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Issue 755 • Week of Aug.13-19, 2016
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Nobody in the RV industry is looking out for the specific interests of RVers. The system is such that they are far more concerned about you and me buying an RV than us buying one free of defects no matter what the price point. Just read all the comments that readers have left in the last few weeks about the poorly built rigs they bought with the idea of fulfilling their dreams of carefree, happy RVing as promoted in advertising. If RV makers really cared about you and me, they’d be darn sure the RVs they made were trouble free from the get-go, even economy models.
Incredibly, no organization with any muscle represents the specific interests of RVers. The three major national organizations represent various interests in the RV industry, but not RVers themselves. They are:
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association
The RVIA represents RV manufacturers. Its job begins with glorifying RVing to consumers. It runs TV and magazine ads showing happy people in their RVs, often camped in the most gorgeous settings you could imagine. In reality, such beauty spots rarely exist in campgrounds. The RVIA sells the dream of owning an RV, fueling the desire for people to buy one.
While the RVIA provides basic quality guidelines for RV makers, the guidelines do not ensure that RVs are well made. So you and I too often end up with RVs with varying degrees of defects, some of which may take weeks or even months to fix (if ever). The RVIA fights Lemon Laws whenever they are proposed, protecting RV makers from costly replacements of unfixable RVs. In the end, its loyalty is to its members, RV manufacturers. The RVIA earns its money by getting paid by those manufacturers for each RV sold: the more sold, the more money for RVIA to then spend creating demand for more sales. The RVIA gets paid the same whether an RV is well made or junk.
The National RV Dealers Association
The RVDA represents the interests of RV dealers. Its purpose, bottom line, is to help its dealer-members run profitable businesses. And how do RV dealers make money? By selling RVs. The more they sell, the more they make. Salespersons are paid on commission. You buy, they get paid. You don’t buy, they don’t get paid. Rarely will you hear from a salesperson once you drive off the lot. Few RV dealers understand the concept of customer lifetime value.
The National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds
ARVC represents the owners of RV parks. Its job, too, boils down to helping its members run more profitable businesses. Right now, the big thing is adding and renting cabins. These accommodations are commonly built on a campsite once reserved for tents or RVs. Renting a cabin is more profitable to an RV park than renting a campsite. Great for you and me, huh? The last thing ARVC will do is lobby for more public campgrounds. That’s just competition for its members.
This year, nearly 400,000 new RVs will be sold. How many new campsites will be created? RV industry veteran David Gorin, a columnist with the magazine Woodall’s Campground Management, estimates that these new campers will spend about 30 million camper nights a year in RV parks and campgrounds. I ask, “How is that possible when decent parks are already booked up months in advance?”
I asked ARVC president Paul Bambei if he had statistics about the number of new campsites being created. He responded: “We only keep track of net campsites that are reported to us by members, which can be very misleading. For instance, a park owner may reduce the number of tent sites to make room for a few park models on part of his/her property. On paper, the site count is reduced, but the revenue potential to the member actually could increase due to the park model overnight fee being a lot higher.”
He didn’t even get what I was asking: I wanted to know, with all the new RVs being sold, how many new campsites are being created to accommodate them? And he responded with a comment about “revenue potential”!
In news releases from these organizations, there is never any genuine concern shown for RVers except in the context of how an RV manufacturer, dealer or park owner can make more money off them. The big picture is ignored — of producing better RVs and creating new places where RVers can use them.
ONCE UPON A TIME, before the Good Sam Club became a sales tool for Camping World, it was very much involved in protecting the interests of RVers. For 30 years, Sue Bray was its executive director. In her words:
“We believed that one of the important reasons RVers joined Good Sam … was because they were looking to us to protect their rights and privileges…. Over the years, we got involved in such issues as gas rationing (way back in the ’70s’ energy crisis, when the Federal government considered excluding RVs from potential gas rationing), pushing for lemon laws specifically for motorhomes, successfully stopping requiring special commercial drivers’ licenses in California for people towing large 5th wheels and trailers, increasing access to Federal lands, absentee voting rights for fulltime RVers with no address, overloading issues, etc. On the local level, we were very involved in local RV parking ordinances — providing support and information to members who were possibly violating local and discriminatory ordinances preventing parking of RVs on private property.”
