RV Travel Newsletter, July 9-15

RV Travel Newsletter, July 9-15

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 15th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 750 • Week of July 9-15, 2016


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Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury               
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com

happy-750
Happy RVers enjoying their RV. But for others, the happiness may be more elusive.

Every weekday, I receive RV industry newsletters from RVbusiness.com and RVdailyReport.com. I also get news releases from RV manufacturers as well as from companies that make products for RVs and RVers. I believe I know the mood of the industry pretty well from these newsletters and other sources, plus the readers of this newsletter.

Right now, the industry couldn’t be happier. RVs are flying off sales lots. RV makers and dealers are making a lot of money. Wherever you look, it’s a rosy picture (the demise of EverGreen RV being an exception). However, from a consumer’s perspective, it’s less flattering.

Critics of the industry complain that to keep up with the current sales frenzy, manufacturers are cranking out RVs so fast that quality has suffered. I get letters often from readers about problems with their new RVs. In some cases, these buyers must wait weeks or months to get repairs or even just a necessary replacement part. In some instances, they never get their problems fixed.

Frankly, because of what I’ve heard and read lately about bad quality, I bought a used RV last month rather than a new one as I have in the past. I figured the previous owner would have worked out the bugs and, frankly, it’s nice getting an RV that looks like new for half the price of one that really is new.

My friend Greg Gerber, the editor of RV Daily Report, is running a series titled “The RV Industry Death Spiral,” where he runs down, point by point, how “the current [RV manufacturer’s] business model is simply unsustainable.” 

He notes that people in the RV industry:
• Know what’s going on, are in denial, and remain hopeful the problems will simply fix themselves.
• Don’t want to know what’s going on and keep their heads firmly planted in the sand ignoring many very obvious signs.
• Are aware of the problem, know it won’t end well, but are simply choosing to ride the wave as long as they can.

Now, Greg can be a bit “doom and gloom” at times, and he has no crystal ball, but his series may spur further discussion about what needs to be done to keep you and me, RV consumers, happy — with well-built RVs that roll off the line working properly. You can read the first segment in Greg’s series here.

In his second segment, he continues …

“Manufacturers are competing intensely against each other to produce RVs that are built cheaply, with cheaper components so they can be sold at what I call the ‘mythical price point.’ . . . that price at which RV manufacturers, and in some regard dealers as well, believe is the absolute highest price consumers are willing to pay for a recreation vehicle. Add one more quality component and RVers will run away.

“For example, a 360 Siphon vent is an effective $10 [wholesale] part that can eliminate RV odors, which people who actually use RVs know is a consistent problem. But, many manufacturers won’t install the simple device. Why? It will push them out of the mythical price point.”

If you would like to learn even more about the problems with new RVs watch this 17-minute video, which consumer rights attorney Steve Lehto headlines “Why you should not buy an RV.” After citing one bad RV buying experience after another, he ends with some helpful buying advice.

I know most of you love your RVs (me, too) and by shopping carefully and intelligently we purchased them with few problems that couldn’t be easily fixed. But for today’s buyer, it’s a crazy time, with a glut of poorly built units on dealer lots for eager buyers who don’t do their homework. For we consumers it means we must be extra careful to not end up with a lemon.

By the way, I am intentionally not mentioning specific manufacturers here — the good, the bad or the ugly. I’m not knowledgeable enough to comment on individual companies. If you really want to keep a close watch on the industry, you might start by subscribing to the free online editions of RVbusiness.com and RVdailyReport.com.

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prime-750P.S. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime and will be taking advantage of the great deals for Prime members on Tuesday, July 12, would you please shop through our Amazon affiliate link? We’ll earn a small commission on your purchase(s) and you will pay the exact same as if you went to Amazon directly. Click here to shop. Thank you very much. 

Did you miss last week’s issue of RV Travel? You can read it here.

LEAVE A COMMENT: If you have a comment about this issue, feel free to submit it using the form at the bottom of this page. 




giveaway747THIS WEEK’S CONTESTradio2-750
Win an Emergency Solar Hand Crank Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio

We’re giving away up to two of these cool weather radios with the winners picked at random out of a maximum of 450 entries. The contest ends at midnight Sunday (PDT) or earlier when both prizes have been awarded. You can only enter once, so do it now so you don’t miss out! You’ll know instantly if you win. It takes about 20 seconds to participate. Only residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia are eligible to enter. Good luck! We’ll announce the winners next week.

Saturday, 11 a.m (PDT): The contest is over.
We have our winners. We’ll announce them next week. 

Didn’t win the contest? You can order the radio here


Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.42.17 PM
Wish your special someone a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary and we’ll post your well-wishes and your short comment right in this newsletter. It’s super easy to leave your greeting. Remember — we need to receive it prior to the Saturday before the big day. Just click here.

