Follow by Email

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Who Wants a Vintage Green Bay Packers RV?

Post thanks to Link provided:

Well, your dreams are about to come true! You might as well sell your home or move out of that crappy apartment you live in because you’re going to want to be inside this vintage 1974 Green Bay Packers RV full time from now on!
For a measly $20,000 all of your dreams can come true (providing your dreams are limited to driving and possibly living in a Green Bay Packers RV).
Nothing says, “Listen, hear. I am taking over this roadway. Get out of my path,” like this bad boy. Am I right?!
It’s perfect for driving through the suburbs of Chicago. And I mean that literally. Like driving through their lawns, running over their mailboxes, sideswiping their BMWs… stuff like that. It would be even better if you did this with your cheesehat hanging out the window.
You can also take this bad boy to games. And just think of the parties you can have! Not to mention there’s got to be a great secret compartment inside of this thing where you can stash the bodies of Minnesota Vikings fans. 
Seriously, this thing is for sale from Lynch Truck Center. Its former owner recently passed away. We’re not clear if he died inside the RV or not, but who cares about a stiff or two when you’re partying in a Packers RV?
Here’s the brief description from the website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CNG Pickup Experience - Not ready for prime time!
Articles thanks to Bruce Smith and Links provided:

First CNG Pickup Experience: Chevy Silverado 2500 Bi-Fuel

First Impressions Driving A 2015 Bi-Fuel CNG 2500 Silverado HD

May, 2014  There’s this big push to get us to embrace clean energy by opting for propane- and CNG-powered pickups over diesel and gas. 
I’m all for helping the environment and am not afraid to give alternative fuels a look. 
So I’ve been eager to test both propane and CNG. I was impressed by the Roush-converted propane-powered F-250 I ran back in March. You’d never know it was propane by the way it performed over all. 
I was elated last week when I got my hands on a 2015 Chevy Silverado bi-fuel 2500HDCrew Cab 4×4 with the factory CNG package. 
But after spending a few days with it, I don’t think you can sell me on making the CNG switch just yet. 
Here’s the skinny: The CNG fuel tank takes up about 1/3 of the bed, it only holds about 17 GGE(gasoline gallon equivalent), and there’s a significant drop in both power and fuel economy compared to running the 6.0L GM V-8 on gas.

[RELATED: The Truth About CNG Tank Capacity]

It appears my test truck is averaging around 11mpg on CNG driving on the open road, while the V8 on gas is getting close to 14. (I haven’t done the final numbers.)
I paid $2.22 to fill up the CNG tank at a Clean Energy station 65 miles away in New Orleans while gas was selling for $3.23. 
Yes, 65 miles to go get CNG. There’s not a single fueling station anywhere along the Alabama and Mississippi I-10 corridor.
So much for the improved CNG fueling infrastructure.
2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD bi-fuel with 6.0L CNG package.
2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD bi-fuel with 6.0L CNG package.
On the track, the truck is a full two seconds slower accelerating to 60mph on CNG than it is on gas because the engine loses 60hp. 
Hook up a trailer and the CNG power difference will be be even more significant.
Quite honestly, I expected better performance.
CNG has about 20 percent the energy (BTU) per gallon compared to E-10 unleaded, so some power and fuel economy loss is expected.
But when the price of CNG is only 30 percent less than gas, there’s not much benefit to running it.
After you pay the $9,000 or so price for the option package the ROI may never be realized by trade-in or resale time unless you own multiple trucks and put in your own CNG fueling point.
(A $60,000 initial expense, but then you can get CNG for about $1.75 GGE.)  
So far my preliminary evaluation in this instance is:  Propane 1, CNG none. Sorry Chevy.

