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RV Travel Newsletter: April 27-May 3. Issue 583
Weekend of April 27, 2013
Issue 583 of RV Travel
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its twelfth year of continuous weekly publication, is made possible through sales at RVbookstore.com, by our advertisers, and through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers (thank you!).
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What are the handiest items you bring with you on your RV trips? That question popped into my head this morning. I don't know where it came from. But ideas are like that, aren't they? They sometimes pop out of nowhere.
Now, obviously, there are some things that are absolutely, 100 percent essential, like silverware if you want to eat. Pots and pans, too. And there's our clothing. And food. But I was thinking more about items that do double- or triple-duty — that you can use for all sorts of things. These are items that are incredibly handy — ones that can "save the day."
For me, three items came quickly to mind: Duct tape, WD-40 and a flashlight. But perhaps my question should be phrased, "What are the two handiest but not necessarily essential items you bring along on your trips?" I mean, you need blankets for your bed, a toothbrush, soap, and a towel to dry off after a shower. These would be "essential items," but I would not include those on my list according to the definition of handy "essential items" I'm using here.
Some RVers would consider a firearm necessary, although I don't think it would fit into the "handy" category like duct tape. It might be handy if Charlie Manson showed up at your door; but otherwise it's not something most of us would label "handy," like a flashlight or WD-40; it's not an everyday kind of "handy."
A basic set of tools would be important and, of course, handy. But they are in a special category because they are used for a specific purpose — to make and fix things. They do not do double-and triple-duty. For example, most of us would not use a screwdriver to stir our hot chocolate. Ninety percent of the time when I need a tool, one of the following will do: screwdriver (two of them: standard or flat-head, and Phillips), hammer, pliers and an adjustable wrench. These would be the tip of the "tool iceberg" for anyone, I would think.
I can think of other "non-essential" but handy items to have along: string, Velcro, glue, scissors, aspirin, a few bungee cords and Band-Aids. I have a plastic container of washers, nuts and screws that I have carried for 20 years. I keep thinking I might need something in there. Maybe I have once or twice. I should dump that container.
What about you? What would you put at the top of your list of "handiest items"? Please leave a comment here if you wish. I bet you can come up with a few items that, for whatever reason, I didn't even consider. I'm eager to see what you think.
ATTN: PUGET SOUND READERS:
Mark your calendars for Thursday, May 9. I'll be speaking at the Edmonds Public Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. My topic will be "A Writing Life on the Road." I'll share stories and show photos about my nearly three decades of traveling America and writing about it. Seating is limited to 150, and a full house is expected. So arrive early. The library is located at 650 Main Street. Call (425) 771-1933 for more information. Admission is free.
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Auto drivers are balking at fuel prices near $3.50 a gallon; more than half of 1,000 AAA survey respondents said fuel prices are too high at $3.44. Back in 2007, 32 percent of RVers told RVtravel.com they'd cut back RV driving miles at $4 a gallon.
Yellowstone National Park visitors have a mixed bag of news from recent scientific research. Turns out the volcanic system beneath the park is one huge chamber, about 37 miles long by 18 miles wide, running three to seven miles deep. While that's a load of explosive power, seismologists don't expect an eruption for upwards of 10,000 years.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to study the feasibility of charging a border crossing fee for pedestrians and vehicles on both the Canada and Mexico borders. The proposal is found in the agency's 2014 budget request. It's not clear if the money would be collected from incoming, outgoing traffic or both.
No more overnight parking of an RV on the streets of Carlsbad, California, unless you have a permit, available for free but only to local residents. The new restrictions mean tickets for non-permitted RVs on the streets between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Indiana State Parks throws a "Welcome Back Weekend" May 3 through 5. A mushroom festival, geocaching, outdoor cooking workshops and more are on the docket. Visit here for a complete list.
Families displaced by the tragic fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, have friends at some area campgrounds. Several owners are offering free or discounted RV sites or park model cabin rentals to those affected by the accident.
