Today, some hackers caused a German steel plant to be destroyed due to destroying a furnace and killing its safety shutdown mechanism.
We have turned a corner with the Sony breach. The hackers used to just slurp up info. Now they are out for blood with destroying data and physical systems.
A microcosm of this was MS-DOS viruses in the 1990s. At first, it was benign stuff that spread, then as time went on, it went to destruction of data, destroying files, even frying monitors by using different refresh rates and zeroing the firmware on machines. AV programs didn't stop this, it was people not sharing data with each other, but downloading from clean sources which did.
This is a major problem because a lot of US companies say, "security has no ROI", so they give token support at best for security. In the past, the breaches didn't affect companies in any way. The PSN breach didn't affect Sony, even after all the personal info got stolen of customers. Same with other companies, where the business lost nothing, and had minimal losses after six months to a year. Now with the activity of blackhats changing from grabbing data to active destruction, this might get businesses to change and actually bother doing more than lip service for security.
I use a multilayered defense:
1: I use SpywareBlaster (it only runs when updating and adding blacklists, otherwise isn't doing anything.) This blocks cookies and executables from dodgy sites.
2: I use an adblocker extension to the web browser. Because ads are such a security risk (a lot of infections can be traced through ad servers), I block them, and try to pay for a subscription, or for rv.net, buy CW products.
3: I use the "click to play" option, so some site throwing Flash dialogs are not shown unless actively activated.
4: I use separate Web browsers for sites. Facebook gets its own browser, banking another, everything else, a third. This way, tracking cookies from one site can't leak to others.
5: As the last resort, I use virtual machines and/or a sandbox tool (sandboxIE). If a Web browser gets compromised, at least the infection is contained to the sandbox and won't spread outside of it.
This may be a lot, but for most people, I recommend at least doing measures 1-3.
I never use ISP provided accounts. Gmail is good, same with Apple's iCloud. Yahoo is decent.
I use two accounts. For critical E-mail (banking, etc.), I use a private, Exchange hosted provider that costs something a month. For everything else, I use a reliable "free" provider like Yahoo or Gmail.
The Slabs is interesting to watch because it is a unique dynamic.
I'm pretty sure the main reason that it hasn't been swept clean is because there is just nothing out there for some party to make money from. The Salton Sea isn't anyone's idea of a tourist attraction, especially after 2017 when the contract mandating water be put into it expires, so it will end up with no incoming water and wind up a dry bed. Since the area just has no way of being used for much (even farmers can't use it due to the salt and other pollutants), there hasn't been any reason for any party to bother doing anything with it.
It does have a law to itself. The police may not patrol there, but from what I've read, the locals are more than willing to enforce their rules by using gasoline and a lighter on someone's RV regardless if they are in it or not.
I would say a pound (1/4 gallon) of propane a day is a rule of thumb.
As for starting/stopping the fridge, what I do is bring along several hard-sided freezer packs. When loading the perishables, I toss one in the freezer, two in the fridge part, and with a little Valterra fan going, this will get the temperature down immediately. When I flip the fridge on, it just has to maintain the temperature.
If there is room in the freezer, I then move freezer packs to there, so that when done with the fridge, I can move all the perishables out, shut it off, and use the airing positioning cards to ensure the doors stay open and air circulates.
"Their area looked so good that there was talk about Vickie, my wife, staying out of sight while we camped there."
We're you concerned for her safety?
LoW is for singles only, so a couple wouldn't be welcome.
If a crook gets the account number and routing number, it is quite easy to forge a check, maybe even have legit-looking checks printed with the victim's info on it. Happened to a classmate when I was in college, and the bad guys managed to drain her college fund a day after her purse was stolen. As far as I know, she never recovered that money, because a check means the account owner is responsible for the entire amount, unlike credit card or debit card fraud.
I've encountered all kinds of scams. From the fake MS guy saying that he needed access or else jail would happen for Windows piracy (at the time, I was using an AIX machine, and let him know that his 32 bit remote access Trojan isn't going to go far on a 64 bit POWER7 LPAR.) Another was someone who would call as a cousin (with the right name and address), sound like they had a ball gag in their mouth, and demand money because they were in jail in Madrid. Well, the cousin they were calling as died about a year ago, so I promptly told them that they could enjoy the Spanish prison for a while.
Using an Android phone, setting a do not disturb time, and using Mr. Number or another utility to filter out international calls, calls from spam shops, and blocked/unknown caller ID, has kept my device remarkably spam free.
Be careful people... the economy isn't getting any better, but the scammers are always trying new stuff, from the guy at a rest stop who uses a razor blade on your tires to make them blister, then "fortunately" has your size of tires, to the submarine sandwich shop that swipes your card once for your order, then again for some hackers overseas.
An alternative to putting plastic wrap on the commodes is using RV antifreeze in the traps. It won't evaporate, and will give an adequate seal.
