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RV Travel Newsletter: December 8-14. Issue 563
Weekend of December 8, 2012
Issue 563 of RV Travel
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its twelfth year of continuous weekly publication, is made possible through sales at RVbookstore.com, by our advertisers, and through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers (thank you!)
Give the Gift of
Better RV WiFi This Holiday Season!
The WiFiRanger is the premier solution for RVers to stay online with simple and secure Internet access. The device allows owners to connect all their coach or travel trailer WiFi devices (Laptops, iPads, Smartphones, TVs, Game Consoles, etc) to their own secure WiFi Network and then the WiFiRanger will connect to the Park/Public WiFi, or to a 3G/4G Cellular device as needed, saving your 3G/4G Data Plan for when absolutely necessary and improving speed and reliability. Learn more.
If you are ever traveling through the Midwest on I-80, pause for a few hours in Elkhart, Indiana at the RV/MH Hall of Fame. I visited in September. What a treat!
First off, "MH/RV" means "Manufactured Home/Recreational Vehicle." But really, it should just be "RV." There are no manufactured homes on display in the RV Founders Hall, which is the museum section. Instead, dozens of RVs from as early as the 1920s are displayed. The world's smallest Airstream is right inside the entrance, a mere 10 feet long, but complete with a bathroom. It was a prototype for the European market that was not pursued.
I felt a huge wave of nostalgia as I entered a 15-foot, yellow and white Shasta travel trailer from 1954. My parents bought a nearly identical Field and Steam trailer. We spent some wonderful vacations in that little RV. At home it was a great place to hang out with my buddies or spend the night camping in the front yard. If you had asked me a day before my visit to the museum to describe the inside of that old trailer, I would have not done very well. But once I stepped inside the Shasta I instantly recognized everything as familiar. It was like stepping back in time. There were no other visitors waiting to come in, so I stayed awhile thinking about my great times camping as kid. Click the video above to see my 30 second tour of the trailer.
A path that looks like a two-lane road winds through the museum, passing one classic RV after another. I enjoyed seeing Mae West's 1931 Chevrolet Housecar. It was given to the actress by Paramount Studios as an enticement to get her to leave the Vaudeville circuit and begin making movies for them. The vehicle was used for several years, mostly transporting Miss West from her home or hotel to shooting locations.
Also on display is one of the very first Winnebago motorhomes, built in 1967 on a power-challenged, six-cylinder Ford chassis. How about that shag carpet?
It's a delight to walk through the museum and view the many old RVs, many of which you can go inside. The Hall of Fame also includes other exhibits including a display honoring RV industry pioneers and leaders.
The museum is open year round. Adult admission is $9, less for seniors and children. There are several nearby RV parks, so stay a night if you have time. And smalltown Elkhart, the "RV Capital of the World" is about as pretty as you'll ever see and worth exploring. And while in the area, be sure to visit one of the many RV factories, many of which offer regularly scheduled tours.
If you have a comment about this essay or this newsletter in general, please feel free to leave it at our forum.
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A plug for our store. This holiday season, you can't go wrong with giving a good book or DVD about RVing to your favorite RVer. No store, online or off, has a larger selection of books and DVDs about RVing than our RVbookstore.com. Proceeds from our sales provide most of the funding for this newsletter, so your purchases help us and are appreciated.
Do you have any photos of yourself camping as a child? If so, we'd love to see them to possibly publish them in this newsletter. Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Editor comment: We post breaking RV news throughout the week at our RVtravel.com Facebook page. Click here.
A French couple motorhoming in New Zealand found their rig surrounded by five men doing the "Haka," the traditional war cry of native Maori people. Pulled from their rig, a bit beaten up, the RVers were relieved of their valuables by the five reportedly inebriated men. Click here to listen to the Haka.
Trailer owners in Exeter, New Hampshire, beware. If your rig looks like it might be "permanent," "enclosed," "used as a dwelling" or "intended to remain stationary," the town may tax your rig. A 2010 trailer valued at $9,000 would be hit for $235.
Fuel prices fell last week: Diesel down seven-tenths of a cent, gas more than four cents. The week before diesel had jacked up almost six cents, the biggest jump in three months.
A New Zealand RV rental firm has 500 motorhomes stuck in Christchurch and Queensland and they want them back to Auckland near Christmas. To make it happen, they're renting the rigs out for $5 a day for five nights, tossing in a full tank of fuel, and a free ferry pass from the south island to the north island for the rig and driver.
