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          A variety of popular questions that readers ask on my forum are

 highlighted below.  We all learn from the experiences of other’s. This is only a partial list - for more Q and A, why not visit the 'Ask a Q' forum. (I have added a selection of websites in the sidebar at the end of this story). 


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Questions Questions Questions...


Q - How can we cope with the increased price of gas/fuel? 

Q - What to do when family and friends think you’ve ‘lost it’?

Q - My husband and I want to go Fulltime with two teenage boys?

Q - We want to go Fulltime but we are unsure if we can afford it?

Q  -   Do many people buy an RV to visit the kids?

Q - As non-mechanical types can we afford retirement as Fulltimers?

Q - What can you share about the costs of continual travel?

Q - We are not mechanical, can we be successful motorhomers?

Q - Is the lifestyle actually becomes mired in fixing and repair?

Q - Why are there so many units for sale after 3-5 years? 

Q - Our friends think we have lost it

Q – Can I as a single female & novice become a permanent RVer?

Q –  I'm Cdn, Can I work as a KOA Work-Kamper in the USA?

Q:- We’re heading out on our first trip and our ISP has no USA contact.

Q:- Thanks for your Cdn content website. Does your 'Net Dish work in the US? 

Q:- How can I have 'Net access to run my business form my 5th in an RV Park?

Q:- Do you claim items you leave in the US or normal items such as shampoo etc?  

Q:- What does it cost to go Fulltime?

Q:- We were told we needed a SIN# to purchase a USA satellite TV. Is there a way around this?  Q:- Where can I find a simple water test kit wherever I stay – home, hotel, RV, etc?  


     Q - How can we cope with the increased price of gas/fuel? 


     A: A few Suggestions...

  1. Lay off the gas pedal.  Drive under the speed limit if possible. Anything over 60 MPH simply wastes gas/fuel.

  2. Take shorter trips and stay in one spot longer.

  3. Avoid running a vehicle  for an extended time frame during warm-up.  A minute or two is usually sufficient.

  4. Overfilling a gas tank allows excess gas to escape through the gas cap. 

  5. Fill-up in the morning when things are cooler.

  6. Pick the proper gas for your vehicle. Running on premium may be a waste of cash.

  7. If there’s no knocking or pinging, 87 (or 89) Octane will work well especially for highway driving.

  8. Keep tire pressure at recommended levels. Properly inflated tires mean less road resistance and better gas mileage. 

  9. Packing excess items on your roof causes wind resistance – it also makes the engine work harder - which consumes more gas/fuel. Carrying extras inside vehicles is better.


  • Open windows causes drag at faster speeds.

  • Accelerate before the hill, NOT while you are in the climb.

  • Disengage cruise control when driving on hills.           

  • Gear down to climb hills and use one gear lower when descending.

  • This allows the engine to work, rather than your brake peddle (brakes will fade with  overuse)
    Try to drive through cities between 10 and 2 pm.  

  • Stop and go traffic uses  more gas  and it takes a toll on the vehicle engine.

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Q: What to do when family and friends think you’ve ‘lost it’?


      Gary, Linda and Bailey (pet schnauzer) will soon become Fulltimers –  after several years of preparing for 'life on the move'. They have taken some advance trips, updated their RV, read ‘21st Century’ cover to cover, off-loaded furniture and made plans for their departure in the fall. Their only problem is that anyone they share their plans with think they are ‘NUTS’.  These two (3) want to hit the road, but they are going through some apprehensive times.  They wrote asking for a positive ‘pick-me-up’.



A: Looking back in time by 22 years, you guys are now where we began. Many people will think you have lost it, but don't despair. To take off on an adventure like you plan is enjoyed by numerous RVers across North America and around the world. It may be strange in your circle of family and friends but you are not alone or unique to want to enjoy this lifestyle. We received a retirement card that we have lived by "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams". All I can say is follow your dreams now - there is no indication as to what tomorrow brings. We set out for 2-years and before we knew it we are into 22 and it is still not long enough.