See this week’s greetings near the bottom of this newsletter. 


presenting-738_edited-1Featured categories
You’ll find some good reading (and viewing) material here.
Internet access/Wi-Fi
Women RVers
Outdoor grilling
Leveling and stabilization
RV maintenance and repair videos
Editor Chuck Woodbury’s Roadside Journal


Military240x172Dish TV Discount Program
for Military and Veterans
DISHForMyRV.com is your partner for getting DISH HDTV in your RV. We offer the hardware solutions including a wide variety of portable satellite antenna solutions. Our specialized agents are experienced with RV setups and equipment and are knowledgeable in the DISH Pay As You Go programming options. This month we are honoring our Military Active Duty and Veterans with our new Military Discount program. Learn more.


dime-738Is reading this newsletter worth 10 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you an entertaining and informative newsletter every Saturday. The readers of the newsletter help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year would be appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! If you care to chip in, please know we will be very appreciative. Just contribute what you think is fair. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.


Reader RVs

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What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane(at)RVtravel.com .

CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.


trumalogoHow can you end the “military” RV shower?
You know the routine, constantly turning off the shower to conserve hot water. That’s because most RVs have tank heaters with limited hot water. You never have to run out of hot water with a hybrid instant hot water heater. Find out how the Truma AquaGo®  gives you a real shower in your RV. Learn more here.


breaking-newsWholesale shipments of RVs to dealers continue to surge ahead, says the RV Industry Association. Overall, sales were up more than 13 percent in May, compared to May 2015. Class C motorhomes took the lead, up 23 percent, with travel trailers showing a strong growth of close to 13 percent.

Oklahoma State Senator Dan Newberry recently received an endorsement from the Oklahoma Recreational Vehicle Association. The endorsement comes on the heels of Newberry’s successful efforts to kill a bill that would have rolled recreational vehicles into the state’s existing “lemon law.” The bill would have required industry to buy back an RV that was not satisfactorily repaired after a reasonable number of efforts. The association says they’ll be keeping a close eye on next year’s session to ensure the bill isn’t reintroduced.

goldenhourScreen-shot-2014-10-28-at-8_44_01-AM
Steve Walser photographed this (“Golden Hour”) trailer at the Mount Baker Vintage Rally in Lynden, Wash. See more of Steve’s photos or purchase them as prints, on tee-shirts, etc. by clicking here. Photo © Steve Walser

High fire danger in parts of Utah has led the U.S. National Park Service to hike up restrictions in several popular sites. Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments have shifted to fires only in designated fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic areas. Smoking is now permitted only in enclosed vehicles, parking lots or developed areas cleared of flammables within three feet. And, no surprise – fireworks are still prohibited.

As we reported in Breaking News last week, after weeks of rumors, Thor Industries formally announced July 1 that it has bought out RV builder Jayco for $576 million. While Thor says Jayco will remain “a wholly owned subsidiary” of the company, not everyone is cheering the acquisition. According to rvdailyreport.com, 86 percent of RV manufacturing in the U.S. is now controlled by two companies – Forest River and Thor. Only 1 in 6 RV building companies are independently owned.

Outdoor recreationists are using social media to promote the lifestyle, but a stupid trend appears to be taking hold: selfies-with-wildlife. Last week, officials in Utah were aghast to find a video of a camper with a whitetail deer fawn tucked into her jacket. The woman and her friends had found the fawn, picked it up, and then had taken it back to their campsite.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has instituted a burn ban on DNR-protected lands east of the Cascade Mountain crest effective July 2 through Sept. 30. The ban applies to all outdoor burning on all state, county, city and private land under DNR fire protection, including all state forests, DNR-managed forestlands and DNR campgrounds. It does not include federally owned lands such as national forests and national parks. In 2015, more than a million acres burned across the state. So far in 2016, there have been 234 wildfires throughout Washington state, 202 of them caused by humans. 

Photo: fs.usda.gov
photo: fs.usda.gov

Wishing to go to Wish Poosh? Sorry, the popular campground near Cle Elum, Wash., is shut down for the second season in a row because of tree root rot. Officials with the U.S. Forest Service who have evaluated the trees say that root fungus has hit at least 400 trees and the likelihood of them falling is too great to allow the public to camp. The Service says it wishes it could take the Wish Poosh trees out – but has to wait for approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Officials with Oregon’s Willamette National Forest want your thoughts about proposed fee increases next spring. Fees would rise at 11 campgrounds, three group campgrounds, and at lookouts and cabins. Example: You’d pay $12 per night at Indigo Springs Campground next year for what’s presently free. Fees haven’t changed since 2008; meanwhile, the budget allocation has dropped 40 percent since 2009. Comment until October 15 by email to WillametteRecFeeComments@fs.fed.us .


