Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Awnings, Awnings, Awnings!!!

Great News! It's camping season!   

If you're like most of us, you simply cannot wait to get out there and put that RV to use. After all of my recent health issues I'm in the same boat. My poor camper has been sitting there patiently waiting for me to hook up and go somewhere. Soon enough, grasshopper, soon enough!

In the meantime there's a bit of bad news too. 

Along with the advent of camping season comes the possibility of those pesky Summer storms, that can pop up in the time it takes to eat a grilled hot dog and can wreak havoc with your retractable awnings. There are a few common sense things your can do to ensure that your trusty awning is ready to use when you need it and save your repair money for other more enjoyable expenditures.

You do remember our friend Common Sense don't you? He used to live in just about every house on every block in every county and in every state, with the notable exception of Washington, DC. He has been saving humans pain and expense for as long as there have been humans but we seem to forget to listen to him a lot more lately than in times past. Here are his 2 simplest tips to protect your side-mounted retractable awnings:


While it is true that your awning slopes downward from the poly-cord track that mounts to the top of your camper to the fringe, trust me ... this is nothing more than an optical illusion! Since the fabric is just that ... fabric .... it will not hold that gently sloping shape once 10 to 20 gallons of water falls from the sky on top of your $500 piece of vinyl in a matter of mere seconds. It will sag and pool under this enormous weight and one of three things will happen.
1. The roller tube will fold like a cheap suit,

2. The auto-dump feature on the new electric awnings will kick in (much to your surprise) and give you a headache and/or a quick cold shower depending one where you happen to be standing or sitting when it happens.

3.The hardware that holds the awning to your camper will disintegrate into a pile of recyclable aluminum faster than you can say whooops!!

If you want to use your awning when it's raining you certainly can. Just be SURE to lower one side so that the water has a place to get off of it!


If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times. "I don't have to worry about my awning because I tie the front of mine down with straps."

WRONG!!!  Did I say that loud enough? WRONG!!!

I don't care if you chain the arm ends to a 25 foot deep concrete pad with steel anchors, a 40-50 mile per hour wind will simply chuckle at your feeble attempts to thwart it as it effortlessly rips the top extrusion from the side of your beloved camper along with whatever happens to come off with it in the process. As the old Parkay commercial used to say ... 'it's not nice to fool around with Mother Nature!'

Summer storms can pop up in a matter of minutes. Therefore, if you're going to be away from your camper for more than 10 minutes PUT THAT AWNING AWAY!!! 

I've seen at least a thousand campers with awnings that were removed by an angry wind and, while I'm sure that there are a few old goats out there who would like nothing more than to prove me wrong ... sadly, they never will!! Heed my words or cough up the cash. The choice is yours!

Oh ... and by the way ... I did see ONE awning that survived a big wind! Wasn't even bent nor was the fabric even stretched!!! The camper was laying on its backside but the awning was in fine shape! I'll bet those were some surprised people when they found themselves sleeping on the wall!

It's extremely painful to watch an awning die! Protect yours with these simple rules and you won't have to endure the funeral costs associated due to a lack in application of Common Sense!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Good News Update!!

Good Morning All!
I have great news to share. I went to the doctor yesterday for my follow up visit and he advised me that my last scan looked great! We'll now move into the true follow up phase of scanning every 3 to 6 months but basically, the cure worked!

Which leads me to my next point. I have learned through this experience that life is much too short to waste even a minute of it. Whatever your interest, whatever your passion, pursue it with all due vigor and make the most of every minute you have on God's beautiful earth! If you've harbored a desire to travel, do so. If you've always wanted to experience the camping lifestyle, do it!

Live like this is the last day of your life, love like you've never done before and dance like nobody's looking! Trust me, when you've stared at the possibility of leaving here, you get a fresh perspective on what's important and what's not.

Most importantly, do all that you can while you can to let those you love know how very much you do and give thanks to the God the Creator EVERY DAY for His Grace and Mercy! We are blessed to be here no matter what the circumstance. I'm actually grateful for having had the opportunity to experience my illness as it has made me a stronger, better, more loving and grateful man that I ever could have become without it!

Here's to life and the opportunity we have to live it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Well it's good to be back. Sorry for the absence but I've been dealing with some health issues lately and have just not had the energy to do much besides put one foot in front of the other.