CNG Fuel Tank Capacity: Not What You Think

The other day  I was testing a CNG-powered bi-fuel pickup and was stumped when the truck’s “empty” 17 GGE CNG tank would only hold 12 gallons. 
After discussions with both CNG tank suppliers and CNG automotive pickup engine builders, I found out the stated size on a CNG tank isn’t the capacity that’s actually useable by the vehicle. 
CNG, a gas, is under 3,600psi when it goes into the fuel tank and around 3,400psi headed upstream to the engine.
That lower pressure has to be maintained in order to supply the truck’s fuel delivery system, which is separate from the truck’s gasoline fuel system if bi-fuel.
When the CNG volume decreases, so does tank pressure. When tank pressure reaches a certain point, CNG delivery ceases.
In most instances, according to both CNG tank suppliers and CNG pickup builders, that’s somewhere between 12-13 GGE on a 17 GGE fuel tank. 
On the truck I was testing the useable CNG capacity was only 12 GGE, not the 17 as listed on the brochure and spec sheets.
Keep that in mind when you are figuring the CNG range of a vehicle.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

R.V. Life: Getting Kicks at Age 66

Story thanks to J. PEDER ZANE and the Links provided:

May, 2014  Jim and Jaylene Myers knew exactly what they wanted to do when they retired in 2008: Go wherever whim and chance might take them in their 45-foot recreational vehicle.

In the last five years Jim, 63, a former paper manufacturing executive from Seattle, and Jaylene, 62, a former schoolteacher, have camped in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, retraced the route followed by 19th-century wagon trains, gone fly fishing in Colorado, visited the Alamo in Texas and relatives in Alabama, and devoured crawfish in Breaux Bridge, La. Along the way they have befriended hundreds of other R.V. aficionados who, as he put it, are also “living the dream.”

“When I was working, my life was my schedule,” Mr. Myers said. “It was an endless run of meetings. One thing I wanted when I retired was to not have a schedule and to get to know places I’d only seen from airplanes on business trips.”

The Myerses are members of a high-octane tribe of retirees who are transforming their golden years into a golden age of adventure on the open road. Inspired by disparate strands of the American way of life — from don’t-tread-on-me individualism to an it-takes-a-village communitarianism, from a love of nature to a craving for the best creature comforts modernity can offer (or both) — they are a wildly diverse bunch.

Some live in small trailers that cost a few thousand dollars and are barely larger than a van. Others cruise the country in expensive rigs — such as those favored by celebrity R.V. enthusiasts like Clarence Thomas and Robert De Niro — with flat-screen televisions and king-size beds. Some seek the country’s most isolated nooks and crannies; others stay in plush R.V. resorts that offer more activities than costly summer camps for children. Most travel as couples; a few go solo.

They include former teachers, lawyers, doctors, firefighters, artists and corporate executives. Not that it matters. In R.V. culture, “no one asks what you’ve done,” said Kathi Vogler, 64, a retired nurse from Pompton Plains, N.J., who has traveled with her husband, John, a retired middle school principal, for five years, “just where you’ve been, where you’re going, what you’ve seen.”

The best estimates say 750,000 to one million retirees call R.V.s home, according to Kevin Broom, director of media relations for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. He said independent studies suggested their ranks were growing. Although the recession took a toll on sales of new R.V.s, the number of R.V. owners 55 and older increased 20 percent, to 3.6 million, from 2005 through 2011.

That is not surprising. “We are seeing a lot more people, 55, 57, 58, who got laid off and decided they couldn’t handle retirement,” said David Gorin, an industry consultant from McLean, Va. “We’re also seeing more people who can use technology to work from the road and those who have just decided, ‘Let’s enjoy life while we can.’ ” The Affordable Care Act may also make it easier for retirees who do not qualify for military benefits or Medicare to secure health insurance, making health care more accessible on the road.

The idea of retiring to an R.V. rarely comes in a flash of inspiration. “Most people in the R.V. community come up through camping, starting when they were children,” said Tim Deputy, general manager of the Sun-N-Fun Carefree RV Resort in Sarasota, Fla.

That camping experience is important because even the most plush R.V.s, with multiple rooms that slide out from the main body, providing up to 450 square feet of space, are smaller than the average home. If sleeping in a tent was your idea of a good time, an R.V. might seem like Versailles.

