RV Travel Newsletter: December 29-January 4. Issue 566

For Email Marketing you can trust

Weekend of December 29, 2012

Issue 566 of RV Travel

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its twelfth year of continuous publication, is funded through sales at RVbookstore.com and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Important for safe RVing!

Our commercial grade TIRE MONITORING SYSTEM will help ensure you travel safely without tire failure related peril. Our system is inexpensive, simple to install and fun to use. The National Transportation Safety Board says commercial grade vehicles need tire monitoring systems even more than passenger cars and trucks. We will meet or beat any advertised price on our system! Visit Truck System Technologies (TST) to learn more. Or call 770-889-9102.

Editor's corner

With Chuck Woodbury

Follow RV Travel on Facebook

I'd like to tell you about Michael. I met him many years ago in a beautiful, fern-infested Forest Service campground along the Umpqua River in Central Oregon. We were the only campers. I was a struggling freelance writer on the road in a tiny motorhome trying to earn my fame and fortune. He was camped in the back of a small pickup truck. There was a beautiful waterfall nearby. I had visited it earlier. I had snapped a fast photo and returned to my motorhome.

Later I noticed Michael at the waterfall. He was sitting on a wide, flat rock. He stayed an hour. When he returned to the campground, I stepped outside and asked him to join me for dinner. It promised to be a cold, drizzly evening and I figured he would enjoy a break from the mist. I was preparing pasta. He said yes.

I SOON LEARNED that there was something wrong with Michael. He couldn't move very well. His neck appeared frozen in place. He told me he was 30. He had developed a form of arthritis that was gradually fusing his bones together. I helped him into my motorhome. It was too painful for him to enter by himself. We drank a few beers, ate my lousy pasta and shared stories. He told me he didn't have much longer before he couldn't move at all. Ultimately, the disease would kill him.

He had lost his job — just couldn't do the work anymore. But rather than sit around and feel sorry for himself, he set off in his truck to see America. At our campground, he was totally at peace by the waterfall, patiently savoring each moment. He was in no rush. I, meanwhile, had spent only a few minutes at the waterfall, snapping a photo before retreating to my motorhome to write about it in hopes of earning a few dollars.

We said good-bye the next morning, and wrote to each other a few times during the next year. Then I never heard from him again. But Michael had taught me something: how lucky I was. I had no money, but I had my health and my future. Many times in the years since, when I have stood upon a beautiful overlook or by another waterfall, I have thought of Michael. I have stayed a bit longer to savor the beauty and ponder my good fortune. Thank you my friend, wherever you are.

P.S. Happy New Year! 2013? Ya gotta be kidding?! Time flies!

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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DID YOU MISS LAST WEEK'S ISSUE? If so, read it here.

If you have had trouble signing up for our new RV Daily Tips newsletter, please email me -- chuck@rvtravel.com -- and I will be happy to put you on the list to receive the email alert for each new issue.

* * *
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. Be sure to include information about the photo including who is pictured. Email them to me, chuck@rvtravel.com.

Hot off the press!
2013 Good Sam
RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

This thick directory combines the Trailer Life and Woodall's campground directories of the past into one thick, comprehensive volume, with full descriptions & details for nearly 15,000 private & public campgrounds, information on over 900,000 RV sites, RV service centers, LP gas locations & tourist attractions. It includes military park listings & more than 2,000 Good Sam discount locations. Learn more or order at low discount price.

Editor's comment: We post breaking RV news throughout the week at our RVtravel.com Facebook page. "Like us" at RVtravel.com/facebook

kgjRVers who frequent the Lemon Bluff RV Park on the St. John's River in Volusia County, Florida will soon find their haunt a thing of the past. County government is buying the park for $605,000 and making the RV sites vanish. In their place will be fishing and boat launching facilities.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Norcold claiming the company knew of fire risks from RV refrigerators it produced but hid the information from the public. The attorneys who filed suit say over 2,000 fires have resulted. The complete complaint is found here: http://www.zimmreed.com/uploads/norcold-complaint.pdf

Got Good Sam Road Assistance? Then know your service will continue to be supported by Allstate Roadside Services under a renewed agreement between Good Sam Enterprises and the Allstate through 2019. The collective claims 30,000 tow and service providers nationwide. 