Since we're on the subject, I thought I'd take a minute to speak to you about maintenance.
No, not maintenance on your RV, maintenance on something much more valuable, YOU. Speaking from the voice of experience I have learned how very important it is to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. Get regular checkups. Get involved in your healthcare. Don't just assume that your doctors are mind-readers and know exactly what's going on inside of you by looking down your throat and checking your blood pressure.

I spent years and years assuming that I was bullet proof, only to find that I was quite the contrary. I ignored the warning signs my body was giving me under the false assumption that it would go away like always until one day it did not and I wound up in a two year fight for my life. I've learned that it's a lot easier to fight cancer or any disease when it is detected earlier and without much of the misery that you have to endure to beat it back after it takes hold.

I am one of the lucky ones.
My battle is winnable. Will  yours be? Again, let me restate something that is of extreme importance..... Get Regular Checkups!! TALK to your doctors!! TELL them what you're going through!! DON"T assume they know!!

It's up to YOU to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your health. You wouldn't ignore a leak in your camper and you shouldn't ignore any warning signs coming from within you. Now I'm not saying that you should run to the doctor with every ache and pain but get familiar with the warning signs of the major diseases and if you see or feel them tell your doctor so that you can be around to read my blogs for many years to come.

I will be here, God willing and the creek don't rise!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Handy Pre-Travel Checklist

Many of you use your recreational vehicles year round and others simply pack them away until the warm weather returns. In either case, I've found that the following little checklist saves me a lot of grief prior to leaving out for a glorious time in the campground! Use this to ensure that you're ready to hit the road and you'll have a lot more fun when you get to the campground instead of repairing things when you should be sipping coffee around the fire.

**NOTE**: Whenever you depart from home, gas station, rest area or campsite, take some time to carefully perform these specific checks.

Lights Off
Antenna Down
Vents, Doors, Drawers closed and secured
Refrigerator/Ice Box Secured with Travel Lock
Loose Items Stored Away or Latched Down

Tires Properly Inflated & In Good Condition
Wheel Lug Nuts Tight
Lights – Both Vehicles Brake, Turning, Headlights and Taillights Working Properly
Hoses (drain & fill) Disconnected & stored, Caps Secured
Power Cord Disconnected & Stored
Steps Stowed Away
Stabilizing Jacks Retracted
Access Doors & Hatches Closed & Locked
Propane Bottle Connections Secured & Service Valve Closed

Hitching & Coupling
Hitch Secure
Safety Chains Properly Crossed & Attached
Break-Away Switch Connector Properly Attached
Front Jack Raised
Mirrors Properly Adjusted

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Weather is Changing!

As I look out my window right now, the rain is falling in buckets. With each successive Fall storm that moves through, the temperatures seem to drop a little more and Old Man Winter creeps slowly closer to our collective doors.

That being said, it's a good time to consider the readiness of your beloved RV to withstand the coming lack of warmth and make certain that it will be ready to hit the road when the flowers peek out from their Winter sleep. While we reside in the Deep South here in South Carolina, one should NEVER assume that cold weather cannot and will not affect us. Last year's experience should provide a warning that extreme weather can and will occur when you least expect it. According to the Farmer's Almanac (the only really reliable source for long term weather forecasts in my humble opinion) this Winter just might hold more nasty surprises than last.

WINTERIZE YOUR CAMPERS PEOPLE!!! This past Spring saw more units coming into our shop for water leaks than we've seen in quite some time. Then again, last Winter was a real shocker and nobody expected what happened but for a few who paid attention.

See my previous posts related to Winterizing your RV but my best advice is to take the unit to a reputable repair center and have them to do a complete Winterization. If you live in the Upstate of South Carolina, our technicians at Jody's RV are standing by and fully prepared to protect you from the damages that can occur due to improperly prepped water systems and roof maintenance. I'm no scientist but I know enough about fluid dynamics to know that if you give it a crack, water WILL find a way into places you don't want it and out of places that you do. Our service techs are trained to recognize potential problems and at only $89.95 for a proper Winterization it's pretty much a bargain.

