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Issue 787 • Week of Apr. 1–7, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
My head is spinning. I have too much to say. I already wrote one essay for this space, then decided it was too long, so I posted it here. It’s about what I have learned about RVing in the last six months — about what I believe is the new reality of RVing. Times have changed. How we use our RVs has changed.
In two weeks Gail and I will be back in Seattle, where we will stay in our motorhome through June. I need to finish getting rid of my non-essential belongings. I still have a lot of it stored in my office, which I will close at the end of May. It’s no longer necessary. The newsletter exists now only in cyberspace. It’s what you see on your screen, and it’s the same whether you’re in Seattle, Boston, London, Auckland or on the International Space Station.
I’ve decided to write a book. I’ve already started. The working title is “What I have learned in 35 years of RVing.” I simply cannot say what I want and need to say in this space in weekly installments.
The thought struck me a few days ago that there are few RVers today who have been RVing as long as me, and only a handful who have spent their lives writing professionally about it. I have seen huge changes and am in a unique position to try to put them in perspective. I spelled out some of them in the essay I referred to above.
I’m writing now in Mesquite, Nevada. It’s a gambling town of about 16,000 at the Arizona border. Utah is only a dozen miles away. If you flew over here at night, you’d see a tiny patch of lights and a thin trail of other lights leading in and out — motorists on I-15. On the Google Map, look at the red dot. That’s Mesquite. You could easily mistake the surrounding terrain for Mars.
Gail and I spent yesterday in Zion National Park, about an 80-minute drive away. It was a perfect day, 70 degrees and sunny. It’s heaven on Earth —so much beauty packed in one place that it just can’t be true. It is!
The park was crowded, and it’s only March. The shuttle bus fleet has already taken over transporting visitors within the park. Park your car outside the gates or get lucky and find a space in the park’s small parking lot. A few years ago, the shuttles didn’t start until May, when prime season began. Now, the season is already underway. “Is there a slow time here?” I asked the driver of one shuttle. She laughed. “January.”
The crowd was of all ages, of all races, from all over the world. Gail and I made friends with a couple from Australia, who took a year off work to travel the globe. They were amazed at the beauty of our national parks. It’s Spring Break, so many visitors were young families. The kids were loving it.
I visited Zion National Park for the first time when I was about 10, nearly six decades ago. The land is unchanged but the crowd is massively larger. The little town on the park’s boundary, Springdale, is chock full of trendy restaurants, sporting goods stores, hotels and tourist traps. There’s a nice RV park by the park entrance. Good luck getting in!
One-third of the RVs in and around Zion were rentals. Campers lucky enough to get a site in the park were in tents, small motorhomes and trailers. Big rigs were largely absent. The snowbird crowd was there, but far fewer than in southern Arizona, where I’d guess the average age of the RVers is between 65 and 70, and an RV shorter than 30 feet is rare.
- LAST MONTH I MET WITH THE LEADERS of the largest club for motorhome owners, FMCA, which is battling survival with only half the members it had in early 2000. I also met with Sue Bray, who for 32 years was the executive director/vice president of the Good Sam Club, when the group really DID care about members, not just their money like today. In both cases, I was looking for insights into how I can be of help to RVers, and especially beginners to keep them from making bad, even terrible buying decisions. In both cases, I learned a lot.
Two weeks ago I urged your support through a voluntary subscription to this newsletter. Many of you responded and it has provided the financial boost to finally undertake a project I’ve dreamed of for years. I have purchased the domain RVratings.net and will soon begin working to build it into a free, valuable buying tool based on reviews by current RV owners. I hope it will help buyers determine which RVs are reliable and which are not. I could never do this without your support.
As I write, the wind is howling with gusts of 37 miles per hour. The motorhome is being slammed. My phone just wailed, a National Weather Service warning: Dust storm coming, stay off the road. A few miles away, I can see a huge brown cloud. Rain, the forecasters say, is coming in a few hours. Good. Maybe the winds will stop.