If the above advice is followed (setting the A/C to 85), dealing with water evaporation, shutting off the gas and water, then the main problem will be security.
There are places that sell security shutters for the windows and door (both are operable from the inside so it won't cause issues in case of a fire.) I'd look at that, a reinforced front door with a high security lock (lock bumping is surprisingly common), a double-sided deadbolt for the lock between the house and garage (I like the lockable/removable thumbturn type), and disabling the garage door opener, using a manual lock with that.
A monitored alarm system goes without saying, maybe even a CCTV setup.
If worried about valuables, there are places in the OP's area who will set up a file room with a stout door (not really a vault) so one can stash computers, clothing, and other stuff in there, keep that area climate controlled, and well resistant to burglars.
Finally, don't forget to have someone come out and do outside housework once in a while. There isn't the need to worry about mowing a lawn in Arizona, but having someone drop by, pick up flyers stuck on the door, is a good thing.
Freecycle or Craigslist might help.
If one is in a rural area, one might be able to make some money by tearing it apart and selling the parts. A working propane fridge is worth something, similar with an A/C unit with all parts. Other appliances can be useful too, be it the furnace, water heater, stove, etc. If it has a metal roof, that can go to the recycling shop for some cash. The frame can also go for a good chunk of change. Inside, doors, fixtures, latches, and hinges can be worth something. Even though the wood is pretty much worthless, it can be used for firewood, and is likely well cured, so it will burn well.
However, this all takes a lot of time, so if one just needs it hauled off, it might be good to just put it up on CL or FC and be done with it.
From what I've read, Slab City over the past few years has started to become popular, and there has been a lot of fighting between the long-term residents and the newcomers.
ISTR, the US government owns the land, and even though the state of California wants to toss all the people out, they can't really do so since it is Federal property. However, that area has a law onto its own.
LoW, from what I've read keeps a tight, clean camp, but from what I've seen from people who spent the winter in the general area, it isn't exactly a vacation resort.
I am sorry that the maker of Salvation Mountain has died. I've not read about anyone trying to take care about that place, and it really is a monument.
Did you pay that a visit to the Range, Slab City's entertainment venue? I've read/heard mixed reports about that place.
Slab City isn't somewhere I have plans on going to, but it is interesting to read/hear about people's stories there.
I have a few redundancy items myself, mainly around preparing for an ice storm:
1: I try to keep a week's worth of dry food in my RV as well as some jugs of water, all in tight fitting plastic or metal containers to discourage/deter critters.
2: I try to have a Buddy heater and a few 1# propane bottles. The Big Buddy heater will run 2-4 hours on two bottles, producing enough heat to warm a rig, even with two windows open for circulation.
3: Multiple CO and smoke detectors, all on separate batteries, go without saying.
4: I take enough gasoline to fuel my generator for a few days. This way, if propane runs out, I can still run a space heater.
5: I take multiple cellphone external batteries with me. That way, if I'm stuck, I can at least read a few books until the ice clears up.
I've not found eBay prices that great, and in a lot of cases, higher than what I can find elsewhere. I will shop there if I can't find something anywhere else, but it isn't my first point I go. I prefer local stores, and Amazon.
I tend to just use the 50 amp connection with a 50 to 30 dogbone adapter, after I've encountered some 30A connections that were unusable even with Deoxit.
As for popping the cover and replacing the actual receptacle or breakers... no way. Way too much liability.
I don't know if people are getting dumber or if it is (as pnichols described above), the lawsuit factor.
Things like a RV fridge, water heater, and furnace all used to work completely on LP gas, and didn't need electric. Now, if the house batteries die, you lose everything.
I use the large Damp-Rid buckets, and those worked well last year.
However, I put them in plastic tubs/buckets so if they spilled, the calcium carbonate (corrosive stuff) is contained, especially if there is a hard freeze.
If freezing temperatures are not a worry and shore power is available, the best thing is an electric dehumidifier.
Assuming there are no in-use patents, it is tempting to go to a place like Solid Concepts, take one of the handles, make precise 3D measurements of it, then have the metal shop make a laser sintered Iconel replica of all the core parts. It would function exactly the same... except that the metal used would be a lot more durable. If it is good enough for a rocket exhaust chamber, it is good enough to function day to day on a door. Of course, this wouldn't be cheap, but it would ensure the problem went away for good.
Water + hand dish detergent. Has worked well, and no smells when dumping or on the road. If it can remove grease from pots and pants, it can do the same to waste matter.
One trick which I've found that helps out is to get a bayonet fit valve and leave it on the end of the slinky hose that goes to the dump valve. This way, you can dump the black tank, close the bayonet valve, then open both the gray and black valves. This will cause the gray water to backflush the black tank. This is a good way to ensure the tank is rinsed without wasting any water.