Disregard this warning if you so desire but it's pretty safe to assume that I'll be seeing you next Spring either for parts or repairs. Knowledge is power and you have now been given the power. Use it wisely.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Servicing Your RV's Rubber Roof Membrane


Visit us at www.jodysrv.com1425 Hwy 72/221 East,  Greenwood, SC  29649 Call us at (864) 227-6500 or email me at barry@jodysrv.com

Maintaining Your Rubber Roof
The rubber roof that is present on most recreational vehicles provides an excellent barrier against water, insects and other outside forces. This membrane (either TPO or EPDM) is typically glued to the roof substrate and is sealed at all of the roof openings (i.e. vents, air conditioners, etc.) using high grade and waterproof silicon sealants.

One should think of and treat this membrane in the same way that one regards and cares for the skin on the human body. It should be kept clean, moisturized and quickly repaired in the event of an injury such as cracks or tears.  The two major enemies of any recreational vehicle are sun and water. UV rays from the sun break down the protective barriers allowing water to penetrate and destroy your rolling manse. These protective "skins" are extremely important in the never-ending battle to keep the liquid stuff (not to mention creepy crawlies) on the OUTSIDE of your camper.

Basic Maintenance

As noted above, the roof membrane should be kept clean, free of debris and moisturized.  It is not necessary to clean the roof as often as the camper itself is washed, however, it is a good idea to inspect it at each washing and take whatever action is appropriate at the time. At least yearly (preferably every 6 months) the roof should be cleaned with a good quality cleaner/conditioner such as Thetford's Rubber Roof Cleaner/Conditioner. This product provides the proper cleaning strength to remove most of the loose dirt on the roof, as well as the moisturizers and UV protection to keep your rubber roof supple and ready to withstand the elements. 

It is NOT necessary to SCRUB the roof with a stiff brush, nor should you EVER power wash your roof!! The membrane is made up of a black rubber substrate, which is coated with multiple layers of white rubber powders that are applied under heat and pressure. The intent of this approach is to provide UV protection by allowing the roof to "shed" it's top layer in the same way that human skin peels after a severe sunburn. (As an aside, it is this process that is the primary cause of black streaks on the sides of your camper.) At any rate, when all of the rolled rubber layers are gone, all that is left is the black substrate and when this happens, it is time to replace the membrane, which can cost as much as $175 per running foot to accomplish. Scrubbing or power washing the roof simply speeds up this process and is not necessary. 

But hey ... if you have deep pockets and don't mind shelling out a few Franklin's to replace your roof, feel free to ignore my advice! We'll be more than happy to replace the membrane for you for the right price!!

If you happen to be a clean freak, just repeat this mantra to yourself 100 times and you should be able to sleep peacefully ... "No one can actually SEE the top of my camper anyway so the stains don't matter!"

Detailed Maintenance

In addition to cleaning and moisturizing the roof membrane, it should be inspected thoroughly on a yearly basis for tears in the roof and/or cracks along the seam lines. UV rays from the sun tend to break down the caulk seams and roof vent covers. We recommend resealing the roof seams at least annually with a good quality rubber roof sealer such as Plas-T-Cote rubber roof coating. 

Also, you should know that these coatings ARE NOT intended to cover the entire roof! They are used to seal ONLY the caulked seals around the vents, antenna, front and rear seams, etc. If you paint the entire roof you'll get quite a surprise when you're pulling your camper to the beach and the Man pulls you over because huge sheets of reseal compound are flying off on the road behind you! The coatings WILL NOT adhere to the roof itself.

The plastic vent covers should be inspected carefully and replaced as needed. Prolonged exposure to the sun will cause the plastic resins to break down and, eventually, the vent covers will simply crumble, leaving you with a wet bed at a minimum and serious structural damage at the worst.

All of the products mentioned here are available at our retail store or can be ordered and delivered to you via our online catalog. Access our catalog by clicking the link below.


Finally, do not attempt "do it yourself" roof repairs unless you are extremely proficient in performing these repairs. Your roof stands between you and much of the great out doors. Treat it with the degree of respect that it deserves and it will serve you well for many, many years!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Care and Use of Your Awning

Sponsored by Jody's RV in Greenwood, SC

Visit us at www.jodysrv.com1425 Hwy 72/221 East,  Greenwood, SC  29649 Call us at (864) 227-6500 or email me at barry@jodysrv.com

Enjoy Using Your Roll-Out Awning for Years with a Few Common Sense Precautions!