More scandal for California State Parks: State auditors say more than 200 park employees were overpaid by as much as $500,000 by rule-breaking managers. The overpayments said to have occurred over a three-year period. Park agency representatives disagree with some of the audit findings.

Thor Industries leads sales of towable RVs for the year with 36.5-percent of the market share; Forest River in second place with a 21.5-percent share. Jayco pulls in third place with 11.9-percent. Source: Statistical Surveys.

The first matching funds agreement between California State Parks and a non-government agency since $54 million in hidden funds were "found" in the agency's coffers will keep Henry Coe State Park open through 2014. The state will put up $279,000 in the deal with a local preservation group.

Ohio's Washington County Fairgrounds responding to needs of oil workers has opened a new RV park at the ground's entrance. Full hookup sites accommodate 50 RVs cost $250 a month to rent.

Tune in to cable TV channel HGTV for the program RV 2013 (filmed at America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania) on January 1st at 6 p.m!

A deal between the RV Hall of Fame and the city of Elkhart, Indiana has raised the hackles of a town councilman. Hall of Fame officials were $115,000 in arrears to the city for utility fees, claiming the organization's non-profit status relieved them of the fees. The city waived the fees and gave the Hall about a 50-percent break on future fees, provided the Hall stays current in the new payments.

A man cruising around in a 36-foot motorhome at 2:30 a.m., Christmas-eve morning stuck out like a sore thumb -- especially since the motorhome had been reported as stolen. Salina, Kansas police arrested the 42-year-old man driving rig. He told police he was homeless.

Hybrid Furnace!
With this UL certified RVIA compliant system the RV owner has the option of simply flipping a switch to use either Electric, or Gas as a source to heat their coach along with the manufacturer installed central forced air heating system. Gas or Electric at the flip of a switch. Learn more.

More News

A Beloit, Wisconsin RV dealer found a new use for some of its motorhomes: Finnegans' RV Center gave area seniors free tours of local holiday light displays in some of its rigs during the season.

Looking to camp in Alaska's Denali National Park in 2013? Time to make your reservations for Riley Creek, Savage River, Taklanika River and Wonder Lake campgrounds. Internet reservations available at www.reservedenali.com.

National Park advocates worry falling off the "fiscal cliff" will mean a loss of $200 million to the system. The National Parks Conservation Association says parks face an 8.3-percent budget cut that could translate to closing of 200 park sites and the loss of 9,000 seasonal park rangers.

The value of Thor Industries stock keeps growing, but one investment guru tells his clients: "Sell!" Mark Roberts says sales to dealers are running ahead of actual retail sales and that Thor stock is headed for a fall. Thor officials disagree, foreseeing slow and steady growth.'

KOA chairman Jim Rogers will be the "Undercover Boss" on the CBS-TV program of the same name on January 11 at 8 p.m. (7 central). More.

Truck Camper Magazine has posted its 2013 Truck Camper Buyers Guide with new 2013 truck camper models, updated truck camper dry weights, current floor plans, tank sizes, MSRPs, and other specifications.

Belleville, Ontario officials say they'll prohibit parking of large RVs in driveways; their proposed bylaw would fine violators starting in 2013. But a local media organization's news poll shows that 87 percent of respondents say property owners should be able to park what they want in their driveways.

On this date in history:
December 29
Compiled by Dell Bert
1891: Thomas Edison patents "transmission of signals electrically" (radio).
1937: Mary Tyler Moore is born.
1938: Construction on the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in Seattle begins.
1952: First transistorized hearing aid offered for sale (Elmsford NY).

1965: Supremes release "My World Is Empty Without You."
1972: Life magazine ceases publication.
1989: Jane Pauley says goodbye to NBC's "Today" show.

Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.

Potential Roofing Concern
For RVs Built Since 2010

Some newer TPO roofing is not compatible with common lap sealants. Using lap sealant on these TPO materials can create cosmetic damage RVers will find undesirable. Dicor Products’ new Ultra Sealant System has been developed to overcome this concern. Find out if your RV could be a concern and get more helpful information on the situation. Learn more.

Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter

Cast iron cookware perfect for RV kitchens.
How to sleep like a baby even in noisy campgrounds.

No Issue. Merry Christmas.

Good gloves for use at the dump station.
Lost power to your RV's 120-volt outlets? Try this simple fix.

Simple test helps gauge if your tires are safe.
An easy way to save up to 10 cents a gallon at the pump.

How much maintenance is required on solar panels?
How to use your smart phone as a WiFi hotspot.

Laid Back Luxury
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.

New RVer asks: What fifth wheel hitch position for tow?
Folks new to the fifth-wheeling game sometimes have a little catching up to do. Sometimes even 'old dogs' learn something new. For example, we know plenty of fifth wheel owners who've never had the need for a "sliding hitch" because they've always towed with a long-bed truck. Read more.

Impact damage or defective tire? How can a fishing line explain which?
Many times you hit something with your RV or car or drop into a pot hole and don't know it because the impact is small. Other times you may feel the impact but if nothing happens right at the instant of the hit the event seems to get erased from your memory. While it's true that most of the time when you hit something no significant damage occurs, sometimes there is damage and you may not see the result for many miles, hours or even days, so you may not link the impact event with the tire failure. Read more.

Forget wire nuts and crimp connectors -- try Sure-In
One of the last things you want when doing RV electrical work is to have a bad connection--one that works--and then doesn't. OK, maybe worse is the connection that allows for electrical arcs and heat buildup that could lead to a fire disaster. RVers need good, solid electrical connections. Working against us is the constant vibration from rattling down the road. Many RVers have tried using wire nuts to connect wires together, but the natural vibration of the rig makes this an "iffy" proposition at best. Read more.

Off main road with your RV -- getting unstuck
Camping away from "civilization" in your RV is a great way to get away from noise and hassles and bring you closer to nature. It can also provide its own set of challenges: Getting your rig stuck off the road is an example, and one you really don't want to experience. Experienced RVers can tell you: The best way to get your RV unstuck is not to get stuck in the first place. But what if you do? Here are tips.

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 how 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.

Workamping and volunteering a good mix
If you're looking for a different kind of workamping job, consider volunteering at one of many non-profit groups in need of workampers. Opportunities at charitable organizations range from building fences at animal rescue properties to handling guest services at church retreats. In addition to receiving the usual perks, like a paid-for campsite in exchange for a designated number of work hours, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are making the world a better place for someone in need. Here are some resources for finding volunteer positions.

Pillows. How to get a better night's sleep in your RV
Pillows are as individual as people. "They almost have personalities of their own," writes Rich Miller, the Wanderman. "Now wait a minute..I'm not kidding," he says. "Haven't you had a favorite pillow that you just didn't want to give up because it was perfect?  Finding the right one is often a long process with lots of trial and error. I'm no stranger to that route! Which pillow will you choose?" Read more.

Innovative satellite dish mount
Jim Twamley has talked to a lot of RVers through the years, who have shown him the various ways they have modified their RVs. He writes. "As a group RVers are some of the most innovative and creative people you will ever encounter." In this episode of his blog RV Now, Jim introduces you to an RVer who came up with a unique way to turn his tow dolly into a satellite platform. Read all about it -- and see the many photos.

Romotow: Travel trailer with a twist--literally!
Leave it to a continent that's home to the duckbill platypus and the kangaroo to come up with a strange twist on RVing. Coming to a dealership in 2015 -- or so its designers hope -- The Romotow, the travel trailer that twists like certain species of USB flash drives. Huh? Well, you need to see a photo to understand. Check it out.

Canada announces its newest/largest park
While the US may by title holder to the largest national park in North America, Canada is knocking at the door. Quebec says it will soon establish the country's largest national park. Read more.

Just Published!
Retire to an RV:
The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement
Are you considering the RV lifestyle? Is it for you? Can you afford to retire AND travel 365 days a year? Retire to an RV provides you with the information to help you make that decision. Learn more or order.