Looking for unusual biodiesel in California's Bay Area? A month-long pilot program is selling algae-based biodiesel. Said to meet or exceed ASTM quality specs, Propel Clean Fuel guarantees compatibility and performance. It's selling in Redwood City, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose.
Americans are on track to spend more on gasoline this year than in any prior year on record. Figures indicate sales will average $1.32 billion per day.
Plans for wind turbines on 63,000 acres of desert near California's Joshua Tree National Park have been blown out. The Bureau of Land Management ruled that Desert Air Renewables didn't meet agency reporting requirements during its initial testing phase.
FREE DIRECTV & RV Satellite Kit for
(With purchase of DIRECTV home service) Take all of your favorite shows, movies and sports teams with you on the road! Packages start at just $29.99/mo! (FAMILY pkg) PLUS, you have access to DIRECTV ON DEMAND, with thousands of shows and movies and access to all the best sports programming! CALL NOW for current promotions and savings! 866-365-4372. Visit website for complete information.
LEGAL: Offers end 12/31/12. Credit card required (except in MA & PA); New approved customers only. All offers require 24-month agreement. FREE RV KIT: Requires NEW residential home service activation & purchase of ENTERTAINMENT programming or above. Existing DIRECTV customers may purchase the RV Kit. Additional terms and conditions apply. Call for details.
Readers of MotorHome Magazine voted Winnebago top manufacturer of Class A and Class C motorhomes in the magazine's first-ever Readers' Choice Awards. Top "sit down" restaurant honors went to Cracker Barrel.
RV industry talking-heads say the industry is rebounding. Wholesale movement of rigs is expected to be up 10 percent this year compared to 2011, and expectations say another four and a half percent in 2013. Towable units account for 90 percent of new retail sales.
RVers at Fort McMurray, Alberta's Rotary Park Campground are furious: A developer will turn the park into a golf course. Residents -- some permanent -- have two months to move out. At least one resident says it will be difficult to move rigs "frozen" into place in Alberta's winter.
Lady Liberty didn't come off unscathed from Hurricane Sandy. The Park Service says Liberty Island took heavy damage and the Statue of Liberty will be closed "indefinitely" until repairs can be made. The landmark had just reopened the day before the storm, following a $30 million refurbishing.
Camping on public or private property (not owned by you) may soon be outlawed in Fortuna, California. Sleeping in a vehicle on a street would be allowed only from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. under a proposed city ordinance.
A South Beloit, Wisconsin man with dementia vanished along with his 1985 white Chevrolet motorhome last Monday. The man, Daniel Perry, is 82. Police want anyone spotting the rig with Wisconsin plates 327138RV to call them at 815-389-3491.
1931: The coaxial cable is patented.
1941: U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan. U.S. enters WW II.
1952: First TV acknowledgement of pregnancy (I Love Lucy).
1962: A 114-day newspaper strike begins in New York City.
1966: The U.S. and USSR sign a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons in outer space.
Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
HANG ON. DAD'S GETTING UP TO MAKE COFFEE!
Stop the shaking in your parked fifth wheel or travel trailer.
This system provides the best possible movement reduction of a fifth wheel or travel trailer. And it's a breeze to set up. It mounts permanently on your trailer and works without a tripod, expensive chocks or slideout jacks! For more information click here. Or call toll-free 866-498-8754.
Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter
How to locate roof leaks.
Simple way to help control holding tank odors.
How to store your tires.
How to save gas (and money) when pulling over to let other vehicles pass.
Money saving tips on the road.
How to escape your RV if a fire breaks out.
The many uses of WD-40.
Carrying printed directories on your trips? Dump 'em.
The basics of mobile internet systems.
Why your dual tires should be matched, and how to tell if they are.
and Roadside Assistance!
Add a roadside assistance plan today from Coach-Net and give yourself valuable peace of mind while you're on the road away from home. We've got you and your family covered. Your membership includes coverage on your RV and all other personal vehicles (including motorcycles) -- owned, rented or borrowed! Learn more about our RV plans.
Bizarre lake awaits in British Columbia
If Dr. Suess had an RV and was looking for a Suess-like environment, in just what direction would he steer when he chose? Quite possibly to British Columbia's Spotted Lake, defined (in a most un-Suess-like way) as a saline endorheic alkali lake. Spotted Lake is indeed spotted, and in the summertime when the water begins to evaporate, the lake turns spotted, at times in a riot of surrealist colors. Read more.
Preparing your RV for storage in the summer
Many snowbirds leave their RVs behind in the Southwest after they drive or fly north to their stix and brix homes. So the question is how do they prepare their stored RV for the scorching heat of summer? Here are some ideas.
