Project: Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower

We have three options for heating our camper:

  1. The furnace – which is very inefficient but produces a lot of heat; runs on propane which we always pay for
  2. The heat pump – part of the air conditioning system but of limited use when the outside air is colder; runs on electricity which we may or may not pay for
  3. A space heater – amount of heat depends on the unit; and, again, we may or may not pay for the electricity

The past winters we have used a combination of the three.  However, in our case we generally spend the winter months in places where the electric service is part of the campsite, so using electric heat makes a lot of sense for us.  We’ve had  “cube” heaters that help a lot but still leave the 5th wheel feeling a bit drafty and with uneven heat.

On the RV forums I kept reading about the Lasko 755320 Ceramic Tower and how happy people are with it so we decided to give one a try.  You can find them at several retailers or online.  The tower has a digital readout, can be programmed, has a timer, and rotates.  It also comes with a remote control.  When we got ours it was 68 degrees in the camper – that running our little space heater and with the heat pump set on 72 and cycling on and off.  Within a half hour the Lasko had raised the temperature to 75.

I’m thinking we’ll remove the space heaters from service all together; although we may keep one as a backup and to supplement the heat on especially cold mornings.  At this point, I recommend this unit to RVers who are looking for alternative heating solutions.

Campground Review: Castle Rock County Park – Friendship, WI

The campground boasts a really nice playground, volleyball court, sandy beach, boat launch with rentable slips, and a neat waterfront tent-only area. There’s a stocked camp store and modern restrooms with coin operated showers. The staff is friendly and helpful.

If you plan on visiting this campground you might want to be aware that there’s another Castle Rock County Park on the western side of the lake (different county). We didn’t visit that park but I can imagine someone headed to the east side of the lake getting a bit confused by the signage. This review is for the park in Adams County and near the town of Friendship, WI on the east side of Castle Rock Lake.

We had one problem that you might want to know about. On a hot Saturday afternoon in the full park our electrical management system reported a low voltage of 102 volts and shut the electric down to the camper. The voltage coasted between 102 to 105 volts for about four hours. When it got above 104 volts our EMS would turn the electric back on for a while but after a short time it would drop again. I spite of the warmth of the afternoon we turned the air conditioner and most other electrical items off and moved outside. Around 7:00 that evening the voltage began to rebound and we were good to go for the rest of our stay. The campground staff didn’t know much about electricity and when they called their county guy he told them that having a voltage at that level wasn’t good but that it wouldn’t damage air conditioners. I’m no electrician, but my sources don’t agree. I’ll let you decide about that for yourself. Again, it took a combination of hot afternoon and full campground to cause the problem in the first place.

I think it would be really hard to get satellite TV in the wooded sites, but elsewhere in the campground it should be doable in most sites. Our Verizon 4G was solid. I think we’d return to this campground. The lake is beautiful and, if one can snag one of the sites along the lake, it’s a great spot for a visit to the area.

Click this for full screen photos

Campground review: Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, TX

Let me share what I think is an important Lake Conroe tip: just know that the pull through sites are the worst in the campground. Not only are they generally rough and unlevel, they are “back to back” sites in which your neighbor’s slide will practically touch your camper. Listen, the back in sites here are big and there aren’t any tree problems – you’ll like this place a lot more if you find one of them and stay away from the pull throughs. (BTW, I’ve seen 40+ foot 5vers being pulled by HDT’s on those sites – you’ll fit!)

While we think of Lake Conroe Thousand Trails as our “home” preserve, we’re more than ready to get on with our 2015 Adventure!

Click this for full screen photos

Hurricane Ike – 22: We’ve got power!

The mighty Casey hadn’t struck out after all! The trucks all left, but in an hour or so they were back with some friends. I counted five big rigs in all. By the way, they were all from Florida. They took down fences and backed their trucks through back yards so they could replace the broken power poles. It took them all day, but around 6:30 the digital clocks around the house began flashing! We were without electricity from Friday evening, September 12 to Wednesday evening, September 24. Once the power was back on, the Florida power and light guys walked through the area checking for any problems. At every house people came out to thank them. We made it okay without power, but we sure like it better with it!