This Week's
Reader Survey

On the road, when opting for a fast meal out, would you most often eat lunch at McDonald's or a nearby Mom and Pop cafe?
Answer here.

Last week's question
How would you describe the tool kit in your RV?
Read the survey results.

Past reader surveys and results.

Don't get burned with
the wrong RV insurance company!

Explorer RV Insurance offers you more than just standard RV insurance for your RV such as total loss replacement, purchase price guarantees, personal effects coverage, awning replacement coverage, towing and more. Explorer RV Insurance is a full-service agency that has established partnerships with leading carriers bringing you access to a wide range of specialty RV insurance products. Learn more.


Upcoming RV Shows
See the long list of upcoming RV shows for 2013.


More than 2,000 places to stay for free or less than $10 in an RV.

Latest RV Recalls
See them here, along with past recalls.

Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.27 (on December 28)

Change from week before: Up 3 cents
Diesel: U.S. $3.92 (on December 24)
Change from week before: Down
2 cents

The essential guide
to locating Wal-Mart stores

Learn where to find more than 4,100 U.S. Wal-Mart stores most of which allow free overnight stays in RVs. Get specific driving directions to each. Learn which stores sell gas and diesel. The Walmart Atlas is an RVbookstore.com best-seller. SAVE 20% off cover price. Learn more or order.

RV DoctorAsk the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.

Learn all about your RV's 120-volt electrical system in Gary's eBook The RV Doctor's Technical Guide to RV Electrical Systems. Order now and be reading it a few minutes later.

Why synthetic blocks under tires?

Dear Gary,
In an edition of your RV Doctor Newsletter, you said to use non-absorbing, synthetic blocks under the footprint of the tires when parked asphalt. Would you explain why? --Don B., (North Las Vegas, NV)

Read Gary's response.


https://rvbookstore.com/shop/images/2/t/1483.jpgPublished in 2012!
Guide to Free Campgrounds
The 2012 edition of Guide to Free Campgrounds contains more than 12,000 public campgrounds across the USA, including those in national forests & national parks, & on lands of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) & at Corps of Engineers lakes -- 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.

The RV Shrink

Waiting for campsite a problem

Dear R.V. Shrink:
We have resisted using the government parks reservation systems because we do not like to be on any kind of schedule. We don't mind not getting in once in awhile, or having to wait a couple days to secure a site. Often we get a space but then have to move several times because we can't find a site open for all the days we would like to stay. This is inconvenient but it still beats making a reservation and being put on a schedule. That said, we find it annoying that the parks do not always have a place for us to park while we wait for our next site to open. We like to hike and can't always be back by the time we are suppose to check out of our site. If our next site is not open by the time we plan to leave in the morning for whatever activity, we need a staging area to park our rig so that we don't have to be put on a schedule, which was our point in the first place. Is that too much to ask? Am I getting crotchety in my old age? --Musical Chairs in Myakka

Read the Shrink's response.

This issue's Knowledge Quiz

One quiz on Saturday, December 29, 2012 with a swell prize.

TODAY'S PRIZE: The 2013 RV Buyers Guide. Learn just about everything about just about every RV model for 2013.

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 29 beginning at exactly 8:45 a.m., Pacific Time (11:45 a.m. in the East).

Official Knowledge Quiz Rules.

Internet Specials!

RV Short Stops
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park
Richmond, California

This northern California National Park site includes portions of the Kaiser shipyards where many "Rosie the Riveters" worked during World War II helping the war effort. Exhibits include the SS Red Oak Victory, one of 747 ships built in the four Kaiser shipyards; visitors can also follow a roadway that winds around current shipbuilding operations to encompass views of the historic electric shop, machine shop, forge and cafeteria. For information the park, which is across the bay from San Francisco, call (510) 232-5050.

Military Campground Directory
The U.S. Military Campgrounds Directory CD-Rom runs on your Windows computer. Unlike a printed directory, this one is updated every month -- so no more arriving at a campground to learn “things are different now!” With this handy CD-Rom you do not need an Internet connection to get to the latest details on every known U.S. military campground. Learn more or order for 15% off.

TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Eleanor was impressed with her frog's upbeat personality.