The Good Sam Club today, to my knowledge, does none of this.
Many readers have commented that it wasn’t until the Germans and Japanese began selling quality cars in the United States that American automakers were forced to improve their own products. For the 30 years it took them to get their act together if you wanted a reliable car you bought an import. Must this happen in the RV industry?
I will go into more depth about all of this in the weeks ahead. There is much more to what I have discussed here than I can cover in this short space. And yes, there are people in the RV industry who truly do care about you and me. It’s simply the system that does not permit them to put our interests on par with those of their own businesses or organizations.
P.S. If you believe that someone with a public presence needs to speak up to influence the RV industry into building better products, and to create more places to camp with them, then please consider becoming a voluntary subscriber to this newsletter so my staff and I can continue to report to you what we consider to be important issues without the fear of losing advertising should we write something they don’t like.
Also: My 2008 Winnebago View is now officially for sale. See the listing.
Did you miss last week’s issue of RV Travel? You can read it here.
No contest this week
Last week’s winners:
Patrick Spainhour and Daniel Hart. Both won the CD Meet the Beatles. Congratulations! Another contest with a swell prize coming next week.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just 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™.
Wholesale auction prices for used RVs in July took their anticipated seasonal downturn, reports market watcher Black Book. Motorhome prices dropped 6 percent to $39,423. Towables tailed down close to 5 percent, averaging $10,797 — all rates in comparison to prices in June. Sales volume likewise slid, as would be anticipated for this time of year.
Woodrow Wilson gets the credit for signing the law that created the National Park Service, back on August 25, 1916. Commemorating the event, all National Park sites will have free entry August 25 to 28.
The promised El Niño weather track from last winter has proved to be a blessing for many campground operators in the California Sierra mountains. Water reservoirs, critical to recreation, started to refill, and “if you fill them, they will come” seems to be an axiom. RV park operators report greatly increased occupancy — in some cases having to turn away guests because of “campground full” status.
Spring floodwaters closed a number of campgrounds and boat ramps at Texas’ Lake Waco. Last week officials reopened the gates at both Midway and Speegleville campgrounds.
The Pima County, Ariz., fairgrounds RV park will soon see an expansion. The county’s Board of Supervisors recently approved funds for improvements that include adding an additional 100 full-hookup RV sites and laundry, restroom and shower facilities. The fairgrounds complex is located in Tucson.
While some cities are making RVers feel unwelcome with parking policies, Grand Junction, Colo., is bucking the trend. Local business folk saw that parking for bigger rigs was lacking, so they talked it up with the local Business Improvement District. RVers will soon find a parking lot at Seventh Street and Ute Avenue open to accommodate RV parking from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., for free. This will put RVing visitors within a couple of blocks of the area farmer’s market, restaurants and shopping.
After severe thunderstorms went through Zion National Park on Wednesday, a house-sized boulder fell from the side of Pine Creek Canyon and ended up in the middle of the road below, causing significant damage to the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway in Zion National Park. No one was in the area at the time. As of Friday, State Route 9 remains closed from Canyon Junction to the east entrance of the park, although most park activity won’t be affected by the closure. UPDATE: The road has been reopened.
Guaranty RV Super Center of Junction City, Ore., will open a 55-unit RV park just off I-5 near Eugene. The 8-acre park will offer full hookups, an outdoor pavilion clubhouse, dump station, pet area and Wi-Fi. It will be close to the new Winnebago factory and Guaranty’s RV sales lot and travel center.
Heading out to visit Devils Postpile National Monument in California? You can see the amazing basalt rock formation — but you can’t camp there. The monument’s campground is shut down while fresh and waste water systems are being worked on, and probably won’t reopen until 2017. First-come, first-served camping is available in the next-door Inyo National Forest.
