipes and [crosstalk 00:01:40].
BILLY DIDONATO: Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So this is the AquaGo control panel. This is what you’re going to use to operate the different modes that are available with the AquaGo Comfort and Comfort Plus models. In eco mode, if I turn on a faucet, or shower, or fixture, or anything like that, I’m still going to get 120 degrees out of it. Okay? But, if this sensor sees temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s going to kick on for a couple seconds to make sure that we heat that water back up, so we don’t run the risk of freezing our AquaGo.
In comfort mode, it’s going to do that same output temperature, I turn on a shower head, I’m going to get that 120 degrees out of it. However, instead of a 41 degree set point that this sensor is looking for, it’s 102 degrees Fahrenheit. So, that allows us to keep a continuous temperature of over 102 degrees within the AquaGo. AquaGo Comfort Plus, we actually have recirculation line, or a hot water line going to our fixtures, and back to the AquaGo. So, if we have the system in comfort mode, we have approximately 102 degrees within our entire hot water line at all times. So, the instant you open up your fixture, you truly do have hot water, instant hot water.
MIKE WENDLAND: So, tell me how popular these are and how many manufacturers you’re with now.
BILLY DIDONATO: So, the AquaGo is an extremely popular water heater. It has become the standard in a lot of manufacturers, if not standard a lot of them are using as options. Manufacturers like Winnebago are using this, Leisure Travel Vans, Pleasure Way, Forest River, , you can see our Taxa units, they’re using the AquaGo on the model currently. A whole bunch of different manufacturers are currently using it. But what’s also nice about the AquaGo is that it’s not just available to manufacturers. We can also use this as an after market replacement for existing boiler tanks between six and 16 gallons, and tank-less units as well. So, it’s become increasingly popular on the after market.
Remember when we talked about how efficient this thing was and how little propane it uses? It’s very popular to fifth wheel owners and toy haul owners who have a 10 gallon or 12 gallon who want to save propane but still have that endless supply of hot water.
The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new or used motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
By Patti Burkett
Hot Springs, Anthony Chapel, Garvan Woodland Garden
I recently took a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas to see Hot Springs National Park. For those who usually go to National Parks to immerse themselves in nature, this National Park may, itself, seem like an off the beaten path destination. It’s the only National Park whose focal point is a stretch of a downtown street. The entire Bathhouse Row, a fine collection of elegant historic bathhouses, is supplied with hot mineral waters from underground. There are natural areas surrounding the town, and they’re worth exploring, but Bathhouse Row is the reason to come.
Originally protected by an act of Congress in 1832, it’s not a typical national park. The hot water resource (and the hydrological system in the surrounding mountains) was preserved to provided uncontaminated water for public use. It was the first time land had been set aside by the federal government to preserve its use as an area for recreation. On Bathhouse Row you can spend a day swimming in hot water pools, take a spa treatment, explore the centuries-long history of this therapeutic resource, and fill your jugs from the public fountain. You can even enjoy a craft beer or root beer made from hot spring water. It’s a unique experience.
Twenty minutes south of the park on the edge of Lake Hamilton, and nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, is Garvan Woodland Gardens, the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. With a mission to preserve a special part of the local environment, to provide a place for study and serenity, but also to develop gardens, landscapes and structures of exceptional aesthetics, there are breathtaking vistas and wonderful photo opportunities. I considered the $13 admission fee money well spent. I spent 2-3 hours there and could have easily spent most of the day wandering from area to area taking in the variety of formal and naturalized landscapes. I didn’t even make it to everything I wanted to see.
Just outside the visitor’s center was a male peacock and two peahens. The male was in full display for at least 20 minutes, trying to impress the ladies at the beginning of breeding season. He was not shy around people, and we human onlookers got some amazing photos. I wandered through the extensive Japanese garden, enjoying each feature as it was revealed. In the children’s garden, the Evans treehouse is designed to provide an experience of wonder while hiding in plain sight.
Garvan is associated with the University’s Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, so while you’re noticing the trees, shrubs and flowers (which are spectacular, especially in tulip and daffodil season), don’t miss the infrastructure. Every stone, sidewalk, bridge, and building is beautiful in its own right, so perfectly placed in the landscape that they might easily be overlooked.
I spent a lot of time exploring and photographing the unexpected and spectacular Anthony Chapel. As I approached along a wooded path, it emerged from the landscape. The roof soars six stories overhead. The full height glass walls are practically invisible, and you feel as if you’re standing in the middle of the forest. The intricate stone floor and comfortable benches invite you to linger. I was totally alone in this magnificent space, and more than an hour passed while I watched the changing light of early evening and waited to take just one more picture.
So come see Hot Springs, Arkansas. Relax in the hot pools. Unwind with a craft beverage. And certainly bring your camera to the Garvan Woodland Garden, where you might see us, Patti and Tom Burkett, down just about any path you happen to wander.
RV CALENDAR OF EVENTS
- April 11-14, Super B RV Show, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
- April 12-14, Washington State Evergreen Spring RV Show, Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe, WA
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