Finally, to buy new tires
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, knew the day was coming when he needed to get new tires for his motorhome. Well, it was time. But before buying, he did his homework (as he always does). And what he learned is the subject of his posting this week. It's good information. Please check it out.
Third edition. Just published.
Learn which type of RV is best for you, how to get a good price on a purchase, how to drive it, how to use all its appliances and gadgets, and how to hook it up in campgrounds.
Learn more or order.
How to improve your FM radio reception
In these really "high tech" days, the thought of FM radio may seem -- well -- a bit "quaint." Still, saving money is far from quaint, and those free FM radio signals are a lot cheaper to draw in than satellite radio. But one RVer recently wondered how he could add an antenna to his recently-purchased FM radio. Here is how.
Understanding 30 amp vs. 50 amp RV service
In this video from Master RV technician Steve Roddy, an RVer wonders why her circuit breaker keeps blowing in her 32 foot travel trailer. The trailer is wired for 30 amps, but she is plugged into a 50 amp outlet with a surge protector. Roddy explains why the problem is occurring and answers her question about re-wiring her RV for 50 amp service. Watch the two-minute video.
Buy a new RV for the kids?
You can read a new motorhome review for the adults any day. But just how often do you think about buying a new motorhome for the kids -- or the grandkids? A little shy on the cash? Hang on, this Class A motorhome could be in your price range with a street price of less than 30. We don't mean $30-thousand, we mean $30. Read more.
Build your own RV storage organizer
No matter what type of RV you own, storage will be an issue. Over the years Jim Twamley used everything from elaborate storage compartment organization units to stackable plastic storage bins and cardboard boxes. He still uses all of these because they work. If you are new to RVing, Jim suggests you start off with plastic bins and cardboard boxes until you determine what works best for your RV camping style. Read more and see photos.
Is it significant if your TPMS readings vary?
Should you be concerned if the pressure on your tire pressure monitoring system varies by a few psi between tires? But before discussing the details of TPMS accuracy it's important to understand the difference between a “measurable” difference and a “meaningful” difference. Read more.
This Week's Reader Survey
Do you use your RV to attend and/or camp at NASCAR races?
Last week's question
Have you ever given or received a Chia Pet as a holiday gift?
Read the survey results.
SECRET PHRASE OF THE DAY. Wally had a crush on Barb but she thought he was a jerk.
on the Emerald Coast
Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is one of the top rated resorts in the country. With top of the line amenities, incredible staff, and exquisite lots, this Class A only resort is just minutes from the sugar-fine sands of the Alabama Gulf coast. Come see how they live at Bella Terra of Gulf Shores by visiting its website BellaTerraRVresort.com or by calling one of the resort representatives at (866) 417-2416.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the long list of upcoming RV shows for 2013.
More than 2,200 places to stay for free or less than $10 in an RV.
Latest RV Recalls
See them here, along with past recalls.
tire pressure and temperature
The TireTraker™ TT-400C is a full-time wireless electronic tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) designed to monitor & display tire pressures from 0 psi up to 145 psi & also to monitor tire temperatures from 14°F to 185°F. Monitor tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle -- up to 22 tires! Low pressure is the leading cause of premature tire failure! The TireTraker™ TT-400C, with its industry-leading 3-year warranty, can provide early notice of potential problems & assist in maintaining proper pressurization. List price (four tires) $319. Our price only $219. SAVE $100! Learn more or order. Read testimonials about Tire Traker.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.36 (on December 7)
Change from week before: Down 4 cents
Diesel: $4.02 (on December 3)
Change from week before: Down 1 cent
Terrific holiday gift!
The Complete Book of Boondock RVing
Ever feel frustrated by crowded RV parks? Yearn to camp out in the wild beside a babbling mountain brook or before a remote panoramic vista? This is the complete guide to camping without hookups (aka "dry camping"). The book includes a handy list of selected boondock campgrounds that the authors know personally or have heard about from friends. Learn more or order.
Ask the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
New this year: Gary's eBook, The RV Doctor's Technical Guide to RV Electrical Systems. Learn all about your RV's 120-volt electrical system. Order now and be reading a few minutes later.
Propane leak suspected by full-timers. Take it to be fixed or just shut off the valve?