Lots of photos here.

Hurricane Ike – 21: No joy in Mudville

There’s no joy in Mudville today, although we had a momentary thrill. Around 10:00 we spotted the first power company trucks yet seen on our street. As you can guess, the whole neighborhood stirred. There were three trucks in all and the guys with hard hats went yard to yard up and down both sides of the street. One of them told me that they had to get trucks into at least two back yards to replace snapped off power poles, which means the fences to those yards have to be taken down. I saw them head into one yard with a chain saw. Then, they all gathered for a conference.

Then, they all drove off.

Again, there’s no joy in Mudville today.

Lots of photos here.

Hurricane Ike – 20: Give me power!

I write this on Tuesday morning – day 10 and counting without electricity at our house. We are thankful for the loan of a 5kw generator which we are using to power our camper with a/c. I’m having to buy around $20 in gas a day just to run it in the evenings and overnight. It’s not to high a price to be able to sleep, something that would be hard to do otherwise. Our overnight lows have been in the mid 70’s the past few nights with high humidity. I think we have a minor cool front coming in tomorrow. It will drop the temps a few degrees and is supposed to bring us some very welcome drier air.

Another complication is mosquitoes. They have exploded in number since the storm and being outside means constantly brushing them off or donating blood to their cause. Happily, the county has started aerial spraying. The sound of the “buzz bombers” was welcome this morning and I was actually able to sit on the back patio to read my Bible at the start of my day.

One of the biggest problems for Jackie is that she has to go through several intersections where the stop and go lights are either not working or not there at all. In morning rush hour traffic that turns into a nightmare with traffic backing up at some spots as far as you can see. Also, people tend to get a little nutso about stuff like that.

Lots of photos here.

Hurricane Ike – 19: Sunday Services

Our Sunday morning worship service was considerably different this week than it was last week. Last Sunday we were just starting recovery from the storm. Many of our folks were still out of town and of those who attended, none had electrical power at their homes and just about all had tree limbs down, had lost entire trees, had fences down, and other damage at their homes. This morning we had around 80% of our regular crowd. The church has power, so aside from the damage to the building, it felt like a regular service. The music focused on praise and thanksgiving and I spoke on prayer and hurricanes, of God’s grace in the storm, and the wonderful gift of his peace in our lives. We concluded the service by making a large circle of prayer. Many offered prayers of thanksgiving and we concluded the service by singing “Always Remember Jesus” – a chorus we sing at the conclusion of most services.

Each Sunday we have a “meet and greet” time as part of the worship service. I often give humorous directions, like “shake hands with someone taller and someone shorter than you and tell them you’re glad they came to church today.” This morning I gave everyone a choice. They could either say, “Rejoice with me, we have electricity at our house” or they could say, “Woe is me, we have no electricity.” That caused some good natured laughter.

I’m still on the “woe is me” side of things.

Lots of photos here.

Hurricane Ike – 13: The electric competition

I was raised way out in the country and our rural Indiana area was one of the last to get telephones. We kids couldn’t wait to have telephones! We didn’t mind being on party lines at all. Every day we third graders updated each other on who had gotten their phone installed. Of course, we had nothing to do with it, but there was a bit of a competition to get a phone before others. Today my son called to happily inform us that his power had just come on. Then a bit later some of our church folks called to say that they had lights out in their more rural neighborhood. While ago our automated phone call from the city came in and we were told that great progress has been made in restoring power. Well, we’re still without electric service. However, I’m an optimistic person so I’m running the generator and watching the Astros game tonight believing that we’ll catch up with everyone else tomorrow, or at least we’ll be able to buy more gas for the generator!

Lots of photos here.