A British insurance group, Shield Insurance, says tech-smart crooks are using Google Earth to look for RVs in driveways as a preliminary step to break-ins. They recommend not storing valuables in your unit.
Looking to replace your RV refrigerator? Get a new helium technology fridge from Atwood between May 1 and June 30, and Atwood will give you a $50 gift card to "Fill Your Fridge".
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.
Two people were injured April 18 at Levi Jackson State Park in Kentucky when a falling tree ripped a slide-out off their Cougar fifth wheel. One unidentified woman in the rig had to be airlifted to a hospital. Witnesses say it was only breezy at the time the tree fell.
The saga of the Tispaquin RV Park in Middleboro, Massachusetts, continues. After owners failed to cut back the number of park patrons by court order, local officials chained the park entrance. Someone cut the chain; the city replaced it and posted guards. Now the court has ordered power cut to the park to "encourage" compliance.
Sugar Creek Campground near Crawfordsville, Indiana, is recovering from the second-worst flooding in the area since 1913. Owners rousted guests at 3:30 a.m. on April 18th when floodwaters threatened. No one was hurt, but many RVs were damaged.
An enterprising U.K. woman has turned a 50-year-old travel trailer into a moneymaker. The old trailer is now "Polly the Vintage Caravan," which she drops off as a rental for "girly glamping" and "hen do's." Polly has been revamped with 1960s "shabby-chic."
Authorities say Ormond Beach, Florida, RV dealer Robbins Camper Sales has been ripped off for nearly $170,000 by a dishonest employee. Seffani Lariscy was arrested and charged with grand theft.
Bad guys have stolen copper pipes from 15 recreation sites around the South Lake Tahoe, California, basin. Forest Service crews are trying to avoid an impact on campground openings, but it's taking time to replace the stolen pipes with material which crooks won't find attractive.
Winding Roads by Joe Schmidt
1791: Samuel Morse, American inventor of the telegraph and Morse code, is born.
1897: Grant's Tomb is dedicated.
1940: The first U.S. Social Security check is issued on January 31.
1956: Heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano retires undefeated from boxing.
1965: R. C. Duncan patents "Pampers" disposable diapers.
1967: Muhammad Ali refuses Army induction.
2006: Construction begins on the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site in New York City.
Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
and how to get rid of them. . .
Black streaks result from dirt and airborne pollutants on your RV roof that are dislodged by rain or rinsing, only to stick to the sides of your RV. Aluminum, in particular, has an oily porosity that helps dirt and pollutants bond.
Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter
Taking something apart on your RV? Tips for putting it back together — correctly!
How to replace an RV air conditioner with a roof vent.
Check your water tank venting and save water.
How to convert fluorescent RV lights to LEDs.
Keep cool without your RV air conditioner.
A simple way to keep flying insects out of your RV's heater vent.
Send and receive faxes while traveling.
An alternative to towing a car behind a motorhome.
Watch out for tree branches at the campsite.
A simple way to clean your RV's gray water tank.
and Roadside Assistance!
Add a roadside assistance plan today from Coach-Net and give yourself valuable peace of mind while you're on the road, away from home. We've got you and your family covered. Your membership includes coverage on your RV and all other personal vehicles (including motorcycles) — owned, rented or borrowed! Learn more about our RV plans.
"Naked bookseller" may get a shot at TV fame
Quartzsite, Arizona, bookstore owner and "local character" Paul Winer may get his chance as a TV star. A New York TV producer wants Winer to appear in a 12-episode reality TV show that locals hope will boost interest in the desert town, considered by some to be the RV Capital of the World. Read more.
Have you read a tire lately?
Have you read the information provided to you by the tire manufacturer? There's a lot of information molded into the sidewall of your tires. Most of this is required by law. And most of this is important for you to know so you can look up the correct inflation for your tires or, if buying new tires, be sure to get replacements that can carry at least the same load as the original tires. Read more.
