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Issue 790 • Week of Apr. 22–28, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
We don’t need campgrounds anymore. What I mean is that we don’t really need public campgrounds. I’ll explain.
Let’s begin by turning back the clock to about the mid-1950s. Look at the picture to the right: That’s my mother in front of my family’s 15-foot Field and Stream trailer. It was typical of its era. It had the basic amenities — small kitchen with stove and oven, icebox, a double bed with canvas bunk overhead, dinette (that made into a bed) and two or three butane lights.
It did not have a toilet. RVs didn’t have built-in toilets then. So where did one go when nature summoned? When camping, it was usually to a pit toilet. It was either there or grab a roll of TP and join the bears in the woods.
Where were those pit toilets located? In public campgrounds! And so that’s where we camped!
Lucky for us, we don’t need them anymore: Most of us have a toilet built right in. We can now stay wherever we want — far from the crowds on public lands or along the highway in a rest area or parking lot.
In the ’50s and ’60s, most weekend campers and vacationers stayed in public campgrounds — in national forests; national, state and city parks; and other public facilities with a toilet. Most were free.
I recall, in about 1970 when I was working summers for the U.S. Forest Service, installing pay boxes at campsites where campers would deposit $1 a day. We thought it was robbery.
Steadily, the price of a public campsite increased. From a dollar it rose to two dollars, then to five, then ten — and higher and higher. The fledgling RV park industry was paying attention. As the price of a campsite increased, the opportunities for earning a living operating a commercial park increased. KOA began in Billings, Mont., in 1962 as a convenient midway stop for motorists heading across Highway 10 (now I-90) to and from the Seattle World’s Fair. Clean toilets were part of the KOA appeal.
As the years passed, RVs included more creature comforts. By the ’70s, all but tiny ones had a bathroom, even a shower. RVers no longer needed a campground toilet. They could stay anywhere. The term “boondocking” entered the RV lingo.
RV slideouts debuted about 25 years ago. First, it was one slide, then two … then four or five. Toy haulers followed — bring your ATVs and motorcycles along with you. Two-bedroom, two-bath RVs debuted just recently.
WITH ALL THE LIVING SPACE and creature comforts, people could live comfortably in their posh rolling condos for months at a time — even year-round. Retirees could sell their homes, buy an RV, be incredibly comfortable, and see the USA. Cell phones, WiFi and portable hot spots enabled them to stay in touch easily.
These comfy nomads occupied more time and space in commercial RV parks, making it more difficult for others, including vacationers, to find a site for a night or two. Some RVers still preferred traditional public campgrounds — young families, weekenders, and others who still enjoyed nature more than crowded KOAs. But many, if not most, avid RVers in their comfy rigs wanted WiFi, electricity, sewer and cable TV. That usually meant staying in an RV park, although some public parks began to add these amenities, too.
Supply and demand sent RV park fees higher and higher, too high for many overnighters. Walmart became the national choice for overflow parking and for RV travelers on a budget, while other RVers, with solar panels, headed for public lands. RV parks increasingly opened up to permanent and seasonal residents, removing campsites in favorable of park models and more profitable cabins for travelers without an RV. The commercial parks began to resemble mobile home parks, which is even more true today.
So when I say campgrounds are no longer necessary, I mean public campgrounds are not necessary simply for their toilets. And as RVs continue to evolve into even more comfortable “mobile” homes, public campgrounds will be even less appealing to RV “residents.” I hope the public campgrounds never go away, but I fear modern RVs, which are designed more for “living” than camping, will be better suited for commercial RV parks than more remote, scenic campgrounds that offer a more meaningful experience with nature.
Essays I’m working on:
•The largest chain of campgrounds you’ve never heard of.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Nothing new this week.
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Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. 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 last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
A Waterless RV Wash & Wax!