We will leave here Monday. I figure I’ll have a few more warm days after that in my shorts and sandals. Then it’s “jackets and rain gear!”
That’s all for now.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• The rude couple in the campsite next door.
• Spy base near my campsite? Laser weapon? Missile silo?
• The RV road trip is near death.
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worth 10 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for March
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Airstream, Forest River, Jayco, Thor, Tiffin, Winnebago and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Thor recalls more than 6,500 motorhomes
Thor Motor Coach is recalling 6,561 model year 2014-2015 ACE, Hurricane, Challenger, Daybreak, Miramar, Outlaw and Windsport motorhomes. The vehicles’ windshield wiper systems may have been improperly installed and secured, possibly causing the wipers to fail during use. Learn more.
Entegra Coach recalling motorhomes
Entegra Coach is recalling 1,727 model year 2012-2013 and 2015-2018 Anthem, 2013 and 2017-2018 Aspire, and 2012-2018 Cornerstone motorhomes built on a Spartan Motors chassis. The ball joints on the independent front suspension (IFS) modules can loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering, which could lead to a crash. Learn more.
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.
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.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries this week, please.
Win this 2017 Good Sam Campground Guide. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: In what year was the cash register in the photo manufactured? 1823, 1909 or 1948? (The correct answer is below if you want to search for it). 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. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.
Last week’s winner: Thomas Barone, of East Wallingford, Vermont. He won the Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio.
Spring has sprung for RV dealers across the country who, with a few areas of exception, flocked to used RV auctions to snap up inventory. February travel trailer prices took a tremendous jump, up nearly 8 percent compared to January, reaching an average of $13,235 – a record high. Motorhomes were a bit slow in accelerating, actually down 9 percent for the same time period, averaging $38,945. Source: Black Book.
If you’re keeping track, here’s another RV dealership gobbled up by Camping World. Safford RV in Thornburg, Va., is now part of the CW mega holding.
After years of allowing car dealers who cheated customers off the hook by having them agree to “refrain from banned activity,” the Federal Trade Commission has suddenly gotten tough. California’s Sage Auto Group has been hit with a $3.6 million fine after multiple charges of ripping off customers. The stance may be causing unscrupulous RV dealers a bit of a bad night of sleep.
A bill introduced in the Oregon legislature would allow RVs to be used as “dwellings” on some rural land. If an owner of a 10-acre or larger parcel wanted use an RV for habitation, they could do so without the need of a conditional use permit, nor would there be a need to notify neighbors of the plan. Final authority would fall to the hands of county government if the bill were made into law.
There’s less camping near Big Bear Lake, Calif., now that the Big Bear Municipal Water District has shut down its RV park. The district says the park needs to be refurbished, to the tune of $320,000. “There is a big group in Big Bear that says that’s not our charter mission, to run an RV park,” said Mike Stephenson, the district’s director. “Other people have RV parks. We had quite a bit of opposition to it when it opened. We decided this isn’t something government should be doing.” Source: bigbeargrizzly.net.
A bill before the Missouri state legislature would stop the state from buying any new land for state parks, and stop any significant expansion of existing ones. The goal, say the bill’s supporters, is to stop state park growth until existing parks are updated and maintained. Opponents of the bill worry the state could lose out if someone were to offer the state free land for parks.
As the snowbirds roll up their grass carpets and head north out of Arizona, you might wonder what happens to the RV park owners’ balance sheets. Not to fear, replacements have arrived taking up some of the slack for a short while: It’s Major League Baseball’s Spring Training season. Not surprisingly, RV parks close to training season ballparks are particularly popular.
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.
If Indiana’s governor signs off on it, a new law would exempt out-of-state buyers from having to pay the state’s 7 percent sales tax when coming into the state to buy a new RV or cargo trailer. Under the present law, visitors from nine states could be “double taxed,” having to pay both Indiana sales tax and their own state’s tax.