“If I drive and I have to go to the bathroom, I have a bathroom,” explained David Woodworth, 74, an R.V. historian who has crisscrossed the country dozens of times. “If we don’t make it to where we need to at night it doesn’t matter because we still have a comfortable bed.”
It is possible to live quite cheaply in an R.V. Some devotees save big by establishing residency in income-tax-free states like Florida, Texas or South Dakota. Economic necessity, however, does not seem to be a prime motivation for most. Mr. Woodworth said the appeal had changed little since the first R.V.s were introduced around 1910 — adventure, freedom, spontaneity and community are words R.V. owners use frequently.

But the R.V. landscape has changed considerably in the last decade because of new technologies and the active lifestyle embraced by baby boomers. When Jaimie Hall Bruzenak, 69, began full-time R.V. living in 1992, cellphones, the Internet and satellite television were nascent technologies. She needed a service to forward her snail mail and an 800 number where friends could leave messages she would answer at pay phones. Now online banking gives her and her husband, George, instant access to Social Securitychecks; Skype allows them to stay in touch with friends and GPS makes it hard to get lost and easy to find stores. Solar panels help power her rig. Oddly enough, these advances have made it easier for them to live in the wild.

“We love boondocking,” or camping without hookups for water or electricity, “in national parks and other public lands, away from everything except nature,” said Ms. Bruzenak, whose books on the lifestyle include “Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement.”

Parks and other public lands remain among the most popular destinations, said Jeff Crider, an industry consultant in Palm Desert, Calif. “There are about 6,000 public campgrounds in the country, many of them in the most beautiful places on earth,” he said.

Budget cuts create opportunities for these retirees, as park agencies increasingly rely on volunteers. Called V.I.P.s (volunteers in park), they provide visitor information, patrol trails and present programs in exchange for camping privileges and an opportunity to explore the park in depth. Allen Parsons, 79, a former financial planner, and his wife, Bonnie, 69, a former physician assistant, who lived near Philadelphia, have served as “volunteer interpretive rangers” at several national parks, including Yosemite, Yellowstone and Petrified Forest.

Since hitting the road in 2007, they have observed bears, bison and many other species while wandering through every state in the lower 48. His voice filled with wonder, Mr. Parsons recalled watching animals congregate at the remaining water holes when the Everglades dried out in the spring. “As crocodiles lazed nearby, we watched an osprey family in their massive nest,” he said. “The mother is feeding her three young fledglings, as big as the adults, and chases away a vulture, while she’s calling to her mate to provide more fish. On our last day at Flamingo we saw the fledglings fly for the first time.”

For Wendy Parsels, 50, and her husband, Charles, 65, retiring to an R.V. in 2007 offered the chance to see America, and each other. We “hadn’t spent a ton of time together” because of their careers in the military, she explained. “I’d seen a lot of the world but not the U.S.,” added Ms. Parsels. As her husband drove their motor home along U.S. 301 in Florida — “we just decided yesterday to go,” she said — she said that they avoid Interstate highways “at all costs,” preferring “two-lane roads” that “allow us to go through all the small towns.”

“If we see something that sounds interesting, like the smallest church in America,” in South Newport, Ga., “or the smallest post office,” near Ochopee, Fla., “or the 40-acre-rock,“ in Kershaw, S.C., “we’ll see it,” she said. They had to pare down their possessions, but she said she did not miss “all that stuff.” Instead of straining their marriage, their tight quarters have brought them closer together, she said. “We are always out doing something,” she said. “The only time you’re cooped up is when it is raining.”

Two great myths surround R.V. owners. The first is that they are in constant motion. Even if high gas prices and poor gas mileage did not make travel expensive — a typical large rig might get seven to 10 miles a gallon — owners say the destination is even more important than the journey. Instead of bouncing from attraction to attraction, most spend weeks or months camped at particular locations. The second myth is that R.V. owners are a solitary lot, a gang of two. A prime attraction is a sense of community — Deadhead bohemianism mixed with Mayberry traditionalism — kindled by its like-minded members.

