RV Travel Newsletter Issue 790

RV Travel Newsletter Issue 790

 

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 16th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 790 • Week of Apr. 22–28, 2017


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Editor’s corner    
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.

Why we once needed campgrounds!

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!

A kitchen similar to the one in my family’s ’50s-era Field and Stream.

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. 

Today, even small trailers like this have bathrooms with showers.

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.  

Living in a modern RV can be just as comfortable as living in a traditional home.

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.

RVs with built-in dishwashers are not designed for “camping.”

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.

chucksignature
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. 

Sources of information about free and 
inexpensive RV camping, official and unofficial


back-768•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of back issues.



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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.


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.


Reader RVs

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

CLICK HERE to see 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.


breaking-newsUsed 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.

Steve Walser photographed this (“Floating On Air”) 1955 Airfloat Cruiser. See a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog by clicking here. Photo © Steve Walser

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.


Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 7_24_55 PMRV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.


news524(2)More News

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.


SHORT VIDEO: RVers who give other RVers a bad name.


rvbuslogo519Keep 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


friends-746RV 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!

Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here.


1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1 1Moran_Host_NC_D-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1Unique 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.

Dawn and Bell, by Julianne G. Crane

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.


del-545This week in history

From Bob Kint, on his toy hauler. Email photos of personalized license plates you spot to Diane (at) RVtravel.com

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.


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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


vac-long-755vac-square-755Lightweight 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.


Moss Landing, California. Sea otters actually do cross the two-lane road.

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.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.


BEST SELLER
“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.


rvshrinkAsk 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.

Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.

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.


mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Awning cleaning
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.


convection767Cooking 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.


janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Fontina Fondue
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.

Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including the brand-new “The Survival Food Handbook.”

BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM


micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen 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

Chris-Guld-pic-for-RVTOne 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.


tempgun-682Temperature 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.


gary-736Ask 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.

See Gary in person.

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

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.

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


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.


bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Boondocking: Shake, rattle and roll

Dear Bob,
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

Read Bob’s response.

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

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.


fmca-750Join 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.comLearn more.

See the list of all upcoming RV shows.


motor-carrier-2017-752Essential 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
From OvernightRVparking.com

The Point Casino
Kingston, Washington
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 demoWatch 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

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PM

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.

HOW TO WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS USING VERY LITTLE BANDWIDTH.


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.


Trivia
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!
leveler-698The 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!


Worth Pondering
“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. cw501

About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for nearly three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle, where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

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

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com

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

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49 thoughts on “RV Travel Newsletter Issue 790

  1. Breese

    Mr. Woodbury you answered my question. My husband grew up camping with his family from a tent to a 25 foot RV in the 60’s. I did not. I started in 2010 with a 30 now a 38 footer. My husband and I visited some of the State/Federal parks of his childhood memories. He was shocked on how the conditions were at his beloved State/Federal parks. Some were deteriorated so bad that we couldn’t level our RV, unmaintained grounds (to my standards), disrespectful neighbors, unsupervised children and dogs, and the list goes on. There were a few nice ones, nice people, and good experiences. My point is that experiencing the outdoors is priceless as your readers agreed. Nature doesn’t change, people (campers) changed nature by destroying their fellow man/woman/child experience. In some cases they’ve destroyed nature too. I know your article was a hard topic for some people to swallow because you wrote about a change that things are not the same, specifically RVs. Can you investigate why camping styles have made us more divided. Ex: rv park vs rv resort, camping vs glamping, small vs big. Do you see where I’m coming from? At the end of the day we all see the same moon.

  2. Bill Semion

    Nope, I’m not. Now you’re missing my point, as you mentioned to someone above. 😉
    I’m simply stating that there is more to RVing or “camping,” as people today experience it, than watching the TV outside in your entertainment hub, and hibernating inside your trailer all day! Get out and enjoy it again, or if you’ve never done so, get out and enjoy it for the first time! Leave that TV behind! There’s a whole world out there to enjoy! Without the effluent! 😉

  3. Bill Semion

    Ha! And I’ve also been at a state park in Michigan to witness one poor slob who, perhaps unknowingly, or more likely, knowingly because of the smell, trundled his plastic portable holding tank to the dump station while dumping perfumed water THROUGHOUT the campground along the access roads, including past my rig. Come’on. Their bathroom was about 60 feet from their trailer’s front door!! Yes, some folks can’t do it. But really?? You roll by in your RAM diesel pickup hauling wretched refuse and dumping it all over the park, when you can easily walk 60 feet?? What a waste! So to speak! 😉

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      I agree. Terrible behavior. But that that was one case, Bill, and any responsible RVer would never be so careless. Are you citing this one example as representative of other RVers? You might get an argument from all the decent, caring, respectful RVers out there.