$5.00 off through 5/31/17! Use coupon code: spitshine17
Spit Shine has more emulsifiers than other waterless washes. It traps and lifts dirt to leave a clean, scratch-free, glossy surface. Great for when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a water hose. Requires just a damp, and a dry, towel. Watch Wade clean all RV surfaces. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Spit Shine at the Wade Maid website.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries until next week, please.
Win this Quadcopter Drone with FPV Camera and Live Video. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What is the secret phrase listed below? 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: Terry Bachi of South Daytona, Florida. He won the Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill.
Used RV prices at auction continue to set records, according to market watcher Black Book. April sale prices of motorhomes were up 14 percent to an average $44,379 compared to March. Towable units were up a slight 1 percent to average $13,397. Volume of sales was likewise up: motorhomes selling 13 percent more, and towables 19 percent more.
RV manufacturer takeovers continue like B-grade horror movies. This time, REV Group, Inc. has enveloped Midwest Automotive Designs, an Elkhart, Ind., RV conversion builder. The latter firm featured Class-B camper vans based on Mercedes Benz Sprinters.
At least a dozen RVs went up in flames early Thursday morning at a Snohomish, Wash., storage facility northeast of Seattle. The two-alarm fire burned through the RVs quickly, firefighters say. No injuries were reported. Damage is estimated at $3 million. Fire investigators are reviewing security footage and working to determine what caused the fire. Source: KOMOnews.com.
We reported last week that Oregon State Parks would open reservations April 19 at 8:00 a.m. for approximately 1,000 campsites for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. These sites are in addition to their regular campsites, most of which have been reserved since November 2016. Well, the 1,000 additional campsites were snatched up in less than 90 minutes, according to parks officials (although some campers on social media say they were gone within seconds).
California’s Pismo Beach State Park is still struggling with a nasty blow to its North Beach Campground. The campground had to be closed because of storm damage accrued nearly three months ago. While the state hopes to reopen the campground by May 1, there’s still standing water there and downed trees. The closure has rung up a loss of nearly $200,000 in lost reservations.
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) will return to its favorite venue for its 97th International Convention and RV Expo — the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Ga., March 15 through 18, 2018. It will be FMCA’s 10th convention at the facility located less than two hours south of Atlanta.
The tragic death of a man in a Menlo Park, Calif., RV fire again highlights the importance of not taking chances with electrical safety. Firefighters were called to a motorhome fire at a residence. After putting out the flames, they found 52-year-old Rolando Garza unconscious in the back of the rig; medics were unable to resuscitate him. Investigators found an electrical extension cord had been used to bring power into the motorhome through the door. The cord had been pinched in the door and started the conflagration.
“Montana wants to kill the golden goose,” says a Missoula attorney. He’s referencing a bill before the Montana legislature dubbed a “Ferrari tax,” where, if passed, it would charge a minimum $1,500 per year tax on vehicles worth more than $150,000. Montana is famous for its arrangement where out-of-state RV owners register their rigs through shell companies to save big money on registration and sales taxes. The tax would levy a 1 percent surtax on new RVs, based on suggested retail prices more than $150,000. Lawmakers see big dollars — an estimated $2.5 million in 2018. Source: bozemandailychronicle.com
Tiffin Motorhomes is recalling 154 model year 2017 Allegro Breeze motorhomes. The ball joints on the independent front suspension (IFS) modules can loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering. Learn more.
If Saturday morning at the RV dealership is too quiet, here’s a unique way to liven it up. Order in a truckload of rock – with a hand grenade on the side. That’s apparently what happened at Castle Country RV in Helper, Utah. Employees noticed a recently delivered batch of rocks had a hand grenade sitting in it. Responders solved the problem by digging a hole across the street, then using two bomb disposal robots to ferry the hand grenade to the hole, then blast it to smithereens. Watch the video from the Carbon County Sheriff.
The Airstream Basecamp will now use the Truma Combi as its combination water heater and forced-air furnace appliance. “We needed systems on the Basecamp to be robust, reliable, efficient and provide an Airstream level of comfort,” said Bryan Melton, GM of Travel Trailers for Airstream. “The Combi’s small footprint and combined furnace and hot water system leave room for outdoor enthusiasts to pack their gear and enjoy the comforts of home.” Learn more.