Close your eyes and picture it!! It's a beautiful, clear, Summer morning at the campground. the birds are singing and you've just filled your favorite coffee mug to the rim with piping hot joe. The sun has just crept over the horizon and you can literally watch the day shake itself loose from the pre-dawn grayness that has enveloped it for the last 12 or so hours. You head outside to enjoy that first cup of coffee in the shade of your side-mounted awning. You pull up a chair and watch the dew drip from the fringe of the awning fabric while you take that first delicious sip.

Hold the phone, Mac! I hope you're not telling me that you left that awning out all night are you? If so, I certainly hope that you anchored the thing down with some good heavy duty tie-down straps and anchor pins!! If not, you're just plain lucky that no storms blew in during the night and ripped your pretty little awning to shreds. Worse yet, it could have rolled your whole camper 90 degrees and you might have found yourself sleeping on the hookup side wall with your alarm clock ticking happily away on your chest!!!

RV awnings are fantastic options for extending the living space of your camper into the great outdoors. However, one must keep in mind that, to a gust of wind, they look, for all the world, like a huge para-sail! Adding insult to injury, the things are not inexpensive to replace. The average camper awning can cost anywhere from $900 to upwards of $2,500 depending on your particular brand, model and/or accessories. Let's cover a few points that might just save you a lot of hassle and more than a few Washington’s should an unforeseen storm arise and ruin your camping trip.

Some Basic Ground Rules

1. NEVER leave your awning extended if there is any chance that a heavy wind storm could arise unless the roller tube at the front is tied down with heavy duty anchor straps. Even with these straps, the wind can rip the awning right off of the camper. My recommendation is simple ... if it might storm ... put the awning up.

2. NEVER leave your awning extended when you're not going to be in the immediate vicinity for any extended period of time or when you retire to the snore-room for the night. Storms are unpredictable and can pop up before you know it. Doubtless, you won't be snoring when you hear the ominous sound of ripping fabric or the awning arms beating holes in your roof or the hookup side of your camper!

3. Even when properly tied down, ALWAYS leave one end of the awning a few inches lower than the other so that the water has a place to run off. I recommend doing this on the side that is farthest from the main entry door so that you won't create a mud hole that you'll have to leap across to get into or out of the vehicle. Even though your awning LOOKS like it might shed water over the fringe, rest assured, it will NOT! The fabric will stretch to allow the first quart or so to stand. Then as more rain falls, it stretches to accommodate a gallon then 10 gallons then ... you get the picture. Water weighs 8.33 lbs per US gallon!! 50 gallons weighs an amazing 416.5 lbs and will literally rip the arms off of your camper if it can't find a way to the ground.

These days, more and more side-mount awnings consist of motor driven units. The same precautions apply to these and there is even less excuse for not storing them properly when adverse conditions threaten since all you have to do is push a button to retract the awning. Also, almost all modern power awnings are equipped with arm adjustments which allow the water to drain off to the lowest corner.

If you fail to follow these simple rules, I sincerely hope your insurance is paid up! 


Your awning fabric should be cleaned whenever you was your camper. Simply roll it out and use a good quality awning cleaner and a soft brush to clean then let it dry thoroughly before you roll it back up. As a side note, keep in mind that a bit if mildew is just going to happen and it's going to turn into a mold stain unless you wash your awning about once a week. I don't know about you but in my yard that just ain't gonna happen! 

I'm sure you've seen awning fabrics with horizontal black lines running across the width. This is a result of mildew growing while the awning is rolled up. It's intrinsic to awning fabrics because each time you retract the awning, air is trapped between the layers. When the temperature changes, whatever moisture is contained in that air condenses and settles to the bottom of each wrap giving those pesky little mold and mildew bugs a perfect neighborhood to make and raise their young. 

Conceivably you could use bleach or a good quality mildew remover to keep them at bay but they are nothing if not persistent and eventually you will know they were there in the form of those aforementioned black streaks. Quite honestly, they don't bother me much since I know that it's pretty futile to resist beyond the occasional scrubbing. I just look down at my coffee cup or over at my lovely wife and I ignore them till it's time to replace the fabric anyway. 

I hear that they don't have this problem in Arizona or the Mojave Desert but, just like washing my awning once a week, my moving to one of these places to prevent mold and mildew just ain't gonna happen!

In summary, don't be afraid to use your awning. Just use some common sense and you'll save yourself some serious headaches not to mention the cost associated with having to shell out the hard earned dough for repair or replacement!