Fingers are pointing at campers at Banff National Park after a wolf had to be put down. The lady wolf had been pilfering from food coolers at Two Jack campground areas, and rangers said the behavior was brought on by folks not properly taking care of food. While the wolf had been hazed to discourage the behavior, the training didn’t work. Now careless campers are getting a little hazing of their own: Over the last month 20 visitors have been cited for “improper campsite maintenance,” which is a court-mandatory citation with fines up to $25,000 for the guilty.
RVs & Electric Bikes – the perfect match!
An 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.
A group that raises money for wounded veterans by putting on 24-hour lacrosse games has been wounded in action itself. Shootout for Soldiers members were on the last leg of a national tournament heading for their last game when their RV caught fire. While everyone got out okay, the rig was destroyed, and members lost their personal belongings. An Internet fundraising project has raised more than $40,000 to cover the group’s expenses to make it to the last game and back home again. Here’s where you can help.
In an “efficiency” move, Georgia Power is shutting down camping at Dames Ferry Campground near Juliette, Ga. The last day at the mixed utility and primitive site campground will be September 5.
It’s not just the new RVs with issues. This was an older RV’s “maiden voyage” for a Beaverton, Ore., family, and it ended after 30 miles, in Ridgefield, Wash., with the vehicle engulfed in flames. Jason Knighton and his family were on Interstate 5 on Aug. 5 on their way to a camping trip when their RV caught on fire. The family got out and moved up the road a ways. “I just turned and I looked at it. I watched it burn,” Knighton said. “It went up quick and you know it was heartbreaking.” They lost many of their possessions, including his children’s toys. “It was our second home,” Knighton said. “The kids and my wife called it our beach house.” Source: KATU.com.
Diane Paschall, from Monroe, La., looked for five years to find a 1961 Airstream “Bambi,” and last November, she found and bought one. She named her rig “Pearl,” and parked her in the driveway. Trouble is, somebody else liked Pearl and made off with her last week, breaking Diane’s heart. But the happy ending is that Pearl has been found and Diane says she’ll soon have a new — and hopefully safer — home in the back yard.
The buzz was on at a Walmart store in Oklahoma City, Okla., after a business deal in the parking lot went bad. A party selling some live beehives to a buyer accidentally dropped a hive on the pavement, releasing thousands of the irritated insects. The store had to be evacuated and at least two people were hospitalized.
Melvyn Ingalls is in hot water with San Diego, Calif., County health officials. Ingalls allegedly operates an illegal RV park in the Otay Mesa area — one where residents are forced to pump their gray water out on the ground, and nobody drinks the water (supplied by above-ground plastic pipes) because it smells so bad. Ingalls collects an average of $370 a month rent from his “tenants,” most of whom consider his “park” a place of last resort. But here’s the twist — Melvyn Ingalls’ daytime job? He’s the vice-chairman of Otay Mesa Planning Group — a board that gives advice to the San Diego City Council on land-use issues. The county has ordered Ingalls to clear out his “park” by the end of October.
Quick wits in Kelso, Wash., saved the day, and work for local firefighters. Two fires were reported in a 45-minute time frame. At 12:30 p.m., August 2, firefighters got a call to respond to a smoking bathroom fan in a trailer. The owner knocked it down with a garden hose and fire extinguisher. At 1:13 p.m, they responded to a water heater compartment fire about a mile-and-a-half from their earlier call. Here RV owners too had done the job – chilling the water heater fire with a dry-chem extinguisher.
Campers responded to the need last week when a 4-year-old boy went missing at Buffalo Lake Campground near Woodruff, Wisc. The lad’s short legs couldn’t pump fast enough on his bicycle to keep up with his older cousins around 5 p.m. Mom put out the panic call and RVers and other campers responded in search mode. About five hours later the missing boy was found — several miles from the campground. Other than having a few bug bites the accidental tourist was fine.