        If the lifestyle is not all you expect, you will at least gather numerous memories. Going F/T is a perfect opportunity to downsize and maybe discover a new place to settle for Retirement Phase 2, in an area you didn't even knew existed before you began your travel life.  Don’t worry about friends who can’t understand. Some family still tell us to 'have a good holiday' when we leave Ontario each fall.


        Many fulltimers find ways to add extra cash flow to their monthly income. For me it is writing – others sell a product they believe in - while many RVers ‘work camp’ or wash units or, or, or.


        There are several Fulltimers Websites on our RV WebLinks page and Blogs covering Fulltimer travel on the RV Living.net Important Things We Need to Know forum. Also check out the Article’, ‘Advice & How-to’ plus Q&A pages or contact me by email. Keep thinking positive guys. Your time will be here before you know it. There is no lifestyle that offers more freedom than that of a life of RV Living. For us -  '22-Years FULLTIMING is STILL not enough'.


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Q - My husband and I want to go Fulltime with two teenage boys?  

       We already home school and are a very close family. The boys are active in Boy Scouts, swing dance, kayaking, and a few other things. Quite a bit of our schooling is via the internet – on the road, it would be essential.


      We hope to add seeing, meeting and experiencing to their home-schooling, spend time as family and allow my husband to leave a well-paying, but an unsatisfying demanding job.  We need to have some idea about budgets, costs, health care, etc. Can we work on the move? What is it like to live in a small space? My mother travels with us for half the year as well, is that a problem?  I feel odd asking strangers their opinion but I really do not know anyone else who is RV living. We value your thoughts. Thanks in advance. Anne.


A: Hi Anne: First of all, you are NOT ‘loosing it’ for wanting to follow this lifestyle, but if you talk to non-RVers they may not understand. Writing me, a fulltime RVer makes a lot of sense. I cannot begin to answer the details of your Q in an email. It is too comprehensive, that is why I wrote my book.


       There is a lot to learn – so to simplify an answer I have provided a selection of websites in the sidebar to break it down into specific sections. Especially take a look at Families on the Road  


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Q: We want to go Fulltime but we are unsure if we can afford it?  


Q:  Peggi; I found your website through Amazon. My husband & I are looking to purchase a 5th wheel & live in it full time. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for books, etc. we should purchase (besides your own, of course) to "help us on our way".   Do you use Streets & Trips With GPS as a navigator? How do you mount your laptop?  Thank in Advance, Darcy.  



A: Hi Darcy; Congratulations on thinking of going fulltime. FYI - We have NO GPS on board nor do I usually use my laptop while on the move. There are close to 200 books discussing the RV lifestyle. Knowing how to operate your unit is the most important part of this lifestyle.


      A selection of outstanding informative E-Books, DVDs and Videos available from RVEducation101, the RV Bookstore, Happy Camper, RVersCorner plus the BookNook Additional links to these numerous books/e-books, DVD’s and videos are also featured on my Home page. Topics cover everything from understanding your unit, to operating all systems within an RV, to buying a pre-loved unit, to RV travel and so much more.  Clicking on these resources will quickly answer all your questions.  


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Q - As non-mechanical types can we afford retirement as Fulltimers?  


       Peggi and John:  After buying your comprehensive  RV Packing Tips, RV Life Lessons plus Easy Living Hints-3 E-Books in One, I have many questions about retirement travel in a motorhome.  My on-line search reference motorhome retirement travels has come up empty. May I ask your insights on this subject?


      We've thought for some time that we'd like to sell our home and motorhome travel while we determine what our eventual plan will be. We have five married children (and nine grandchildren) who live in Arizona, Washington, Montana, and Virginia (soon to move back West--perhaps Colorado or Utah), so we could be seeing them all more often, and enjoying new destinations as well.  I haven't quite figured out if we can afford the lifestyle, so our research continues.


       Our first concern is we are not mechanical/technical types can we enjoy a successful life in a motorhome? We've been weekend campers for years, so we already know we enjoy the lifestyle it's the maintenance and repair aspect that we're concerned about being able to handle on the road. 


        As we read topics in the various forums, it seems there must be numerous and frequent glitches that occur, and we wonder if much of the lifestyle actually becomes mired in fixing and repair? And, we've noticed also that so many units are for sale after 3-5 years why? Do people find they are too complex to be enjoyable?


