RV Travel Newsletter Issue 568. January 12, 2013

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Weekend of January 12, 2013

Issue 568 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

RVers have something in common with astronauts: on occasion we both need to improvise. In space, a few years back, a Shuttle astronaut had to repair some damage to the craft. To do so, he and other astronauts fashioned a hacksaw out of a blade and Duct tape. The repair was absolutely necessary. The astronauts did not have the luxury of running to Home Depot or Camping World to buy what they needed. So they fashioned their tool from materials they could scrounge onboard.

Can you identify? I can. We don’t travel in outer space with our RVs, but we do end up in some remote places where we must do with what we have. I keep a little container with spare screws, washers, nails and other odds and ends for “just in case.” I have carried some of this stuff for more than a decade, and will probably do so until my last mile. Still, there's a chance that something in that container will come in handy some day, and I will be happy I carried it along.

It’s no surprise the astronauts carry Duct tape. I suspect you do, too. Duct tape has not saved my life, but it has saved many a day. Two items I will never leave home without: Duct tape and WD-40.

I enjoy the times when I need something but don’t have it onboard: it's a challenge to improvise. Once, years ago (before cell phones), my car's gas pedal cable broke. I was at the end of a dead end road ten miles from another human. Lucky for me, I was carrying a spiral notebook. I removed the coil, straightened it, and attached it to the broken cable. It got me to town and to a repair shop.

Where I live near Seattle, there’s a mini-mart around the corner and a Home Depot down the road. For most of us, living with such abundance, the act of day-to-day living requires very few material challenges. In our RVs, on those rare occasions when we are in need but miles from help, we are sometimes forced to play a “survival” game of sorts by challenging ourselves in ways not required at home. And when we succeed . . . well, that’s a very good feeling.

P.S. My daughter Emily and I are almost halfway done with our two week RV roadtrip together. A week from today she will fly back to college in New York City. I'll stay in the Southwest for a few more weeks to write and shoot some video. The photo is of us passing through the Avenue of the Giants in the northern California Redwoods. Our first week, most of it spent on the Oregon coast, was one rainy day after another which kept us from doing much outdoors. Still, we are having a great time.

If you have a comment about this essay or this newsletter in general, please feel free to leave it at our forum.

* * *
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.

Mark your calendar
Florida RV SuperShow
The largest RV show in the country, The Florida RV SuperShow, returns to the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, January 16-20, 2013.  Supplies, accessories, insurance, financing, and over 1,300 brand new RVs! Everything from the smallest to the largest RVs on the market. Adults $10 (2 day ticket), Kids under 16 free. For more information.

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

kgjWashington State's governor is recommending the legislature pony up $19 million for the state's parks. Without it, the union representing park workers says 40 to 70 parks would have to close, aside from other cutbacks in services.

Sussex County, Delaware officials are mulling over a proposal for a new RV resort between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach. If approved, the 162-acre site would provide 451 RV sites in addition to tent and cabin spaces, swimming pools, a canoe outfitter and more.

The oldest continuously operating theme park in the U.S., Lake Compounce, in Bristol, Connecticut, wants to add an RV park. If approvals are granted, the new park could open with 100 RV sites with space for cabins and tents as early as Spring, 2014.

Auction values for RVs in December played odd numbers, says Black Book, a used vehicle valuation firm. Motorhome values declined as expected, but only slightly, down $336 on average to $39,814. Towable units actually rose by $259 to an average sale of $10,281. Black Book says it may be several weeks before all RV sales increase in value.

Ponca State Park recently hosted the first-of-a-kind competition: Fruitcake flinging. Contestants at the Nebraska park tossed specially made fruitcakes as part of a Winterfest event. Resident birds are the true beneficiaries: The "fruitcakes" were made from sunflower seeds and millet. Expect a repeat in December, 2013.

RV users from newbies to fulltimers interested in RV safety, lifestyle, and technical topics, it's time to sign up for the RV Lifestyle, Education and Safety Conference slated for May 14-18 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Registration fees are $199. More information at www.rvsafety.com.

California's Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area needs volunteers to help cleanup at the 16th annual Sand Dunes Cleanup January 19. Register free, get bags, trade in full bags of trash for tickets in a prize drawing. Event starts 8 a.m. Call Charla at (760) 337-4155 for more information.

U.S. Department of Energy experts say motor fuel prices should be less in 2013 than last year. Diesel should average $3.87, down from $3.97, and gas is projected to run $3.44, while the 2012 average prices were $3.63.

Add COMFORT to your RV mattress and SAVE!
Introductory SALE on Foam Mattress Toppers made specifically for RV mattresses. 
AB Lifestyles (a leading manufacturer of USA-made camper & RV bedding) introduces Memory Foam and Polyurethane Foam Mattress Toppers. Add comfort to your mattress without spending a fortune! Special for RV Travel newsletter subscribers: Save 15% off your Mattress Topper Purchase when you purchase by January 25, 2013 and use promo code: RVT113 (FREE shipping too!). Learn more or order.

