Tag: fun facts

RV Living Fun Fact: What is a Purple Heart City

Traveling through Oregon this past summer, I noticed several  “Purple Heart City” signs.  I wondered what that meant.  What makes a city a “Purple Heart City”?  Is the mayor or other town resident a  Purple Heart recipient?  Does the town’s population have a larger than average percentage of veterans?

Being the research nerd that I am, I had to look it up. And since you’ve probably driven through a Purple Heart City in your RV travels, I thought you might like to know what I learned!

Come to find out It seems the only requirement for a city to become a Purple Heart City is gratitude.RV travels purple heart city

In an article in the Mail Tribune from August, 15, 2015, John E. Bircher III, public relations director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, was quoted as saying the Purple Heart City designation is, “an expression of gratitude to the sons and daughters of that community who gave their lives or were wounded in combat defending the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.  Any city, county, state sports team, or any other entity can become a “Purple Heart” entity.”

In that same article, “Bircher explained that the typical Purple Heart City process involves the mayor and/or city council performing a proclamation, which then is presented to the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. In turn, the organization arranges as many Purple Heart recipients to attend the ceremony. The military order also provides the city a plaque commemorating the occasion, a Purple Heart flag the city can fly, particularly for National Purple Heart Day on Aug. 7, and “proud supporter” pins for everyone attending the ceremony.” (Source: The Mail Tribune, “No Requirements for ‘Purple Heart City’ Expression of Gratitude”, 8/15/15).

There are over 900  Purple Heart locations in the United States, honoring the 1.6 million Purple Heart recipients. So chances are you’ve driven through a few yourself!

There you have it; another RV Life mystery solved!

What fun RV Life questions would you like to see covered in this series? Let me know and I may choose your idea to research and write about!


How to Drive an RV on WashBoard Roads

Fun RV Living Fact of Life: How are Washboard Roads Formed?

We’ve all encountered them, and those of us who love to boondock on BLM land and National Forests drive on them a lot. Those ridged, bumpy, wall rattling, dish-clanking, drive shaft clunking, dirt or sand roads that are annoying as hell to drive on.  So where do they come from? How do those ridges get created?

I finally looked up what causes dirt roads to  washboard and ripple!

I figured you might be curious about this too!

There have actually been laboratory studies done and articles published in science journals about the phenomenon. And from what I’ve read, the science seems to be inconclusive.

Most road and physics experts believed washboarding (also called corrugation) is caused by a lot of traffic traveling on loose dirt, sand or gravel roads at speeds greater than 5 mph.  An automobile’s suspension causes the tires to bounce, putting pressure on certain parts of the road, pushing up the sand or gravel, thereby causing ripples.

Driving RV on washboard roadsHowever, laboratory studies have shown that  even when “springy suspension of the car and the rolling shape of the wheel are eliminated”, washboarding occurs (source: Science Daily article “Physics of Bumpy Roads: What Makes Roads Ripple Like a Washboard?”)

So, while heavy traffic and suspension may be part of the problem, it seems there may be other (currently unidentifiable) factors at play.

How to drive on washboard roads

The next question is: how the heck do we drive on those annoying washboard roads safely and efficiently? Is it better to slow down or speed up?

I went to one of my favorite sources for this answer: MythBusters.

According to MythBusters and their field test, with a 1970 Cutlass Supreme, driving at 5mmph and then at 70 mph, they found that yes, indeed, at 70,mph,  it is a smoother ride and the “high-speed camera footage revealed that the faster-moving wheels literally move across bumps in the road” (MythBusters, “Bumpy Ride“).

So, at higher speeds a vehicle can literally glide over the bumps whereas at 5 mph you feel every single one – and it prolongs the agony, right?

However, their test was with a  Cutlass Supreme, not a  29′ Class C RV with all kinds of stuff to rattle around and make noise. I’ll stick with 5 mph!

How about you? Do you prefer to fly over them or take it slow?