RVs & Electric Bikes – the perfect match!
evelo-logo-732An Electric Bike is the perfect, simplest and most affordable way of sorting all the ‘challenges’ of RV’ing. Get around camp effortlessly, visit the sites or town nearby without unhooking or simply enjoy a fun ride with fellow campers! Click here to discover our electric bikes and get free shipping & returns, and 0% financing on any new EVELO.


news524(2)More News

More plague found: This time it’s in the San Jacinto Mountains, southeast of Banning, Calif. Ground squirrels in Dark Canyon and Marion Mountain campgrounds tested positive for the disease and state health authorities are advising visitors to take precautions to protect themselves from the danger. 

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Photo: Time Warner Cable News

A freak incident involving a motorhome towing a barbecue near Macedon, N.Y., has left one person dead. A motorhome towing what some describe as a “pig cooker” hit a bump in the road, whereupon the trailer tore loose from the tow hitch and struck a car traveling in the opposite direction. A passenger in the car was killed outright.

A Harlingen, Texas, newspaper, the Valley Morning Star, recently published comments from RV park owners and operators regarding their “Winter Texan” season of snowbirds of 2015–2016. Many expressed serious concerns about their future, as a large percentage of their patrons come from Canada. The rough economy for Canadians seriously cut back visits this year, some reporting they won’t be back unless there’s a turnaround. Other park owners noted the younger generation of RVers is not stepping up to fill the places of older ones who no longer travel.

photo: water.weather.gov
photo: water.weather.gov

A flood from an unusual source has chased campers out of the Mendenhall Lake Campground near Juneau, Alaska. In the first major glacier outburst flood, called a jökulhlaup, since 2014, campers were evacuated just prior to the big 4th of July weekend. A depression above the Mendenhall Lake filled with rain and melted glacier and began draining into the Mendenhall Lake on June 30, causing flooding.

British Columbia residents have long complained about an inability to reserve a campsite in one of their own provincial campgrounds. Here’s part of the reason: A firm called Canadian Camping Adventures has two employees whose job is to scope out the government’s reservation website and snap up premium campsites as soon as they become available. The sites, which typically sell to the public for $18 to $35, are then resold to European tourists for $70 per night. Government officials say they’re aware of it and see no harm, as the practice helps promote tourism.

RVtravel240x172DogDays

If you were on the road over the 4th of July weekend, you probably know how difficult it was to find a campsite. A campground host at the Redstone Campground near Carbondale, Colo., got a taste of it the Sunday before. A man, evidently infuriated that he couldn’t get a campsite, pulled a gun on the host. Police tried tracking him down, but no luck.  

An Arizona RV dealer has vanished and more than just the police want to find him. Back in 2010, Claude Thomas Kennedy was found guilty of fraud in a bogus motorhome sales scheme and had been ordered to pay close to a half million dollars in restitution. Not only did Kennedy skip out on restitution, in 2016 more RVers alleged that Kennedy was back to the same trick. In May Kennedy was cited for contempt of court, given until June to pay a $100,000 fine or go to jail. He hasn’t done either – and his “whereabouts are unknown.”


 

tt-750Ready to plan 
your next camping vacation?

The CampUSA™ App allows you to quickly search, book and camp at more than 170 Encore and Thousand Trails RV resorts and campgrounds nationwide! Click here to see how it works! Download the app and receive 10% off your next stay! Use code CAMPUSA.


rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.


The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi ! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.


RV Quick Tips
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An easy way to save money on propane
From the “So tight he squeaks when he walks” department: Turn off your oven pilot light when not in use. Save propane = save money.

Easier cleanups for possible spills while traveling
Don’t let your plants go to pot while traveling. Put potted plants (and other “messy” items) in the shower stall. If they tip over, it’s a much easier clean-up.

Protect the microwave oven’s glass turntable
Rattling down the road could cause a crash for your microwave oven’s glass turntable. To keep everything safe, Mike Feldman says his family wedges a piece of swimming pool noodle between the turntable and the top of the oven’s insides. Thanks, Mike!


RVArmorEPSLogoRV Armor has tough skin!Armor b4 after
RV Armor’s tough skin was featured recently in Trailer Life. Read the full story here. RV Armor offers a unique, liquid applied roof system that is Guaranteed for the Life of the RV! No more maintenance, seams or headaches. Nationwide mobile service. We come to you. To learn more, call 1-855-782-7667 or click here.


How to stop rodents from destroying your RV!
While prepping for a trip recently, Rich “The Wanderman” found lots of evidence that mice (or some other small critters) were munching on his beloved Vellux blanket. He had that problem before and resolved the issue, but they recently found a new way into his RV. Here’s how he found their new entryway and what he did about it, with lots more suggestions if you have critters squatting in your motorhome. [Editor: Did you know a “squat” can be the lair of a small animal?] Learn more.

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The ABCs of camping with pets
Pets are common traveling companions, especially for RVers — perhaps a third of them. Most American campgrounds welcome pets. Most often there is no additional charge beyond the regular campsite fee, but many commercial RV parks charge an extra fee per night, per pet. While there are few formal rules about camping with pets, there are some basic rules and common courtesies to follow when you take your pets camping with you. Read more.