If the uptick in the sales of RVs worries you when thinking about finding a place to camp this spring, here’s another worry: RV rentals are shooting up – meaning, more people on the road and competing for existing RV park space. Not only are more commercial firms jumping into the RV rental market, smaller, “airbnb-type” rentals by individual RV owners are also finding plenty of takers. Bert Alanko, an executive with MBA Insurance, says people are querying his company about insurance needs for RV rentals. Quoted by RV Executive Today, Alanko views the market this way: “Renting RVs is definitely an expanding market opportunity. Between affordable gas, low interest rates, Baby Boomer interest in experiencing RV travel, and frustration with air travel, the stars are all aligned in our favor,” he said. “It’s a great time to be in the business.”
Customs officials waylaid an overloaded motorhome at Arizona’s Lukeville to Mexico crossing. An alert K9 officer spotted the heavily laden rig coming in from the Mexico side, piloted by a 55-year-old Glendale, Ariz., resident. An inspection revealed a whopping 2,600 pounds of marijuana stashed inside.
RV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
Camping World takes the spotlight with legal woes. In Chicago, Ill., a former company employee has filed a class action suit against the company alleging the company failed to pay overtime to employees working more than 40 hours per week. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, Ky., a new company store applied for permits for both an advertising sign at 110 feet in height and for a 130-foot-tall flagpole. County planners permitted the advertising sign, but turned down the flagpole, advising that under zoning, both would be considered signs, and the code only allows for one. CEO Marcus Lemonis sputtered, “It’s the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard. You can’t put a flag up because it’s a sign? It doesn’t advertise my business. It doesn’t have an ‘exit now.’ It’s a flag.” Lemonis has decided to forgo the advertising sign and put up the flag instead.
Coming back with a roar, Canada reports increased sales of motorhomes in February. While Class A registrations actually sank more than 3 percent, comparing February 2017 to the same month in 2016, the Class C sector went supersonic, blasting away the blues with an unbelievable 209 percent increase. So says Statistical Surveys Inc.
A spectacular fire at an RV dealership in Clarksville, Ind., has wiped out at least seven RVs and damaged others, leaving a tab of $400,000 to $500,000 in damages. Firefighters responded to Tom Stinnett’s Campers Inn RV, where a side lot packed with customer and dealer RVs was blazing. Air views saw a tractor attempting to yank travel trailers out of harm’s way, while firemen hosed down the inferno. A 15-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in the case. Investigators say he set fire to a pile of mattresses stacked up near the storage lot.
Quick! Name the trashiest state in the union. Time’s up! Louisiana – at least it is according to Louisianan and state park overseer Robert Barham. “I’m convinced we’re the trashiest state in America,” Barham told state legislators during a recent legislative hearing. Barham says the new generation needs to have a mindset change, to be unlike its predecessors. Source: thenewsstar.com
A boil-water order has been issued for a Julian, Calif., RV resort. The drinking water system serving KQ Ranch RV Resort, a 211-site campground, was found to have E.coli and total coliform bacterial contamination. No source of the contamination was found, but the county-ordered precautions remain in place until the water tests clear.
Towable sales in Canada continued a nasty slide in February. Comparing the month’s sales with February 2016, overall sales of new units dropped 8 percent. Travel trailers did the “best,” losing only a bit more than 5 percent, while fifth wheels were dusted down more than 15 percent. Pop-ups fell apart, losing a whopping 31 percent. Only a single park model sold. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
With the RV industry suffering quality control issues, now the industry’s trade group, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, is suffering a bit of a control issue itself. On April 13, RVIA sent a letter to its members acknowledging the discovery of “financial misconduct” involving a midlevel employee at its home office in Reston, Va. The group thinks a loss of somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000 has been suffered, and the employee/suspect is now out of a job.