A stuck motorhome lead to a memorable chain of events in Alberta, Canada. Steve Hyde and his two daughters headed off on a motorhome trip when Hyde got the rig stuck in the mud. A passerby pulled the rig out of the mud, and Hyde’s young daughters set off on their bicycles while Hyde trailed behind in the RV. But feeling a bit unwell, Steve stopped to cool off in a stream — and felt worse. A passing group on ATVs stopped by; one of them, a nurse, determined Hyde was having a heart attack. One took Hyde onto this rig to get him closer to the main road, calling out for an ambulance. Now Hyde was worried about his daughters, so a search and rescue team was called in to look for them. Two of the searchers then proceeded to drive over an embankment, and required rescue themselves. Hyde got to the hospital; searchers found the girls – and a Canadian Mountie took them home to his family for pizza. All in a day’s RVing.
Has your vehicle been recalled for faulty Takata air bags? Nearly 70 million Takata air bag inflators are or will be under recall by 2019, in the largest and most complex auto safety recall in U.S. history. A combination of circumstances can cause the propellant to burn too quickly, rupturing the inflator module and sending shrapnel through the air bag and into the vehicle occupants. Find out quickly here if your vehicle is involved.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Free DVD about buying an RV
When we closed our RVbookstore.com we ended up with about 150 copies of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” hosted by RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury. The video should be required viewing for anyone about to buy an RV. If you would like one of the DVDs, we’ll mail it to you if you send us three first class (or Forever) stamps for postage. (USA addresses only). Send to Free DVD, RVtravel.com, 610 Fifth Avenue South, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020. The offer is good until August 31 unless we run out of the DVDs first, in which case we’ll mail back two of your stamps.
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.
Sand driving — Don’t get stuck in the muck
With summertime on us, where do you want to go? If you said the beach, just be careful with the trailer or motorhome. Every year coastal tow companies gear up to make buckets of money when visitors get their cars, trucks and RVs stuck in the sand — which is, unfortunately, inevitable and costly. Here are a few words about safe beach driving from Russ and Tiña De Maris, beginning with the safest rule for RVers and sand: Don’t go where you couldn’t use a pogo stick. Read more.
What is a TPMS and how does it work?
Darryl Lawrence of TireTraker.com explains the purpose of a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and how it works. Watch the video.
Even the simple repairs — Fix your loose outside mirrors
Outside mirrors on an RV are good. BIG outside mirrors are even better. Even with a backup camera, they are still a necessity when navigating an RV both on the highway and in tight spots. Rich “The Wanderman” was having a problem with the passenger side mirror moving out of position when he hit a large bump in the road. Read how he easily fixed it.
OK to use gas and electric at same time on water heater?
When Chris Dougherty, a certified RV technician, was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor, he received the following question from a reader: “I am told that it is not a good idea to use propane and electric at the same time to heat water. Any thoughts?” Read Chris’ response.
How to Save LP Gas While Dry Camping
Dry-camping RVers tend to get paranoid about LP gas usage, so being efficient is important. The Truma AquaGo® instant water heater provides such efficiency. With it, a 20 lb. LP bottle can provide 20-minute showers for 30 days, so dry campers need not worry about using hot water when they need it. Learn more here.
Harbor Freight Tools: Good values or “Chinese junk”?
As RVers, we’re all in favor of saving money. And for RVers that handle whatever maintenance and repair work they can, here’s a possible source of big savings: Harbor Freight Tools. We know, there’s apt to be a little backlash from some. But after listening to the opinions and experiences of a fair number of RVers, and after some amount of shopping and use of Harbor Freight stuff, here’s an opinion on what types of tools you can depend on at Harbor Freight. Also, when necessary, how does the return policy at Harbor Freight compare to the current Craftsman return policy? Interesting reading.
RV slideouts date back 70-80 years
The slideout has become a popular feature with American RV manufacturers in recent years but the idea is by no means new. Even 70-80 years ago British caravan constructors were making models with slideouts to extend sleeping space or create toilet or kitchen wings. Read more.
RV Industry Death Spiral, part 7:
RV owners share the blame
The entire RV industry revolves around RV owners. They buy the motorhomes and travel trailers that keep manufacturers, dealers and service centers going. They stay at RV parks that keep amenity-filled campgrounds open. But they, too, are contributing to the demise of the RV industry. How can that be? Find out.
