Well, we've been pretty busy the last few days. The RVSEF Lifestyle, Education & Safety Conference was in full swing, and we presented seminars from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 or 4:00 p.m. each of the last three days. Linda even took a couple of classes given by our friends Jim & Chris (Geeks On Tour).
We also had a major service on our truck, checked out some possible options for our Jeep, and had dinner with our new weighing team, Trey & Susan one night, and dinner with RVSEF Executive Director, Walter Cannon another night.
It was a small turnout for the Conference but, as usual, the enthusiasm and thirst for RVing knowledge always gets all of us instructors pumped up. It is such a wealth of competent, reliable, factual information that it is a shame more people don't take advantage of it. We'll have to see what we can do to get the word out better in the future. :)
This morning was a General Maintenance session for everyone and closing ceremonies.
During General Maintenance, Gary Bunzer, The RV Doctor, brought up an explanation for an electrical situation that we have experienced a few times. It's referred to as a Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground and can create a dangerous "Hot Skin" on your RV. A Hot Skin condition can occur when plugged into an improperly wired electrical outlet or when using improperly wired cords or adapters or if there is improper wiring in the RV.
A shock or tingle when touching your RV ("Hot Skin") is never acceptable and can be deadly if certain circumstances come together as it did for a young man in Muncie, IN back in 2011. His family had a camper in their back yard with a cord running to the residence. They noticed a shock when they touched the door knob on the camper, so they wrapped the door knob in electrical tape. However, they didn't realize the entire camper was electrified and the boy was electrocuted when he placed one foot on the metal step while having the other foot on the ground (he was barefoot and the ground was wet).
So, any shock at all is a big warning sign. But short of feeling the shock, normal polarity testing doesn't reveal a Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground. It can't be detected by a 3-light electrical tester. AND the expensive surge protectors with voltage protection (Progressive Industries or SurgeGuard or something similar) that we highly recommend for every RV can't detect this issue either. Check out this article called "Failures In Outlet Testing" which explains the Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground.
Now, it's not my intent to scare everyone as most campground and RV park pedestals are correctly wired. However, I can tell you that we have experienced the Hot Skin situation three times while plugged into 20-amp outlets at the homes of our friends and families.
We do have a 50-amp hard-wired SurgeGuard device, and we would never own an RV that didn't have this protection. However, though it does recognize typical reverse polarity and will not allow electricity into the RV, it did not prevent this very specific mis-wiring situation.
The folks at Progressive Industries and SurgeGuard are scrambling to make adjustments to their products to detect the Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground so the devices can prevent the Hot Skin problem.
In the meantime, we will be acquiring a Fluke VoltAlert (or some similar product), and we will be testing outlets, especially before we plug in at anyone's 20-amp plug at their house. Check out this video from Mike Sokol from NoShockZone.org.
While you are at it, I'd recommend going to Mike's NoShockZone.org website and read through all of his RV Safety articles.
This 20-minute discussion at the Conference was extremely helpful. We were lucky in our prior "Hot Skin" situations. In fact, the first time, I thought I was just imagining the "tingle" and ignored it. The next two times, we didn't understand it, but we knew enough to uplug and we used our batteries and inverter. Now we know the "why" and how to correct it in addition to how to test for it without discovering it via a personal shock.
After the closing ceremonies, we weighed a motorhome while a few folks that don't have RVs yet looked on. After that, we got ready to pull out and gave a short hitching demo for those that were interested.
And with that, we said our goodbyes and headed out for the short 35-mile drive south to Mountaindale where our friends Ginger & Jesse are workamping. It doesn't hurt that Mountaindale offers the Passport America 50% discount Monday through Thursday during the summer. :)
Ginger put us in a nice, big, full hook-up site - Site 41.
With the big pine trees, it took a little while to find the "hole" for our satellite signal. We never got a good satellite internet signal, but the TV came in fine. We have a decent 3G cellular signal and the free Wi-Fi works well at this site.
After we got settled, we walked up to Ginger & Jesse's (RVing In The Kram-A-Lot-Inn) site. They started full-timing in December 2008 and have done quite a bit of workamping in their travels. They are on their third fifth wheel and second truck - a Volvo 610 HDT. However, Ginger is not a fan of the big truck, so they are looking to sell it or trade it for diesel dually pick-up with enough power for their Mobile Suites home on wheels.
We chatted for a little while and then they took us on a tour of the campground. We saw a big herd of Mule Deer and they have warning signs for bear and mountain lions. Though the address is Colorado Springs, this campground is a long, long way from the city and is wonderfully quiet.
Here's a look at the campground from the road. We're right in the center.
Later on, Ginger & Jesse, mostly Ginger :), prepared us a wonderful dinner. After dinner, we played several games of Sequence and the boys came out on top in a 6 games to 5 thriller. Well, maybe "thriller" is a bit dramatic, but we did claim victory.
We said our goodnights and walked home. We very much appreciated how quiet it was and we weren't awake very long.
We're not exactly sure how many nights we'll be here. We have to be in Cody, WY no later than June 12 to do seminars and RV Weighing for the Country Coach Rally. Our tentative plans include three more National Park stops on the way, so we don't have much time to hang out.
Thanks Ginger & Jesse for the warm welcome and it's great to spend some time with you guys again. :)