When town officials in Oliver, British Columbia, said they wanted to sell out the town RV park to a hotel developer, not everyone applauded. Joy Vangen, an Oliver resident, said she marched around in the rain for an hour-and-a-half collecting signatures on a petition to stop the sale of the campground. So far Vangen has collected 18 signatures in protest to the change, and says she’ll keep at it.
Forest Service officials are implementing a two-year shutdown of camping near Sisters, Ore. An area near Whychus Creek in the Sisters Ranger District will not reopen until April 2019. Officials say the area has been overrun by illegal long-term campers which they associate with the area’s homeless population, leading to trash, sanitation and law enforcement issues.
A pair of Swiss RVers in Price, Utah, demonstrated that the language barrier can lead to all sorts of embarrassing results. The tourists, using Internet-provided directions to a dump station, pulled their motorhome to a stop, opened the lid on the vault, inserted the sewer hose, and dumped about 100 gallons of holding tank water – into a fresh water line valve containment. City officials quickly responded and, working on the side of caution, decided that even though there was no contamination of the line itself, it needed to be dug up and replaced. They want the tourists to cough up $5,000 in estimated costs. The actual dump station was across the street at an RV park.
Plans are taking shape for Family Motor Coach Association’s 96th International Convention and RV Expo, scheduled for July 12 through 15, 2017, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center in Indianapolis. An early-bird discount of $30 is available on registrations before May 13. Learn more.
Perhaps fearing that jail time would lead to a pot “dry spell,” a Portland, Ore., man finally surrendered to police after taking time to smoke a little dope. Shawn Wheeler was reportedly driving his motorhome erratically when stopped by police on Sauvie Island, Ore. The officer asked Wheeler to shut down his engine so he could be heard better, but Wheeler said he couldn’t – then drove away. After a three-mile-long conventional chase, Wheeler stopped, cranked the rig in reverse, and proceeded to ram several police and civilian vehicles. Two large trucks were the end of the rearward assault, but Wheeler refused to come out of the RV until after he had a chance to take a few tokes. He finally surrendered after police blasted out his motorhome’s rearview camera.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Pet Friendly RV Resorts & Campgrounds!
We love pets who camp, and welcome well-behaved dogs, cats, and their responsible owners. With 170+ different locations packed with activities and amenities, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect place to play. Click here to receive 10% off your stay!
RV Quick Tips
Dinette cushions sliding around?
Here are two possible solutions: Apply “lines” of silicone caulk in a pattern across the “back” of the sliding cushy. Let the caulk dry before setting back into place – the dry caulk acts as a snubber. Or attach sticky-back hook-and-loop tape to both the cushion and the surface it should “stick” to.
Cushioned steps to bed loft
Lloyd Pilant passed along this great tip: “The rungs on our ladder [to the bunk] in our Winnebago View hurt our feet when climbing up to the over-cab sleeping area. My wife suggested we try putting some foam pipe insulation on the rungs to see if that helps. We did, and it does. I used some Gaffer tape to help hold the insulation on the rungs.” Thanks, Lloyd! Click here for larger picture.
Getting rid of carpenter ants
Here’s a tip from our RVing tire expert, Roger Marble: “Carpenter ants are a special problem as they are not attracted to normal ant poison that is based on food and sweets. I had an infestation and after lots of research I discovered that powdered boric acid sprinkled on the entrance and anywhere I could find them eventually (1 to 2 weeks) killed the nest. Boric acid used to be easier to find as it was used as an eye wash so you could get it at a pharmacy, but box stores like CVS, Walgreens near me do not stock.” [Editor: A Google search indicates it is available at most box stores (sometimes as roach and ant killer), and sometimes even at dollar stores. And, of course, you can get it at Amazon.com.] Thanks, Roger!
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.
Full-time RVing: Don’t ignore these health signs
When you’re on the road full-time, it’s sometimes easy to lose track of regular health maintenance. For those without any ties to the medical docs, health care “issues” can plain get away from you. No matter who you are or where you are, though, problems can come up. Here’s a list of 10 health issues you should NOT ignore, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic. Read and heed.