        I hesitate to ask, realizing you don't know us, and not wanting to inconvenience you. We don't have friends who have done this, so we are trying to learn what we can from reading forum discussions and visiting RVing websites. Thanks from Judy




A:  Judy: To make it easier I will answer each of your questions individually.

 Try to make the planning an enjoyable part of the adventure.  


        For added input there are several links to Fulltimers pages on our RV WebLinks page.. On our Forum under the 'New Fulltimers'  and in the Blogs on Important Things You All Should Know’ you may find other interesting tips and personal experiences as well.  

           Working on the Road...

  www.workamper.com/WorkamperNews/WNIndex.cfm AND

  www.workamper.com/WorkamperNews/TWNHintsTips.cfm (How to find mobile work)

  www.workersonwheels.com  - Another must site if you want to work on the move.

  www.koa.com/workatkoa - KOA's have their own work camping site.  


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          Q #1:    Do many people buy an RV to visit the kids?

A: Buying an RV for this reason is a super idea. Driveway

 visits  are fun plus Grandma and Grandpa can leave the noise and turmoil to retreat to their own home for a break. If possible it is also wise to take a grandchild on a short MH adventure (one at a time) to enjoy special quality time with each of them.

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  Q #2:  What can you share about the costs of continual travel?

A: – The cost of travelling by RV may seem high at first but

you are not paying for hotels, meals or airfare for your getaway. Meals can be cooked on-board to stretch dollars – if you eat out a lot this adds to the budget. Your gas/fuel costs will be determined by the distance and speed that you travel. BUT RV's do depreciate by many thousands each year. Maintenance costs concern both a vehicle and a house – but your stationary house needs care too. In an RV, different items need attention.


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Q #3:    We are not mechanical, can we be successful motorhomers? 

A: – John is not mechanical either, however after 22 years of

travel he attempts many more things today then he did in the beginning - but we also have a good ERS (Emergency Road Service). We now have a diesel pusher, so we look for Freightliner truck shops for routine engine service.. Lately we have been going to The Freightliner plant in Gaffney NC for tune-ups but other options are available. Every campground can point you in the direction of 'In-park' service. RV Dealers also provide repair service  Many maintenance tips are covered in my book.


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 #4:     Is the lifestyle actually becomes mired in fixing and repair?

We see on various forums, that there must be numerous and frequent glitches that occur?




  A: An RV is a machine and no machines is perfect. Sometimes new units

come with a few irritating problems. Dealer support usually correct these minor inconveniences.  Just for info there are so many more wonderful outstanding days than there are bad ones. Although ’not-so-good-days’ sometimes do cause you to alter plans and that can be a bit of a hassle. We have had two almost new units and one new RV. Guess we were lucky because none our units were loaded with problems. Sometimes attitude plays a big part. On a plus side – repair facilities are available all over this continent. We just roll with the punches and try to change lemons into lemonade when possible.


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Q #5:    Why are there so many units for sale after 3-5 years? 


                    Do people find they are too complex to be enjoyable?



A: All RVers suffer from 'Bigitis'. The average user

changes rigs every 4-6 years. Not because they do not like their home on wheels but because there is always something bigger or better or classier on the dealer lot. Very few RVers give up until they must due to health or personal reasons.


       John and I kept our first motorhome for 8 years and completely renovated it mid way with floor and fabric. Kastle #2 we had for 6-years and we changed the carpet to a washable floor.  


      Kastle #3 is our beautiful '95 LUXOR that we bought in '99. We renovated it in 2002. We love this coach and because it is a DP it is good for 450,000 miles (we only have 105000) It will be our home as long as we are on the road. Story and pictures are on our website.  We changed our minds about selling in year 19 because we were simply having too much fun.  


     As John and I are half way into year 22 we have decided to stay on the move until I (age 65) and John (age 69) or the 12-year old LUXOR breaks down. We will quit only when one of us can no longer enjoy this lifestyle. Right now we do have plans 'till 2011.