Quick (but important) TPMS test and a couple of tips
As the use of tire pressure monitoring systems in the RV world continues to spread, Roger Marble, RV tire expert, is noticing a number of comments from RVers on accuracy and reliability of different systems. He is in the process of making a test fixture to check pressure and possibly temperature reporting. While doing some initial runs he isn’t always seeing numbers that he’s expecting, especially when it comes to temperature readings, and thinks it might be a good idea for everyone to do one test on their own unit. Find out how here.

Good food, good prices — in places you’d never expect
Eating on the road at a sensible price usually boils down to cooking something up at camp. After all, you can usually save a ton of money by pulling something out of the fridge and whipping it up, as opposed to hitting a restaurant. But face it, you don’t always feel like cooking. On a trip awhile back, Russ and Tiña De Maris were introduced to a new “food joint” by some new friends, and they were very pleasantly surprised! Read more.


parvshowimagelogoAmerica’s Largest RV Show runs September 14–18, 2016
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.


Maximize your boondocking site
You’ve arrived at a selected boondocking site and are ready to set up camp. Unlike a developed campground with a predetermined space to park your RV, you likely have many choices on where and how to position your RV in the boondocks. Here are some things to consider while setting up from veteran RVer and boondocker Dave Helgeson.

RV shopping? Avoid buyer’s remorse
What to consider before you go RV shopping and why you should stick with your original plan — learn from this buyer’s costly mistake. Learn more.

Finding RV sewage leaks
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. Here is a question he received from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor: “I suspect we have a leak in our black water system between the toilet and tank, which sits directly below the toilet. I can see the pipe that goes straight down to the tank … that is where I suspect the leak may be. …” He’s wondering how the system is built so he can attempt to fix it. Read Chris’ response.

How you might run ST-type tires at 75 to 80 mph
In this article from tire expert Roger Marble, he explains tire speed ratings versus their operation speed, i.e., what does the speed symbol molded on a tire really mean? Also, what is the difference between the load capacity of ST tires compared to LT-type tires, and what does physics have to do with a reduction of tire failures? Roger explains.

Washing your RV when on the road
If you pull your rig in the wintertime (or in bad weather), you know the drill: Doesn’t matter what color your rig was when you started out, it’s probably an entirely different one at the “other end” of the road. If that means your back yard at home, then it’s just a matter of getting up the gumption to wash the rig. But for those on the road, washing the RV while traveling can become a big issue. Here are some options.


New and Interesting Finds at Amazon.com. This is fun!


del-545This week in history
Week of July 9-15
Compiled by Dell Bert

1806 — Zebulon Pike expedition sets out to explore American Southwest.
1914 — Babe Ruth makes Major League Baseball debut.
1962 — Bob Dylan records “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
1985 — Live Aid concert raises $127 million for famine relief in Africa.
1986 — Columbia Records drops Johnny Cash after 26 years.
1988 — “Die Hard” debuts, making Bruce Willis a movie star.


Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video. Click here for more information about using Airtabs™.

Click here to purchase Airtabs™.


smokey-only-you-RVT-745
Put out your campfires — all the way out — folks. If not, they can come back to life, and that can cause forest fires!

RV Clubs
Here are some RV clubs from our extensive directory which you may be interested in:

Fleetwood Motorhome Association
Fleetwood Motorhome Association is the official owners’ club of Fleetwood RV. The association is open to all owners of motorhomes built by Fleetwood RV and American Coach. There are three chapters and more than 1,000 members.

National United Methodist Campers
It’s not necessary to be a Methodist to join or have a good time with these fine folks. This group has been around since 1975. They have several chapters across the country which hold campouts throughout the year, with an annual national rally.

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)
Largest club for owners of self-contained motorhomes, with about 75,000 members. Many regional and special interest chapters. Frequent local rallies, annual area rallies and one huge annual national rally. Many membership benefits and services, including discount programs, mail forwarding, roadside assistance, monthly magazine — everything to do with RVing and more.

Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.


Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 7_24_55 PMRV Parts
and Accessories

Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.


bumper-738
Bumper sticker of the week
Ban pre-shredded cheese; Make America grate again. —Seen at the Seattle (Wash.) Wallingford Chevron (via The Los Angeles Post)

Funny/clever business slogan
Seen on the back of an 18-wheeler in La Plata, Md.: “A load on our truck is a load off your mind.” —Thanks to John Taylor!

Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com


kitten-ice-cubes-750Wow! Ice cubes shaped like cats!
You’ll be the hit of the RV park cocktail party when your guests or friends notice that their ice cubes are shaped like cats! How cool is that? If you love cats or know someone who does, then what possible reason could you have for not ordering the most adorable ice cube tray molds on earth? Learn more order.


Upcoming RV Shows
See the list of upcoming RV shows for 2016.

