Blog :: February 2013
2/27/2013 10:58:01 AM
I know, I know.  It is still winter and blowing snow outside - so why am I talking about bug bites now! Well no matter what the weather, it is always a good time to brush up on our knowledge of bug bites, how to identify them and how to treat them.  It just may come in handy!

The red imported fire ant was accidentally introduced to the United States by a South American cargo ship that docked in Mobile, Alabama in the 1930s. It is now a common pest found primarily in the southern and southwestern parts of the United States.
  A fire ant can both bite and sting. The bites or stings will have a red center that is surrounded by lighter colored rings, and there can even be tendrils of redness coming off the main area of the bite. Its primary symptom, however, is pain. People who are bitten or stung by fire ants can also experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, fatigue, and body aches. 

As their name implies, bed bugs are tiny insects that often live in bedding. Their infestation rates in human dwellings has increased worldwide in recent years, and many people are even avoiding traveling or staying in hotels because they fear these pests will hitch a ride home with them on luggage or clothing.  Bed bugs leave large circles of bites in orderly rows. These "bite wheels" cause itching, skin redness, localized swelling, and even blisters on the bites.These wheels eventually turn to small red bumps and fade after a few days. The bites are not dangerous, though infections can result from scratching the bites.

Flea bites often start as an itchy rash of tiny, sometimes bleeding, bumps in the armpits or the crease of a joint. The itching may be localized at first, but it can spread and become very severe, especially in people who are sensitive to flea bites. The area around these bites may swell, and touching them will cause them to turn white.

As most people know, mosquito bites itch severely. Scratching them causes the bites to swell to red bumps or welts because this action irritates the bite sites. This can also lead to infection in the bites. Wearing insect repellant is important because mosquitos can carry diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus, Dengue fever, and yellow fever.

Chiggers aren't actually insects, but are rather the juvenile form of a type of mite. They can be found in forests and grasslands, along lakes and streams, or even in parks, lawns, and golf courses.  Chigger bites are painless,  but they produce itchy, raised red lesions on the skin that are similar to the skin reaction that results from exposure to poison ivy or oak. Scratching the bites can cause them to spread and appear as a rash. Skin infections can result from scratching the bites, especially among people who are very sensitive to them.

Humans usually pick up a tick from grass or other plants. The tick will then attach itself to the warm areas of head, armpit, or groin and feed on blood, passing on any illnesses it carries in the process. Ticks carry a number of diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, and Q fever.  Early removal of the tick body and head, followed by thorough cleaning, can help prevent infection in this single bite. Watch for such symptoms as muscle aches, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and headache in the weeks following a tick bite, since these can be signs of tick-related diseases. 

Like ticks, black flies live off the blood of other animals, and they can deliver painful bites! They also carry diseases and are a general nuisance to humans. Many U.S. states now have programs to control black fly populations.  In addition to hurting immediately, black fly bites remain painful, and they also itch and can become infected with scratching. Some people have allergic reactions to these bites such as hives or wheezing.  

When it comes to spider bites on humans, two kinds of spiders--the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow--are typically to blame.    Black Widows live in tree stumps, wood piles, and even campground portable toilets, and they are easy to identify by the reddish "hourglass" on their bellies. The spider's bite causes shooting pain and appears as two "dots" made by the fangs at the bite site. Nausea, increased blood pressure, and vomiting occur soon after and require immediate medical attention. 
 The Brown Recluse (shown at left) lives in closets and attics in the South and Midwest in the United States. Their bite is painless, but the wounds they cause are serious. The bites are often red, then white, and have blisters in the shape of a bullseye. These bites also require immediate medical attention.

We hope this has been useful!

A big thank you to HealthCentral for providing this great info on identifying bug bites!

Posted: 2/27/2013 10:58:01 AM by Linda Casey | with 0 comments

2/15/2013 9:17:15 AM
If you have never used a pie iron over an open fire, you are in for a treat.  For those of you who have experienced this - WOW.  What a treat!  Nothing tastes better than food cooked over a campfire, and using these tools makes it super easy to whip up a tasty meal quickly.  When shopping for these pie irons, you will find that they come in different shapes and different materials.  One great website for sourcing these is Pie Iron.com - they have been making them since 1964 and offer something for everyone!  You will find the cast iron pie iron  which is considered the "Cadillac" of pie irons because they hold up well to the severity of camp life.  Note:  it is best to preheat these and watch closely so that the food doesn't burn! The aluminum pie irons heat up quickly (which is good!) and can be found with non-stick coatings (for those of us who would rather not spend their time scrubbing pans).    I have been told there are also stamped steel (tin) pie irons, but was not able to find a picture of one.  They can also be found with non-stick coatings but it is recommended that you NOT put them directly on the coals.  Pie irons can have many different names so when you are doing your research, you may also want to look under:  Pudge Pie, Mountain Pie, Hobo Pie, Sandwich Cooker, Toastite, Pie Sham, Jaffle Iron, Toastie, Panini Grill.

