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RV Travel Newsletter: May 4-10. Issue 584
Weekend of May 4, 2013
Issue 584 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!
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With Chuck Woodbury
Imagine spending about 16 months — 501 days — with your spouse in your RV without the opportunity to step outside, have a visitor, or even open a window for fresh air. And imagine that the view out your window is basically the same every day. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? "No way! We'd kill each other!"
Well, this scenario (hopefully without the "killing each other") may very well happen. But the couple will not be in an RV but a spacecraft about the size of one — on a trip to Mars and back. The $1 billion project is being financed by multimillionaire Dennis Tito. The launch is scheduled for January 5, 2018 when Earth and Mars will be their closest until 2033.
Tito is a former NASA engineer and successful businessman who paid the Russians $20 million for a ride to the International Space Station, becoming the first "space tourist."
The biggest physical danger to the crew is expected to be radiation. But the psychological strain may be far more challenging. Taber MacCallum, chief technical officer for "Inspiration Mars," envisions the crew as a married couple in their 50s. His reasoning is that being married they could comfort each other as they saw Earth grow smaller and smaller. "If that's not scary, I don't know what is," he said.
Here's how MacCallum's wife Jayne Poynter described the mission at a press conference: "It's a really long roadtrip. You're jammed into an RV that goes the equivalent of 32,000 times around the Earth and you can't get out for a year-and-a-half."
The crew will drink the same water and breathe the same oxygen over and over again through recycling urine and sweat and scrubbing carbon dioxide. About 3,000 pounds of food will be on board at lift off.
Once on their way, there is no turning back, and no rescue if something goes wrong. And even if all goes well, the couple will not even get to land on Mars, just loop around it from 100 miles above. The planned journey involves what's called a free return, where the vessel will use Mars' gravity to boomerang it back home — no matter what the crew's condition.
So imagine 16 months of the same ol' thing — living in a tiny space, no fresh air, no fresh food, no place to escape for a little personal time. When I think about it I feel claustrophic to the max! I have often said if I had the opportunity to be the first person to visit Mars I'd jump on it. But now, after pondering the details, I think I'll pass.
Oh, there's one more thing. Unlike travel by RV, there are no dump stations along the route. So, how does the spaceship go potty? Well, it doesn't. The couple will be required to coat its walls with their own feces to block radiation. "It's a little queasy sounding, but there's no place for that material to go, and it makes great radiation shielding," said MacCallum.
Ready to sign up?
Top two photos courtesy of Inspiration Mars. Sources for this article include the Associated Press and Spaceflight Now.
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DID YOU MISS LAST WEEK'S RV TRAVEL ISSUE? If so, read it here.
JOIN THE AUDIENCE
FOR MY TALK THIS WEEK
If you live near Seattle or will be in the area this coming week, please join me for my talk at the Edmonds Public Library on Thursday, May 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. My topic will be "A Writing Life on the Road." I'll share stories about my three decades of traveling America and writing about it. Arrive early as eating is limited to 150, with a full house expected. The library is located at 650 Main Street (right up Main Street from the ferry dock). Call (425) 771-1933 for more information. Admission is free. Please stay around after my presentation so we can gab a bit!
Our Pot of Gold cash prize is up to $330. 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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If you have a comment about this essay or anything in this issue, please feel free to leave it at our forum.
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.
More than 70 percent of RV owners say they'll use their rigs more this summer than last. This from a survey conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
After a raucous session of public testimony, Marion, Iowa, city commissioners voted down a measure that would have restricted RV parking on private property. One councilman said he felt strongly that "My property, my rights," should prevail.
An RV, described only as "white," driven by a "man wearing black motorcycle leathers, having long gray pigtails, and walking with a limp," is alleged to have started seven grass fires near Kalispell, Montana. Said to be dragging a sparking piece of metal, the rig is accused of setting 50 acres ablaze a week ago Friday.
Maddy, a long-haired black cat, was lost by an RVing family in Elma, Washington, two or three years ago. Now Maddy has been recovered from a feral cat colony and rescuers want to reunite her with her family. All that's known is the RVers had lived in the Seattle area and also owned a small dog. They may have a son living in the Montesano, Washington, area. Know anything? Call (360) 292-0401 to help.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will continue to provide camp fee waivers at sites it manages to active duty military members and their families. The service member must be on mid- or post-deployment leave from duty in some hostile fire zones.