Joke of the week
A man goes to a pet shop to buy a parrot. He asks, ''How much is the yellow one?'' The clerk says, ''$2,000.'' The man is shocked and asks why it's so expensive. The clerk says, ''This parrot is very special. He knows how to type." The man asks ''What about the green one?'' The clerk says, ''He costs $5,000 because he knows how to type and can answer incoming phone calls.'' The man asks about the red one. The clerk says, ''That one's $10,000.'' The man says, ''What does HE do?'' The clerk says, ''I don't know but the other two call him boss.''

Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs

2012 Milepost Directory
DVD: RVing Alaska with Joe and Vicki Kieva
Traveler's Guide to Alaska Camping
Guide to the Alaska Highway
The World Famous Alaska Highway
DVD: Alaska By RV
More Alaska Books

Send for your FREE Alaska travel guide.

Bill's Hints

Trailer brakes
“Use lower gears when descending long, steep hills. Even trailer brakes will fade out if overheated. Once they are gone, they are gone!” --From Trailers and Fifth Wheels Made Easy


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. There's no shipping or handling and no tax to pay, making these a bargain over printed books. 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.

Tech Tips from Mark Polk

Why can't a motorhome be backed while towing a dinghy?

Dear Mark,
I have purchased several books and eBooks from RVbookstore.com, but I can’t find the answer to my burning question. In your eBook The Complete Guide to Dinghy Towing you say to never back up a motorhome when pulling a dinghy. My question is: You see many motorhomes pulling boats. If you can’t back up a toad, how do boaters back up to launch their boats? --Jim Walker
Read Mark's reply.

Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's books, eBooks and DVDs, available -- most at a discount -- at RVbookstore.com.

Save on Mountain Directories
East & West

Driving into the mountains with your RV? Be careful, there are some nasty grades. Here, in two volumes, are the premier guides to the mountain passes and steep grades of the American East and West -- more than 700 passes all together. You save $5 when buying both these guides together. Learn more or order for only $26.90 for both volumes.

Bumper Sticker of the week
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you can get rid of him for the weekend."
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com

"Like" RV Travel on Facebook
Don't wait until Saturday for your next dose of RV Travel. Join us on Facebook for breaking news, valuable RVing information and advice -- most of which never appears in this newsletter. "Like Us."

The RV Kitchen

Pumpkin Risotto
Two burners are needed to make this dish but clean-up is easy if you use a nonstick skillet and swish out the saucepan with a little hot water and a paper towel.

Get the recipe.

Cookbooks for RVers: Big selection at RVbookstore.com.

These DVDs will make you a better RVer
Get these popular DVDs and others at RVbookstore.com

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
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro

After he got out of the Marines in 1946, Glen W. Bell sold his refrigerator for $500 and used the money to start Bell’s Drive-In in San Bernardino, Calif. San Bernardino is also the birthplace of McDonald’s, so instead of competing directly, Bell switched to Mexican food. His first restaurants were called Taco Tia. But after awhile he renamed them Taco Bell, after himself.

Daily Log

Keep track of 45 different daily activities including fuel, mileage, expenses, weather and activities with this compact, 7" x 4 1/2" vinyl loose leaf journal. This is a favorite record-keeping journal for RVers year in and year out. Learn more or order.

Random RV Thought
Be sure you exercise your RV generator at least once a month. Let it run for 30 minutes with many power accessories turned on. Have you exercised your generator lately? If not, after you read the newsletter, do it!

Save more than 80%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com

Worth Pondering
"Somehow we learn who we really are and then live with that decision." --Eleanor Roosevelt

potogoldWin cash with our Pot of Gold Contest
To participate, click here Monday through Friday.

The cash prize is now $240. 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
: 09338, 99824, 00927, 65203, 27361
. Remember, these Zip Codes can appear again at any time.

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 he 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. Nowadays, 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.

RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Julianne Crane, Gary Bunzer, Dave Helgeson, Roger Marble, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, and Richard Miller. Cartoonist:
Jerry King. 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.     

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!

All information on this website is copyrighted by RVtravel.com. Our offices are located at 170 W. Dayton Street, Suite 103-B, 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.