If you’re just passing through Anchorage, Alaska, you may not be welcome. That seems to be the story, as the city assembly is working on a proposal to ban overnight RV parking in store parking lots. A similar proposal was floated – and shot down by public outcry – last year. The proposal is “sweetened” by allowing RVs to park in local neighborhoods as guests of property owners. The matter will come before the Anchorage Assembly committee members next month.
Most truck camper RVers know the value of having “tie downs” to stabilize their camper in their pickup truck bed. It’s possible this one didn’t. Heading into a road curve in Josephine County, Ore., a truck with camper aboard didn’t quite make the negotiation as intended – the truck camper simply rolled off the rig and splatted onto the pavement. Adding to the mess – there was a passenger in the camper at the time. He was able to successfully pull himself out of the rig and the local fire chief tells RVtravel.com that he was just fine. The same can’t be said for the camper.
Gordon Lightfoot sang about the gales of November coming early to Lake Superior. Perhaps it’s time for him to dust off his pen and write about the twisters of March coming early. A caretaker at Pihls Park campground near Bricelyn, Minn., sounded the alarm March 6 when a tornado – the earliest-in-the-year recorded twister in the state – blasted down trees and damaged RVs there. Happily, no casualties other than wits – as in, frightened out of.
Speaking of which … The National Weather Service has confirmed that a weak tornado hit a Monroe, Wash., RV park Thursday morning. [That’s about 20 miles east of RVtravel.com headquarters.] There was minor damage to a couple of RVs and more damage to one car. No injuries were reported. Watch surveillance videos. [Editor: Yes, we know this is nothing compared to what some areas get. Aren’t we lucky?] Source and photo: KOMONews.com.
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
Timmins, Ontario, city councilors got an earful from locals after they discovered that the city had begun taking reservations for RV camping – before the council had even approved the RV parking sites. The city is supporting a music festival in parts of June and July, and the council was to rule on a conditional use permit to allow RV parking in nearby college parking lots. Before it was granted, money was already flowing in from attendees. Comments from residents ran hot, one saying, “This is a sham, having a public meeting. You’ve already made up your mind about this.” Source: timminspress.com.
Horse campers are bucking a fee hike at Northrup Creek Horse Camp near Astoria, Ore. The campground, overseen by the Astoria Forest Protection District, has been available on a ride-in basis for $15 per night per site. But the district says budget cuts mean making up the money somewhere. Now they want equine campers to get a permit in advance to stay there, and pay $175 per night to rent the entire camp – with a minimum of a two-night stay-over. Campers think the proposal is so much … horse pucky.
In a move described by some as “biting the hand that feeds,” the Oklahoma state legislature is pondering a budget that could slam shut as many as half of its state parks. Tourism is the #3 money maker for the Sooner State, but lawmakers see a $2.5 million savings by shuttering those parks – helping to fill the budget “hole” presently pegged at $878 million. Tourist dollars are said to bring $8.6 billion per year to the state’s economy.
Robbing an iron ranger can get you arrested. That’s what a Redding, Calif., man learned. Dillon Hobbs allegedly stole money from fee collection vaults at U.S. Forest Service sites around California’s Lake Shasta area. Police booked the man on suspicion of four misdemeanor counts of theft. No word on how much the “stickups” netted.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Your RVer Horoscope for April
Back by popular demand! RV Travel is honored to present to you the RVers’ horoscope for April from Swami Hal, a retired psychic who travels full-time in a 37-foot Pace Arrow motorhome with his considerably younger, full-figured German wife Helga, aka Helga the Magnificent. Swami Hal has won many awards (he says), due to his uncanny ability to predict the future with fairly decent accuracy.
How to take your RV from winter’s slumber
to spring’s reawakening
Time to wake the slumbering RV beast, i.e., de-winterize, inspect and repair it for the upcoming season. If you plan ahead and prepare, getting your RV ready for the season should go smoothly and easily. Here is a very comprehensive list (with links to helpful articles) from Rich “The Wanderman” to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Feds back-step on propane inspection rules
In early February we brought out a “heads-up” notice to RVers who use “portable” LP cylinders. These are Department of Transportation-certified cylinders, commonly used on travel trailers, fifth wheels and truck campers. At that time we reported that federal regulators had rewritten the rules regarding how often DOT cylinders needed to be brought in for an official “recertification” by an authorized facility. Here’s an update.