New Prevost H3-45 motorhomes now roll off the assembly line with the filler for Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) on the driver side. An aftermarket retrofit kit is available for earlier editions of these models equipped with EPA 10 (and later) engines.
RVing in Vermont? You'll pay two cents a gallon more for diesel and almost six cents more for gasoline beginning July 1, when a fuel tax hike takes effect.
We are THE RV Insurance Experts!
Explorer RV offers more than just standard RV insurance. As an independent insurance agent, we provide access to a wide range of RV coverages from leading insurance companies. Many aren’t available through typical agencies — such as total loss replacement, purchase price guarantee, personal effects, awning replacement, towing and more. Learn more or get a free quote.
An Aurora, Colorado, woman, Cary Grant, of 3 C's RV Rental has been arrested and charged with theft after she allegedly kept rental deposits due back to customers. Investigators say Grant showed no remorse when confronted with her misdeeds.
Two Canadian men, Daniel Paulusse and Nick Lysne, have received an award for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association after rescuing two RVers trapped in their motorhome after a traffic accident. The flipped RV was spewing fuel when the two crawled in and freed the accident-dazed owners. The accident occurred two years ago.
Rabbit Valley Campground, part of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Grand Junction, Colorado, is expanding. The camp will be closed for a few weeks to allow increasing the number of sites to 16, up from four.
Popular Grand Canyon National Park trail, Bight Angel Trail, got a facelift in the form of renovations at the trailhead. New restrooms, shade structures, parking, and an accessible path to a nearby bus stop will get an official unveiling on May 18.
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury will speak to the Friends of the Edmonds (Wash.) Library next Thursday evening on the topic of "A Writing Life on the Road." Woodbury has spent much of 30 years traveling America with a motorhome, writing about his adventures for newspapers and magazines, including his folksy "on the road" newspaper Out West and for the New York Times Syndicate in the 1990s. The public is invited. Admission is free. Info here.
Visitors to New Brunswick may soon get shilled for a three percent tax to stay on in campgrounds. RV park owners decry the proposal, which would pump funds into tourism promotion, saying it will drive RVers back to the U.S. No decision has been made on implementation.
On Friday, Thor Industries announced record preliminary sales as well as an improved backlog for the third quarter and nine months ended April 30, 2013. The third quarter was the first time in the company’s history in which quarterly sales exceeded $1 billion. More.
RV dealers in China say the demand for their products has never been greater. One dealer says Chinese high rollers would rather buy an RV than a sports car or SUV.
Winding Roads by Joe Schmidt
On this date in history:
Compiled by Dell Bert
1865: Lincoln is buried in Springfield, Illinois.
1929: Audrey Hepburn is born.
1942: Food first rationed in U.S during WWII.
1965: Willie Mays breaks National League home run record.
1979: Margaret Thatcher is elected prime minister of England.
Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
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.
Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter
Don't give up gardening to RV: Grow a "bumper garden."
How to prevent a roof leak with EternaBond tape.
Test your shore power outlet for safety.
How to adjust the flame on your water heater so it works most efficiently.
Five quick tips about your RV awning.
Don't let your RV become an "Ant Farm."
Robertson screws save time and frustration.
How to make a fitted sheet fit an RV mattress.
How to cut RV-lifestyle expenses.
How to control trailer sway.
Eliminate Trailer Sway…
Trailer Sway is the #1 cause of trailer accidents. Only one trailer hitch guarantees to completely eliminate trailer sway — The Hensley Arrow. With our patented converging linkage system, only Hensley delivers the ultimate in towing safety. Click here to learn more.
Changing and cleaning your generator's fuel and air filters
Rich Miller's generator was starting to do strange things at idle, but when something was turned on — like the A/C, for example — it worked great. So what was wrong? Find out what Rich discovered after some research and what he did to fix the problem.
