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Issue 768 • Week of Nov. 12–18, 2016
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’m in my third month of full-time RV living. So far everything is good. Here are some thoughts:
•Even though, at 32 feet, my motorhome is relatively short for full-timing, Gail and I do not feel cramped. Having two distinct rooms (plus the bathroom) makes a huge difference. When we want some time to ourselves, we can adjourn to the bedroom, close the door, and have our privacy. I like to read in there and write at my small desk. A full-wall slideout on the driver’s side of the RV and a slideout at the head of the bed on the passenger side add a lot of living space.
•You “live and breathe” RVs when you RV full-time and stay mostly in campgrounds and RV parks. You look out your window and it’s RVs and RVers. You watch these people come and go, hook up, unhook, tinker with their rigs, and there’s a constant parade by your campsite of all shapes and sizes of RVers and their dogs. Gail loves dogs, so she makes lots of new friends, human and the furry kind.
•I miss having a washing machine. I don’t miss a dishwasher or a garbage disposal, but I do miss the washer. Our RV is too small for an onboard laundry, but I wouldn’t want one anyway. From what I hear they take forever to wash and then dry. So we use coin laundries — some in the RV parks and others a short drive away. We have lots of time on our hands, so it’s no big deal. We can go about two weeks between washings.
•Gail and I both sleep well in our bed (with its electric blanket), and the kitchen is big enough for Gail to prepare meals pretty much as in a home kitchen. We don’t watch much TV, but the TV is well positioned in our RV so it’s easy to see without bending our necks (as in many stupidly designed RVs).
•GETTING ONLINE IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT from what it was at my former home, except we now have limited bandwidth. Gail and I both have Verizon Jetpacks (MiFi cards) so can connect from about anywhere. We use campground WiFi when available. Watching Netflix either exhausts your bandwidth or slows the WiFi at a park, so it’s not something we do anymore. I still watch YouTube videos, but at a low bandwidth (learn how to do that here).
•I miss my friends and family, but the stimulation of being on the road makes up for it. Gail has grandchildren, who she misses. She’ll fly to see them a couple of times a year and we’ll swing by occasionally in the RV, too. For now, I stay in touch with the important people in my life by email, chat and Facebook, so they never seem far away.
•I do not miss my mortgage payment, my condo dues, homeowner’s insurance, Comcast and other utility bills.
•I do not miss my clothes. I gave away three-quarters of what I had, keeping the basics. If I need something else I’ll just buy it. Same with Gail.
•I am thankful for our big refrigerator. Full-time RVing would be more challenging with a smaller one, although it certainly could be done.
•We have so far stayed a couple of weeks in each RV park. In the future we plan to stay a month or longer. Having our small Honda Fit along is terrific for our freedom and our pocketbook (35 mpg). When we want to stay “home” and just take it easy, fine. When we want to run errands or sightsee, the car is right there.
•Taking care of finances is a snap. We can do all our banking and manage all our other affairs online. I’ve gone mostly paperless so there’s only a trickle of snail mail to my PO box. A friend monitors what does arrive. Every few weeks we video chat. He holds up whatever looks important. It’s mostly junk, but once in awhile I have him open something to show it to me. If necessary, he can forward it along.
•I still do not like driving my new, longer motorhome, and I don’t like its height, about a foot taller than my last one. I don’t envision driving many secondary highways and other back roads in my future. Narrow lanes, low underpasses, longer braking distances, and the inability to back up (with the dinghy) make driving more challenging and less enjoyable. I’ll write more about this later.
•I am beginning to think of campgrounds as “cramped-grounds,” because they are often crowded even in the winter season. So far we’re okay, but we’re not very far south yet, where the snowbirds have already arrived and occupied many of the best places. There are a lot more full-timers today than even five years ago. Many are living in RVs because of economic necessity. Their RVs are too-often old and beat up, which junks up the campgrounds where they stay.
Anyway, those are just some of my observations so far.
P.S. Happy belated Veterans Day to all you who have served or are serving our country. My staff and I appreciate your service very much!
