Monday, April 27, 2015

A Link to my Facebook Pages

I recently received a request to help locate my Facebook page.

I have two Facebook pages; my personal one and one dedicated to gate guarding and RV maintenance.

Here they are:

My personal page is under Mark Bass

Hopefully this helps

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Boldly Going where Few RVers Go

Along with the isolation, long trips to the store, everything from dust to rain, eventual burnout, etc.; gate guarding also prevents a challenge to maintain and care for your RV. We regularly run into folks that have no idea what preventative maintenance is when it comes to an RV. For instance; it leaves me to wonder when we get the early winter flood of complaints from folks who can't get their furnace to light off. This after the furnace has set idle for months in a less than desirable environment. Lack of knowledge when it comes to basic care and maintenance can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs. Adding to it all is that getting a reliable and knowledgeable tech to come out to the hinterlands where a lot of us work is difficult at best.
When we first got out to the patch, we would finally get someone to come out for repairs; only to watch them drive off and within the hour experience the same problem. This after we lined their pockets with hundreds of dollars. We decided to study voraciously and began undertaking repairs on our own. We extended the overall life of components and got them to work more efficiently by implementing a maintenance schedule. Components like air conditioners get regular filter changes and the evaporator and condenser coils get cleaned at the beginning and end of the year. We learned to trouble shoot and replaced control boards, pumps, refrigerators, shocks, tires; you name it. Besides being a confidence builder, you also have the pride of having done a task well.
My strong suggestion to you is to utilize the internet (and other .sources) and learn as much as you can about your RV. They may not look the same; but after a while you soon realize they all use similar components and parts. If you are not physically capable or just don't want to perform repairs or maintenance, find a shop you can trust and let them look your RV over at least twice a year. I promise you will be money ahead; especially if you've done your homework. If you decide to deal with an individual or shop do not be afraid to ask questions. If a component is slated for replacement, insist on seeing and/or getting the removed parts back. There are less than a handful of RV techs that I trust (and even fewer shops). Never be afraid to get a second opinion. Techs and shops like to treat RV repair as a "black art" and depend and prey on your ignorance. These may seem like harsh words, but they're coming from a multiple RV owner with years of ownership behind him.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Expense or Investment?

Most of my dear readers know that I write form a gate guards perspective. However, gate guarding is just an extreme form of fulltiming and a lot of the products we use can be used in a lot of other applications. On top of that, we put products through some extreme tests. There are some things that you just shouldn't skimp on. I also regard most of what I intend to discuss as necessities.
There is no way to place a value on a good set of tires and a monitoring system to go with them. I once thought of tire monitors as just another gadget. I've since found the built in system in our Ford F250 to be utterly reliable-plus it's already detected a puncture. We've had a few teething problems with the system for RV's. However, the company has backed its product and replaced a faulty transmitter. We give the system a thumbs up and find the peace of mind it provides invaluable.
Those of you unlucky enough not to have a built in generator should definitely look into one. In the unlikely event that your primary generator should fail; especially when its 110 degrees out, you'll appreciate a back up. Whatever you purchase, it should be able to handle the needs of your particular RV. We have found 7500 watts, with a peak of 9000, safely handles everything our 50 amp service can throw at it. You can find a gas generator for $500 or less. A used Onan, installed can cost an easy 5K.

Along the lines of electricity are the cords and adaptors that are necessary to utilize it. Always buy heavy duty components. Anything less and you risk, at best, overheating and failure. At worst, you can spawn a major fire. We tend to use ours in high amperage and high demand situations.

I repeat the importance of a towing plan, or EVRS. There are several, with Coach Net and Good Sam being the most prominent. They will pay for themselves. Just make sure you join one that deals with and understands the needs of RVers.

I'm sure there are other things we all use on a regular basis that we have a choice of quality when purchasing. I hope I highlighted a few that you might not "skimp" on next time you purchase them.


Thursday, April 9, 2015


In Oklahoma I consider April our cruelest month weather wise. You can experience everything from snow to tornadoes. The first year I grew tomatoes I found out the hard way and, from then on, kept seedlings covered or indoors till Spring really set in. In south Texas, where we are currently working, March heralds Spring and all sorts of weather anomalies can also happen.
Now that it is April in south Texas, the harbingers of Spring are everywhere. Rattlesnakes are on the move and Bluebonnets are evident in abundance; most likely helped by the wet winter and Spring rains. We have seen our first 90 degree day and thunder has reverberated through the air. Before we know it 100 degree plus days will be the norm and the hell that is summer in South Texas will be upon us.

With the heat the Winter Texans will head North and; hopefully, the logjam of guards should ease up. Summer should be a test of the petroleum industry and gate guarding. History tells us that summer traditionally leads to a shortage of guards. It is late Spring and we still have folks sitting, patiently waiting for work. If this continues much longer, recovery will most likely not occur this year. I strongly urge anyone considering coming down this fall to ensure they have work prior to pointing the RV South. I do not think the companies are going to be as generous with their yard space next winter.

Meantime; we're glad to have had a gate through the winter. Spring has definitely sprung, temperatures are on the rise and we're reveling in the cool nights and not so hot days. Experience tells us we'll spring, if not leap into summer real soon.