Stupid RVer trick? Or is this just sad?
This has to be high on the list of Stupid RVer tricks. In this case, it’s not actually a trick, but a misguided attempt by a couple of English guys to tow a travel trailer through a narrow alley. Watch the two minute video. Prepare to laugh (or maybe cry)!
Tips on traveling RV pets
Pets are common traveling companions, especially for RVers. Perhaps a third of them bring along a pet or two, most often a dog but also cats and even caged birds. Most American campgrounds welcome pets. Find out in this article where to find pet-friendly campgrounds. While there are few formal rules about camping with pets, there are some general guidelines you should be aware of to keep your neighbors happy and your pets safe. Read more.
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 Mods: Power visors — inside shade easily at hand
Have you ever thought how handy it would be to have motorized visors/shades in your RV? Read this article by former long-time RVer and all-around DIYer Jim Twamley on what he purchased and how he installed his motorized visors. Learn more.
How do you perceive your RV driving safety?
How do you as an RVer perceive yourself as a driver? If you’re anything like respondents to a 2015 U.K. survey, you probably feel pretty confident, and fairly safe on the roadway. Still, that’s not the perception that “other guys” have of RVers, at least, not across the pond. Check out these interesting survey results.
A heartwarming story of
RVers helping an RVer in need
Learn how members of the Lance Owners of America came to the rescue when one of their members ran into some bad luck on the road. We should all be so lucky to have a support group like this. Read the story at Truck Camper Magazine.
Veterans: The S*M*A*R*T RV club is for you
If you’re a veteran of the U.S. or Canadian military, you’re invited to join the S*M*A*R*T RV club. It brings military veterans and their families together to share camaraderie, travel, camping and support to veterans. All active, retired and honorably discharged veterans from the U.S. or Canadian Armed Forces are welcome. Watch a short video that explains the club.
RV power converters: Fix or replace?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. The reader had a problem with the converter/charger on his 2006 Winnebago Sightseer causing excessive noise on the AM radio band. He wondered if he could replace the converter. Read Chris’ answer.
“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2017 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of April 1–7
Compiled by Dell Bert
1700 — April Fools tradition popularized.
1860 — Pony Express debuts.
1946 — Undersea earthquake off Alaska triggers massive tsunami, killing 159 people in Hawaii.
1960 — “Ben-Hur” wins 11 Academy Awards (including Charlton Heston for Best Actor).
1968 — Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated at age 39.
1974 — “The Sting” sweeps the Oscars.
1975 — Microsoft is founded.
2000 — NASCAR legend Lee Petty dies.
2008 — Charlton Heston dies.
The Most Scenic Drives in America
The 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 cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.”
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen on septic tank trucks: “Yesterday’s meals on wheels.” Ewww.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
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 syndrome, 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. Learn more or order.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The 5 best road trips to take this spring
Spring has sprung! So, how about planning a good old-fashioned road trip? Here are five stunning drives around the country perfect for the changing seasons. Okay, one is on Maui, but that leaves four great springtime road trips to choose from in the contiguous U.S. From PureWow.com and msn.com (Read editor Chuck Woodbury’s essay on The RV road trip is near death. Better get a move-on.)
Where to get the best sandwich in every state
After much research, Spoon University compiled this list of the favorite sandwich from every state based on popularity, local reviews and the cuisine of the area. Even if you can’t get to these locations to try them in person, just the pictures and descriptions will inspire you to make some of these delicious sandwiches yourself. From Spoon University and msn.com.