Golden surprise awaits some lucky RVer
How do you celebrate making your five-millionth air conditioner and promote the sales of even more? Give the landmark unit a golden shroud, stick it in an ordinary sales box, and send out it out for sale somewhere in the U.S. to an unsuspecting customer. Learn more.
Stop the shaking in your
parked fifth wheel or travel trailer
"This stops the shaking that wakes me up." This system provides the best possible movement reduction of a fifth wheel or travel trailer. And it's a breeze to set up. It mounts permanently on your trailer and works without a tripod, expensive chocks or slideout jacks! For more information click here. Or call toll-free 866 498-8754
Beleaguered travel center giant Pilot Flying J is still reeling from an invasion of its home offices in West Knoxville, Tennessee, last Monday by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service. Federal agents descended in force on April 15, armed with warrants to search and seize information and computers. Find out why.
She started with an ordinary van, but through hard work transformed it into a beautiful RV. The retired teacher, mother and grandmother said she took on the conversion because she is "a frustrated architect wannabee who likes a challenge." Read her story from our blogger Julianne Crane.
Stew Oleson learns about Gale Banks power innovations
The owner of Gale Banks Engineering explains to Stew Oleson his revolutionary engine power innovations that have been used for years in race car engines and lately by RVers in the engines of their motorhomes and tow vehicles. The idea of the Banks system: more air in, more power out. Watch the four-minute video.
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, is a big fan of ventilation fans (pun intended!). But he found it a hassle to get rid of all the bugs and other stuff that would gather on the fan's screen. So what did he do to solve this problem? You'll need to read his column to find out.
DIRECTV and RV Satellite Kit for Your RV!
(With purchase of new DIRECTV home service.) Take all of your favorite shows, movies and sports teams with you on the road! Packages start at just $29.99/mo. for 12 months*! (ENTERTAINMENT pkg.) PLUS, you'll get 3 FREE months of HBO, starz, Showtime and Cinemax and you'll have access to DIRECTV ON DEMAND, with thousands of shows and movies! With this much entertainment you'll never be bored! CALL NOW for additional, non-advertised promotions and savings! 866-365-4372. Visit website for complete information.
LEGAL: Offers end 5/1/13. Credit card required (except in MA & PA); NEW approved/qualified customers only. *All offers require 24-month agreement. RV KIT: $99 one-time fee. Requires NEW residential home service activation and purchase of ENTERTAINMENT programming or above. Standard Receiver Required. Existing DIRECTV customers may purchase the RV Kit at an additional charge. Additional terms and conditions apply. Call for details.
This Week's Reader Survey
Do you intentionally drive slower when RVing to improve your fuel mileage?
Last week's question
Do you buy fuel for your RV or tow vehicle based mostly on brand or price?
Read the survey results.
Best sellers, year after year
2013 Next Exit and RVer's Friend
Here are two great guides to Interstate exits and Travel Centers — both best sellers, packaged together to save you $4.00 over purchasing them separately. The 2013 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each, and the 2013 RVer's Friend lists every Travel Center in the U.S. and Canada — about 6,600 altogether — and what services each provides to RVers. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the long list of upcoming RV shows for 2013.
More than 2,200 places to stay for free or less than $12 in an RV.
No Shock Zone: Learn all about RV electricity and its dangers. This information could save your life.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.49 (on April 26)
Change from week before: Down 1 cent
Diesel: $3.88 (on April 22)
Change from week before: Down 6 cents
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.
Ask the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
When I have an appliance running, I get a “hum” coming from the propane tank (2007 Class A motorhome). This occurs maybe 60 to 70 percent of the time. I have an “extend-a-stay” valve located between the tank and the regulator which I use for outdoor appliances, and it does it when I use that, also, which tells me that maybe it is not the RV regulator. Any ideas? —Dave M.
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.