Websites of the Week
We like these websites. Check ’em out. More next week.

Here is a sample: 24 tricks to survive hot summer nights (without AC)
Be sure to check out the rest of the list — several items relate specifically to summer.


 

mobile-internet-750Best guide to using the Internet on the road
This comprehensive guide to mobile internet covers cellular data, public WiFi, satellite, ham, cable/DSL, enhancing signals, installation, managing bandwidth, traveling to Canada & Mexico, entertainment options, cellular phone plans and much more. If you’re on the road a lot and need the Internet, this is the best guidebook by far about to how to use it & get the most from it. Learn more or order.


Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
On the Road Again: Memorial Day Weekend At Cedar Key
The Dos and Don’ts of Overnight Parking at Wal-Mart
This baked bean recipe from scratch is sure to be a hit with your fellow campers!


tank707Super clean your holding tanks!
Extreme Cleaner by Happy Campers cleans, softens and helps dissolve and remove all types of sewer waste, toilet tissue, crud, sludge, light corrosion and scum buildup. Highest concentrated, most active (powerful) sewer tank and sensor cleaner on the market. Recommended for winterizing, annual clean out, and removing persistent odors caused by chemicals or medications obstructing your tank treatment. Often helps restore poor working sensors. Learn more or order.


rvshrinkAsk the RV Shrink

RVers crowded out in Yellowstone — What to do?

Dear RV Shrink:
We are in Yellowstone and we don’t have a reservation. We had no idea that half the world would be here visiting the same time we arrived. We cannot find a place to camp and have no choice but to leave the park and pay commercial rates on the fringes. I want to stay and fight the crowds, but my husband wants to leave and try again sometime in the future with reservations. I say we will run into the same problem everywhere else — let’s stay and fight. Is this what we have to look forward to as we begin our grand retirement adventure? —Crowd Control in Gardiner

Read the Shrink’s response.


gray-tank-745Eliminate gray water
tank odors for less than $8

Gray water tanks can produce nasty odors, too. Using the latest technology in quick dissolving biodegradable tablets, Elemonate deodorizes your gray tank, freshens sink and drain lines and dissolves grease and organic sludge buildup in the drain lines of your sink and gray tank. Learn more or order.


mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

What to do if your RV has a flat tire
In the event of a flat tire avoid heavy brake action — slow down gradually, hold the steering wheel firmly and move slowly to a safe area off of the road. Try to park on a hard, level surface and turn your emergency flashers on. DO NOT attempt to change a motorhome tire by yourself. RVs do not come equipped with jacks. Some motorhome tires can weigh in excess of 100 pounds. Call for professional help.

Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.



gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.29 (on July 4). Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 50 cents.
Diesel: $2.42 (on July 4). Change from week before: Down 3/10 cent; Change from year before: Down 41 cents.



travelswithcharlie-750An inspirational book about RVing
“Travels with Charley in Search of America”
When you ask most RVers if there was one book that inspired them to take up RVing, it’s John Steinbeck’s classic road tale, “Travels with Charley.” The famous author set off in the early 1960s in a home-built camper with his poodle, Charley, to “find America.” And what he found makes for a delightful read. Get this for yourself or as a gift. Learn more or order.


RV Travel Reader Pets dog and photographer - left
Do you travel with a pet? We’d love to introduce your pet(s) to fellow readers. Send a photo or two of Fido or Boots and a 150-200 word description of your furry friend(s), along with your name(s) and hometown to Diane(at)RVtravel.com .

Click here to see the last issue of RV Travel Reader Pets.


water-filter-677It’s Spring: Time to change your water filter!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100 micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.


janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Salmon Pancakes With Dill Dip
Canned salmon makes a quick meal.

Canned salmon is one of the most important back-up foods in the RV pantry. Make it into chowder, salmon loaf, salmon salad or these hot, crusty cakes. Get the recipe.

Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including “The Survival Food Handbook,” available NOW!

BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM 


Easily brew a single cup of coffee
This is great for RVers! Brew a single cup of coffee without the high cost of an expensive coffee maker with the MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker! Just fill reservoir with hot water from tea kettle, or heat water in a microwave. Assemble, place K-Cup pack in base, attach the water reservoir and pump. Click the video for a short demonstration or learn more or order at a big discount.


App of the Week

Chris-Guld-pic-for-RVTFurkot: A funny name for a great trip planner
There is no perfect trip-planning system, but that doesn’t stop Geeks on Tour from continuing to look for one! They have used several systems, and the latest one they’re checking out is Furkot.com. It is a free website. There is no mobile app, but the mobile website works fine on either iPhone or Android. Campgrounds are listed, and it is based on Google Maps, so all the data in Google is available. Learn all about Furkot in Chris Guld’s article.

In case you missed it: Let Alfred (free app) watch your house while you’re RVing!