Also . . . my 2008 Winnebago View motorhome is still available. It’s a great unit that was largely trouble free while I owned it. I’m not sure why it hasn’t sold. It’s here if you’re interested.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Roadside Journal Entries for Nov. 8:
• Walking Dead • Building on a building • Purple-haired woman • Too much for a newspaper • Oregon trivia
Roadside Journal Index: Click here.
Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary!
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. Just click here. Remember to send them in prior to the Saturday before the big event.
See this week’s greetings near the bottom of this newsletter.
Drive there in your RV, tour there on your Evelo!
Park your RV and use your space-saving Evelo electric bike to tour, run errands and stay in shape (by using manual mode). The Evelo is fun, economical and energy-efficient — a perfect match for RVing adventures. Save BIG during our upcoming Black Friday sale! Watch the video, then click here for more details on the sale and how to purchase.
Kidde recalls 5 million combination smoke/CO alarms
Approximately 5.1 million Kidde NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms sold in the U.S. and Canada are being recalled. The alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working. This poses a risk of consumers not being alerted to a fire or CO incident in their home. Learn more.
Forest River, Holiday Rambler issue RV recalls
Forest River is recalling certain model year 2017 Dynamax Isata motorhomes manufactured May 19, 2016, to October 19, 2016, for issues which could cause a propane leak and fire. REV Recreation Group (REV) has also issued a recall for certain model year 2015-2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer motorhomes for conditions which may increase risk of a fire or a crash. Read more.
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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 last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs. (More next week.)
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
UPDATE 12:30 Monday: WE HAVE OUR WINNER (as picked by Random.org)..
Hold your entries. Good luck next time!
Win this incredible mug. Few would argue that it’s spectacular! The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: In this issue’s Trivia section below, in a 1907 ad what did a woman need to do to get a free box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes? Email your answer to RVcontests (at) gmail.com. We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. Contest ends Monday at noon (Pacific) at which time a winner will be selected using Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win. The winner will have 24 hours to respond or forfeit the prize. After that, another potential winner will be selected until we hear from and have a winner.
Last week’s winner: Paul Richardson, of Newnan, Georgia.
If you’ve been dodging potholes and pavement cracks and think it’s getting worse – you’re right. A non-profit highway watchdog, TRIP, says nearly a third of U.S. major urban roads are in “substandard or poor” condition, costing drivers plenty of money to fix damage. The top three “worst” roads in the U.S. are (not surprisingly) in California: San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. Buckle up!
Andrew Molera State Park in California’s Big Sur country has partially reopened. Used as a base camp for crews fighting a forest fire, the park was closed entirely for some time, but now areas west of Highway 1 have reopened. Camping is available for tenters on a walk-in basis; no RV camping is available.
Illinois’ state park management has come under fire by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal agency says the state has taken such bad care of South Shore State Park near Carlyle that the agency has been forced to take back the property from the state, which had leased it. The park is now closed while the feds “make the area safe for public access.” It may or may not mean reopening of the campground at the site.
El Segundo, Calif., RV owners talked and city lawmakers listened – at least for now. The city council was about to approve an RV parking ordinance when a group of local RV owners raised a squawk. Calling the new ordinance discriminatory because it would ban overnight RV parking and require payment for a permit to temporarily park a rig near a residence, RVers prevailed on the council to retreat. Council will rework the proposed law and revisit the matter in January.
Hazard tree removal has forced the shutdown of Princess Creek Campground west of La Pine, Ore. The Forest Service says the campground will be closed for several weeks.
A popular holiday tradition at Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado) has been scrubbed. Spruce Tree House, the third largest cliff dwelling dating back to the 1200s, has typically been an “open house” illuminated with candles at night during the winter holiday season. Due to rock fall danger, park management has canceled this year’s Open House and Luminaria event, citing the need to avoid danger to park staff if sent into the dwelling to place and light candles.
Arizona high country camping has officially closed down for the season in campgrounds of the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts of the Kaibab National Forest. Many are in the Williams area, and will reopen come May 2017.