Must-visit national parks in Canada
Headed to Canada this year? Here is a list of 16 of their beautiful national parks, as well as popular activities at each. Unfortunately, not all are RV-accessible, but a lot of them are. From msn.com.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Guide to National Parks of the West
Let this 496-page book published in 2016 be your guide to the incredible National Parks of the American West. It includes information on park activities including camping. It describes 59 parks with 300 photos and 80 colorful maps. You can’t go wrong with a guide from National Geographic. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Q&A about sidewall “bumps”
“I have 5 1/2-year-old 12R Michelin XZE tires on our coach. No cracking, and have performed well. I found sidewall ‘bumps’ (Tire Center gent said they’re not ‘bulges’, as they’re so slight). One maybe 3/32″ of a protrusion, the other much less. The gent said they could be belts that are misplaced or broken. But, he also said the XZE’s have a thicker sidewall, and that the outer layer of the tire could have separated. I know it’s hard to give advice based upon a description, but I wanted to ask your thoughts on the opinion given to me by this tire gent. …” —Smitty
Easy way to light your charcoal
Use this to get the charcoal lit and ready for your grilling. When the briquettes are ready, just pull the trigger on the handle and the charcoal will drop right where you want it. The shielded ABS handle protects you from the heat. Made from sturdy .6 millimeter zinc-coated galvanized steel. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Watch this video to learn about 10 gadgets every RV enthusiast should own.
• Travel planning can be time consuming, stressful, and frustrating. The makers of the TripIt app want to help.
• Located in Palm Springs, 2 hours outside of Los Angeles, this state-of-the-art resort is the perfect getaway from the big city.
Space heater uses only 200 watts!
It’s hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs — a fraction of other space heaters. And this one really works! It’s meant to heat a nearby person, not a room. Put it on your desk or at your feet. It’s perfect for the RVer who’s “always cold.” For about $15, this is a winner. Click the video by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. Or order at Amazon.com.
Ask the RV Shrink
Geritol posse rides again — as parking lot enforcement
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I spent a wonderful few days in one of Arizona’s most beautiful “Sky Islands” high above Green Valley, Arizona. … The problem started when we left our mountain utopia and ventured into the valley below — the land of “Oscar the Grouch.” We decided to stop at the Green Valley Library Book Sale. It was early in the morning and we found a huge mall-type parking lot behind the library. The sign said it was the White Elephant Thrift Store, but other buildings looked like Sheriff, Road Commission, county-type stuff. We were the only vehicle in the lot. I parked horizontally, taking up five spaces, way out at the edge of the lot in nobody’s way. … —Violated in Green Valley
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: 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.
Bet you didn’t know!
•The button was invented 1,000 years before the buttonhole.
•Orangutans like playing on iPads, but gorillas don’t.
•The first item listed on eBay was a broken laser printer.
•Almost all kangaroos are left-handed.
From 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But often you can’t tell if a battery is still good so you toss it to “be sure.” This inexpensive tester will alert you instantly to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing good ones away! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
When you are packing items in your RV it is much easier if you use various sizes of see-through plastic containers. It is more organized and will prevent items from moving and falling while you travel. You can also look and see what is in each container without removing everything from the cabinet. Do you have any packing tips?
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Casino Camping: Guide to RV Friendly Casinos
Discover hundreds of RV-friendly casinos throughout America. Learn which casinos have an RV park and which ones allow free overnight parking! This 8th edition of Casino Camping includes state maps that identify the cities and towns with a casino as well as contact information plus gaming and food info. 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: $2.32 (on Mar. 27). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 25 cents.
Diesel: $2.53 (on Mar. 27). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 41 cents.
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 — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Pork on a stick.
Spend a little more time up-front and enjoy the payoff in a flavor-drenched pork treat from the grill. Souvlaki is traditionally served in a fold of pita bread but you can also nibble it right off the skewer or plate it for a knife-and-fork meal. It’s also traditionally made with lamb, but pork is so much more affordable. Get the recipe.
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 Fire Safety Tip
Fire extinguisher classifications explained
Fires extinguishers are divided into classifications based on what type of materials are burning. The most common classes are A, B and C. Following is what each class includes:
Class A: Ordinary Combustibles — wood, cloth, rubber, paper, many plastics and fiberglass — basically anything that leaves an ash.