More News

Hamburg, New York residents gave their village officials an earful on proposed RV storage restrictions. The village technically requires owners to buy a permit to store RVs and other types of vehicles on their property, but officials have been lax in enforcement. After hearing opposing views from vocal citizens, the council opted to not take action at a recent meeting.

Despite vocal opponents, the Placer County, California Board of Supervisors has given approval to a 51-site RV park at the Raspberry Hill Golf Course near Auburn. Nineteen testified against the plan, arguing the park would be a "crime and blight magnet."

South Dakota State Parks report a resurgence of visitors in 2012 after taking a thumping in 2011 due to flooding. Visits in 2012 nearly hit eight million, an increase of 11 percent from the 2011 post-flood numbers.

The U.S. Forest Service reminds recreationists that their lands will be "fee free" on January 21 in conjunction with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Travel trailer manufacturer, Earthbound Recreational Vehicles LLC, has closed its doors. Economic woes have led to an auction of company assets in an attempt to settle up a $2 million loan.

Dubbed by one newspaper as "Traffic Cone Killing 101," Guaranty RV is offering a free RV driving school through this weekend at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, Oregon.

Elkhart County, Indiana, RV manufacturing capital of the U.S., added 2,700 new jobs in 2012. The average wage in the county is $18.01.

On this date in history:
January 12
Compiled by Dell Bert

1896: First X-ray photo in the U.S. (Dr Henry Smith, Davidson, NC).
1903: Harry Houdini performs at the Rembrandt theater in Amsterdam.
1906: Football rules committee legalizes the forward pass.
1915: The House of Representatives rejects proposal to give women the right to vote.
1946: The NFL champs Cleveland Rams are given permission to move to Los Angeles.
1948: Mahatma Gandhi begins his final fast.
1951: Actress Kirstie Alley is born.

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

Published this month!
Essential for owners of large RVs!
2013 Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory
If you drive a king-sized RV, this directory is for you. The authors provide details about RV parks in 49 states and eight Canadian provinces that welcome long RVs. All parks personally visited by the authors, who even recommend best sites in each one plus nearby attractions. A must for big rig owners. Learn more or order.

Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter

Get a handle on your handles.
Does your RV have this seal?

Save water by washing in a dish pan.
A tip for RVers with satellite TV or internet.

How to choose a campsite.
How to keep mice out of your RV.

RV smell bad after being closed up? Charcoal to the rescue.
What's the best RV tire? Or is there a "best" one?

Beware of dangers lurking in re-frozen food.
Advice about avoiding a mess when departing a campground.

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.

U.S. government issues Mexico travel safety information
RVing in Mexico? It seems the suggestion brings anything from cheers to shudders. Is it safe to travel in Mexico? The latest information from the U.S. State Department brings a bit of clarity to the situation by getting specific about where travel is relatively safe, and where it's downright dangerous. Read more.

How to file a complaint about tires with NHTSA, Part One
In his last post our RV tire expert Roger Marble asked the question of "Why Don't RV tires get recalled?" In this article he outlines the process of how to file a proper complaint with NHTSA to perhaps get an actual investigation started. Read more.

Making your own fast food breakfast sandwich
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, admits he likes an occasional fast food breakfast sandwich. And he likes getting it via a drive-thru. But, there's a problem when he's driving his motorhome: drive thrus were not made for king size vehicles. So what to do? Make your own breakfast sandwich! In this episode of his blog, Rich shows you how.

Is is okay to use cruise control when towing a trailer?
When towing a travel trailer, can you use the cruise control? What about an overdrive transmission? These are questions that can puzzle new RVers -- and even some veterans. First, let's talk about cruise control. Here's a school of thought where most folks who've had cruise control tend to agree: Towing a trailer with cruise control is fine -- with certain caveats. Towing "on the flat" is a snap, and may save you fuel if your cruise control handles the accelerator. However, if you encounter a situation where your transmission begins to "hunt," that is, to move from one gear to another and back, then you may need to make a change. Read more.

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.

Better truck camper battery charging
New to the world of truck camping, a fellow asked, "Can I use the seven-way wire connector from my truck to my camper to charge my camper battery?" It's not an uncommon question, and the answer is, "Yes, you can." But the answer is also, "You can, but you probably don't want to." Read more.

How to install an RV roof vent cover
The RV Geeks write: "Both of our Fantastic vent fans are equipped with rain sensors, but there are lots of times that we want the fan open and running even if it's raining out. The solution is to install vent fan covers. Our favorite is the Camco Aero-Flo (no, we are not paid to promote it!), which has lots of venting for high air flow, plus allows easy swing-open access for cleaning." Read more and watch a video.

Part-time workampers wanted in 2013
Non-retired, working-age persons on the road often encounter a catch-22 when seeking workamper jobs. Since most don't pay a huge salary, many people need to supplement their income with other opportunities. The catch is that at first glance it seems that many employers want workampers to put in around 30 hours a week, which leaves little time to earn an income elsewhere. But hang in there; part-time workamping jobs do exist! Read more.

Better & Safer WiFi for RVers from WiFiRanger
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 while improving speed and reliability. Used by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury in his travels. Learn more or order using Coupon Code "WFRTRAVEL" for a 5% discount.