If you grouse about having to pay at a tollbooth, put your feet in the shoes of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Authority. Because of the volume of traffic, there are no barriers in the “E-ZPass Lane,” so if a vehicle blasts through the lane without payment, there’s no stopping them. Evidently some truckers know it, so the agency now has a list of trucking companies who haven’t paid – a whopping $9 million worth. The worst offender owes $680,000 for some 7,600 scoff-law incidents. The offending companies have thumbed their noses at requests for payment. Now the state legislature is working on a bill that would help collect on the unpaid fines.
RV Armor has tough skin!
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. Click the video to see our 2-day process in 6 minutes!
In case you missed the announcement last week regarding the total eclipse of the sun, which will be visible in parts of the U.S. on August 21, 2017: Oregon State Parks officials are ramping up early, since a number of parks will be in the path. Starting at 12:01 a.m., November 17, the reservation website oregonstateparks.org will accept reservations for parks in the “path of totality” and 30 miles outside the path. Phone reservations will open at 8:00 a.m. Local motels and hotels already report being booked full for the date. For information about reservations at Missouri State Parks for the total eclipse, click here.
For the folks in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2017 is an important year – Canada’s 150th anniversary. During the big-bash weekend of June 29 through July 4, there will be a huge influx of folks and city fathers say they’ll allow “pop up” temporary campgrounds in places like sport arenas. But just because it’s a “campground,” it won’t be quite the same: no campfires, no booze, and – gasp! – no utility hookups.
Some RV parks in the Yuma, Ariz./Winterhaven, Calif., areas are providing their guests with dirty, smelly water. The law says they must provide clean, drinkable water, but some are ignoring it. Read more.
RVers have been following the case of Travis Vader, accused in the murders of Lyle and Marie McCann, a Canadian couple who vanished while RVing in 2010. In mid-September, Vader was acquitted of first-degree murder, but found guilty of second-degree murder by an Edmonton, Alberta, judge. In a new twist, the same judge has vacated Vader’s judgment and found him guilty of manslaughter. The judge says he’ll release his reasons in writing somewhere down the road.
Unusually warm weather has created a shortened fall leaf-peeping season, say Indiana officials. The usual autumn leaf displays have been late coming on and, as a result, fewer days of enjoyment are available. Tips? Southern Indiana tourist towns are putting on a good show now, and the oaks of central Indiana will be good for a few more weeks.
Trying to control RV parking has proved to be a frustrating exercise for Walbridge, Ohio, village council members. For the last two years the council has tried (and failed) on at least three occasions to draft a new ordinance. The village’s building and lands committee chairman, whose committee brought the matter up to start with, is so tired of the issue he says if an ordinance can’t be worked out by the end of the year he’ll resign from the committee.
No treats for the Howell, N.J., RVer who went for a wild motorhome drive on Halloween. Robert Kalipersad, 52, was allegedly intoxicated and blasted at least four utility poles and a 150-foot run of fence, ripping open the side of his Class C motorhome in the process. When police attempted to collar him, he tried driving the rig off into the woods, got stuck, then tried to beat feet. No good — he was apprehended and now faces 10 charges of law violating.
A man who claimed to be a park ranger didn’t prove too convincing, but he shoots a good arrow. Brian C. Elliot approached visitors at Tom Sawyer State Park near Louisville, Ky., claiming to be a ranger and demanding the visitors leave the park. When the visitors asked for identification, Elliot allegedly pointed to a spot on a tree then used a crossbow to hit the spot with an arrow. The latter action was enough to convince the visitors to leave – and call genuine law enforcement. Elliot was later arrested and faces charges.
Not spending enough time together as a family? Why not try an RV vacation on the coast? Justin and Rebecca Lorrimer did just that, but the Australian family hadn’t counted on local wildlife to enliven the trip. A kangaroo jumped through their motorhome’s open door and refused to leave until lured back outside with an apple. Next day, the ‘roo returned – with friends in tow. Check out Justin’s video.