Class B: Flammable Liquids — gasoline, oil and oil-based paint.
Class C: Energized Electrical Equipment — wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances. Class C does not include fires involving the 12-volt equipment found in all coaches. Once you de-energize or unhook from shore power and turn off your inverter or generator, a fire that occurs is a Class A fire rather than a Class C fire. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
2016 RVer’s Friend
LEARN ABOUT SERVICES FOR RVers
This annual directory lists 6,700 U.S. & Canadian “big rig” fueling locations and the services they provide. Services include RV parking, propane availability, truck wash, scales, laundry, food, diesel and RV accessible gasoline. Locations are listed in Interstate exit order as well as alphabetically by city and state. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Simple non-skid shower stall floor
Shower stall floor too slick for safety? Cut a piece or two of non-skid mat (normally used in the kitchen cupboard to restrain unruly dishes) and lay it in the shower.
Easy windshield de-bugger
Bugs making suicide runs on your windshield? Get an 8-ounce (or so) container of Rain-X washer fluid additive and just add it to your windshield wiper fluid — works great without all that work! There’s also Rain-X Bug Remover (not concentrated) that does the job. Driving down the road and collecting bugs? Don’t wait for the next fuel stop — just use the windshield wipers! Thanks for this de-bugging tip go to A. Fisher.
Keep the dust out of your RV
Taking your RV into a super-dusty area? Here’s a tip to help keep the dust out of the rig for the duration: Cover up any vent openings that connect the inside of your rig to the outside — the refrigerator and the water heater are examples. While you’ll have to leave the water heater turned off for this one, it may pay dividends. Cover the vents with cheap household air conditioner filters, and tape the filter on with heavy-duty masking tape. Be sure to pull the filter off the water heater before firing it up. You may need to use solvent to clean the tape adhesive, but it’s better than dust in your house. Or you could use gaffer tape, which leaves no residue.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
2017 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm 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 & national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome & RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Caulk is critical
Dear RV Doctor:
I just purchased your book, The RV Owner’s Handbook; thanks for the wealth of information. I own a 27-foot RV and am about to embark on the “spring shakedown” and want to recaulk any external caulk with possible cracks or leaks, etc. I note you indicate remove all old caulking, which would be a daunting task in terms of end caps, side molding, roof vents, etc. Can one simply clean the old caulking with denatured alcohol or some other product and then recaulk? How does one tackle such a task? Thanks much! —Mike
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. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Brazilian couple planning U.S. RV tour have questions
“Congratulations for your position in response all people that need your help. Thanks in advance for your help. I’m Brazilian and my wife and I are going to our first road trip in US Motorhome Class C rented with a Cruise America. We are going to Grand Canyon, Zion Park, Yosemite, San Francisco, and let’s go down a Highway 1 to LA. I would like to know if is allowed to bring bottles of wine on board or in the refrigerator! More questions is if you know the conditions of Tioga Pass road and Big Sur. Thanks a lot again.”
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Is boondocking safe?
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Best Road Trip Book
If you’re heading cross-country or through a few neighboring states, bring along Jamie Jensen’s best-selling guidebook Road Trip USA. You’ll learn about great two-lane routes plus road-tested advice for adventurers who want to see the parts of America that the interstates left behind. RVtravel.com always travels with this wonderful, highly rated book. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
Beware of dangerous “Reflected Hot-Skin Condition!”
I just happened across your YouTube video on camper hot-skin conditions and I had to relate my first experience with it. We were at a campground that had at least 8 campers plugged into a particular 30-amp electrical leg (if that is what it would be called). We had arrived earlier in the day and had no problems with any shocks. During the day as other campers arrived it had rained. In the evening as we were retiring, I had stepped outside the camper to remove my shoes when I put one hand on the camper and received a shock. Not a severe shock, but still a shock. … —Robert
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. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Wire-free camera helps prevent collisions, provides safety
Hyndsight Vision Systems is taking a big step forward in the consumer vision industry with the introduction of their new portable, wire-free rearview vision system called Journey. This versatile system is ideal for RV drivers who require clear rear view visualization to help prevent collisions and provide safety monitoring. Learn more.