Dead RV battery issue leaves owner in the dark
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a letter from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor regarding dead house batteries. The RVer made sure the power switch for the batteries was off when he stored the coach, but within a week or so the batteries were depleted. He couldn’t find anything left on to cause this, and asked how to troubleshoot the problem. Read Chris’ reply.
The readers write: Fun (or not so fun) and games
We often get piles of mail regarding a particular article that sets readers’ mental wheels spinning. In this installment we’ve also had some thoughts come in, not based on any particular story, but which still caught our attention. Here are a few, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris: “Volunteers – or slaves?,” “The downside of boondocking,” “Leaving the RV road,” “Don’t drink the water,” and more.
Give your RV tires “the old Shinola”?
Most people want the tires on their RVs to look good, but how do you best do it? We once heard about an RVer who was told one of the best ways to keep his rig’s tires looking good was to give them a good “paint” of transmission fluid. Whoa! No! OK, how about some of those nice silicon-containing spray-on potions? Again, not a good idea. So what does a retired tire expert advise? Find out here.
2017 Large Scale Road Atlas from Rand McNally
Give your eyes a break with this large-scale spiral-bound road atlas of the U.S. and Canada from Rand McNally. Maps are 35% larger than the standard atlas, plus more than 350 detailed city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact information conveniently located above the maps. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
To wax or not to wax — That is the question
You can get better-looking RVs with floor finish. Yep! That’s what Rich “The Wanderman” says. A long while back he had cleaned and then applied an acrylic floor finish to his RV’s exterior. He says the results were spectacular. Find out how he keeps his motorhome “clean and pretty” with not too much time or effort, even years later. Learn more.
Boondock for the love of RV sunsets
RVers boondock for a variety of reasons: some for the cost savings, others for the solitude, some for the freedom — many would say yes to all these plus many other reasons. One of RVer Dave Helgeson’s favorite things about boondocking is unadulterated sunrises and sunsets. Read more.
Women RVers: Pennsylvania gal tours West, South very “light”
Dawn, a solo woman traveler with her little Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix dog, is on the backside of a five-week cross-country trip, camping in her 2004 4×4 Ford Ranger extended cab pickup with an A.R.E. canopy. According to Dawn, a former health care administrator, her truck and canopy are easy for traveling and camping because there is “nothing to pull, nothing to set up, and has a low profile in windy conditions.” Read more.
Parking your RV in Lonsdale: In 22 “simple” pages(!)
A new ordinance affecting RV parking in Lonsdale, Minn., was designed to clear up parking issues – but a reading of the language may lead some to believe the city is doing an exercise in classic bureaucratic doublespeak. It took city leaders a mere 22 pages to codify their new regulations. First, you need to know what kind of vehicle you have: “standard, recreational (major, minor and seasonal), commercial (major and minor), utility trailers and seasonal. And that’s just the beginning. Read more.
Give your pet a special place outdoors
This easily foldable 30-inch-high pen enables you to leave your pet securely outdoors. Perfect for campgrounds. It’s finished in a durable black e-coat, providing long-lasting protection from corrosion and rust. Transporting is simple with the fold-flat storage design. Easy set up. No tools required. Available in several sizes. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of April 22–28
Compiled by Dell Bert
1564 — William Shakespeare is born (dies on same date in 1616).
1889 — The Oklahoma Land Rush begins.
1954 — Hank Aaron hits first home run of his MLB career (755 career home runs).
1970 — The first Earth Day.
1978 — The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on Saturday Night Live.
1986 — Nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
1990 — Hubble Space Telescope placed in orbit (orbits Earth once every 97 minutes).
2013 — Country music star George Jones dies.
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.
Bumper sticker of the week
My life is better than your vacation. —Thanks to Margo Wood!