Scammers have apparently sent emails to members of the Escapees RV Club to update their PayPal credit cards. The email appeared to come from email@example.com. The Escapees, a club of mostly full-time RVers, report the emails are bogus and they are taking up the matter with the FBI.
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.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Winter Differently This Year!
When temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall, head south for the Winter! Florida, Arizona and South Texas benefit from beautiful sunny days and gentle warm breezes. You can too! Stay a week, a month, or the whole season! Book your long-term seasonal or annual stay at one of over 80 resorts in the Southern United States. Click here to learn more!
RV Quick Tips
Keep your “Welcome” mat flat
Parked on a concrete RV pad? Keep your “Welcome” mat from blowing away or bunching up by sticking it down with duct tape.
How to handle speed bumps
If you take your RV across a speed bump, you may find it pops open cabinet doors. Alleviate this issue by taking on the speed bumps “dead-on” and slow, rather than hitting them at an angle. An angle approach causes more coach rocking.
Is your roof air conditioner dripping?
Got a dripping roof air conditioner, but it’s not raining outside? If the a/c drips when operating, you probably have clogged drain holes inside the unit. Disconnect shore power, shut off the generator. Remove the shroud from the unit and look for debris blocking drain holes in the bottom plate of the roof-top unit.
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.
Get more from your solar panels — Keep them clean!
Rich “The Wanderman” checked his RV recently to see how everything was doing after winterizing it a few weeks ago. He was very surprised that the solar charging system was only producing a few watts of power. Thankfully, the cause was readily apparent and easily remedied. Find out why it’s imperative to keep your solar panels clean, and how to clean them. Learn more.
Motorhome blows tire, rolls over. Sad!
Here’s what happens when a motorhome blows a tire and the driver doesn’t know how to react. If he had known the correct procedure to get the rig under control, his only problem would likely have been fixing the tire. Watch the video. Also included is a video about what to do if your RV or other vehicle blows a tire. Critical information!
How to keep your tanks, water lines from freezing
With cold weather arriving soon, one RVer asks: “How can I keep my tanks and water lines from freezing up in cold weather?” It’s a good question, and one Russ and Tiña De Maris learned about early in their RVing days when they woke up one frosty morning to find their water line looked like an icicle. Here are some great tips from Russ and Tiña to prevent freeze-ups.
Are tires made in China really that bad?
You hear a lot of talk about Chinese tires being inferior to tires made in the United States. In this segment from the webcast RV Talk Live, RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury talks with tire expert Roger Marble about Chinese tires and their merits. Watch the video.
Lube your slideout?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received the following question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor: “We own a 2011 Coachmen Mirada 29DS. The DS means that it has double slides: one for the bedroom, and the other for the living area. How often do I need to lubricate the slide mechanisms and what should I use to lubricate them?” Read Chris’ response.
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.
No Shock Zone, Part Eight
In this episode, learn about GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets and breakers. The information in this 12-part series has saved lives. It’s very important. Take the time to read. If you missed last week’s episode about how wattage works and how to keep from tripping the circuit breaker, read it here.
Advice about when to replace tires may be wrong
How much tread do you have left on your tires? When is it time to replace them? One traditional piece of advice is to place a penny into the groove of a tire and if you can see Lincoln’s head, it’s time. But that may not be good enough. See why in this revealing two-minute video from ABC News. What you learn could end up saving your life. Watch the video.
Find boondock spots in the Southwest
Most of the land in the southwestern deserts, if not occupied with cities and towns, is part of the 253 million acres — about one-eighth of the nation’s entire land mass — managed by the federal government’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are millions of acres where you can camp free. “Boondock Bob” Difley suggests ways to find these camping areas.
Mod that wet bed so it stays dry!
We RVers sometimes suffer an obnoxious — and health hazardous — problem: water condensation under the bed mattress, which can lead to mold and mildew. But here’s a quick and simple mod that can give you real comfort, particularly if you’re a winter RVer.
For a better rest, use a backflow preventer
We received a letter from a reader, as follows: “My husband is a neat-freak. He can’t stand to think about the stuff that lives in our motorhome holding tanks, and thinks that he needs to flush the tanks clean as a whistle every time we get home from an RV trip. I say he’s nuts. How can I get him into therapy?” Read Russ and Tiña De Maris’ humorous but helpful recommendations.