  4. Bill Semion

    Hmmm…..not needing public campgrounds anymore because you don’t need a bathroom….welll. I respectfully disagree. I agree that you need a topic to stir comments online, but saying we don’t need public campgrounds?? I’d much rather stay in a state or national forest campground, or at least a well-spaced state campground site, and use their equipment to shower, etc., than mine. We use our bathroom sparingly, simply because of what’s pointed out elsewhere in your newsletter about “crud” in the holding tanks, and how to blast it out, fer instance. Why would i want a buncha waste sloshing around in my RV when I can walk 50 feet and use the campground’s facilities? I’ve been at many national forest and COE sites that have very acceptable facilities. And, why would I want to stay at a subdivision on wheels facility when I can see trout rise in a stream from my door, enjoy a site that isn’t 20 feet from my neighbor, and actually listen to nature instead of someone’s TV? There’s another editorial subject for you: What’s the point of camping if you’re bringing your house with you and ignoring the very point that is/was staying in natural surroundings? Staying in a fine hotel is probably cheaper than staying in an RV sub, when all costs, including that RV, are considered. Bravo for state and national parks and forest campgrounds. And, If you don’t use’em, you will indeed, lose’em.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      You missed my point, Bill. What I should have said is that most RVs today come with built in toilets, so the need to camp where there is a toilet is not necessary like it was before RVs had toilets. Geez. . . the more public campgrounds the better, I say. The only problem is that I haven’t noticed any new ones being opened these days (maybe a few state parks). I will write more about this later. And, about camping by a trout stream — that’s wonderful, and it works for you, but it does not work for everybody. I wish people who comment would understand that not everyone who buys an RV buys it for the same reason — some boondock, some stay at Walmart, some stay at out of the way Forest Service campgrounds, some live in it full-time, a month in one place, a month in another, others plop the RV down on a piece of land and never move it. How you camp and what works for you is simply not the same as everybody. You should be appreciative of that so you can still find a place by a trout stream without competing with the 450,000 people who buy RVs this year, and next year and . . .

      1. Bill Semion

        Absolutely true! But, what is camping? Or, is camping in your marble-floored pusher really what most consider what it’s all about? You raise a good point, however. To each his/her own! To me, it’s that trout rising over there, or that bald eagle patrolling its stretch of river, or launching a boat after walleye. It will ever be thus, for me. I wish all you fellow RVers well, AND just think of what you’re missing by missing what you’re missing! 😉
        I always enjoy and appreciate the work you put into your newsletter, being in the same profession. No longer an ink-stained, or glue-pot fumed wretch, now just adding to my finger arthritis/eyestrain at the keyboard! 😉

        1. Bill Semion

          And the campgrounds I find in Michigan are often totally empty…or, I reserve them. The only sites I’ve ever had recent difficulty in finding are atop the Big Horn Mountains in mid-Wyoming at my favorite spot there, mainly because there are only 8 sites. If it’s full, I just move down the road to the camp-for-free land that’s not on a stream and wait. Last time I was fortunate to find one site open, and reserved it. For the most part, even along Highway 1 in CA, we’ve not had an issue because we plan out far enough to make things easy! Hopefully in the future things will not get to a point described in a “science fiction” short story I recall that you must enter a lottery to get a spot.

  5. Dave Piposzar

    Chuck,
    Been camping for 60 years and still enjoy my 13 foot 1965 Scotty trailer and refuse to camp in private campgrounds when county, state, and federal agencies depend on us to sustain their parks. The bathhouses still provide a welcome relief for us few remaining tenters, backpackers, and “real campers”. Ever ask how many of those fancy RVers use the park showerhouses because they dont want to get their expensive motorhome all wet! You might be surprised. I’m glad you ended with the phase , “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. Don’t hope, make it happen by supporting the parks!

