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RV Travel Newsletter: April 6-12. Issue 580
Weekend of April 6, 2013
Issue 580 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 can get a good laugh from someone clueless about RVing. I came across a remark by a guy named Randy on the Thousand Trails Facebook page. He was commenting on the photo to the right.
He wrote: "I've told my friends, for years, that I will meet them at the campfire in the morning. But I'll stay in the nearest motel and have running water and a comfy room to sleep in. Didn't work all my life to act like a homeless person on a camping trip and call it fun!"
I could not resist responding. I wrote: "Geez, Randy. You'd rather stay in a motel in a bed where some person you don't know slept the night before? Hey, ya gotta love those bedbugs, too! Did you know that RVs have running water, just like motels? Amazing huh? You are severely undereducated in the comfort level of RVs."
Look at that photo: That's a fifth wheel trailer in the distance. I don't know anyone familiar with RVs who, observing that scene, would say they'd rather stay in a motel because, in so many words, "it's more comfortable." Randy, for example, shows his RV ignorance with a comment about how he'd rather stay in a motel where there's "running water," like maybe we RVers need to brush our teeth in a stream. Where has this guy been for the last 50 years? Has he ever stepped inside an RV? Me thinks no.
When I look at the photo, I go a little bit nuts. I want to be there. I know what it's like. I know what it's like to wake up in the morning in a beautiful place like that. I can imagine the sounds of birds, the warmth of the sun filtering through the trees, and the smell of the crisp, clean air. I can imagine stepping outside with my freshly brewed coffee, taking everything in, feeling I'm the luckiest guy in the world.
I also know what it's like to wake up in a motel room to a glorious view of a parking lot and those magnificent, scenic American icons — Denny's, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and maybe even a gas station.
Randy can have his stinkin' motel.
If you have a comment about this essay or anything in this issue, please feel free to leave it at our forum.
* * *
DID YOU MISS LAST WEEK'S ISSUE? If so, read it here.
PUGET SOUND READERS: Mark your calendars for May 9. I'll be speaking at a public forum in Edmonds (the hometown of RVtravel.com) beginning at 6:30 p.m. My topic: "A Writing Life on the Road." Seating is limited to 150 and admission is free. A full house is expected, so arrive early.
Our Pot of Gold cash prize is up to $310. One reader will win it, maybe you! Just check every weekday (the link is near the bottom of this issue) to see if you live in the Zip Code of the Day (selected randomly). If you do and you're the first to tell us, you win the cash! See the contest for more information and complete rules.
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Gasoline prices declined in March almost 10 cents a gallon from a year ago. "While it is possible gas prices may surge briefly again this spring, the national average should remain less than last year's high of $3.94 per gallon," said AAA spokesman Avery Ash.
Go RVing and the Outdoor Channel have launched "Spring Fever Sweepstakes." Outdoor Channel hosts will promote the appeal of RVs. The grand prize is a Flagstaff Classic folding camping trailer.
Contestants from 25 Carefree RV Resorts across Florida and 800 snowbirds flocked to Lakeland, Florida's Sun N Fun Air Museum for Carefree's second annual talent competition. Walter Gallant and Bob Marshall of the Sweetwater Carefree RV Resort in Zephyrhills, Florida nabbed the $5,000 grand prize with their medley of rock songs.
Reservations for South Dakota State Parks campsites and cabins for the Fourth of July holiday opened yesterday. To reserve, visit CampSD.com or call 1-800-710-CAMP.
Considering buying a new Winnebago motorhome? Get in line. The company reports that it had a backlog in production for the last year and quarter, and is now behind by 2,752 units.
Begg's Black Book, keeper of sales statistics, reports auction values for used RVs were up in March for the third straight month. Motorhomes values were up 4.3 percent at $40,025 and towables averaged $10,691 (up 6.6 percent). The company notes lenders typically cut loose with many repossessed units this time of year.
Last week we reported that Flagg's RV Resort in York, Maine was facing a foreclosure auction. A court has ruled in favor of the present owners, granting a restraining order to prevent the auction from happening until at least mid-May.
Heartland RV’s Bighorn line is the nation’s top fifth-wheel seller for January for the first time, according to Statistical Surveys, Inc.
