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RV Travel Newsletter: February 23-March 1. Issue 574
Weekend of February 23, 2013
Issue 574 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!
MONITOR YOUR TIRE PRESSURE!
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.
You may recall (if you have been reading this newsletter for awhile) that in 2011 I spent a week RVing in Iceland. My vacation destination was Cambridge, England, but because I flew Icelandair, the official airline of Iceland, for no extra charge I was able to de-plane in Reykajvik and then reboard for the second leg of the trip a week later. So my companion Kathy and I decided to explore the island-nation for a week.
What a wonderful week it was! We rented a campervan in Reykajvik from Happy Campers (good people) and spent the next week circling the island on its 900-mile ring road, an excellent, mostly paved (about 99 percent) two-lane road that circles the island. The scenery is magnificent. One minute it looks like Scotland, then 20 minutes later like Mars. And spectacular waterfalls are everywhere!
The coastline is dramatic and gorgeous. The little towns are picture perfect, usually with at least one cafe and hotel. A "big" town is 500 people. In between towns, you will come upon a lonely N1 gas station. With its small store and cafe, it's a gathering place for the local farmers. For tourists, it's a place to stop for coffee or chat with the locals.
MY REASON FOR WRITING ABOUT ICELAND is to urge any of you who are headed to Europe this summer to consider a stopover there. Icelandair does not fly to very many U.S. cities (I'm lucky that one of them is Seattle), but it usually offers among the lowest fares to and from the U.S. and Europe. So even if Icelandair does not serve your airport, perhaps you can make a connection.
But even if you are not headed to Europe, consider adding an RV trip in Iceland to your Bucket List. Believe me, you will never forget it. I once spent three weeks RVing in New Zealand, which is one of the most gorgeous places on Earth, but, mile per mile, Iceland is equally impressive. And, here's the surprising part: Iceland's 300,000 citizens are RV-crazy! There are more campgrounds per capita in Iceland than in the USA by a long shot (and all inexpensive). As you drive through the small villages you will notice RVs in many driveways — small class C-type motorhomes, travel trailers and pop up trailers.
It's an easy country to visit. Virtually everyone speaks perfect or near perfect English. And they love Americans (and Canadians, of course). Reykajvik, the capital, is a beautiful small city (200,000 of the nation's 300,000 citizens live there). We stayed at a combination campground/RV park right in the heart of the city. Walk next door to a public spa. Or drive an hour out of town to the Blue Lagoon, perhaps the most famous thermal pool in the world. Kathy is a knitter and was in heaven visiting Reykajvik's yarn shops: Iceland is famous for its wool.
Concerned about safety? Iceland is about the safest place on the planet. The year before we visited, the country had experienced one murder — that's in a full year!
And don't worry about freezing, it's not the North Pole! While summer temperatures are generally in the 60s, and even low 70s, they also can dip lower with winds, so a good jacket is absolutely necessary. Reykajvik is actually warmer in the winter than New York City because of ocean currents.
I'm headed to Europe again this summer for a few weeks and will again fly Icelandair. But this time I will pass right through Iceland, stopping only to change planes. It will be painful to not stay awhile. Maybe next year. One week there is just not enough. I think of my trip two years ago as a "snack." I need to return for the full meal deal.
Photos: Top Blue Lagoon and Gulfoss, Europe's largest waterfall. Below that, Reykajvik and the Ring Road. Bottom: Kathy returns from a visit to a huge glacier, and, finally, our cute little "home sweet RV home."
P.S. Check out my new ELECTRIC Jacket! You read that right — ELECTRIC! At the push of a button, the jacket heats up to keep you warm. It's like wearing an electric blanket (except it fits a whole lot better!). I've been test-driving the jacket for two weeks now and love it! I wrote about it in last weekend's Great RV Accessories newsletter.
If you have a comment about this essay or anything in this issue, please feel free to leave it at our forum.
* * *
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U.S. National Parks saw an increase in visitation during 2012, up almost four million from 2011. The 283 million visitors were the largest crowd since 2009. RV overnighters amounted to 2.12 million – down compared to 2011's 2.15 million.