Here are a few recipes to get you started  (based on a 4" pie iron):

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit
1 Egg for each Biscuit  /  Bacon, fried
Buttermilk Biscuits, canned  /  Cheese, sliced

The ingredients are for 1 sandwich, so its good to cook up a batch of ingredients
first for a herd.

   Start by frying some scrambled eggs (or individual eggs, breaking the yolks) and  bacon, nice and crispy. Set this aside and spray oil on both sides of your Pie Iron, then take a large biscuit for each side from the can (or 2 if they are small ones). Roll or pat them out thin (big enough to flop over the edges of the Pie Iron) and lay 1 in the oiled Pie Iron, now layer some scrambled egg, a slice of bacon (cut in half) and top it off with a cheese slice (your choice), put the other biscuit on top and close up the Pie Iron. Cook for a few minutes on each side over medium heat, turning periodically, until golden brown.
   These make great breakfast sandwiches, the biscuits really "Puff" up. Be sure to have lots of Pie Irons handy if you have a large stock of hungry campers to feed. Us "Kids" really love these...
Campfire Cinnamon Rolls
Tubes of Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls

   These are great for Sunday morning breakfast or even as a snack.

   Spray or butter your Pie Iron sections and also the individual rolls. Close 'em up in the Pie Iron and cook over med~low heat until done (they need to cook slow so the outside doesn't burn before the inside gets done), turning often. When done, spread with the glaze and enjoy (I like mine with just a little butter on top).
   Everyone can make their own cinnamon rolls. You better have extras, and a pot of coffee, on hand for all the neighboring campers that just happen to drop by...

For more recipes, you might want to visit this site:  BOONDOCKERS---USED SPORTS

We hope you have enjoyed this BLOG and that you find the "perfect pie iron" for you and your family.  If you have any recipes that you would like to share, please send them to:  linda@premiercoachservices.com! 
Posted: 2/15/2013 9:17:15 AM by Linda Casey | with 0 comments

2/5/2013 8:41:04 AM

How to sanitize your RV fresh water tank

Sanitizing your RV fresh water tank is much easier to do than it sounds. It can take around half a day to get the chore done, but the actual work will only take less than an hour to accomplish.

To get started with sanitizing your RV fresh water tank, you'll need to get your RV plugged into an electric hookup or have its batteries fully charged. That's because you'll have to use the pump as you're doing this chore. You should also turn off your water heater and get rid of the anti-freeze in your pipes, as you're going to use cold water for this task. Lastly, you'll have to open the drain valve of your gray water tank and pay attention to your levels in case of overflow.

So, here's a step-by-step guide to sanitizing your RV fresh water tank.

  1. Turn off your water pump and open the valve of your fresh water tank. Drain your tank completely of all its stored water.
  2. Mix one cup of bleach or tank cleaner with one gallon (4 1/2 liters) of water. Pour the solution in your now-empty fresh water tank using a funnel.
  3. Replace the valve of your fresh water tank and turn on your water pump. Fill your fresh water tank with water.
  4. Once the tank is full, turn on all the faucets and water outlets in your RV, including the shower and just let the water flow. Pay attention to your water levels and make sure that the drain valve of your gray water tank is open.
  5. Turn these water outlets off once the smell of the bleach becomes really strong.
  6. Fill your fresh water tank again with cold water and let the water sit in the tank for about 8 to 12 hours.
  7. After the allotted time, turn on all the faucets and water outlets in your RV again and let the water run until the smell of the bleach goes away. Refill the fresh water tank and just keep flushing the water out until you're sure that the bleach is completely gone.
  8. Refill your fresh water tank with clean water if you're still using your RV. Empty your tank if you're going to put your RV in storage.

You should sanitize your RV fresh water tank at least once every six months. However, it is ideal that you do this chore once a month if you're frequently on the road in your RV.

How to prevent your RV fresh water tank from getting contaminated

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Aside from sanitizing your RV fresh water tank regularly, you should also observe a few measures that will prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing your water tank and contaminating the water you use in your RV. Here are a few tips that will help you out:

  1. Ask your campground hosts where the water in the campground comes from, whether it's well water or water coming from the city or municipal system. If it's well water, ask if the water is tested for safety.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling your white water hose. Keep the ends of your white water hose from touching the ground when you hook up your RV. If you're not using the hose, keep it coiled and store it in a sealable plastic or cloth bag.
  3. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the dump station in the campground you're staying at. Never fill your fresh water tank with water from the dump station unless the water is guaranteed clean and safe for consumption.
  4. Install water filters in your RV.
  5. If you're not sure about the safety of the water in the campground you're staying at, boil the water before drinking it. Better yet, keep a supply of bottled water in your RV.
  6. Sanitize your fresh water tank before putting your RV in storage.
It doesn't take much to keep your RV fresh water tank clean and sanitized. Keeping the tank clean and sanitized, though, will do a lot in making sure you won't get sick from drinking or using contaminated water.

A special thanks to  www.campingroadtrip.com/  for this great article!

If you have questions, we would be happy to answer them!   Phone 816-587-1500 or 866-426-2247 toll free and ask for Joe or Dexter.
Posted: 2/5/2013 8:41:04 AM by Linda Casey | with 0 comments

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