This Week's
Reader Survey

In MOST of your RVing, how long do you generally stay in one camping place before moving to another?
Answer here.

Last week's question
How old were you when you bought your first 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 January 11)

Change from week before: Up 1 cent
Diesel: U.S. $3.91 (on January 7)
Change from week before: No change

Hot off the press!
2013 RVer's Friend
The 2013 RVer's Friend lists every Travel Center (truck stop) in the U.S. and Canada about 6,600 all together -- and what services each provides to RVers. RVers can determine if a travel center welcomes them for an overnight stay, if it has a dump station, if it sells propane, and if it provides Internet access or utility hookups. It also includes an Exit Order section. And, also very important, the book lists which RV mechanical services are provided. 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.

Holding tank blocked. What to do?

Dear Gary,
Our black tank in the RV is plugged up by the toilet. We bought one of those Flush Kings and back-washed the tank several times. We took a snake and ran it as far as it would go from the toilet side and still it did not drain. The snake seemed to just coil up. Is there something else we could try? --Randall (Phoenix, Ariz.)

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

Not happy with RVer's behavior at the dump station

Dear R.V. Shrink:
I have a question about RV dump etiquette. My wife just yelled at me for asking a guy at the dump station to hurry it along. I’m not bold or rude. This guy just pushed my wrong buttons. First he dumped, then he did a complete scrub as if he were going to deliver a baby next. Then he filled his very large water tank, which took about fifteen minutes. I was a little annoyed, but still had my anger in check at this point. It wasn’t until he started washing his motorhome windshield and the rest of the front end with a little dish scrubber. He could have done that at his site. He was treating the dump station as his own personal truck wash, while the rest of us patiently looked on. I know everyone else in line felt the same way I did. I felt it was my duty, since I was the next up to bat. Do you think I was within my rights? My wife thinks I should just have done the slow burn and waited my turn. --Sewer Skewer in Laredo

Read the Shrink's response.

This issue's Knowledge Quiz

One quiz on Saturday, January 12, 2013 with a swell prize.

TODAY'S PRIZE: Your very own copy of the hot-off-the-press 2013 RVers Friend. Learn what services truck stops provide RVers. A valuable resource on your RV trips.

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, January 12 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

Ava Gardner Museum
Smithfield, North Carolina
Ava Gardner was a very beautiful woman as well as one of America's most glamorous actresses of her time. In Smithfield, North Carolina, you can learn all about Ava's life and movies and even see some of the clothes she wore at the Ava Gardner Museum. The collection largely represents the efforts of Tom Banks who at age 12 was kissed on the cheek by a young girl attending secretarial school in Wilson, North Carolina. Later Banks opened a newspaper and saw a photo of Ava and learned her identity for the first time. In the years following, he and his wife assembled memorabilia from every source they could find.

Just published.
2013 RV Buyers Guide
Whether you're dreaming about buying a new RV or are actively shopping, the 2013 RV Buyers Guide created by Trailer Life is your best source for learning what you need to know about virtually every new RV on the market — motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheelers, folding camping trailers, truck campers and other RVs — with complete information about construction features, dimensions, popular options and more. Learn more or order.

Dr. Rock
Roadside geology for RVers

Why do two close-by
volcanoes look so different?

In this episode, Dr. Rock talks about two Oregon volcanoes that are close to each other but look entirely different. Why? Find out.

TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Monty Anderson, husband of Nelda the nurse, injured his thumb while eating Fruit Loops.

Just published.
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 2013 book 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.

Joke of the week
Receptionist: "Doctor, there is an invisible man in the waiting room."
Doctor: "Tell him I can't see him now."

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 height
“You must be conscious of overhead obstructions because of the trailer height. Measure your trailer height in advance so that when you see clearances posted, you will know if you can safely proceed.” --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

Stopping not as easy when towing a vehicle behind

Tests performed on a flat, dry paved surface using a 34-foot Class A motorhome show that traveling at 50 mph required 132 feet of braking distance to come to a complete stop. Under the same speed and surface conditions, but with a car in tow that weighed 4,110 pounds and no braking system, the stopping distance of the motorhome expanded to 209 feet. If you are towing a car behind your motorhome, talk to your dealer about a supplemental braking system. You may be breaking the law in some states for the amount of weight you can tow without such a system.

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
"When I die the dog gets everything."
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

Freeze-Ahead Farmer's Market Soup Mix
This takes longer to read than to make, so bear with me. Make a huge soup kettle of this basic mixture and freeze it in batches suitable for your family. Each 3/4 cup of mix makes a two-cup serving of soup after “completers” are added. Enlist the family to peel and chop or just put everything through the food processor.

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

In the 1400s, a law was set forth that a man was not allowed to beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb. Hence, we have "the rule of thumb."

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
It's a good idea to carry an extra length of hose and a heavy duty extension cord for those rare instances when hookups may be too far to reach otherwise. Keep the extension short as possible and check how many amps it will support before using. Too small a cord could cause a fire.

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

Worth Pondering
"I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution." --Wernher von Braun

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

The cash prize is now $250.00. 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
: 84088, 37738, 66423, 05473, 54149
. 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 2013 by RVtravel.com.