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Old 11-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #1
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Newbie has a couple of questions

My wife and I are just getting into motorhome travel We purchased a used National Tradewinds. No problems there, but we are not sure about a couple of things.
1. Some campgrounds want something between the levelers and their ashphalt - Should we use 2x12s cut down or 3/4 plywood?
2. We are not gun nuts, but realize that we could be parked alone someplace which could make us vulnerable. We keep some loaded guns at our home because a 911 call will get a police officer to our home in about 11 minutes, if we are lucky. I would expect a longer response time if we were parked alone someplace. I have a carry permit for Washington State, but I know many states do not recognize this permit. What do most of you do? I plan to carry a pistol and a shotgun in the MH.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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I carry a set of tripled 16" square 3/4" plywood pads. I use em on soft surfaces, dirt, and asphalt. Not on concrete or gravel. They worked good with the pace arrow (22k lb max) but the knight (33k lbs and only 3 jacks) is bending them up something fierce.

I've never had a campground say anything ever. Always my choice. And few campgrounds have asphalt pads because jacks will punch a hole in them pretty easy.

As for the equalizers, I haven't touched one since semi-annual 45 and m14 qualifying in the navy, back in the seventies. Never had a need either. Course paranoya is never beed a problem for me. But ya know, we're not allowed to talk about that anymore.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:23 PM   #3
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1) I use 3/4" treated plywood with 3/8" poly glued to it. The poly (like that used for cutting boards) is there to prevent any damage caused by lightning strikes in the area. Wet wood will conduct electricity. Lighter than a 2x12.

2) If your plan is to leave the pistol in the MH secured, the permit becomes a non-issue in most states. A CCW or CHL permit is only required for concealed carry.

If you intend to carry in other states check out Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps

Your WA permit assuming it is a resident permit gives you a total of 24 states. You could apply for a FL or UT non-resident permit and pick up several more.

ID honors your permit but OR does not appears you will need to leave WA via ID.

I carry with me every where it's legal to do so based on my CHL permit. When i am about to enter a state that does not recognize my permit I pull over and secure my pistol as required by that particular state (there are several books that cover the gun laws of all states, just Google them, they are subject to change so I check before each trip). The shotgun and/or other long guns remain secured in the MH unless hiking in bear country.

Funny, if you carry a Fire Extinguisher, Spare Tire, Tool Box, Extra Fuses, Umbrella, etc... You are deemed prepared, as soon as you carry a gun you are paranoid. Remember this one phrase, When seconds count the police are only minutes away.
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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We use cut down treated 2x12's. They last a long time, don't bow like plywood does & are cheap to make.

If you do a search on Do you carry a gun? you'll find there's been a LOT of discussion about this subject on iRV2. I've found campgrounds are fairly safe places, although anything is possible & you may run into bad situations, people or animals outside of campgrounds (i.e. boondocking, travel plazas, rest areas...etc). Ultimately it's up to you to decide for yourself what type of protection you may need.

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Old 11-17-2011, 04:59 AM   #5
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I have 2X12's that are glued and screwed together, two layers diagonal to each other. Have used on lots of surfaces and my MH has never bent, broken or sunk with them. They store in the basement and are the first thing out after the dog x pens. I don't use them in most campgrounds who have crusher run base for sites but have whenever I am on grass (even very dry grass) or sand or asphalt. Have worked well and cost me almost nothing since I got the wood from a leftover project.

I have a lot of different guns in my sticks and bricks. Have never had one in the motor home. Not opposed to it, just have not seen the need. I hope I never have to find out that it is a bad decision to depend on the police or neighbors or my own caution but it has been my choice. I do not boon dock very much so that could change my opinion but I have camped (pre-motor home days) all over the eastern half of the US. Usually in boon docking type areas and usually by myself. I have never had a need for protection. Of course the motor home itself does attract some attention and may attract folks who think it is an easy target. We do have dogs with us whenever we travel, very small dogs but they do bark profusely if someone comes close to the motor home to at least give us a warning. Just my thoughts.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:17 AM   #6
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chasmatt, plywood or 2 x 12s will probably protect asphalt OK, but on softer surfaces like grass, 2 x 12s may split and your jacks may punch right through a single layer of 3/4" plywood. That's the reason many who have posted say they use several layers of 2 x 12 or plywood.

Gluing up several layers of wood makes for inexpensive jack pads, but they can get a little heavy and bulky. If you want to spend the money, plastic jack pads are available. Most are relatively light weight and most are guaranteed against breakage. We have a set from Summit Products. DICA is another supplier.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:10 AM   #7
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Hi chasmatt,
The jack pads are a one time purchase. I asked Santa to bring me some a few years ago. Several suppliers carry them. Mine are the heavy duty kind with straps so the awning rod can grab them when it is time to leave.

