Thursday, March 28, 2013

Replacing Power King Tow Max RV Tires

Last October I had a tire on my RV separate doing $2600 in damage. It only had about 12,000 miles on it and was properly inflated. I even had a tire pressure monitoring system which gave me no warning at all.

Working with a subrogation specialist from my insurance company, I discovered the tire, a Power King Tow Max, was made in China and distributed through a Canadian company, Dynamic Tire, which did everything it could to delay taking the tire back for inspection. After three months, they finally had me ship the tire to them only to deny my claim two months later. The subrogation agent indicated that she would continue to pursue the matter in as much as she had four other claims with this same tire.

Knowing that I had three more of these tires on the RV, I decided to replace them with something else. In doing my research, I was shocked at the number of fifth wheels that have had tire separations. It appears that the RV manufacturers choose to go with tires that are rated too close to their max load for the vehicle. For this reason, I chose to move from “E” class tires to “G” which at 110 psi are rated at 3750 pounds (make sure your rims/wheels are made for 110 psi). Time will tell if I made the right decision.

Here are some links detailing other owners’ experience with the Power King Tow Max: http://www.aboutautomobile.com/Tire/Complaint/Power+King/Towmax/Tire+Tread+and+Belt, http://www.vehicletire.com/Complaint/Power+King/Towmax, and http://www.heartlandowners.org/showthread.php/29525-Tire-separating-after-200-miles-Power-King-Towmaster

Monday, March 25, 2013

Garmin Express & Voice Studio

In updating my Garmin nuvi 50, I downloaded the new Garmin Express software that allows you to update maps, update software, backup/restore/transfer favorites, install free voices & vehicles, and download product manuals.

Curious as to what other innovations Garmin had available, I went to their website and discovered Premium Voices, a collection of voices such as Homer Simpson and Darth Vader that for a small charge can be used on some of their voice compatible units.

And for those of you whose significant other is always telling you where to go, you can download Garmin Voice Studio. According to Garmin, "Voice Studio lets you create custom voices for your nĂ¼vi. With just a microphone (recommended) and your computer, you can record and upload custom voices to your device. The software guides you through the process of recording a list of words and phrases and downloading the recordings to your device. It's fun, easy and great way to add your own personality to your device!"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Extreme Rock Crawling

Terry and I attended the W.E. ROCK West Round 1 at Thompson’s Ranch - Congress, AZ. It's hard to believe what these custom machines can do until you see it first hand. Click on photos to enlarge.







These next photos are examples of what we here in the park like to refer to as "doing a John Richter"...



Waterfalls Climb

Here's a great video of Chris going up the "Waterfalls" the hard way...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

As the government continues to release more information regarding the Affordable Care Act (I am beginning to think this is an oxymoron), the news just keeps getting worse...
  • Click here to read the 21 page draft application that Americans would use to access the health law’s subsidized insurance coverage. In order to figure out how much Americans will pay, the federal government needs to collect lots of information, everything from the size of the family to its income to whether any family members are Alaska Natives (which would make them eligible for additional services through the Indian Health Service). It’s hard to collect all that data in a way that is not a bit complex. Most Americans will either give up or pay someone to fill out the form just as they pay someone to do their taxes. By the way, you will still have to pick a health plan.
  • The Joint Committee on Taxation recently released a 96 page report on the tax provisions associated with Affordable Care Act. The report describes the 21 tax increases included in Obamacare, totaling $1.058 trillion – a steep increase from initial assessment, according to the Tax Prof Blog. The summer 2012 estimate is nearly twice the $569 billion estimate produced at the time of the passage of the law in March 2010. Government programs are always more expensive than anticipated. Click here for more information.

Ride Photos

Rare sight in the desert

Not so rare sight

Friday, March 08, 2013

Genetic Defect

I have often joked that I must have a defective gene that causes me to do things and take risks that normal people avoid (I offer this blog as evidence). It turns out I may be right.

"There is a mutation of a variant of a gene called DRD4, which helps control dopamine, a chemical brain messenger important in learning and reward. Researchers have repeatedly tied the variant, known as DRD4-7R and carried by roughly 20 percent of all humans, to curiosity and restlessness. Dozens of human studies have found that 7R makes people more likely to take risks; explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, or sexual opportunities; and generally embrace movement, change, and adventure. Studies in animals simulating 7R’s actions suggest it increases their taste for both movement and novelty."

Please excuse me but I have this sudden urge to explore new places, ideas, foods, relationships, drugs, and sexual opportunities.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Woodpecker Trail

If you are into "rock crawling", then this is the trail for you. It follows a creek bed littered with huge boulders. It took us about two hours to go approximately five miles. Picking the "right line" determines whether you will succeed or not. There are several by-passes around some of the tougher sections but we chose not to use them. Be prepared to use your skid plate...


Here's a photo of a structure at the entrance to the "Highway to Hell" made up of vehicle parts that were lost to the trail...


The Woodpecker Mine is actually a group of huge mines scattered over several acres...


If you enter Woodpecker from Mineral Mountain, you will know in the first hundred yards if this is the ride for you. Here is a video of the beginning of the trail...


Monday, March 04, 2013

Sequestration

When I see the amount of waste in government, I have even more contempt for the politicians who want to cut essential services in order to force tax increases.

On pages S451-S453 of the Congressional Record there is an excellent summary of what's wrong with Federal Spending in this country. Here's one example from that document: "Just a few weeks ago the Treasury Department issued its year-end report for fiscal 2012. One of the bombshells in this report that has received virtually no coverage or commentary is the estimate by the Government Accountability Office that $108 billion was lost to improper payments by the Federal Government". $108 billion is 27% more than the $85 billion the current sequestration calls for.

Senator Tom Coburn in his "Wastebook 2012" lists 100 government programs that cost taxpayers $18 billion. These projects could be eliminated and the average American would not even know it had happened. Add in all the pork barrel items that are tacked on to almost all legislation as pay back for special interests and big donors and it becomes obvious that cutting $85 billion from a $3.539 trillion budget (only 2.4%) should not curtail essential services.

Lastly, visit the US Debt Clock to see the cumulative costs of our $16 trillion deficit (which works out to be over $147,000 per taxpayer) and why it so important to control spending in Washington.

Addendum (3/5/2013):  Here's an excellent article on "Budget Politics"