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… every Sunday on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. This Sunday’s topic is Navigating with Google Maps, plus more. Watch live or archives of past programs.

The special offer for RV Travel readers is back!
Become a member of Geeks on Tour and get a 20% discount. Click here.


Locate services at Interstate exits
The 2016 Next Exit is the most complete USA Interstate highway exit directory ever published for every exit of major and most minor routes. Find what’s located at upcoming exits on your route — gas, food, lodging, camping, shopping, hospitals, Wal-Marts and much more. A best-seller year after year. Learn more or order.


gary-736Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions

RV holding tank care

Dear Gary,
I think I’ve seen more words written about holding tank care and operation than any other single subject. Your discussion in Family Motor Coaching Magazine about cleaning black tanks was interesting and helpful. In the same issue, there was a description of an all-natural, microbial-based holding tank additive that, at least according to the maker, allows the microbes to digest waste such as proteins, oils, grease and paper, all the while preventing odor.

If this product does what it says, when I know my motorhome is going to be out of service for a couple of weeks, why wouldn’t I empty my black tank and then fill it up with water, dump in the appropriate amount of this product and let those microbes go to work? … —Rick C., Bradenton Beach, Fla.

Read the rest of the question and Gary’s response.

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.comSee Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.


fridge-fan651Keep your food cool
with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this!  Learn more or order from Amazon.com.


bob-d-med399Boondocking tips
with Bob Difley

Check around for gray water dumping facilities
When you arrive at no-hook-up campgrounds, like the Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, state parks or BLM, walk through the campground or ask the host if they have gray water dumping facilities. Often these are no more than a pipe set flush with the ground surrounded by a shallow concrete basin. Typically there may be several scattered around the campground, usually adjacent to a drinking water source. If you find one, use it rather than adding your gray water (which you collect in a plastic tub) from dish washing and rinsing, teeth brushing, hand washing, and pasta cooking to your waste tanks.

You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.


tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for less than $12! Learn more or order.


Gadgets and Gizmos

Conserve water and never step into a cold shower again!
SlhowermiserHow many times have you wanted to stay out camping another day or two, but ran out of fresh water or the gray tank was full and had to be dumped? Have you ever thought about how much fresh, clean water gets wasted going down the drain while you’re waiting for it to get warm? What if there was a way to solve both of these issues? With SHOWERMI$ER, there is. The SHOWERMI$ER simply connects to your shower outlet. By flipping a small lever, you can redirect the cold water back into the fresh water tank, before it even comes out of the showerhead. Then it will change colors to let you know the hot water has arrived to the showerhead! How cool — we mean, hot! Learn more.

Kevlar charging cable for electronic devicesReplace cheap device-charging cables with Kevlar
RVers on the go can sometimes handle their stuff in a rather rough manner. This is especially true with the various cable and charge cords for our multiple electronic devices, as evidenced when they just stop charging for no apparent reason. A group called Nonda is attempting to help those brutal cord handlers with its new 4-foot, ZUS Kevlar Cable, a strong, durable cable that in recent tests by a German test lab bent the cable more than 15,000 times without it breaking. The secret is in the Kevlar, the same stuff used by the military to make bulletproof vests and ballistic helmets. Read more and watch a demo in a short video.


2016 Traveler’s Guide
to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States
Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your weapons during travel in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. Includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open carry, concealed carry, state and national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome and RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.


computer-laughing-RVT-750Stupid predictions  
“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” —Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949


diesel-707Improve performance
of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.


Videos you’ll like

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PM

An unusual “on the road” hobby for an RVer
When you pass by this RVer’s campsite, you’ll do a double take. Watch the video.

Ever feel a tingle when touching an RV? Danger!
Three RV industry experts discuss a situation that can spell disaster if ignored. Watch this!

Useful products for cleaning your holding tanks
Mark Polk of RV Education shows you some products that are helpful in flushing your black water holding tank. Watch the video.

important-744HOW TO WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS
USING VERY LITTLE BANDWIDTH
.


Random RV Thought
Always be considerate of your campground neighbors. If your RV has outdoor speakers, don’t blast your music so loud that your neighbors can’t avoid it. They might not share your love of Conway Twitty.


sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean those
stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.


Trivia
“Sometime this year, we will quietly pass a milestone in human history: The majority of the fish we eat will be farm-raised rather than wild-caught.” —New York Times, July 3, 2016

 

Essential for big RVs!
2016 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this truck driver’s road atlas will be a huge help in knowing where you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.


Worth Pondering
“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.”Abraham Lincoln


fridge1fridge2Keep your fridge in order when you travel 
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution. Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And the good part is the price tag: about $5! (the RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.


Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.42.17 PMReaders’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings

Happy Birthday!
July 12: To Rhonda from Mike. Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife of 48 years.
• July 13: To Marie from Ken Lailer. Happy Birthday to my wife on her special day.  May all your wishes come true. Love, Ken.
July 15: To Georgeana from Mike. Happy Birthday from your loving husband.