  6. Jerry X Shea

    Hi Chuck, your current RV experience can be very enjoyable if you will just take the philosophy of Bob Dylan – “The times they are a changing” As I see it, and as you have written/posted, everything as you knew it, in RVing/camping, is GONE. And I will agree. As an 11 year fulltimer, in a motorhome, we never stay in a park that says “CAMPGROUND.” That is modern day code for tents, pop-ups, family’s and kids. All of which we left years ago. KOA is for “Kids” – why would a retired couple, driving a motorhome want to go to a park FOR KIDS? Stop looking for “Campgrounds” and start looking for RV Resorts, RV Parks. We did a 2 year East Coast trip and our average cost to park our Motorhome = $18.35 a night. How did we do that? We joined Coast To Coast, RPI and ROD. Yes, we front loaded ($$$) our travel stays and the rewards over the years have been great.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Jerry, staying in resorts is not what I want to do as an RVer. It’s great for a lot of folks but not for me. I really do belong in a smaller motorhome, NOT pulling a car, where I can try (with difficulty these days) to stay in more out of the way places without a reservation, but only for a day or two, then move on. When I sold my condo and went full time, Gail and I knew, after spending four months the summer before traveling the USA in my 24-foot View, that we needed something bigger for full-timing, and we needed to tow a car. We are comfortable in our more spacious RV, but I have been exposed to another side of RVing — crowded RV parks and huge numbers of permanent and seasonal RVers who jam up these places, often filling them, making it hard for road-tripping RVers like I was, to stay a night or two when they need to hook up or maybe avoid staying at a Walmart, which not EVERYBODY likes to do.

      You ask why anyone would stay at a KOA? Just drive through a few on your travels — no need to stay there, just drive thorough — you will see they are jammed with RVers of all kinds including full-timers, seasonal RVers, and others in Big Rigs who stay a night or a week. KOA is having no trouble filling its parks. You may not like KOA and I may not be a big fan anymore, but the fact is, a lot of people stay at KOAs, enough for the company to attract record crowds year after year.

      I love to just explore, and sitting in an RV resort and socializing is just not my thing. I am an introvert who can fake it as an extrovert, and I tend to keep to myself. I am fully aware that the times are a changing, but the fact is, the RV Industry Association is still showing wonderful, scenic, camping scenes and preaching the message “go where you want when you want.” What is true, more often than not these days, is “go where you want, when you want — as long as you have a reservation.” Now this works for a lot of folks. But not for many others. I have so much more to stay about this, and I will so in an upcoming essay.

  7. RVanator

    Hey Chuck,without getting to personal,could you give a cost in your rv compared to your condo budget,just interested if costs were similar,thanks for Chuck’tell it like it is’Woodbury’

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Without going into any detail, it’s probably half the cost if I don’t consider the cost of the RV. If you figure payments on an RV it would depend on what they were, but I’d still say it would be less expensive in most cases. But there are too many variables to say it’s more or less expensive in any particular person’s case.

  8. Ed Killgore

    Excellent article, Chuck. Some have read, but unfortunately failed to comprehend the point you are making. You are too subtle. And yes, many of us have progressed from tents and keeping company with the bears to living the ‘good life’ with A/C, TV and warm showers. Each stage has been fun with it’s own rewards. Unfortunately, as more learn of this exciting recreational opportunity, and later the economical alternative lifestyle it affords, it will continue to become more challenging to find the accommodations we seek. The more enterprising remember their motto when they first started – “Be Prepared”, make your plans accordingly.

  9. Lois

    i was wondering if the hotels are having the same problem of being booked up?
    When I retire I thought we could do casual traveling thru the country without a year in advance planning.
    Now I am thinking of scratching the RV plans and use hotels.
    Thank you Chuck, we do enjoy your writing.

    1. Chris Potter

      As I posted a couple of weeks ago here:
      We also stay at motels sometimes depending on where we are traveling to and other circumstances.
      Yes, the motels and hotels are getting crowded too. Motels that used to be possible to just walk into, now need reservations several weeks in advance.
      The better known National Parks are becoming really hectic with both campers and people staying at Motels/hotels..
      Even some of the boondocking sites, that we used to be able to stay alone at for several days, now have several other campers staying there. The Forest Service/BLM has been closing down boondocking sites in some areas.
      Fall, which used to be a generally uncrowded time of year, now sees hoards of people out for the “Color Season”, (Leaf Season) Some areas of Utah and the Colorado mountains gets very crowded now during the fall.
      The surge is being blamed on the Booomers, who are retiring and want to enjoy life before they get too old. I’m one, so I can’t complain too much. Supposedly the surge is supposed to last for 10 or 15 years, and then there will be at least some cutback in the crowds. But I’ll probably be too old to travel by then.

  10. Mike Ward

    Being a tent, trailer camper and now a “Class A Glamper” I don’t find crowded campgrounds in and of themselves awful. For me, the disappointment comes from noise coming from generators. Several times I have walked over and turned off generators at sites where people left for the day. Yeah, I’m a jerk, but then was leaving a noisy generator running all day any less considerate?