KING launches portable RV omnidirectional OTA antenna
The new KING OmniGo™ first-of-its-kind portable omnidirectional OTA (over-the-air) antenna system has everything you need to watch FREE HDTV anywhere life takes you! Powerful and compact, the KING OmniGo HDTV antenna is designed for mobility, ease of use, strong performance and durability, making it the perfect choice for the demands of a seasoned traveler/tailgater. Read more.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• MRVDA Spring RV Show, March 30 – April 2, Minneapolis, MN
• Evergreen Spring RV Show, March 31-April 2, Monroe, WA
• Great Rockies Sport, RV & Boat Show, March 31-April 2, Bozeman, MT
• Vacationland RV & Camping Show, April 8-9, Auburn, ME
• Acadiana RV, Sport & Boat Show, April 21-23, Lafayette, LA
• Super Saver RV Show, April 21-23, Ft. Myers, FL
• BC Interior RV Show, April 21-23, Penticton, B.C., Canada
SPECIAL EVENT: The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive, networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.com. Learn more.
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 Short Stop
Animal Adventure Park — Home to “April the Giraffe”
In case you’ve missed it, “April the Giraffe” is a huge [in more ways than one!] YouTube star. This media sensation and her suitor, Oliver, have captured the hearts, imaginations and attention of the world. Millions have spent weeks captivated by the final days of April’s 15-month pregnancy via the Animal Adventure Park’s live Giraffe Cam. Animal Adventure Park is a growing, interactive, family-friendly facility in central New York state and is home to more than 200 animals representing 70 different species. It would be a perfect family RV Short Stop after the park opens for the season on May 13. Read Julianne G. Crane’s article and check out the live Giraffe Cam. UPDATE: As of Friday, April’s doctor predicts she could give birth this weekend.
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. Detailed information 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, and more. Published 2016. Learn more or order.
Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” —The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
ANSWER TO CONTEST QUESTION. The nickel plated National cash register was manufactured in 1909. It was purchased a year later in Brewster, Washington.
Free and bargain camping
FREE: Technically, a local ordinance prohibits overnight stays. But the police department says it will only enforce it upon the store’s request, which hasn’t happened in years. Cracker Barrel next door also allows stays. Located at 3396 Stockton Hills Road. GPS: 35.223460, -114.034880
Bass Pro Shops
FREE. Park in northwest corner of parking lot after getting permission from the store. Well lit, little traffic noise. Police patrol the lot. Located at 5000 Bass Pro Blvd. GPS: 32.935900, -83.739500
Overnight RV Parking, with 13,499 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.
Videos you’ll like
• A simple trick to improve your travel photos
Chuck Woodbury shows you a simple technique that will vastly improve your travel photos, no matter what type of camera. Watch the video.
• RVing in 1937: We’ve come a long way!
This is fun — a newsreel from 1937 about travel with a house trailer (no motorhomes back then). Does $1 a week for a campsite sound good? Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Random RV Thought
If you absolutely cannot get your RV leveled for the night, be sure to position your RV so your head is higher than your feet. It will feel a lot better when you sleep than if your head is downhill from the rest of your body. However, in that case you might have some interesting (or weird) dreams.
An average human body has 60,000 miles of blood vessels; they’d stretch around the earth twice if you laid them out end to end.
and keep your RV steps safe
The RV Save-A-Step Brace is designed to be placed under RV entry steps for safety. It stabilizes the RV steps and helps keep the coach from rocking — preventing sag and wear. The brace is made of heavy-gauge steel with a 3/4″ solid metal screw thread, 1000-pound load rating and 7-5/8″ to 14″ adjustment range. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” —Susan Sontag
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, Julianne Crane and Chris Guld.
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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This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com