London TV station WAG-TV is looking for an American family of four interested in taking an all expenses paid RV adventure. If you're interested, email e-mail Natasga Henry at email@example.com with the subject "RV Roadtrip." Applicants should include a description and photos of the family members and explain why they'd be great for the show.
Palmetto RV, in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina has a new wrinkle for customers new to the lifestyle: Buy a new or "refinished" RV and get a two-day camping school at a nearby campground to learn the ropes. From setting up, to dumping tanks and assembling their own "troubleshooting kit," new buyers are shown what to do and how to do it.
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.
While RV sales in the United States are up from 2012, Canadian sales aren't so hot. January 2013's towable RV sales all declined compared to January 2012. Travel trailers plummeted 20.6 percent; pop-ups deflated 28.6 percent and fifth wheels nosedived 14.9 percent.
Guests at Hidden Acres RV Park in Aransas Pass, Texas are in the dark after the park manager vanished – reportedly with early rent and utility payments. The local power company pulled the plug because of an unpaid bill, according to campers. The manager told guests she needed early payments to help pay for a vacation.
Boise, Idaho police say they've caught a break in a rash of RV battery thefts. Two men have been arrested, and one charged with grand theft. Police believe the two were responsible for 90 percent of the thefts.
Indiana State Parks needs volunteer campground hosts. Receive a free campsite in exchange for 20 hours per week, which can vary depending on the park’s needs. Get details.
The Environmental Protection Agency has added camelina oil to the list of accepted fuel stocks for biodiesel. Considered a weed, camelina grows well on marginal lands from Washington state east to North Dakota.
Planning to attend the Washington State Evergreen RV Show? Free tickets are available if you act fast. Visit here, click on the small "First 1,000 People - Online Only, Click for Free Admission" banner, follow the directions and two free tickets are yours. The show takes place at the fairgrounds in Monroe, Wash., April 19-21.
Martin O’Malley, Maryland’s governor, could approve of a tax hike on gas, tying prices to inflation. The law would recalculate fuel taxes on July 1 each year based on the Consumer Price Index. Sales tax would also be added, and pundits say Maryland could have the highest fuel tax rates in the country.
Perry, Georgia city officials may stop RVers from parking rigs in side yards of homes on street corners. A local official says a proposed ordinance is "in keeping with the aesthetics of the city."
Airstream takes first place on About.com's Reader's Choice Awards for RVs in 2013. Keystone and Forest River followed in second and third place, respectively.
Spring has officially arrived: The first buffalo calf of the year, a bull, has been born in South Dakota's Custer State Park. About 400 calves are expected this year, most in May.
Winding Roads by Joe Schmidt
On this date in history:
Compiled by Dell Bert
1889: George Eastman sells the first Kodak camera.
1906: The first animated cartoon is copyrighted.
1912: An electric starter first appears in cars.
1930: Hostess Twinkies are invented.
1937: Merle Haggard is born.
1938: Teflon is invented.
1954: The TV dinner debuts.
Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
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.
Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter
Watch a groovy 1973 Winnebago
TV commercial. What fun!
Meals almost fix themselves using tin foil on the barbee.
Portable document scanner comes in handy for RVers.
RV roof coating adds extra protection.
Electrical adapter may cut power to your RV.
Tricks for camping in National Parks without a reservation.
Using a checklist can help an RVer avoid trouble.
Inspect your rig often to avoid "damage" surprises later.
Is your RV range a magnet for mice and ants?
Shovel your way out of trouble.
RV mold monster: Don't let this happen to you.
Bella Terra of Gulf Shores
Opens Final Phase of Resort
One of the nation’s top RV Resorts, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores in Foley, Alabama, has opened the third and final phase of its luxury resort this spring with over 60 new waterside and woodland facing lots. These oversized Class A-only lots provide endless customization opportunities including outdoor kitchens, gazebos, fire pits and more. Come see how we live at BellaterraRVresort.com or call the resort team at (866) 417-2416.
Filling prescriptions cleverly, across the miles
Spend any amount of time on the road with your RV, you quickly learn the ropes of how to keep up with the mundane: Getting your mail when away from "home." Paying the bills. Add, getting those prescription drugs. That can be a bit dicey, particularly if you don't have drug coverage in your health plan. Read more.