Full-timers get decluttering advice from Rachel Ray
TV housekeeping and cooking diva Rachel Ray recently ran a segment on decluttering a fifth-wheel. Mike and Donna, from Arkansas, have put their sticks-and-bricks home on the market and are moving into a Montana fifth wheel. Trouble is, their new rolling digs resemble Fibber McGee's closet. Okay, maybe you can't remember back that far, but suffice it to say, their organizational scheme needed a bit more organizing. Watch the video.
Android app makes getting free "on the air" TV easier
Not a satellite TV fan? Here's a nifty app that will help you locate free "over the air" digital and high definition TV broadcasts wherever you go in the U.S. TV Antenna Helper Free is, by nature, advertiser supported. If you can't stand advertisments, then for $1.99 you can get TV Antenna Helper and skip all the ads. Read all about it.
Caring for your dinghy's breakaway switch
Many motorhomers appreciate "four-down" towing: Their towed vehicle (dinghy) doesn't have to be run up on a trailer or dolly, rather, all four wheels of the dinghy are on the ground. Most report it's easier to deal with hitching and unhitching. Typically those who tow four-down have an auxiliary braking system in the dinghy, one that actuates the dinghy's brakes in concert with those in the motorhome. To that end, here are a few reminders about your dinghy's breakaway switch system.
Planning an RV
trip this summer?
Here are some great guides to State and National Parks, Corp of Engineers campgrounds, and even places to stay for a bargain or even for free. Use for research or pack along for finding campsites along your route.
Guide to Free Campgrounds
Corps RV Camping
National Park Service Camping Guide
RV Camping in State Parks
RVers Best Public Campgrounds
National Park Service Camping Guide and RV Camping in State Parks — Save!
Where to get your tire pressue monitored correctly
Our blogger and RV tire expert Roger Marble writes: Previously in my post on gauge accuracy I suggested that you could get your pressure gauge checked by visiting a tire store from a tire manufacturer or very large dealer. Well, after doing more investigations it turns out I was expecting more from dealers than they actually provide. Read more.
An amazing RV journey in an amazing RV
This is one of the coolest motorhomes ever. Doug Cuthbert built it for a total investment of $171,000 and then shipped it to Europe, where he, his wife and their three children set off on an adventure through 16 countries and over 20,000 miles. Why doesn't an RV maker pick up on this design? We think it would be a big hit! Watch this video. You will want this RV!
Maintaining and testing your carbon monoxide detector
Lightheaded? Confused? Have a headache? All unpleasant enough things, but also symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. And that's a very bad thing! Here is important information for RVers.
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.
If you were a multimillionaire, would you spend $500,000 or more for an RV?
Last week's question
Do you intentionally drive slower when RVing to improve your fuel mileage?
Read the survey results.
Cool Photos of the Week
Way cute Teardrops!
Isn't the idea of a Teardrop trailer — or a tiny trailer built with a similar design — to be compact? Well, the owner of the pint-sized Teardrop-look-alike on the left decided a bit more room was better. We're not sure what's inside, but the outside is impressive. Meanwhile, isn't the tiny pink trailer adorable when paired with the pink VW Bug?
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.
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 $12 in an RV.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.51 (on May 3)
Change from week before: Up 2 cents
Diesel: $3.85 (on April 29)
Change from week before: Down 3 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.
Ice on RV Refrigerator Fins
We are new full-timers and I’ve noticed our Norcold refrigerator fins inside the unit are icing up. What causes this or is this normal? Should I ask how to prevent this? Casey D., St. Louis, Mo.
Great for owners of large RVs
2013 Rand McNally
Motor Carriers' Road Atlas
RVers who drive big RVs can travel with peace of mind with this truckers' road atlas as their guide by avoiding low overpasses and roads where a big rig could get in a pickle. This is a complete atlas containing every single road that’s included in Rand McNally’s standard atlas. But in this one, trucker’s routes are highlighted to prevent the truckers from getting onto roads that won’t accommodate them or where they are not allowed. For RVers in big rigs, following these trucker-recommended routes will ensure they don’t end up on a back road where they are too big to get through. Learn more or order.