Funny/clever business slogan
Sign at local vet’s office: “If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise.” —Thanks, Tom!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
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 “go-to” vacuum in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like (we’re covering all the states this week):
The best road trip destination in all 50 states
Here are 50 drives in the U.S. that are budget friendly. These include “don’t miss” locations as well as trip-planning tips. Include one or more of these in your travel itinerary. From Credit.com and msn.com.
Picturesque small towns in every state
These small towns are worthy of a visit — not only for their beauty, but also their history, architecture, outdoor activities, culture, and much more. From USA Today and msn.com.
Best perks for seniors in all 50 states
There are definitely some financial benefits to getting older. Supermarkets, drugstores, restaurant chains and retail outlets offer senior discounts. And it doesn’t stop there. All 50 states give seniors unique opportunities to save money on taxes, transportation and recreational activities. Maybe you’ll find something you qualify for but didn’t know about. From Cheapism and 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.
“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.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Q&A about running year-old “new” tires or running lower psi
An RVer wrote to Roger Marble with a concern regarding upgraded tires and wheels for a Keystone trailer he owns. He has had a lot of problems getting tires in the size he wants that weren’t already a year old. So he’s thinking about going with a different size tire and decreasing the psi to stay within the specs of the wheels. He’s also concerned about the stiffness in the rubber and what it will do to his trailer. Read Roger’s advice.
Good Sam Campground Guide
With more than 12,500 locations listed across the USA and Canada, the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide is the only print directory of RV parks and campgrounds. The 2017 edition features an expert rating system with all evaluations completed on site in the past 12 months. Park listings include amenities, services, restrictions, rates, contact info, Good Sam discount locations, hundreds of dollars’ worth of Camping World savings and pages of helpful information. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
RV size segregation in campgrounds
Dear RV Shrink,
I am seeking help with a problem I have had ever since I started full-time RVing. I am single and I have a wonderful little rig. I pull a 17-foot Casita with an older-model Jeep Wrangler Laredo. I have developed a complex over the past several years about my size. Everyone seems to believe that size matters. I don’t feel bigger is better, but in many situations I am treated as small and insignificant. I love to kayak and carry an inflatable 12-foot Sea Eagle kayak. I prefer to camp near the water and I am finding that many parks reserve their water sites strictly for larger and newer rigs than mine. It seems discriminatory. I am willing to pay the value-added price for the water sites, but the big dogs do not seem to want me hanging out with them. … —David in Goliath, Ga.
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.
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.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
When cleaning your awning use a commercial RV awning cleaner. Spray the cleaner thoroughly on the awning fabric, roll it up and let it sit for several minutes. This helps to distribute the cleaner over the entire surface of the awning fabric and allows the cleaner time to work. Open the awning and thoroughly rinse both sides of the fabric.
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: $2.44 (on Apr. 17). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 30 cents.
Diesel: $2.60 (on Apr. 17). Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 43 cents.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Fondue is due for fun.
Nothing says party like a fondue. I call this one a fun do because it’s skillet-easy and quick as a kangaroo hop. Put this volcano of luscious goo on the table or tailgate and surround it with sturdy vegetable sticks or crisp chips and crackers. The simple taste of honest cheese is made royal with just a touch of parsley and lemon juice. Get the recipe.
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.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
App of the Week
One click on a photo can take you to the map
When you use Google Photos you can go directly to the map location of the photo on Google Maps by clicking the little i on the picture itself (or tap it on a mobile device.) That opens an information panel, including a map. If you click the marker on the map, you will be taken to Google Maps for that location and you can find out anything you want to know about that location. You can even use the map to navigate to the location if you’re using a smartphone. Learn more.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… every Sunday on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. A recent topic was: #114 Forgot your password? How to recover your account. 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.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. 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
RV holding tank crack
Dear RV Doctor:
We bought a new Keystone fifth wheel toy hauler about a year-and-a-half ago. It went out of warranty after one year and now I have my gray water tank leaking badly when it is almost full. It is the tank for the shower and vanity. I removed a section of panel under the unit to see if the tank could be repaired from underneath. I have access to the tank from under the unit and found a crack along the top edge of the tank and repaired it but it still leaks really bad when it is almost full. It appears to be coming from on top of the tank. … —John C.