Despite agreeing to adopt standards for tow-capacity tests, only one pickup manufacturer walks the talk. Toyota has adopted SAE tow test standards which all retailers in the U.S. agreed to do for 2013 models. America's Big Three say they distrust that their competition will fairly apply the test standards.
South Dakota State Parks have begun taking reservations for Memorial Day Weekend. Saturday, February 23 is the earliest day to reserve for Friday May 24. Visit www.campsd.com or call 800-710-2267.
The California State Parks' money scandal has netted its first financial judgment. Former department official, Manuel Thomas Lopez of Granite Bay, Calif., will pay a $7,000 fine in a plea agreement after illegally authorizing vacation buyouts that cost the state some $285,000 — all when officials were claiming a budget crisis.
Want a half-ton pickup with a diesel engine? Chrysler says come fall you can buy a standard-duty Ram 1500 with a diesel power plant. Chrysler hopes to draw in 10,000 new customers in the first year of sales.
New import to India: Motorhomes. The Italian made motorhome is based on a Fiat Ducato chassis and is shipped knocked-down into India where it's assembled. Equipped with galley, refrigerator, chemical toilet, showerand luxury bedroom it will set back buyers seven and a half million rupees. That's $139,000 U.S.
An Australian RV company that was found guilty of copyright infringement has changed its name. Avida Motorhomes had called itself Winnebago Australia until the American RV firm took it to court last year.
Pro-footballers The Dallas Cowboys have a new playing field: Club owner Jerry Jones recently purchased a well-outfitted Prevost Marathon Coach. The luxury RV has been christened The Elegant Lady.
Guests at Corning, California's Lazy Corral Trailer Park were temporarily evacuated Friday, February 15 when a motorhome propane leak caught fire. Excitement grew as a number of boxes of ammunition in the rig started going off.
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.
A new Florida law requiring foreign drivers to have an international driving permit has raised havoc for snowbirds from Canada. Canadian officials report being swamped with requests for permits. At the same time, a possible conflict with the Geneva Convention on road traffic has caused the Florida Highway Patrol to stop enforcing the law.
Retail diesel prices hit the ceiling at $4.157 per gallon, the highest since August 2008. Diesel is now 19 cents per gallon higher than the same week in 2012.
Spring break is on the way, and Texas campgrounds are getting ready. Parks are bringing in golf carts, ice cream, firewood, paddle boats and rental bikes. The "season" could run from March 7 through the 24th due to varying school break schedules.
Hurricane Sandy has benefitted RV dealers. Dealers at the recent RV show at Atlantic City, New Jersey say some storm-displaced residents came shopping for RVs, tired of living in hotels.
A Louisiana RV owner, Dan J. Bailey, Jr., has filed suit against National Interstate Insurance Company. Bailey's RV was storm damaged in June, 2012. His repair shop estimated nearly $17,000 in required repairs. National Interstate paid him $684.34 and refuses to pay more.
On this date in history:
Compiled by Dell Bert
1896: The Tootsie Roll is introduced by Leo Hirshfield.
1927: President Calvin Coolidge creates the Federal Radio Commission (FCC).
1944: John Sandford, American novelist is born.
1945: U.S. Marines raise flag on Iwo Jima.
1974: Patty Hearst, daughter of publisher Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped by the SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army).
1975: In response to the energy crisis, daylight saving time commences nearly two months early in the U.S.
1997: Scientists in Scotland announce they succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named "Dolly."
Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
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
How long will canned food last in your RV?
When RVing, make the wind your friend, not your enemy.
Do you really want a Harbor Freight Solar system?
Common ways RVers modify their RV interiors.
Mexican border crossing basics.
Advice about towing a vehicle behind a motorhome.
Fire fighting tools: Do you really know how to use them?
Look up before leaving a campsite if parked under a tree.
Truck stop fueling tips.
Make sure you know the height and width of your RV slideouts.
Place to be this Season
Unique vintage fifth wheel now up for sale
Looking for an unusual fifth wheel? Here's the 1938 Curtiss Aerocar, and it comes complete with its own tow vehicle. It's not cheap, but, heck, you could spend a lot more for an RV these days. But one thing is for sure. Not many other RVs will attract as much attention in the campground. Read more and see photos.