Like to sew? Cool ‘camper’ fabric!
If you like to sew, here’s a fun 100 percent cotton fabric you can turn into clothing or other projects for your favorite camper! Shirts, boxer shorts, pajamas, curtains, pillow cases, aprons — the list is endless. The dimensions of the fabric are 44 inches wide by the number of yards you order in length. Machine wash/tumble dry on low. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of Nov. 12–18
Compiled by Dell Bert
1851 – “Moby-Dick” is published. (“Call me Ishmael.”)
1883 – Railroads create the first time zones.
1907 – Oklahoma enters the Union.
1954 – Ellis Island closes.
1956 – Elvis makes movie debut in “Love Me Tender.”
1958 – The Kingston Trio brings folk music to the top of the pop charts.
1965 – Craig Breedlove sets new land speed record (600.601 mph).
1982 – Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated.
2001 – First Harry Potter film opens.
Keep your RV toasty warm
with indoor-safe radiant heater
With a large heating surface, fold-down handle, swivel-out fuel connection, and an easy-start four-position control, RV Buddy’s Heater is great for RVs. With its low-oxygen shut-off and tip-over safety shut-off systems, this highly rated propane heater provides safe, reliable heat. Approved for indoor and outdoor use; clean-burning; nearly 100-percent efficient. Learn more or order at a big discount.
RV Club of the Week
Here is an RV club we like. We hope you do, too!
Passport America is the original half-price camping club. For $44 a year, members receive 50 percent discounts on nightly camping fees at more than 1,800 participating campgrounds and RV parks in the US, Canada and Mexico. For most RVers, it pays for itself with just a few nights’ stay. Negatives to a membership are that many parks do not honor discounts during the tourist season or holidays.
The Most Scenic Drives in America
GREAT GIFT! The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic road every time. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured road trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.
Bumper sticker of the week
I drive me RV; my wife drives me dinghy.
Funny/clever business slogan
Not a “slogan,” per se, but definitely an attention-getter: Beneath the Ice Cold Air sign in Hudson, Fla., is this message: “MY BOSS TOLD ME TO PUT SOMETHING ON THE SIGN.” Thanks to Bob Gaston, Dade City, Fla.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — and perfect for RVers: it pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer, too! Learn more or order at Amazon.com
Upcoming RV Shows
See the list of upcoming RV shows for 2016 and 2017.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
No-touch dispenser automatically dispenses soap
Just put your hands beneath the dispenser and presto, just the right amount of soap is dispensed. Never pump again! Hayden’s soap dispenser uses Infrared Technology to automatically detect your hand fast. Uses 3 AAA batteries. The RVtravel-mobile has one of these and loves it! Learn more or order.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
Inside some million-dollar motorhomes
Check out these “land yachts” — some of the priciest motorhomes on the market now. Do they make you want one? Or do they make you think, “Nah. I’m perfectly happy with what I have”? From lovemoney.com and msn.com.
Slow cooker comfort foods
These slow cooker comfort foods are the warm hug a lot of people might need right now. Try Hard Cider Bacon Mac and Cheese, Black Bean Chili With Lime and Cheddar, Crock-Pot Chicken and Dumplings, Slow Cooker Focaccia, Enchilada Soup, Pumpkin Brownies — just to name a few of these 50 deliciously comforting recipes. From SheKnows.com and msn.com.
The most iconic restaurant in every U.S. state
Dinner with a side of history, anyone? Over the years, certain restaurants have emerged as the ultimate representation of each state. Some of the restaurants on this list are rated the best in the country. Make sure to include some on your itinerary! From purewow.com and msn.com.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
Quick, easy way to
change your trailer tire
A flat tire on your trailer never comes at a good time. And when it happens, it can be a hassle getting the flat tire off the ground. Well, here’s a safe, quick and easy way to do it — without having to hassle with a jack! Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Cajun Palms is an exciting RV resort in southern Louisiana that offers fun for the whole family.