GPS Review: Magellan bolsters RV offerings with RV5365T-LMB
If you’re looking for a global positioning system to guide your RV travels, you owe yourself a look at Magellan’s RV series of GPS systems, all of which include, the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory. The company has just released its all new RV5365T-LMB model. It's five-inch is sized perfectly for smaller motorhomes and tow vehicles. Chris Dougherty reviews the new GPS.
Dual tire hose extenders? Tips to avoid problems
Our RV Tire Safety blogger Roger Marble writes: "When I was racing, I towed a 26' enclosed trailer with a one-ton dually and had steel braided hose valve extensions. We ran about 78,000 miles with no problems. When I got my Class-C my first add-on was tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) followed by steel braided extensions. With only 16,000 miles there have been no leaks or other problems." Read more.
Chris Craft motorhome?
Check out this gorgeous, 1937 Chris Craft motorhome. It's not entirely "stock," in fact quite the contrary. Learn more and see a couple of very cool photos.
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.
An ideal hose for your RV? Maybe not
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has a tip about a new type of compact hose that at first glance seems like a good thing for RVers. But maybe not. This originally appeared in our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. Watch the video.
Top 10 most visited national parks
Depending on your druthers, here's a top-ten list you may want to use when setting out your RV travel plans as "must sees," or putting on your list for "must avoids because of too many people." Here are the ten most visited national parks in 2012. See the list and photos.
Frustrations of an avid RVer
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, in his quest to find the latest and greatest, has often needed to do a lot of research and contact various manufacturers and vendors. You'd think they would jump at the chance to make friends with a new customer that's already interested in their product or at least wants to extol the virtues of the stuff they make or sell. But you'd be wrong. Read what Rich discovered.
The best RV leveling blocks
Every RVer has to deal with unlevel campsites from time to time. Even if your RV is equipped with a leveling system, some sites are so sloped you can't get your rig level. This is why RVers carry leveling blocks, also referred to as jack pads, stacker blocks or stabilizer pads. Whatever you call them, they all allow you to level your RV on a sloped campsite. They also help keep jacks from sinking into soft surfaces. Watch this video from the RV Geeks to learn more.
Hosted by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury
Learn how to buy
an RV the right way!
from the Better Business Bureau
Learn to make the right choice when buying an RV in this 50-minute DVD from RVtravel.com and the Better Business Bureau. Host Chuck Woodbury, editor of RVtravel.com, and many of America’s other best-known RV experts show you everything you need to know to determine, then shop for the RV that’s best for you without making any costly mistakes. Learn more or order.
When not using your RV, do you store it at home or at another location?
Last week's question
Did you winterize your RV this winter season?
Read the survey results.
2013 Good Sam
RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
This directory combines the Trailer Life and Woodall's campground directories of the past into one thick, comprehensive volume, with full descriptions and details for nearly 15,000 private and public campgrounds, information on over 900,000 RV sites, RV service centers, LP gas locations and tourist attractions. It includes military park listings and more than 2,000 Good Sam discount locations. Learn more or order at low discount price.
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 fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.64 (on April 5)
Change from week before: Up 2 cents
Diesel: $3.99 (on April 1)
Change from week before: Down 1 cent
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.
Ask the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
Buying an RV but worried
about fitting in campgrounds
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. Where do they spend the night? Does a rig this size have problems in National Parks? We will be able to be on the road in the beginning for about six weeks, then skip a week and be back on the road for two weeks. I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on the purchase. I like the amenities and the diesel power. We like going off the beaten track and I think that the Thor will not allow us to do that. Any suggestions? David K., (Phoenix, AZ)
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, lands of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and 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
Cabin fever on wheels
Dear R.V. Shrink:
I think we are normal but lately I have second thoughts. Since we started traveling all winter in our fifth wheel our social life has changed significantly. We like to camp in remote, quiet areas. The sun disappears early during the winter. I tend to go to bed with the sun and rise with the sun - that sometimes means 10 hours! The problem is my husband wakes up before the sun, gets up, turns the local farm report on, and makes toast under the smoke alarm. When the smoke alarm goes off, so do I. After I give him the hot tongue and cold shoulder for a sufficient amount of time, we have our coffee and try to figure out what we are going to do all day. At home we are always busy, but on the road I think we have too much time on our hands. Do others have this problem too? —Cabin fever on wheels
Read the Doc's response.