January RV recalls issued by Feds
The list is fairly long for January. Check here to see if your RV, it's tow vehicle or one of its appliances or aftermarket devices needs to be fixed. Learn about the recalls.
. . . AND RELATED. Forest River recalls many motorhomes for a potentially dangerous situation.
Off main road with your RV — getting unstuck
Boondocking 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.
There's a reason for a tire failure beyond where it's made
Our RV tire expert Roger Marble writes. "In my training class for tire engineers and technicians, a concept I feel is important is discovering the 'Root Cause' or real reason for the failure. There is a difference between reporting or simply stating the condition of a tire such as 'a Blowout' and the reason for the condition. If you don't understand the underlying reason for the tire's condition or what initiated the series of events that led to the failure, then the corrective action you take, may not prevent another failure." Read more.
AVAILABLE ONLINE FACTORY DIRECT AT A REDUCED PRICE.
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.
ABCs of RV shopping: Towables (part 2)
In our discussion about towable RVs we've talked about travel trailers and toy haulers. Now let's talk about two other towables, fifth wheels and pop-ups.
How to install a Dirt Devil CV1500 RV central vacuum system
Mark Polk recently installed a Dirt Devil CV1500 All-In-One Central Vacuum System in an RV. It's a straightforward process for the do-it-yourselfer. Once installed, it makes vacuuming an RV effortless. If you're interested in purchasing the system, it's available at Camping World for $399. Watch the video.
Stop that SeaLand toilet seal leak
Many RVers have the popular SeaLand RV toilet. Sad to say, like other RV toilets, occasionally the SeaLand gets a bit cranky and begins to show signs of age. A typically reported problem is the water in the bowl vanishing mysteriously, sometimes accompanied by an unwelcome blast of odor from the holding tank. Here's what some creative RVers have done to clear up a seal problem. Read more.
How long will a heater run on battery power?
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, ponders "How Long Can I Run My Heater On Battery Power Alone?" Read what he learned from his research.
Full-time RVer anxiety: Missing the grandkids
After years of living in proximity to the children and grandchildren, Mrs. RVer is ready to make a big jump into fulltime RVing. But with just a couple of days left before departure, that old separation anxiety is setting in. How about you? Does the thought of leaving loved ones behind cause you to drag your feet getting into the fulltime lifestyle? Here's some advice from those who've made the jump.
Hot off the press!
2013 Next Exit
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2013 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including which brands and if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name) shopping malls, movie theaters, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas, and more. Learn more or order.
If someone today made you a good offer on your RV would you sell it?
Last week's question
How much weight would you need to lose for an ideal weight based on your height?
Read the survey 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: $3.72 (on February 22)
Change from week before: Up 10 cents
Diesel: U.S. $4.15 (on February 18)
Change from week before: Up 5 cents
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.
Ask the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
I'm in the process of buying an RV. I think that I want a 34.5 foot Thor Palazzo. I keep hearing stories that with a rig this size you are limited to the places you can go, but I see lots of big rigs on the road...
Published 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
Flaming the RV Fan
Dear R.V. Shrink:
I think I need a drink, but I am going to start with you. I just left a Camping World store in Texas. I think there is an old Country Western song called, “Happiness is Camping World in the Rear view Mirror.” I will be singing that for some time to come. Six months ago I had a Camping World store put a Fantastic Fan in my trailer. I also bought hitch bars from them. The fan motor (still under warranty) died and one day slowing to a toll booth all of a sudden my hitch bar dropped. Camping World told me they couldn’t honor another store's warranty...
Huge price reduction -- NOW HALF PRICE!
Headed to Alaska? You need the Milepost
This is THE guidebook for RV or auto travelers who are headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. The nearly 800-page book includes attractions, activities and services along 88 scenic highways and roads in Alaska, Yukon Territory and other parts of Western Canada, plus more than 300 photos. This is essential reference material for anyone traveling to or in Alaska or parts of Western Canada and the Yukon Territory. Cover price $29.95. Now only $14.98. Learn more or order.
This issue's Knowledge Quiz
One quiz on Saturday, February 23, 2013 with a swell prize.
Remember: Every weekday next week we are giving away a $50 shell gas card in our RV Daily Tips newsletter. You must be signed up to the newsletter to win. Sign up now.