• Tired of ATM surcharges? The Allpoint ATM Finder app locates surcharge free ATMs near your location.
• This delicious and healthy clam chowder recipe is perfect for those cold nights.
Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best-seller and costs about $8. GREAT GIFT! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Did RVers buy “too much” motorhome?
Dear RV Shrink:
I think we bought too much motorhome. It makes my husband nervous to drive. He’s always saying, “I just want to park this sucker.” We are now headed south for the winter and he will only drive on interstate highways, stay in commercial campgrounds with pull-thru sites and use truck-stop-sized gas stations…. I think we should lose about ten feet of living space, but my husband says we will take a bath on downsizing. Are we stuck? I wanted to see America, but not at 65 mph rocketing along some super slab. Help! —SuperSized in Santa Fe
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new eBook: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.
Essential for big RVs!
2017 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.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Our biggest RVing error
What is the most critical but least maintained component of your RV? The tires! In almost all cases, tire failure can be attributed to improper tire maintenance. The leading causes for tire failure are overloading and underinflation. Tires are rated for a maximum load capacity, but they can only support that capacity if they are inflated to the proper air pressure. The COLD PSI rating, on the sidewall of the tire, means if you inflate the tire to the recommended PSI when the tire is COLD (before traveling) it can support the maximum load capacity the tire is rated for. Less air pressure equals lower load capacity.
When you weigh your LOADED RV, you should weigh each individual tire or set of tires. If you weigh it by each axle, as opposed to each tire, it may not exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) but can exceed a tire rating without you knowing it!
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.23 (on Nov. 7). Change from week before: Up 0.3 cents; Change from year before: Down 0.2 cents. (Splitting hairs here. 😉 )
Diesel: $2.47 (on Nov. 7). Change from week before: Down 0.9 cents; Change from year before: Down 3 cents.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
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.
Cooking with Convection
Don’t know how to cook with your RV’s convection oven? Then this book is for you. Beatrice Ojakangas, an authority on convection cooking, explains how to use your convection oven to achieve perfect results in dramatically less time than with a conventional oven – from meat to side dishes to dessert — all at the same time. GREAT GIFT! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Apple Cream Bars
Applaud this apple dessert.
Bar cookies are so easy to make in a small oven. Simply cut them in squares and serve as is or topped with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt. These apple-tite pleasing bars are moist and flavorful, an ideal encore to a meal of grilled chicken or ham steak. Your shortcut ingredients are a box of cake mix and a can of apple pie filling. Get the recipe.
Toss your colander. This is better!
The adjustable Snap ‘n Strain silicone strainer fits nearly all pots and pans. Once snapped in, the pot can be tilted over a sink or bowl to do its magic. Leave it on the pan even while cooking! Works with heavier foods like potatoes. Super compact for storing, perfect for RVs. Dishwasher safe. Learn more or order.
The Digital RVer
Snowbird RVers can get DSL or cable Internet service
We’ve written a lot of articles here about how RV travelers can get Internet service. All the options are some type of wireless service because there is no wire that stretches with your RV down the road! But wired is almost always better than wireless — it’s more reliable, it’s usually faster, and there are generally no usage limits. So if you have that option – do it! Read how in this article from Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour.
Learn about smartphones, tablets and more
… every Sunday on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. The subject this past week was: Touchscreen Essentials, and the week before: Editing Photos with Google Photos. 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.
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, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Getting the RV ready for winter storage
For many RVers who live in northern regions where freeze warnings, wind chill and snow will soon become common talk on local weather forecasts. Late October and early November typically signal the end of the travel season for many RVers — time to prepare the RV for possible harsh winter weather ahead. Here are steps you should take to winterize your coach and protect all of its vital systems so the vehicle is ready to roll once the trees start budding out again. Read Gary’s article.