Gary will be a featured seminar speaker at the upcoming Puyallup RV Show (just south of Seattle), May 4-7. Learn about his topics. The seminars are free with an admission to the show.
Record RVing memories in this Camping Journal
Remember all your journeys with this easy-to-fill-in format. Each journal page is complete with thoughtful prompts including: Location, Date(s), Weather, People I (We) camped with or met, What I (We) did, and Things I (We) enjoyed most. RVing is an adventure: Write it down & treasure the memory forever! Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
with Bob Difley
Boondocking: Shake, rattle and roll
I’ve just begun boondocking and have traveled down some bumpy dirt roads looking for boondocking campsites, but it occurred to me that my motorhome is taking more of a beating than just driving on highways. Are there any critical problems that this kind of use could cause that I should be aware of? —Nick
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Politician steps down after attempt to take public lands.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Sta-Bil Rust Stopper stops rust and corrosion
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV, like mold, mildew, leaks and black streaks, rust is the gremlin that will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges and other vulnerable metal surfaces and moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust and corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts and tools to stop squeaks and sticking. Learn more.
Hikers: Do your feet hurt? Try this solution
You could say there are basically two types of RVers: one that sits in front of the TV most of the day, and the other who is out exploring, hiking, bird and wildlife watching, and stalking the wild asparagus (remember Euell Gibbons’ book?). For those that fall into the latter category, foot aids can help alleviate the pain of those many otherwise enjoyable miles. Silipos has a line of “Innovative Gel Solutions” which should allow you to be able to log many, many more miles in living the active RV Lifestyle. Read more.
Join the largest club
for motorhome owners
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has been the most popular club for motorhome owners for more than half a century. Special rate for RV Travel readers. Save $10 on a first year membership. Click to learn more.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Acadiana RV, Sport & Boat Show, April 21-23, Lafayette, LA
• Evergreen Spring RV Show, April 21-23, Monroe, WA
• Super Saver RV Show, April 21-23, Ft. Myers, FL
• BC Interior RV Show, April 21-23, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
• Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show, April 27-30, Elkhart, IN
• Puyallup RV Show, May 4-7, Puyallup, WA
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.
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.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Joke of the Week
Al: Did you hear about the man who fell into a machine at the upholstery shop?
Bill: No, did he get hurt?
Al: Yes, but he’s totally recovered now.
Secret phrase: Walter caught three perch with his bare hands.
Free and bargain camping
The Point Casino
FREE: Get permission from Casino Security. Well-lighted area, appears safe. Only 2.5 miles from Kingston-Edmonds Ferry Dock. Located 7989 N.E. Salish Road.
Coke County Rest Area
Water Valley, Texas
FREE. Overnight parking is free in this rest area for up to 24 hours. Located on east side of U.S. 87, 3.7 miles north of Water Valley. GPS: 31.702836°, -100.780517°
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,507 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.
2017 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.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Videos you’ll like
The motorhome that launched Winnebago
The Winnebago F-19 debuted in 1967 with a price tag of less than $5,000, half that of other motorhomes at the time. This was the motorhome that brought Winnebago to the public eye as the first affordably priced motorhome. Watch the video.
Earn $2,500 in 2 weeks at sugar beet harvest
Make some good money this coming fall working at the Midwest’s sugar beet harvest. Watch the video.
Random RV Thought
RVs are houses in miniature that contain everything a person needs to live well, but there’s no lawn to mow.
Casino Guide includes RVer info
The highly rated 2017 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.
Winston Churchill was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the U.S. There have only been eight in total, and only two who have been named so during their lifetimes: Churchill and Mother Teresa.
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!
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” —Mother Teresa
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 nearly three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle, where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
Our offices are located at 610 5th Ave. S, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020.
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This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com
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