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Q #6:     Our friends think we have lost it 

A: Everyone thought we too had a screw loose - we had never even camped before. 21-years ago help from books was also minimal there was nothing for us Cdns – it was one of the reason I began writing. We learned most of what we know from the school of hard knocks and from others we met along the way. The world was our oyster and we were on a roll – we had places to go and things to see. We have not looked back. Life is good in the 'McD' household.


        To coin a phrase from the Cdn Military "There is no life like that of RVing" If after a few years you two decide it is not for you – don't worry, by then if you have followed your dreams, you will have enjoyed many memorable places and it may give you an idea as to where you would like to settle for Retirement phase 2.


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Q Can I as a single female & novice become a permanent RVer?


      I have been looking at older gas motorhomes. My basic question is – assuming I live fulltime in a gas (not diesel), and I am not driving it everyday, what kind of daily cost of living am I looking at for running the various appliances (cook, wash, etc.)? I do not even know what propane costs, so I am trying to do my homework, but there are so many factors, I need some basic info. Thank you for your time, Thanks from Catherine.



A: Catherine, There are numerous women on the road doing what you want to

do. The book RV Travelling Tales  (BookNook page) is written by single women and it explains what the mobile life is all about. On my Advice and How-to page I have several stories covering budget costs, towing, maintenance, residency, winter camping plus many other items. My book RV Living in the 21st Century addresses many your Q. 


       Actual costs will be monthly rent, plus electric charges (approx $50.00 per month) occasionally water is also metered. Propane in some parks can be very costly. FYI, In south Florida it was $3.00 per gallon if a motorhome was filled in a park. However we paid a mere $1.80 at a nearby Flying J. There is so much more to consider than actual living costs. An RV is a vehicle and a home – they both need to be maintained even if they only have limited driving.   


       Motorhomes are meant to be driven, so to leave them sitting in one spot IS NOT GOOD FOR THE ENGINE AND ALL COMPONENTS. A trailer or a 5th wheel is better for RVers who only want the occasional move. Expect periodic RV maintenance such as a motorhome tune-up – some small items such as battery replacements (MH engine and house) $200-$500 every 3-5 years. New tires – cost depends on the size, (again 4-6 years),  can be expensive – RV tires are higher priced than car tires. An RV is both a vehicle and a house, so expenses are also incurred for residential things - for instance when our fridge quit at 10 years, replacement was $2000.


NOTE: All RVers should have an emergency fund set aside to counteract surprise expenses. Ours is a zero balance credit card. Putting aside a monthly amount in a contingency fund helps off-set costly routine maintenance.


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Q:  I'm Cdn, Can I work as a KOA Work-Kamper in the USA?

         We’re Canadians, who would like to work at a ‘KOA Work-Kamper’ program in the USA. Do you know of any info
reference work visa's - or who I could contact to see if this is possible? Can we work and travel in the USA? We’ll soon be Fulltimers - and want as much information as possible to work for up to 6 months at a KOA park. 



A:  Hi:  Contact KOA first to see if they hire Cdns and if they do they may be  able to provide info on how to get a work-visa, plus assist you in the visa process.


       Be aware you may be expected to pay tax in both countries  In the past some US Green Card holders lost their access to Canadian medical.  Consider all odds.


       For more info, use the search bar on www.rvliving.net and type in ‘Working in the USA’, click the ‘web' search radio button. About 500 sites came up. Follow these links to find your own visa info OR go to   Just for info Canadians can only stay in the USA for 6-months per calendar year without a visa. For info on Immigration for Work Visas go to www.voyage.gc.ca/main/pubs/usa_bound-en.asp#working  On the left click 'Working in the USA' .  


NOTE: It is not wise to work in the US without visas although many do. You may be taking a job away from an American. Even if you are working in exchange for a site, Revenue Canada and IRS could??? also decide it is bartering and you may be requested to pay tax.  


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Q: We’re heading out on our first trip and our ISP has no USA contact, How can we stay in touch? 


      We leave Ontario mid March for our first main trip to Florida in our new Class C Diesel.  Can we buy your book someplace en route? How can we connect to the Internet when away from home? Our laptop has a wireless card. We will be staying at KOA camps while in Florida ( 3 weeks) Can we purchase a short term service provider and if so who would you recommend?  If this trip is as much fun as we anticipate we intend to do 2 months in Florida or Texas next year. We both are in our late 50’s and just retired. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.  Barb and Wayne.