Traveling to Alaska?
Hot off the press!
This is THE mile-by-mile guidebook for RV or auto travelers headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. When you want to know where you'll find turnouts, gas, food, lodgings, public campgrounds and RV parks, or restrooms or what Alaska glaciers are easy to reach by road —The Milepost tells you. Learn more or order.
This issue's Knowledge Quiz
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, April 6 beginning at exactly 9:00 a.m., Pacific Time (Noon in the East).
Roadside Geology for RVers
Why is the Midwest flat?
Dear Doc Rock,
Why is the Midwest so flat? We travel back and forth from coast to coast. From the West Coast to about central Colorado and Wyoming the landscape is dramatic — there are mountains or cliffs of exposed bedrock. The East has the Appalachians. The real oddball seems to be the Plains and also way up into central Canada. Why is the landscape so flat? Henry Wolston, Sacramento, CA
"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."
TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Orly was worried when his bubble gum would not pop.
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
"My Darling," said a husband to his wife, "I invited a friend for dinner."
"What? Are you crazy?" the wife snapped. "The house is a mess, I haven’t been shopping, and I don't feel like cooking."
"I know that," the husband replied.
"Then why did you invite him?"
"Because the poor guy is talking about getting married."
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
Act quickly if you contact battery acid
If you accidentally get battery acid on your skin, flush it with lots of water. If it gets in your eyes you need to flush your eyes with low pressure water for 15 minutes and call a doctor. Always disconnect the negative battery cable when working on or around batteries to prevent the possibility of arcing. If you don’t feel comfortable working around batteries you can have battery maintenance checks performed by an authorized RV service center.
Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's books, eBooks and DVDs, available — most at a discount — at RVbookstore.com.
Two great resources about RV repair and maintenance!
These repair and maintence guides by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, are packaged together to save you $11.24 over their cover prices. The Do it Yourself RV Care DVD shows those systems and components that need regular attention and how to do it. Woodall's RV Owners Handbook is a complete, illustrated guide to preventive maintenance and repairs. The book offers great review of basic and generic RV systems and provides readers with a better understanding of propane, electrical, and water systems, etc. It offers all the basic information with only minimal mechanic knowledge required. Regularly $44.90, now only $29.81. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stops
Waffles 'N More
Central City, NE
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
"I'm sorry. Was it my job today to fill your life with joy?"
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com
The RV Kitchen
Sloppy Joe gets a make-over
Stretch your meat supply by adding creamy corn to a sloppy joe-like recipe. Buy only lean ground meat to avoid the messy, risky step of pouring off excess fat — and never pour fat down the RV sink. 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
The letters M&M on the popular candies stand for the founders of the company, Forrest Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie.
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
On your RV trips, when looking for a campground, search on your GPS system for "lodging." Besides showing you hotels and motels, it will also list locations of nearby campgrounds along with driving directions and distances.
SPECIALS & CLOSEOUTS!
Save more than 80%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com
"To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections." —Sandra Bierig
The cash prize is now $310.00. 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: 48105, 15764, 75757, 32035, 20774. 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: Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, Richard Mallery and Richard Miller. Cartoonists: Jerry King, Joe Schmidt. Office Manager: Jody Allcott. Warehouse operations: Eric Brotman. New York City correspondent: Emily Woodbury. ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Contact Chuck Woodbury at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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 by calling 425-744-0415 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays (Pacific time) and/or emailing Chuck.
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This newsletter is copyright 2013 by RVtravel.com.
Space heater uses only 200 watts!
It's hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs, a fraction of others. But this one does, and it really works! It's meant to heat a nearby person, not a room. Put it on your desk or at your feet. It's perfect for the RVer who's "always cold." For about $17, this is a winner. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Keep rodents out of your RV!
The positive reviews on Fresh Cab Rodent Repellent make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a "woodsy" scent that's pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It's safe around kids and pets. 98% biodegradable. Endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.