It’s Fall: 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.
with Bob Difley
Become a “boondocking expert”
You can become a boondocking expert if you do it often. Keep a log on how many days you can boondock without having to dump or replenish your on-board systems, and what measures — such as carrying extra water, watching less TV or using the shower warm-up water to flush the toilet — have contributed to extending your boondocking days. Soon you will be practicing these conservation habits automatically. These skills will open up thousands of square miles of forest land and open desert to you for boondocking and exploring.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Keep rodents out of your RV when stored this winter!
This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets. 98% biodegradable. Tested and endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Portable collapsible outdoor LED camping lantern
Etekcity’s portable collapsible outdoor LED lanterns are perfect for emergencies or for camping. They feature an omni-directional design with 30 low-current, energy-saving, bright-white light emitting diodes, yielding 360 degrees of high-intensity, long-lasting illumination. They are built with military grade water-resistant plastic for long-time durability and reliability. Read more.
Make plug-in electric heaters safer with SmartPlug
Portable heaters are a convenient way to ward off the season’s chill, but these devices increase amperage loads that poorly maintained electrical systems can’t handle. SmartPlug Systems, maker of the revolutionary SmartPlug, offers tips to identify potential safety hazards in a shore power system, and ways to safeguard against overheating and possible fire. They have an easy-to-install Retrofit Kit which includes everything needed to safeguard against these and other dangerous shore power situations. Learn more.
Use inside for reaching high cabinets!
Fold-up step helps enter and exit RV
Camco’s Folding RV Step is an extra-wide 8″ by 19″ platform with angled legs to provide stability. The folding legs lock open for an overall height of 8.75″. The gripper strips on the platform help keep you on solid footing. It folds down to only 2″ high for easy storage. The heavy-duty steel frame supports up to 350 pounds. This will really come in handy! Learn more or order at a discount.
with Mike Sokol
We recently purchased a pop-up camper. We set it up in the driveway to check things out. My daughter got a shock when she was standing on the grass and touched the camper door. I checked it out and realized that the extension cord had a bad ground wire. I hooked up an extension cord with a good ground wire, then the camper did not shock me. Exactly what’s happening? —A Shocked Reader
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com.
Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000 square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square-foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order.
Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” —A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found FedEx.)
Convert your RV’s stove top to a temporary food prep area
The Universal Fit Stove Top Cover provides extra counter space in your RV as well as protecting and hiding the burners when the stove isn’t in use. The rattle-free design is compatible with 3- or 4-burner stoves and will enhance and complement your RV or marine kitchen decor. Cover is made of durable 20-gauge steel with a powder-coated black finish. Learn more or order.
Videos you’ll like
Harvest Hosts: Staying at farms and wineries
A young full-timing couple explains their experiences as members of Harvest Hosts, where members ($44 a year) can stay overnight for no charge at farms and wineries across the USA. Watch the video.
Should you unplug your RV during lightning?
RV electricity expert Mike Sokol offers advice and includes an explanation about how a damaging strike can happen even if it occurs far from your own RV in the campground. Watch the video.
Random RV Thought
Winter is coming soon, and that means rain. If you will be using your RV in the winter or storing it outside, be sure to have its roof inspected for leaks. A leak can severely damage your RV’s structure, an often very costly repair.
WINTER IS HERE!
Stock up on RV antifreeze
at a great price!
Prestone RV Waterline Antifreeze is ideal for winterizing RVs and other types of potable water supply systems. It features burst protection to -50 degrees Fahrenheit, a non-staining dye, and a ready-to-use formula. It does not need to be diluted.
Learn more or order at a great price.
In 1907, an ad campaign for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes offered a free box of cereal to any woman who would wink at her grocer.
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.
“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” —Winston Churchill
Stay warm, save money with a space heater
Most RVers carry a portable electric space heater. They save money, and the space heater provides a nice, steady heat compared to the often off-and-on pattern of a built-in propane system. If you aren’t carrying a portable space heater you’re just tossing away money on propane at RV parks when the electricity is free. Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
Readers’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
• November 18: To Donna from Bob. Happy 39th Anniversary, Hun. Love you the mostest. xoxo
Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting. (25-word maximum) Be sure to send them in prior to the Saturday before the big event — early is fine.
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.
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.
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