“It is a very social lifestyle,” said Roger Buchanan, vice president for regional operations at Carefree Communities, which owns and operates 79 R.V. and manufactured home parks in the United States and Canada. “When someone first comes to an R.V. park, they are coming into the site, people next to them are giving directions, ‘pull forward,’ and help them get set up,” he said. “They ask where they are from, ask them to come to the campfire, and then maybe have a drink or dinner.”

Many of the country’s roughly 8,000 private R.V. parks serve as seasonal homes to travelers fleeing cold or heat. Florida and Arizona are popular in the winter, Maine, Washington and the Upper Midwest in the summer. They become instant small towns whose members live cheek to jowl on lots, usually 20 feet by 40 feet, that rent for about $400 a month. Traditionally, most parks offered a few geriatric activities like bingo and shuffleboard. Baby boomers demand more, Mr. Buchanan said. Some resorts offer modern gyms, pools and hundreds of activities.

While some are on an endless road trip, many decide to settle down after a few years, for health or other reasons. Some return to the homes they never sold or buy houses near adult offspring. Others, still hooked on the life, if not the road, put down stakes in R.V. parks. That is one reason the park model home, a less mobile, R.V.-type structure that generally sells for $25,000 to $125,000, is becoming increasingly popular, Mr. Buchanan said.

After five years on the road, Ms. Vogler, the New Jersey nurse, and her husband recently bought a model home in a Sarasota R.V. resort. Their days are packed playing bocce and pickleball (an easier form of tennis), riding motorcycles and bikes, and taking woodworking and jewelry classes. She recently took up the guitar. “As you get older, it’s important to stay active and be part of a strong community of people who want to do something,” she said. “It keeps you young; it keeps you moving.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2014, on page F1 of the New York edition with the headline: R.V. Life: Getting Kicks at Age 66. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

Friday, July 11, 2014

Funny! - Are you old enough to remember?

I know some of you will not understand this message,
but I bet you know someone who might.
I came across this phrase yesterday.
A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about
'fender skirts' started me thinking
about other words that quietly disappear from
our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers'

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA)
'suicide knob,' 'neckers knobs.'
Since I'd been thinking of cars,
my mind naturally went that direction first.
Any kids will probably have to find some older person
over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.
Remember 'Continental kits?'
They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers
that were supposed to make any car
as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?
At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term.
But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'
I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone
who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'
Many today do not even know what a clutch is
or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.
For that matter, the starter was down there too.

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy
to come home, so you could ride the
'running board' up to the house?
Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth
but never anymore - 'store-bought.'
Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days.
But once it was bragging material to have a
store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

[] [] 

'Coast to coast' is a phrase that once held all sorts
of excitement and now means almost nothing.
Now we take the term 'worldwide' for granted.
This floors me.

[] [] 
On a smaller scale, 'wall-to-wall' was once
a magical term in our homes. In the '50s,
everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with,
wow, wall-to-wall carpeting!
Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting
with hardwood floors. Go figure.

When was the last time you heard the quaint phrase
'in a family way?' It's hard to imagine that the word 'pregnant'
was once considered a little too graphic,
a little too clinical for use in polite company,
so we had all that talk about stork visits and
'being in a family way' or simply 'expecting.'
Apparently 'brassiere' is a word no longer in usage.
I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up.
I guess it's just 'bra' now.
'Unmentionables' probably wouldn't be understood at all.
I always loved going to the 'picture show,'
but I considered 'movie' an affectation.

Most of these words go back to the '50s,
but here's a pure '60s word I came across
the other day 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.'
That was just a fun word to say.
And what was it replaced with 'Coffee maker.'
How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

[] [] 
I miss those made-up marketing words that were
meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro.
Words like 'Dyna Flow' and 'Electrolux' and 'Frigidaire'.
Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'Spectra Vision!'

[] [] [] 
Food for thought.
Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago?
Nobody complains of that anymore.
Maybe that's what Castor oil cured,
because I never hear mothers threatening kids
with Castor Oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely
on the endangered list.
The one that grieves me most is 'supper.'
Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a great word.
Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.
Someone forwarded this to me.
I thought some of us of a 'certain age'
would remember most of these.