I think we have a propane leak. How should we check it out, or should we take it somewhere. Should it be a propane place or a RV repair shop? We live in our motorhome full time. My husband thinks it is safe because it is shut off but I'm worried something could still happen. Please inform us. --Susan N., (Somewhere in WI)
RVers Best Public Campgrounds
This is a terrific guide for RVers who like to stay in public campgrounds not too far off the beaten path. It lists hundreds of such campgrounds within a 30-minute drive from an Interstate highway. They include those managed by the feds, state, county or cities. Overnight fees for most campgrounds are $19 or less. The campgrounds will accommodate most RVs. Learn more or order for only $17.95
The RV Shrink
First RVing experience is a bad one
Dear R.V. Shrink:
We recently spent a week in a state park near New Orleans. It was a dump. Very mismanaged and a mosquito infested swamp. It was our first experience with our new RV. My wife always wanted to explore New Orleans and I thought this would be a great way to do it. As it turns out I was wrong. My wife is now turned off with RVing and New Orleans. I probably should have stayed in a commercial park with easier access to the city, but there were two state parks that looked close so I just picked the one, figuring it would be close to things and a short hop into the city. I am now thinking I should have left the RV home and found a hotel. Any suggestions on how to convince my wife that this is not the norm when RVing? --Camping Voodoo in Vicksburg
Joke of the week
Q: Did you hear about the guy they found dead with his head in his cornflakes?
A: The police thought he was the victim of a cereal killer.
Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs
This issue's Knowledge Quiz
One quiz on Saturday, December 8, 2012 with a swell prize
TODAY'S PRIZE: The 2013 Motor Carrier's Road Atlas. This is a large format atlas is designed for truckers but great for RVers with big rigs: it shows roads not suitable for large RVs, including those with low clearances along the route.
QUIZ QUESTION WILL NOT APPEAR until the exact start time as noted below (before the actual start time you will only see previous contests).
Answer the quiz here on Saturday, December 8 beginning at exactly 9:30 a.m., Pacific Time (12:30 p.m. in the East).
MORE QUIZZES WITH PRIZES.
We'll run contests with prizes in every issue of our new weekday newsletter RV Daily Tips. Sign up here so you don't miss out.
Michelin RV Tires
Buy at Competitive Prices through FMCA’s Advantage Program. Learn more.
RV News Service
Top RV parks named by GuestRated.com.
Save $4.95 on Wal-Mart guides!
GET THE POCKET GUIDE FOR FREE
Here are two great guides to Wal-Mart stores, the "Wal-Mart Atlas" (Second edition, published 2011) and the "Wherezitat? Locate A Wal-Mart Pocket Guide" (includes stores that DO NOT allow overnight stays). You get the Wherezitat guide for FREE with the purchase of the Atlas, packaged together to save you $4.95 over purchasing separately. Get both guides for only $24.95, a $29.90 value! Learn more or order.
Tech Tips from Mark Polk
Running two air conditioners on a 30-amp connection
I received this letter recently. "We are considering buying a Winnebago Sightseer 35J with two roof air conditioners. But the coach only has 30-amp service with an Onan 5.5 KW generator. Can these two air conditioners run at the same time with only 30 amps?" Here's my answer.
Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's many helpful books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com.
Guide To The
Firearm Laws of the 50 States
RVers who travel with a firearm may not know that what's legal in their home state may be a felony in another. This 2012 guidebook explains current, specific gun laws for every state. Don't cross a state line with a gun without knowing the laws. Learn more or order.
Patagonia Lake State Park
Tucked away in the rolling hills of southeastern Arizona is the hidden treasure of Patagonia Lake State Park, with a 265-acre man-made lake where anglers catch crappie, bass, bluegill and catfish. Pontoon boat tours will be offered on the lake on Saturdays and Sundays in December. Avian tours will be offered at 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. and will go to the east end of the lake. An experienced birder will be on board to point out, identify, and talk about the birds seen. Enjoy a Twilight tour just before dark on Saturdays. The sunsets can be spectacular from the lake and seeing the shoreline from the water is a delightful experience. And there's more. Read all about it.
Guide to Free Campgrounds
The 2012 edition of Guide to Free Campgrounds contains more than 12,000 public campgrounds across the USA, including national forests, national parks, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Corps of Engineers campsites and others, all with camping fees of $12 or less per night! This is one of RVbookstore.com's all time best sellers. Learn more or order.
Batteries in cold weather
Always keep your batteries fully charged in freezing weather. Battery voltage drops rapidly when used in cold weather. A low battery is susceptible to rupture when frozen. --From Motorhomes Made Easy
INSTANT READING ABOUT RVing!
With eBooks you don't have to wait to read your book. Just place your order and your eBook will be delivered almost instantly to your email inbox. These eBooks are written by RV experts and delivered in PDF format. Check out the big selection of eBooks at RVbookstore.com. Browse the RVbookstore.com eBook department.