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, February 23 beginning at exactly 8:45 a.m., Pacific Time (11:45 a.m. in the East).
In the RVtravel.com Forum
Opinion wanted on generator
"We are looking at generators and yamaha's EF2000iS-Combo is what we are homing in on. Any opinions?"
"We purchased a used motorhome and at the time of purchase we mentioned to the dealer of a strange odor in the coach. He cleaned the black water tank and still we have an odor. I'm not sure that it is a sewer smell. It seems that the smell is obvious immediately upon entering the coach. The sewer tank has been cleaned many times and many chemicals added. We are wondering if it possibly could be a smell from the washing machine. We have the stack washer and dryer. When we drain the tanks we can see through the clear hose that it is running clear. Any suggestions? Sure would love to get rid of that odor."
"Is it safe to drink the water from your tank if its water level has been volatile over a period of years?" Reply or read what others say.
To cover or not to cover a trailer
"I have looked around the web sites for trailers and I cannot find a good reason why a cover is needed for my trailer in the winter time. The places where you buy the trailers don't cover them. It just seems that the cover is more trouble than it is worth. Anyone know of any good reasons to cover trailers."
Fifth Wheel Bible
If you have an interest in fifth wheel travel trailers, you need this book. Many RV books and publication mention fifth wheel RVs, but The Fifth Wheel Bible is the first book dedicated to the subject. Topics include shopping for fifth wheels, understanding weights, selecting tow vehicles, choosing and operating the fifth wheel hitch, options and accessories, and detailed instructions on towing, maneuvering, parking and camping. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stops
America's smallest post office is in a tiny 56-square-foot building in Ochopee, Florida, population 11. Its lone mail carrier drives 132 miles a day to serve 950 residents along the route. There's enough parking for your RV, should you stop by. It's located along U.S. 41 at mile marker 71.9 along Alligator Alley, which connects Naples with Miami and passes through the Everglades. The building is not official post office design: it once served as a pipe shed for a tomato farm. But when the local general store burned down in 1953 it was converted to the town's post office. Stop by during business hours to buy a stamp, mail a letter or visit with the postmaster. Buy a "Smallest Post Office" postcard, too.
Join RVer and filmmaker John Holod as he cruises the Mother Road from Chicago to L.A. by motorhome, with stops along the way at all the classic attractions. Even though the road was bypassed by Interstates, much of it is still there, and easy to drive with an RV. If you plan to travel this historic highway or have already done so, RV Adventure: Route 66 is for you. Learn more or order at a discounted price.
Odds and ends
RV Wheel Life
Arizona's Patagonia Lake State Park is birder's bonanza.
Looking for a job
while you travel?
Workamper News is the RVers' #1 choice for finding jobs about "workamping" for more than 20 years. Find full-time jobs, part-time jobs or volunteer positions. Learn more.
TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Nasty McNasty, Jr., stole a kiss from Bertha the bongo drummer.
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
The police officer sees a car weaving back and forth down the highway, and takes off after it. He pulls up alongside and sees the driver is a woman, knitting as she drives. He can't believe it, and yells at her. "Pull over! Pull over!" And she yells back, "No, it's a scarf!"
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
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. 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
How to inspect an RV for water damage
Water leaks on an RV can cause extensive damage and can be extremely costly to repair. To protect your investment and your wallet you need to take the time to REALLY inspect for water leaks. Read more.
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
"Men have the will; unfortunately women have the won't!"
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
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
Because the architecture and chemistry of coral are very similar to those of human bone, coral has been used as grafts in helping human bones heal quickly and cleanly. Orthopedic surgeons use coral in bone grafts because the body readily accepts the coral, and the various muscles and tendons grow into the coral structure as if it were actual human bone.
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
Gas prices keep going up. But don't let that keep you at home. Is there a campground or RV park close by? Consider heading there for an outing — whether for a day, week or longer. The cost of fuel to get there will be minimal even with the higher prices. And, yippee! You will be away from home and in your RV. So life will be good!
SPECIALS & CLOSEOUTS!
Save more than 80%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com
"A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm” —Charles Schwab
The cash prize is now $280. 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: 17073, 85640, 15714, 55067, 03043. 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, 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.
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