SnapPad – World’s only permanently attached jack pad for RVs
Install it just once, then leave it on — forever!
No more crawling under your RV to set up! SnapPad XTRA installs in seconds and will not retain any standing water. Widens your jack’s footprint on any terrain, yet dampens vibrations when you move inside your RV, giving a feel that’s solid, but soft. Compatible with LCI’s ‘Level Up & Ground Control 3.0’ leveling systems. Learn more here.
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.
Light up your RV with Boogey Lights!
RV accent lighting is all the rage! Just look around the RV park! Enter Boogey Lights®! These robust, super-bright, state-of-the-art LED lights with hi-tech controller technology represent the next generation in LED lighting for RVs. The AWNING & UNDER-GLOW LIGHT KITS are specifically designed to withstand harsh operating environments. Don’t waste your money on junk! Get Boogey Lights! You can even control them with your Smart Phone! Learn more or click the video for a demonstration.
This week in history
Week of Aug. 13-19
Compiled by Dell Bert
1906 — Gold discovered in the Yukon.
1909 — First race held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
1935 — FDR signs Social Security Act.
1945 — Steve Martin is born.
1964 — Beatles kick off first U.S. tour in San Francisco.
1969 — The Woodstock festival takes place in Bethel, N.Y.
1977 — Elvis Presley dies.
2003 — Blackout hits NE U.S., affecting 50 million people.
Exclusive Offer: FREE RV Protection Education!
RV repairs are common, complex and costly! Learn how to save big and make confident RV repair decisions in our free RV Webinar series. Save Your Seat at this exciting event, hosted by the RV Warranty Experts at Wholesale Warranties, and get inside tips on protecting your life on the road!
Here are some RV clubs from our extensive directory which you may be interested in:
Coach House Owners’ Club (CHOC).
A chapter of FMCA, CHOC is made up of like-minded people who own a Coach House motorhome for their recreational pursuits, including rallies and rendezvous, along with their CHOC Talk newsletters and Facebook group page.
Safari International is one of the largest chapters of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) with members located throughout the United States and Canada. Membership is open to all current and former owners of Safari brand motorcoaches.
GMC Western States Club.
Promoting the preservation of the classic 1973-1978 GMC Motorhome. This group has been “going strong” since 1973.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at 500 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
Bumper sticker of the week
Warning — Driver in second childhood!
Funny/clever business slogan
On the back of a sewer truck: “The sewer do’er: Ready Freddy. Satisfaction guaranteed or double your poop back!” Thanks to Dan Nottingham.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
Nobody likes a dirty beast!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
So don’t wash your RV with products designed for cars. Duratain’s Wade Maid products are RV Specific solutions specially formulated to clean and protect your RV’s fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum parts. Watch Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the Web’s best directory of upcoming RV shows for 2016.
Websites of the Week
We like these websites. Check ’em out. More next week.
Here’s a sample: The worst cities in the U.S. for mosquitoes. And lots more summertime stuff.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
America’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.
Good reading from RV123.com
• America is home to some of the most famous national parks in the world.
• Breakfast lovers will adore this casserole.
• This video will help you find the perfect California beachfront getaway!
Organize your bath with a shower caddy
This waterproof hanging shower caddy has 6 durable mesh pockets — 3 generously sized pockets with holes for holding bottles upside down and 3 smaller accessory pockets to store loofahs, bar soaps, razors and more. It has rust-proof grommets and is made of quick-drying breathable mesh — wipe with a damp cloth or wash by hand. Just hang using your existing shower curtain rings or hooks. Great for the RV! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
RVing home base dilemma:
Give up RV or give up home base?
Dear RV Shrink:
We are 3/4 timers. We go back to our home base once a year to maintain our property, work on our rig and see friends and family. My husband wants to stop traveling because he says it is too hard to winterize and wrap our home up every season. I say we should just go full-time and we wouldn’t have to do any of it. I know people have bigger problems than we do, but it is getting harder to own a home and still travel as we age. Any comments? —Skipping Town in Tumwater
Don’t come up short!