The RV Kitchen
This tasty dish is easily made vegetarian by using imitation bacon bits or none at all. Some curry powder is very spicy, some mild. Go easy until you find your own favorite brand.
Cookbooks for RVers: Big selection at RVbookstore.com.
Best Selling DVD
Deep Cycle Batteries
Problems with deep cycle batteries are usually because an owner did not understand how to properly maintain them. With this DVD by Mark Polk, learn to maintain your batteries and extend their life. And when you extend their life, you extend the money in your wallet. Learn more or order.
Bumper Sticker of the week
"My kids think I'm an ATM."
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com
Win cash with our Pot of Gold Contest
To participate, click here Monday through Friday.
The cash prize is now $225.00 Each weekday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific time) we publish a randomly selected U.S. Zip Code. If you live there and are the first to tell us, you win the money which increases every day there's no winner. Certain rules apply.
Last week's Zip Codes: 87532, 32439, 03884, 35120, 20437
In our Forum
How to put a new floor in a Class C motorhome: The discussion is lively here. If you're thinking about installing a new floor, this may be helpful to you.
Looking for recommendations on a new motorhome. RVtravel.com forum members Ted and Sheila Myers are looking for advice about a new motorhome.
These DVDs will make you a better RVer
Get these popular DVDs and others at RVbookstore.com
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro
Better Business Bureau Guide to Buying an RV
Choosing an RV: A Logical Approach (with Joe & Vicki Kieva)
Do It Yourself RV Care (with the RV Doctor)
Drive Your Motorhome Like a Pro
Guide to Class A Motorhomes
Guide to Class C Motorhomes
Towing Behind Your Motorhome
Guide to Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels
Guide to Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing
Guide to Winterizing Your RV
According to the book "Fast Food Nation," one of every eight U.S. workers at one time worked for McDonald's. The company hires about one million people each year. McDonald's is the nation's largest purchaser of beef, pork and potatoes. The McDonald's Corporation is the largest owner of retail property in the world and earns the majority of its profit not from selling food but from collecting rent. McDonald's operates more playgrounds than any other private entity in the USA. A survey of American school children found that 96 percent could identify Ronald McDonald, second only to Santa Claus. The Golden Arches are more recognized than the Christian Cross.
Best sellers at RVbookstore
•Baby picture has nothing to do with this ad. It's just a cheap trick to attract your attention.
RVers Best Public Campgrounds. Directory of public campgrounds along major roads.
Mountain Directories East & West editions. Learn about steep grades ahead.
DVD: Deep Cycle Batteries. Learn all about this essential RV item.
Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory. THE directory for owners of big RVs.
The Fifth Wheel Bible: The only book just about fifth wheel trailers.
Random RV Thought
Card games are cheap entertainment. In the campground a deck or two can provide hours of fun without the use of extra power. And when not being used, they take up virtually no storage space.
Headed to Alaska?
Send for the official FREE state travel guide!
Discover what makes driving North to Alaska so legendary. The roads are open and well maintained. Every route offers countless places to stop along the way to fish, hike, view wildlife, stock-up on sundries, dine, shop, camp and relax. This official guide offers planning suggestions as to where to go, how to get there, what to see, and what to do. Don't travel to Alaska without reading this first. Essential! Get your FREE North to Alaska Travel Guide.
"What one has, one ought to use; and whatever he does, he should do with all his might." --Cicero
this newsletter. . .
. . . and on our several dozen other websites and blogs. If you have a business or represent one with a product or service aimed at RVers, you should check this out.
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Julianne Crane, Gary Bunzer, Bob Difley, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble and Richard Miller. Office Manager: Jody Allcott. Warehouse operations: Eric Brotman. New York City correspondent: Emily Woodbury.
If you enjoy and appreciate this newsletter and would like to help it continue by making a voluntary subscription contribution, we invite you to do so here. It will be appreciated very much.
About the RVtravel.com editor
Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for nearly three decades. In the '90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an "on the road" writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC's Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. These days, he lives near Seattle where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD "Buying a Recreational Vehicle," the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We're just human! So don't go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. So be sure to check things out. At RVbookstore.com we strive for excellence in all we do. Our customers receive super fast service. Our motto is "You need it so we speed it," and no truer words were ever spoken!
Our offices are located at 170 W. Dayton Street, Suite 103, Edmonds WA 98020. Write editor Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com. Information about advertising in this newsletter and on our other websites and blogs is available at RVtravelAdvertising.com or by calling 425-744-0415 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays (Pacific time).
This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.
This newsletter is copyright 2012 by RVtravel.com