Just for fun, pass it along to others
of 'a certain age.'


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Workers reach $21-million settlement against Wal-Mart, Schneider Logistics

Story thanks to Ricardo Lopez and Links provided:

May, 2014  Workers at a Riverside County warehouse and distribution complex for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agreed to settle a long-running battle over wage issues by accepting $21 million in unpaid wages, interest and penalties.

The proposed settlement of a lawsuit with Wal-Mart and Schneider Logistics Inc. covers more than 1,800 people who worked at three Mira Loma facilities from 2001 to 2013.

The Schneider facilities were fully dedicated to Wal-Mart's business, according to court documents in a lawsuit brought by the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, the group that announced a memorandum of understanding Monday.

Wal-Mart warehouses: In the May 15 Business section, an article about wage disputes at Riverside County warehouses serving Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said that the Warehouse Worker Resource Center filed a lawsuit to recover back pay. The center aided the workers in finding a law firm, which filed the suit on behalf of the workers.

"We are pleased with this proposed settlement," said Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg. "Once approved, it will result in the dismissal of the lawsuit."

A spokeswoman for Schneider Logistics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under the agreement, Schneider would pay the total amount without any contribution from Wal-Mart, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement who didn't want to be identified because such details weren't public yet.

The proposed settlement is the culmination of a nearly three-year effort by warehouse workers to address wage and labor violations that they said were endemic in the logistics center, part of a massive industry in Riverside County.

Besides Wal-Mart, dozens of retailers and contractors operate numerous warehouses and distribution centers in the Inland Empire to move goods from and to Southern California ports. The industry accounts for about 114,000 jobs in the region, according to trade economist John Husing.

The warehouse workers group sued Schneider in October 2011, and later added Wal-Mart, winning a key victory.

Judge Christina A. Snyder of U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in February that Wal-Mart could be named as co-defendant in the lawsuit based on evidence that it could be held accountable as a joint employer.

The lawsuit argued that Wal-Mart exercised tremendous control over warehouse operations, including setting productivity metrics and safety standards.

Snyder also denied a motion by Wal-Mart and Schneider Logistics to dismiss the suit.

In February, the warehouse workers sought class-action status. Negotiations toward ending the litigation then turned more serious, said Theresa Traber, one of the lead attorneys for the warehouse workers.

"This is a wonderful settlement," Traber said. "This is an industry where retail companies like Wal-Mart and the logistics companies try to evade the law.... The giants have finally been held accountable."

The facilities, operated by various warehouse companies for Wal-Mart since 2001, function together as the largest Wal-Mart distribution center in the western U.S., court documents said.

The suit alleged major wage theft occurring over 10 years against "lumpers" — workers who load and unload boxes by hand from shipping containers.

The workers often worked double shifts — 16 hours a day, seven days a week with no required breaks or overtime premiums — and often for less than minimum wage, according to the suit.

The workers alleged they were instead paid by an elaborate piece-rate system that was found to be illegal and was changed quickly after the suit was filed by the warehouse workers group, which consists mainly of Latino immigrants.

Guadalupe Rangel, 45, one of the workers expected to share in the $21-million settlement, said he first began working as a warehouse worker in 2005 for Impact Logistics Inc.

Impact was one of two subcontractors that employed warehouse workers at the Mira Loma facilities. The other firm was Premier Warehousing Ventures.

Warehouse workers already had won a combined settlement of $1.7 million from those two firms, Traber said.

Rangel, a resident of Bloomington, said that in the first years he unloaded containers during long days that were full of tough, manual labor.

Workers unloaded all sorts of merchandise bound for Wal-Mart stores, including patio furniture, trampolines and above-ground pools, he said in Spanish.

"Thank God we're now going to receive compensation for the years before when they didn't pay us well," said Rangel, now a Schneider employee. "I see those years as abusive ... when we'd only earn $100 to $150 a week."

The proposed settlement is expected to receive final approval later this year, Traber said.
Twitter: @rljourno
Times staff writer Marc Lifsher in Sacramento contributed to this report.