Happy (belated) Birthday!
July 5: To Cammie from RV Pals. Wishing you a Happy Birthday and Happy Travels.


Happy Anniversary!
• July 11: To John from Kathy. 30 years ago our luck held out after getting married in Reno on 7/11. Here’s to our retirement years traveling full time in our RV, and maybe Reno here we come again.
• July 14: To Pat from Wyndy. This is our 25th Anniversary together, it is our Wedding Day – looking forward to the rest of our life and travels together.  I love you!
• July 15: To Rhonda from Mike. Happy 49th anniversary. It has been a wonderful 49 years together.

Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting. (20-word maximum)




RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Janet Groene, Roger Marble and Julianne Crane. 

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com. cw501

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 was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s 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.

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.

Our offices are located at 610 5th Ave. S, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

RVtravel.com includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of RVtravel.com to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to RVtravel.com and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2016 by RVtravel.com

TODAY’S DEALS ON RV PARTS & ACCESSORIES AT AMAZON.COMClick.

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20 thoughts on “RV Travel Newsletter, July 9-15

  1. Ed Dmochowski

    Chuck,

    This is the second year in a row I have contributed to the news letter and have not received a response to affirm that it was received by you. Last year you wrote and confirmed after receiving my inquiry. Please let me know that you have received it again this year. Thank you.

    Ed & Robin Dmochowski

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Hi Ed,

      Do you remember when you sent it? Was it by check? I looked around back through my records but didn’t see anything from you.

      Here’s what’s going on. We try to thank everyone who donates and we do a good job of getting just about everyone. But about five weeks ago, our office manager Jody left after being with us for 11 years. She usually sent the thank you letters. I will be doing it from now on. The problem has been that for about the last six weeks I have been flat out racing to adjust to Jody leaving, plus selling my condo, plus buying a new motorhome for full-timing and selling my current View motorhome. Whew! I have put off sending thank you letters until I get settled. Then I am going to sit at my desk in the new RV and start thanking people for their support. But in your case, would you please tell me about when you made your contribution and how you did it (Pay Pal, credit card or check?). I’ll dig a little deeper to find out what’s going on. Thanks. And, lest I forget, thank you for being so generous to voluntarily “subscribe.” My staff and I appreciate it very much.

  2. Jerry Smith

    In traveling from state to state in our motorhome, needless to say we notice fewer rest stops. There are so called truck parking areas filled with trucks and I know they need the rest. What I am amazed at is the state welcome centers where sometimes there is no place to park because of the trucks. A welcome center is designed for tourists. It is to provide information to encourage money and time to be spent in the state. Truckers are not tourists. Why does the majority of states not provide separate area for rvers?

  3. Bill Patterson

    We bought a 5 yr old class C rv from a well know rental company. The idea was that a rental company has to keep things fixed and maintained or they would have unhappy customers and surely go out of business. We had a few minor wear and tear items with the rig but they fixed them as they had promised to go through the unit and fix all items before selling. It had high mileage but my mechanic said it’s engine and drive train was in great shape. We have had great times with this 28′ class C and our first trip went 8 thousand miles around the USA. Did buy a tire monitoring system and it had Firestone tires so no problems with tires at all. Installed a backup camera. We pull a jeep wrangler and it has been working fine. I guess my point is with a rental they get to work out all the bugs. I do not buy new cars for the same reason….after a couple of years they generally are much better buys and have the problems fixed.

  4. Tom Boyte

    Chuck,
    I agree with Greg Gerber as well. I can’t even begin to tell you the problems we had with our NEW 2007 Keystone Everest over the 5 years we actually used it. They started at the dealer with numerous flaws right from the factory and most of it was silly stuff that could have been fixed easily but were not. Things like cutting the fresh water filler hose too long so they bent it in the center thus rendering it unfillable. The 7 inch mounting screw for the TV set driven right thru the tuner killing a new TV. Or the face of the air conditioner vent put on backwards blocking all air flow and the Chinese tires that blew out after 5,000 miles. It goes on and on. I was told that: “RV’s are the best designed and worse built vehicles on the road” and I believe it. I’ll never buy another. The Everest we own is now permanently dry docked inside a steel building. Most of the insides are replaced with regular house plumbing and appliances.
    I kept it because the dealer who sold it to me wanted me to pay him to take it off my hands. No thanks.

    1. Roy Ellithorpe

      We bought a NEW Montana in 2005. I was never so disappointed with the quality of anything. We sold it and bought a NEW Mobile Suites, then we sold it and bought a used Travel Supreme 45′ motor home. That Montana is looking better every day.