One should have something inert between the metal jack pad and the ground covering. This eliminates an entry point for a lightning strike to get into the coach. It matters not if one is on ground, black top or concrete, one needs something (like plastic) between the jack pad and the ground covering.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasmatt View Post
My wife and I are just getting into motorhome travel We purchased a used National Tradewinds. No problems there, but we are not sure about a couple of things.
1. Some campgrounds want something between the levelers and their ashphalt - Should we use 2x12s cut down or 3/4 plywood?
2. We are not gun nuts, but realize that we could be parked alone someplace which could make us vulnerable. We keep some loaded guns at our home because a 911 call will get a police officer to our home in about 11 minutes, if we are lucky. I would expect a longer response time if we were parked alone someplace. I have a carry permit for Washington State, but I know many states do not recognize this permit. What do most of you do? I plan to carry a pistol and a shotgun in the MH.
I have a National Dolphin. Welcome to the National RV family! They really are very nice coaches, in general. Glad to have you aboard.

As to your questions:

1. As others have mentioned, 2x12's for me too. I have never had a problem with them under my jacks, and they do the job efficiently and economically.

2. This is a forbidden topic per new rule changes here at irv2.com, even though a large percentage of RVers carry security items that go 'BOOM', and it is a frequent question amongst new members. A quick search on the topic here will reveal some lively discussion both pro and con. I suspect the management here feels all viewpoints have been adequately represented, and so further discourse becomes unnecessary and redundant.

See ya down the road! Jim
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:46 AM   #9
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Son-in-law made up some base-plates for a neighbors RV. They're about 16" square and consist of a perimeter frame of 2 x 4s with 2 x 4 stiffeners in an "X" corner to corner. The frame is then covered with 3/4" plywood both sides. Polyrope loop handles go through two sides so the plates are easy to get at to pull out after raising the jacks.

I'm going to make some for my rig before we start next season.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:03 PM   #10
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1) I use 3/4" treated plywood with 3/8" poly glued to it. The poly (like that used for cutting boards) is there to prevent any damage caused by lightning strikes in the area...
That is a common misconception. Lightning can have anywhere from several million to as much as a billion volts. There is no way 3/8" of anything is going to stop the current from a lightning strike. Even if it could, at those voltages, the current would just jump from the frame or axles directly to ground or jump around the pad. Heck, I built a tesla coil when I was in college that could have punched through 3/8" poly.

However, a poly or rubber pad under wooden pads will help to protect the wood from rot.
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:47 PM   #11
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That is a common misconception. Lightning can have anywhere from several million to as much as a billion volts. There is no way 3/8" of anything is going to stop the current from a lightning strike. Even if it could, at those voltages, the current would just jump from the frame or axles directly to ground or jump around the pad. Heck, I built a tesla coil when I was in college that could have punched through 3/8" poly.

However, a poly or rubber pad under wooden pads will help to protect the wood from rot.
Agreed that a close strike will still get the MH I am only trying to protect against the distant ones that can travel for miles and cause issues with the MH electronics. Several articles have been publish on this topic.

The plastic adds little to no weight and causes no harm, so why not add the extra layer of protection.

The best protection is obviously to take early steps to protect the MH during electrical storms. Retract jacks, disconnect shore power and stow the cord, do not leave it on the ground attached to the RV, lower antennas, etc...
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:06 PM   #12
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Hi LadyFitz...,
I agree with sdennislee. Not much will help a direct hit. However, lightening is lazy. Powerful but lazy. Simple things to increase the isolation of my coach's components to lightening will be taken. A dry and inert separation of the jack pad to the site material is worth every penny of cost.
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:46 PM   #13
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1) I use 3/4" treated plywood with 3/8" poly glued to it. The poly (like that used for cutting boards) is there to prevent any damage caused by lightning strikes in the area. Wet wood will conduct electricity. Lighter than a 2x12.
Sorry to say but that poly wont do anything for a lightning strike, nor will your tires.

"I am safe in a car because the rubber tires protect me."

True and False. True because there have been no documented lightning deaths that have occurred in a hard topped metal vehicle with the windows rolled up. However, the composite tires have little, if any, part in this, for the same reasons as those just discussed with regard to insulation. The safety has to do with the fact that electrical current travels along the outside of a conductor (the metal body of the car) and dissipates to the ground through paths that include the tires and the rainwater.

But to answer the OP's question I have 2" x 12" x 24" wood planks in case the ground is soft or very uneven.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:51 PM   #14
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Sorry to say but that poly wont do anything for a lightning strike, nor will your tires.

"I am safe in a car because the rubber tires protect me."

True and False. True because there have been no documented lightning deaths that have occurred in a hard topped metal vehicle with the windows rolled up. However, the composite tires have little, if any, part in this, for the same reasons as those just discussed with regard to insulation. The safety has to do with the fact that electrical current travels along the outside of a conductor (the metal body of the car) and dissipates to the ground through paths that include the tires and the rainwater.

But to answer the OP's question I have 2" x 12" x 24" wood planks in case the ground is soft or very uneven.
I disagree, anything done to inhibit the path of current is of some help. As stated before close strikes can not be stopped but lightning can travel miles through the ground. These are the strikes that can be mitigated by a nonconductive material.
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