  A: Congratulations Guys:  There is no life like that of RVing and we are so happy you are joining those of us on the move. Most, if not all KOA’s have WiFi access.  My book is readily available from numerous sources on line (follow links on RV Living.net) – a very few books stores will order a copy for you.  Some RV Dealers also sell my book.


        If you manage to connect to WiFi, you do not need an ISP anywhere. You buy service from the WiFi company. You will need an email account but this can be an msn.com, or gmail.com or yahoo.com or hotmail.com etc. If you are travelling with a cell phone International Plan you can connect your laptop to your Canadian ISP phone number Canada - providing you have enough minutes. The cell is slow. But 'Express' connection cable/chargers are available for most phones. BUT be sure your cell service supports DATA calls and that there are no extra roaming fees etc.


          To use a Dial-up modem you will need an ISP with a local USA contact phone number. or one I mentioned above. A few other suggestions of finding low cost or free ISP’s is Juno.com or AOL.com – sometimes these will add an extra fee to use in Canada. Have a great trip and enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Life is good on the move.  


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Q: Thanks for your Cdn content website. Does your 'Net Dish work in the US?


        We would like to find out how the Internet Dish works in the US. I have done some reading on the subject and getting confused! Do you need to have a separate service for the States or will a Canadian internet provider be usable in the US? We are planning to go fulltime Rving in a year or so but in the meantime will be traveling in Canada and the States for vacations. We are internet junkies so want to be able to hookup anytime anywhere.  



A:  Patricia and Klaus. I love my Direcway Dish (now Hughes.net) and being on line 24/7 is wonderful. It works everywhere in the States and Canada from our same server (except our .74 metre dish would not pick up signal in east Newfoundland – Direcway does sell 1.2 meter dishes) However we did get good service on the western NFLD peninsula) Our Canadian server is Galaxy. It also worked equally well without changing satellite locations when we travelled west during summer of 2007. Galaxy offers many different satellites depending on where you are. Changes are only necessary occasionally depending on your location.  We are on G-11 and it is their main default satellite for USA and Canada. 


          But if our travels venture elsewhere, for a small one time fee, we can simply change the satellite we log onto. It is a joy to be on line 24/7.  The story on our website (see sidebar) includes contact info etc. Photos on our Gallery puts everything into perspective. Hope this helps.


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Q: How do I have 'Net access to run a business from my 5th Wheel in RV Parks? 

        I just bought a 5th wheel trailer. As a patent attorney it is important to continue my practice using email to/from my office, and to look at download patent information from the US and other patent offices.


        I’ve heard that with satellite systems that uplink to a satellite must have the dish set up by a “certified installer”. Since you have two-way communications with the satellite, did you have to take special training to become a “certified installer”, or was that part of Armand’s 5-6 hour set-up training? Or is that just a US requirement?   Thanks Allen.  



A: Allen: Thanks for touching base – my answer may differ depending on where you call home? My installer was near by and I took a course but he recently sent a Dish and equipment to New Mexico. I’m not sure the rule of a ‘certified installer’ is enforced or even required any longer.  A comprehensive operating instruction book (and continuous tech support with no time limits) should be part of any package. The course just simplifies the process. I use Canada’s ‘Galaxy’ server, they offers a choice of many satellites (occasionally it may be necessary to log onto a different one as RVers move to extreme locations). American users have told me that their servers don’t always offer the same selection.


       Not all US Installers offer a course, but most include an instruction manual.  I love my Dircway Dish (Now Hughes.net) and being on-line 24/7.  The majority of the time we set it up in less than 10-15 minutes. Our Dish travels in the back seat of the car between destinations but many Fifth wheel owners find a place to stow it. The tri-pod and pointing arm will fit into a folding camp chair bag. If I do have problems my installer or Galaxy tech support walks me through it.


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Q: Do you claim things left in the USA or items you use such as shampoo etc?       