The RV Shrink
To tow or not to tow, that is the question
Dear R.V. Shrink:
My husband and I have been reading your column for about a year. We are almost ready to retire and travel. We have decided on a small, Sprinter diesel, Class C motorhome with a couple of slides. The short, expandable unit we ordered seems perfect for travel. The problem is the addition of a tow vehicle. I think we should pull a small car and my husband says it defeats the whole purpose of staying small and agile. He says the Sprinter chassis is small enough and fuel efficient enough to drive 100 percent of the time. I contemplate the inconvenience of uprooting our home-on-wheels every time we go sightseeing, shopping or out to dinner. My husband continues to argue the economic side of this issue. We enjoy your input, so could you give us some insight on this issue? —Tow or not to tow in Tucson
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.
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, May 4, beginning at exactly 9:10 a.m. Pacific Time (12:10 p.m in the East).
Roadside Geology for RVers
Why no sandy beaches in Puget Sound?
Dear Doc Rock,
We live in Colorado. The family loves to go to the beach. Since we live in Colorado, this means a road trip. Any excuse for a family road trip with our motorhome is a good one, and a trip to one coast or the other is always a hit. Last summer we traveled to the Northwest and spent a week visiting friends in Seattle. We were surprised to find that sandy beaches were virtually nonexistent. The dang water was too cold, anyway. Everything is rocky or covered in gravel, or even boulders. Why is this? So much saltwater, and no beaches. Our friends didn't know. —Marv and Julie Harris, Denver, Colo.
TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Melody bought Steven a wind-up duck called Tim The Duck for his 75th birthday.
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
Why did Santa Claus go to a psychiatrist?
Answer at end of newsletter.
Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs
2013 Milepost Directory
DVD: RVing Alaska with Joe and Vicki Kieva
Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping
Guide to the Alaska Highway
The World-Famous Alaska Highway
DVD: Alaska By RV
More Alaska Books
“Practice backing up in an open parking lot using marked parking spaces as a guide. Try centering the trailer between the lines. Use your mirrors to make your adjustments.” —From Trailers and Fifth Wheels 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. 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
Beware if you smell rotten eggs in your RV
LP gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. To assist you in detecting a leak, an odorant is added to it when it is manufactured. If you are not familiar with the odor of LP gas, the next time you go to a qualified fill station ask the attendant to let you smell it. Most people describe the smell as being similar to rotten eggs, or as having a garlic odor.
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 maintenance 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 reviews 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
Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society
De Smet, South Dakota
Discover the world of Laura Ingalls and her family in De Smet, South Dakota. The "Little Town" adventure starts at the original Surveyors House, referred to in the Laura Ingalls Wilder book "By the Shores of Silver Lake." The First School of De Smet, where Laura and her sister Carrie attended, and the house that Pa built on Third Street are other stops in this informal tour. These three historic structures are filled with original historic artifacts that belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society is one block east of the courthouse in the heart of De Smet.
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.
Bumper Sticker of the week
"This car is a status symbol. It symbolizes me being poor."
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com
The RV Kitchen
Squaw Corn Casserole
The good thing about this easy casserole is that you can use lean ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey or the equivalent in vegetarian “meat” crumbles. It’s also good when made with bulk sausage, which adds mild, medium or hot spices to the flavor. 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 and 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 and Fifth Wheels
Guide to Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitch Work and Backing
Guide to Winterizing Your RV
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro
Gray and grey are different spellings of the color. But gray is more common in American English while grey is more common in other main varieties of English. In the U.K., grey appears about 20 times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.
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
Hang the keys to your RV or tow vehicle on the TV ceiling crank when the antenna is up. The next morning before you drive away, you will find the keys there — a reminder to retract the antenna.
SPECIALS & CLOSEOUTS!
Save more than 80%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com
"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow." —Swedish proverb
The cash prize is now $330. 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: 17815, 20763, 74367, 41669, 31563. 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. Assistant publisher: Jody Allcott. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Bob Difley, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, 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
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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.
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. Any information gathered by visiting this website is kept private and never sold or shared with outsiders.
This newsletter is copyright 2013 by RVtravel.com.
RV JOKE ANSWER: Because he didn't believe in himself.