Sometimes your 50 amp power cord is not quite long enough! That’s when this 15-foot extension cord will come in very handy. Sure, you can use a wimpy orange extension cord with an adapter, but don’t try using much power (like your air conditioner) or you’ll burn up the cord or maybe even your rig! Carry this cord along and you’ll be all set. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. A 40-gallon fresh water holding tank full of water adds 332 pounds of weight to your RV. Depending on the type and size of RV you have, the added weight and the movement of the water when you’re traveling can be a concern. You should only take the amount of water that will be required to get to your destination and refill as required. Don’t forget your gray and black tanks, too. Try not to travel with full holding tanks if possible.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small tester, for about $8, will alert you in an instant to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of life left! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V and button-type batteries. 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: $2.15 (on Aug. 8). Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 48 cents.
Diesel: $2.32 (on Aug. 8). Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 30 cents.
Easy way to level your RV!
The RVtravel.com motorhome packs along two of these and, boy, are they handy! Camco’s RV Yellow Tri-Levelers are designed to raise the RV up to 3-7/8″ on any tire for a more level position. The lightweight levelers are durable and have a resin non-slip surface with a load capacity of 3,500 pounds. Learn more or order for a great price!
RV Travel Reader Pets
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. Next issue coming next Saturday.
Keep burglars away with fake TV
The next time you leave your home or RV, turn on this fake TV to scare intruders away. At night, when burglars like to strike, from outside your home or RV the light mimics someone inside watching a 40-inch LCD TV, while using very little power. This is enough to scare most would-be intruders off. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Hot to go.
This recipe combines two classic recipes — stuffed dates and cheese wafers. Voila! It’s a savory finger food to serve at campground potlucks or as a snack around the campfire. Get the recipe.
Portable oven is perfect
for hot meals in your tow vehicle
You’re on the road in your pickup or other tow vehicle and would like a hot meal without stopping. Do we have something for you — the HotLogic Mini Personal Oven! Enjoy a hot meal wherever your day takes you. Click the video to see the product in action or visit Amazon to learn more or buy it.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Make sure your smoke detector works
Test your smoke detector(s) regularly, and make sure all travelers know what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when they hear it. Courtesy: MacTheFireGuy.com
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
RV Quick Tips
Simple way to sanitize the fresh water hose
Sanitize your fresh water hose? Sure — coil it up and pour in a mixture of one cup water and one cup household bleach. Connect the ends of the hose together, and “roll” the coiled hose around to distribute the solution. Repeat a few times. Disconnect the fittings, dump the solution, and run plenty of fresh water through the hose to clear the cleanser.
Don’t get stuck in a “blind alley”
Worried about a “blind alley” situation when taking your rig into a parking lot? Reader Bob Cook suggests you use Google Maps Street View to take a quick peek in advance to see if you can maneuver, park and then make an escape. Thanks, Bob!
Inexpensive “designer” tablecloths that will stay put on your picnic table!
Need a tablecloth for the picnic table in a variety of designer colors and patterns? Whip out a “single” fitted sheet. Easier to fold than flannel-backed table cloths, too. Wraps on easily, stays on well, and easy to clean — just drop it in the washing machine. Find them in thrift stores — even in your linen closet. Thanks to reader Poula!
Essential equipment for many RVers!
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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
GFCI hums in Class A motorhome — Why?
I have replaced the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in my Class A motorhome and the new one hums when the inverter is on. Do you know why? —Denise D.
Effective against Zika virus
Best protection from mosquitoes
The Repel 100 uses a 98.1-percent DEET formula to provide complete protection from mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, chiggers, no-see-ums & biting flies. Use in areas of high infestation or prolonged periods of up to 10 hours. Repels mosquitoes that may transmit Zika and other viruses. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Mount, swivel and tilt your RV’s TV any way you like it
Put that TV in your RV where you want it, then tilt it, rotate it, aim it down or up — whatever your best viewing angle. That’s what you can do when you mount this LCD TV Wall Mount Bracket. This mount fits the majority of displays in the 23–42-inch size range, provides 18 inches of extension and collapses to just 3.4 inches from the wall. Learn more.