        We bought some toys for the grandkids and left them in Ohio.  Thanks in advance Sandra  




A:   Sandra, when we come back we pick a realistic figure to claim. With us it is generally

$600.00 Cdn for routine stuff between the two of us over our 5-6 months- too much work to keep exact records. That is if we have not bought anything with a high price tag such as a computer or stereo etc. Those items we claim in full at the border. Day to day expenses are necessary to live and the agents understand that. NO it is not necessary to report the cost of any items that we leave in the USA.

Emergency maintenance is tax-free and not part of your amount of your claim. For instance an oil change or a blown tire is considered emergency but NOT replacement of all 4-tires. We had to replace a costly altimeter on our way home - that was emergency and not subject to tax or duty since we could not drive without a replacement.  BUT the agent last spring never even asked us about maintenance. They do not always ask but we have the bills ready just in case.   However two years ago when we replaced our fridge because it quit working, we were charged tax on it because they (Customs Agents) said that a fridge was the same category as a stereo.  Go figure.

        Hope this helps and remember to ONLY answer the Q asked - do not relay any more than required. - too much info can get you into trouble. Have a good trip!  



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Q: What does it cost to go Fulltime?


       Hi Peggi and John:  We are thinking seriously to go full time for a few years. Our concern is about the cost and if we can afford it. We are concerned about gas consumption/cost and where to economically sleep overnight in a safe way. Our pension fund is limited and we want to make sure we can live without spending all the money we have. If our business sells and we find a good used motorhome, we hope to hit the road for a while. Jose and Elsa.




A:  Hi Guys: Good to hear from you. FYI I have a detailed story on RV Living.net covering

Fulltiming Budget.  It is also highlighted in RV Living in the 21st Century. I list the things you must address - we still manage to camp under $500-$600. Cdn per month. Gas/Fuel costs depend on how far we travel (in this high gas/fuel era, many RVers are staying closer to home or taking longer to reach their destination). But maintenance costs also must be budgeted for. 

       A number of RVers ‘work-camp’ while on the move, but it is not good for Cdns to work south of the border without visas. Too much to go into in a short Q&A, but Revenue Canada (and the IRS) can decide working in exchange for a no-cost site is bartering. On another note you may be taking a job away from an American which could cause friction. There are work-camping jobs in Canada. Find more links for ‘Working on the Road’ on our RV WebLinks page.


       Hope this info helps somewhat. Remember the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. It is important to follow your dreams!  


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Q: When we wanted to purchase a USA satellite service, we were told we needed a Social Insurance number. Is there a way around this?  


       We were told that without a SIN we would have to pay a costly Installation fee. We are Canadians we do not have a US social insurance number.  




A:  Just use your Cdn Social Insurance number.  It has the same number of digits and most

merchants just need a SIN# to qualify the order. This number is not routinely checked.  


       My Q is, why do you want an American satellite system? While you are in Canada, take a look at StarChoice.com.  I hesitate to recommend Express Vu because they take many channels snowbirds watch when we roost south of the Panhandle. The further you go the more channels we lose. HOWEVER many of us still use Express Vu and when we get into the south we continue to enjoy Canadian content and we pick up the US Networks off our Bat-Wing antenna or from park cable. This way you will receive Canadian news as well as American input.  


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Q: Where can I find a simple test kit to check my water supply anywhere I stay – home, hotel, RV, etc?


       As we begin our retirement travel, we want to be prepared with safe water as we move around. The kit should show us the quality of the water as it comes out of the RV tap, or before we connect to the campground tap. We just returned from Korea and China where it is no fun being afraid of the tap water. We both remarked how nice it is to drink from the tap without concern at home.  


       I have checked everywhere with no success, and wonder if you have a lead on a test kit for everyday use. It seems we could have a problem anytime , anywhere. Thanks Dan.




A: Dan I need outside help for this one so I forwarded your request to Mark Polk at RVEduction101.com for suggestions. 


      There are quite a few water testing kits available. (see sidebar for one suggestion)

The problem is they can get expensive if you want to test water frequently. I would recommend a good water filtration system for use at home or with the RV and keep the testing kit available for travelling and staying in hotels etc. 

                                www.watersafetestkits.com/html/drinkingkits.asp  Water Test Kits  




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