The RV Shrink
Where to go when tempers flare
Dear RV Shrink:
Like most couples, my wife and I have occasional disagreements. At home we can go to different parts of the house to calm down, but it's more difficult in our trailer. When we get into a heated argument, she storms off to the bathroom and stays there for an hour or so. She has a little electronic game in there and plays draw poker. I can hear it beeping, which drives me nuts. On a nice day, one us might just leave the RV and take a walk, but in the winter when it's cold or rainy, there's nowhere to go. Do you think this is a good way for my wife to let off steam? Am I overreacting? —Jim in Buffalo, N.Y.
From our newsletter
Great RV Accessories
- StickOnPods help solve storage problems.
- Portable waste tank: A must have for dry-campers.
- Eliminate the hassle of having to remove a fuse when flat towing with FuseSwitch.
Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs
This issue's Knowledge Quiz
One quiz on Saturday, April 27, 2013, with a swell prize.
TODAY'S PRIZE: Travel Bingo. Travel Bingo is an easy-to-play game for the car or RV. This set of four bingo pads and pencils features lovely renditions of things we all see while traveling the roads of America. Everyone loves to play Bingo. See it! Mark it! Make a Row! You've got Bingo!
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 27, beginning at exactly 8:55 a.m., Pacific Time (11:55 a.m. in the East).
MORE QUIZZES WITH PRIZES.
We hold contests with prizes in every issue of our weekday newsletter, RV Daily Tips. Sign up here so you don't miss out.
Save on Mountain Directories
East and 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 altogether. You save $5 when buying both these guides together. Learn more or order for only $26.90 for both volumes.
Tech Tips from Mark Polk
The dangers of RV batteries
Batteries can be extremely dangerous. They emit gases that are explosive and contain a very corrosive acid. If you perform your own maintenance, then certain precautions must be taken. Do not use an open flame or smoke around batteries. Avoid any electrical arcing or sparks around the battery(ies). Wear protective clothing and safety glasses, and avoid getting any battery acid on your skin or clothes. If you do come in contact with battery acid, flush the exposed area immediately with a lot of cold water.
Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's many helpful books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com.
Guide To The Firearm Laws of the 50 States
RVers who travel with a firearm may not know that what's legal in their home state may be a felony in another. This 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.
RV Short Stops
Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers
More than 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers are on display in this unique museum. There are dozens of shakers in the shape of penguins, hundreds of chefs, and countless variations of every vegetable on the planet. Shakers honor the Beatles, Mt. Rushmore, McDonald's menu items, and the Apollo XI moon landing. The collection began about 25 years ago when Andrea Ludden did not have a working pepper mill. Her quest to find the right one became two, then three and four, until the obvious — a museum honoring salt and pepper shakers — came to fruition. The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3. Call (865) 430-5515 for more information or directions.
National Park Service Camping Guide
and RV Camping in State Parks - Save!
Here are two great guides to RV Camping in State and National Parks packaged together to save you $4.93 over purchasing them separately. Both were expanded and updated in 2013 and are a wonderful resource for anyone who enjoys camping in a National Park or State Park. Learn more or order.
“Keep the toilet lid closed to prevent foreign objects from falling into the toilet. It is a major job to retrieve anything from the holding tank.” —From Motorhomes Made Easy
INSTANT READING ABOUT RVing!
With eBooks you don't have to wait to read your book. Just place your order and your eBook will be delivered almost instantly to your email inbox. These eBooks are written by RV experts and delivered in PDF format. Check out the big selection of eBooks at RVbookstore.com. Browse the RVbookstore.com eBook department.
The RV Kitchen
Save a metal can or two that will fit in your slow cooker. This carefree, healthful dessert steams while you enjoy campground activities. Frozen cranberries are a nice touch in many recipes, so throw a bag or two into your RV freezer. Get the recipe.
Cookbooks for RVers: Big selection at RVbookstore.com.
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.
Bumper Sticker of the week
"When everything's coming your way...you're in the wrong lane!"
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to EditorChuck@gmail.com
Win cash with our Pot of Gold Contest
To participate, click here Monday through Friday.