One-touch automatic leveling system for travel trailers
Lippert Components’ newest leveling system, Ground Control® TT, is the industry’s first-ever one-touch automatic leveling system designed for travel trailers. Fifth wheels and motorhomes have offered one-touch automatic leveling for years, and now LCI has brought this technology to the much larger travel trailer market. Read more.
Make your shades look like new again!
Restring your pleated RV shades
Are the pleated shades in your RV showing their age? Here’s some good news — they can be restrung! This inexpensive kit from United Shade fixes up to five 36″x36″ shades. The kit includes easy-to-follow illustrated instructions. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Wacky “RV short stops” for kids and grownups
It is not always just the national parks that are remembered at the end of a long family RV trip. Often it is the weird, whimsical or wacky. Geared toward younger travelers, National Geographic Books has recently published the fun, take-along paperback that is perfect for a cross-country RV trip: “125 Wacky Roadside Attractions: See All the Weird, Wonderful, and Downright Bizarre Landmarks From Around the World.” It contains lots of USA-based wacky destinations such as the corn palace in South Dakota, and Carhenge, the car sculpture tribute to Stonehenge set in northwest Nebraska. Read more in Julianne G. Crane’s article.
Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.
Joke of the Week
Sherlock Holmes and Dr.Watson went camping. An hour after going to sleep in their tent, Holmes woke up his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.” “What does that tell you?” asked Holmes. Watson pondered a minute. “Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past one. Theologically, it’s evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. What does it tell you? asked Watson.” Holmes was silent for a moment, and then spoke. “Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”
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Videos you’ll like
Why a dinette in an RV slideout can be a problem for some people
Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, offers one reason a dinette in an RV slideout may be a problem for some RVers. Think about this before buying an RV if his message applies to you. Watch the video.
How to determine a vehicle’s tow rating
Mark Polk of RVeducation101.com explains a quick, easy way to determine the tow rating of a car, truck or motorhome. Watch the video.
Why you should always have some water in your RV’s tank
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury explains why you should always carry at least some water in your RV’s fresh water tank even when you will be fully hooked up at a campground. Watch the video.
Random RV Thought
While in a campground, to avoid having annoying headlights beaming into your RV or onto your campsite, choose a spot on a straight stretch of the campground’s road or choose a site on the inside of a corner, not the outside.
Florida’s Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida and the second largest freshwater lake (behind Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states. It covers 730 square miles, approximately half the size of Rhode Island, and is exceptionally shallow with an average depth of 9 feet and a mere 12 feet at its deepest.
Keep 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? 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: around $5! (the RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) The bars work great in your cabinet shelves, too. Learn more or order.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” —Henry Ford
Find stores for shopping and overnight stays
This is an invaluable aid for RVers who occasionally spend a night in a Walmart parking lot. State maps identify where the stores are located in the USA. Includes city or town where each store is located, type of store (Walmart or Supercenter), availability of gas and diesel fuel, distance from Interstate if within 10 miles & more. Published 2016. Learn more or order.
Readers’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
• August 14: To Lynne Sternett from Paul Sternett. Happy Birthday! Your first birthday on the road. I hope it is as special as you are to me.
• August 16: To Dan from Carol. Happy Happy Birthday to my awesome and loving husband, Dan. May you have an awesome day and year. Love you to pieces. XOXOXO
Happy (belated) Birthday!
• August 12: To George from Emma. From one Happy Camper to another — Happy Birthday!!
• August 13: To Charlotte from Dave. Wishing my wife of 50 years the best for many years to come. The 13th has always been lucky for us in life and in love. I look forward to our cruise celebration together.
• August 19: To Judith Ann from Bill Johnson. Happy Anniversary to my wonderful better half!
Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting (25-word maximum) (Be sure to send it to us prior to the Saturday before the event.)
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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.
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 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. 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.
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