  5. Mel Goddard

    Greg Gerber’s rant on the state of Quality Control in the RV industry,is pretty well on target.
    My first RV was an 18′ Starcraft ‘Centennial’ , that had so many snags direct from the factory, that I lost ten days of my vacation making it ROADWORTHY. (I’m now a retired licenced Aircraft Mechanic, a Cdn. AME.)
    And then in Newfoundland, I had a serious problem that required me to use the campground ‘shop’ to fix it.
    My next RV was a 23′ Hi-Lo, that was in very good shape, very few snags and I was happy with it for six years, until..
    I traded it in for a 25′ Airstream ‘flying Cloud’. More snags; water system leakage, heaters not working etc. (New)
    At this point, let me give a ‘plug’ for CanAm RV Centre in London, Ontario.
    These guys are super, tried their best to fix the problems, and get me on the road. But….
    The 25′ FC proved to be unsuitable, so I traded it in for a 30′ FC., with the stipulation that EVERYTHING must work properly.
    I took delivery of a new 30’er this year,, took it out twice now and EVERYTHING works just fine.
    Even my wife, (“I don’t care about camping, I just go along for the ride”) is now asking: “When’s our next trip?”
    Any time that I’m into CanAm for any work done, these guys are on top of it, and send me away satisfied.
    They get my ‘thumbs up’.

  6. Ron

    Readers have made some good points. Before I purchased my RV, read many RV blogs, talked to many RV co. Also looked at history, and I ended up buying an RV used, with a good history of quality and workmanship, and still have issues. What’s a consumer to do? Chuck, did you think your Class C was a good buy? Will your new rig be a better build? It seems to be a money pit, just never ends. Oh brother….

  7. Gregory Illes

    Chuck,

    I was at many different times involved in corporate quality issues (semiconductor industry), and it was ALWAYS clear that poor quality cost more than good quality, by the time you accounted for returns, warranties, lost good-will sales, and other bottom-line concerns. It’s quite curious that the RV industry can be so myopic about what amounts to basic accounting exercises.

  8. Mike Hayes

    Chuck, I bought a heat sensor gun to check the temperature of my tires, hubs, etc, based on reading many of your articles. But my question is, at what temperature should these components be during and after travel…don’t know at what temperatures I should be concerned? Love your newsletter, very informative.

    Mike

  9. Ronald J Milostan

    About fast production. Saw on tv program of amish building rv’s. A young man was showing how really really fast he could do his job. Quality?? I heard they produce 30 units per week. If finished before 7 days can have remaining days off?? True??? Terrible quality if true????

  10. Calvin R

    The kind of quality issue you talked about in your essay is what gave Honda and Toyota their big break into the US auto market. With 86% of the market controlled by two companies, change will have to come from outside, if it comes. Otherwise, “death spiral” is probably a sound prediction. There’s still no marketing better or worse than word of mouth. Failed products will drive business away from the industry.

  11. Scott Heil

    Chuck, been reading your news letter since 2014, we became full timers in 2015. Love the info and content, but I have one issue with the new web site. While reading the newsletter on my iPad I select a link on one of the articles to read further, it takes you to that link, when I’m finished reading and return to the main page it always brings me back to the top of the newsletter instead of returning you to the spot where you were previsouly reading so now you must scroll down the newsletter to return were you left off.

    Thanks for all the great RV info

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Scott, I don’t think we have a way of controlling that. I’ll talk to our tech people. Thanks for pointing this out. — Chuck

    2. Larry

      I have had the same issue and that’s why I try to read it on my Computer where the articles open in a new tab and you can close them when done and be back where you let off.

    3. Bill Patterrson

      I build websites in wordpress which is what your site is built in. Rule of thumb if the link is going to a site away from the RV site then set the link to open a new tab in the browser and then the original page stays where you left it. If it opens a new page in the same tab or window then when you use the back button to go back to the article it will go back to the top of the page. What I do as I read through the articles and seen something I want to read later I right click on the link and select “open in new tab” Then I can go back and read each of these articles as I wish. This allows me to continue reading through the RV newsletter all the way to the end and then go back to my browser and open each of the tabs that I want to explore.

    4. adamS

      On a tablet or smartphone, long-click (hold finger firmly on link until context menu pops up) then choose Open in New Tab or whatever option is close to that wording. Clicking the back arrow will close the new tab (if iPad behaves like Android?) and return you to the last (newsletter) tab at your previous location.

  12. Dave Gobel

    I realize this question might be a little late but I wondered why Chuck bought a gas motorhome instead of a diesel. I thought that most full-timers would prefer diesel because of the amount of travel and the longevity of the diesel engine. I know there is a significant price difference.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Dave, I won’t be putting THAT many miles on the motorhome. We’ll stay in parks a week at the minimum, probably more like a couple of weeks each, then move not very far away. We’ll do most of our traveling with a Honda Fit we bought to tow behind the rig. I doubt that we will put on more than 10,000 miles a year at the very most on the RV. A diesel engine at 10,000 miles a year would last decades. The problem is, I won’t! — Chuck

  13. Gary Materne

    I really miss the question of the week you used to have.

Comments are closed.