The cash prize is now $325. 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: 23169, 03774, 04780, 83401, 12570. Remember, these Zip Codes can appear again at any time.
The singer you hardly knew. . .
Marni Nixon, often called the "Ghostess with the Mostess" and "The Voice of Hollywood," dubbed Natalie Wood's singing voice in "West Side Story." She also dubbed Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice in "My Fair Lady," Deborah Kerr’s melodies in "The King and I," and was Grandmother Fa’s voice in "Mulan." Nixon appeared onstage as Fraulein Schneider in "Cabaret."
These DVDs will make you a better RVer
Get these popular DVDs and others at RVbookstore.com
Choosing an RV: A Logical Approach (with Joe and Vicki Kieva)
Do It Yourself RV Care (with the RV Doctor)
Drive Your Motorhome Like a Pro
Guide to Class A Motorhomes
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro
Towing Behind Your Motorhome
Guide to Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels
Guide to Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing
Guide to Winterizing Your RV
Better Business Bureau Guide to Buying an RV
Guide to Class C Motorhomes
Joke of the week
Sally: Why did you quit your job at the coffee shop?
Sue: Every day it was the same old grind.
SECRET PHRASE. Clark Kent was concerned about Lois' super bad breath and superficial personality.
Best-sellers at RVbookstore
•Baby picture has nothing to do with this ad. It's just a cheap trick to attract your attention.
RVers Best Public Campgrounds. Directory of public campgrounds along major roads.
Guide to Free Campgrounds. An all-time best-seller.
Mountain Directories East and West editions. Learn about steep grades ahead.
DVD: Deep Cycle Batteries. Learn all about this essential RV item.
Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory. THE directory for owners of big RVs.
The Fifth Wheel Bible: The only book just about fifth wheel trailers.
Random RV Thought
If you want to be absolutely sure that an RV park where you plan to spend the night has a space available call and/or make a reservation even in the off-season. You never know if there's a special event in the area that might have the park booked solid.
"Don't pay to stay!" Visit FreeCampgrounds.com. (Free is good!)
America's most-watched RV channel on YouTube
Watch hundreds of RVing videos at
the RVtravel.com Channel on YouTube
Watch helpful videos by America's best-known RVing experts, including RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, at the RVtravel.com YouTube Channel. The hundreds of entertaining videos have been viewed more than 2.3 million times — more than any other YouTube channel devoted to RVing! Visit the channel to watch videos and/or to sign up to receive notices of each new one posted.
"Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere. Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world — making the most of one's best." —Harry Emerson Fosdick
Understanding Your RV's appliances
Learn how several systems on an RV work and how to maintain them: the refrigerator, furnace, water heater and rooftop air conditioner. Learn the basic operating principles of these RV-specific appliances. This is not a "how to repair" book, but rather a "plain language" clarifying book of how each appliance operates and should be maintained. Learn more or order.
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant publisher: Jody Allcott. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Bob Difley, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Richard Mallery and Richard Miller. Cartoonists: Jerry King, Joe Schmidt. Warehouse operations: Eric Brotman. New York City correspondent: Emily Woodbury. ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Contact Chuck Woodbury at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you enjoy and appreciate this newsletter and would like to help it improve and innovate, please consider making a voluntary subscription contribution. We invite you to do so here. It will be appreciated very much.
About the RVtravel.com editor
Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the '90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an "on the road" writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC's Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. These days, he lives near Seattle, where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD "Buying a Recreational Vehicle", the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We're just human! So don't go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
At RVbookstore.com we strive for excellence in all we do. Our customers receive super fast service. Our motto is "You need it so we speed it," and no truer words were ever spoken!
Our offices are located at 170 W. Dayton Street, Suite 103, Edmonds WA 98020. Write editor Chuck Woodbury at EditorChuck(at)gmail.com.
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. For information about advertising in this newsletter and/or on our many websites, contact Chuck Woodbury at chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
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.