    At the Grand Canyon, they limit generators to an hour a day between 6/7pm. That to me is a sensible idea I would like see instituted elsewhere.

    1. Mike

      I don’t know where you got that information…. but it’s not correct. We stay in the Mather campground several times a year. There are specific time periods to run your generator each day, but not for just 1 hour a day!

      1. Mike Ward

        I got my information first hand. That was the case in 2012 when I was there last and it really was just one hour a day back then. Sad to see they have relaxed their policy.

    2. Mike

      Re. Turning off a neighbors’ generator: That generator may be running for air con for a pet. Turning it off may be the death of the pet.

    3. Pet Killer

      Nice way to kill pets on board. Call a Ranger!

  11. Mike Ward

    Chuck is a reporter. Reporters report how things are, not as we want them to be (well, maybe not Fox News). Am I disappointed that RV sites are the way the are? Of course, but I certainly don’t want someone to tell me a lie. It hurts to hear these things but really, would you want it any other way?

  12. Tumbleweed

    It blows my mind that people complain about crowded campgrounds and then keep going to them or quit RVing altogether. There IS a solution, and it will lead to better camping experiences than you’ve ever had. Get solar panels and start boondocking! You’ll never need a reservation again and you’ll have the beautiful, quiet campsites that RV parks advertise but don’t provide, sometimes even on a lake.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      That is a great option for many people. I’d do it if my lifestyle were different. Studies of our readers show that only about 10-15 percent consider themselves boon dockers. It just is not possible for many people, especially those in the East where public lands are not as easily available.

  13. John Hiler

    Your letter on Public Campgrounds may be the silliest thing I’ve read this week. The Idaho Mountains are packed with folks in Public Campgrounds. We don’t have to knuckle under to Corporate America (Actually World) for everything. Maybe you do for your advertising but I certainly don’t and won’t…

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      John, you totally missed my point. And, I know your Idaho mountain campgrounds (which I love) are “packed” with “folks in public campgrounds,” which is a whole other problem as in the increasing difficulty in reserving a space at all but the way-out-of-the-way campgrounds.

      In my essay, I was just saying we don’t need public campgrounds because all RVs, even little 12-foot RVs have toilets, which was the reason we went to them in years past, when RVs did NOT have toilets. I wish there were more public campgrounds, but, alas, I don’t think the federal government, in particular, will be creating any new ones, just closing or shortening the season on current ones. The only new parks these days are luxury resorts. Personally, I chose the smallest “big rig” I could for full-timing, 32 feet. I would much rather be in a Forest Service Campground, but I find that as a full-timer I prefer to stay in one place for a month or more to explore an area with my car. I’ll write more later. I think I just got everybody confused about what I was saying with a headline that was misleading. My mistake.

  14. Bonnie Pascucci

    Your editorial on not needing public campgrounds/outhouses is as selfish as I can imagine. It is the same attitude as we need only wilderness experience or there is no need for wilderness because I can’t drive my machines in it.

    PLEASE be open minded for the tenters, backpackers and fisherman who use the campground as access to a river. RVers are the center of only your universe.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Again, my stock reply:

      In my essay, I was just saying we don’t need public campgrounds because all RVs, even little 12-foot RVs have toilets, which was the reason we went to them in years past, when RVs did NOT have toilets. I wish there were more public campgrounds, but, alas, I don’t think the federal government, in particular, will be creating any new ones, just closing or shortening the season on current ones. The only new parks these days are luxury resorts. Personally, I chose the smallest “big rig” I could for full-timing, 32 feet. I would much rather be in a Forest Service Campground, but I find that as a full-timer I prefer to stay in one place for a month or more to explore an area with my car. I’ll write more later. I think I just got everybody confused about what I was saying with a headline that was misleading. My mistake.

  15. Bart Cronin

    Don’t forget the trend of private parks now calling themselves “Resorts”. I’ve seen a number of them I wouldn’t dream of staying in, and not certainly “Resorts” that I would expect. There should be some criteria/ Don’t be fooled.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Most that call themselves resorts are not. Period. Some are even dumpy.

  16. Mike and Linda

    We agree with your last two essays on the direction private campgrounds are heading. They are becoming more and more expensive, crowded, filled with people living there permanently, etc.. We have been full-timing for many years and have had to learn to make our reservations 6 months to a year in advance at our nation’s beautiful Federal public campgrounds. It was a pain at first, but now we actually prefer it as we can choose the exact campsite we want (and usually view a photo of it). We avoid private campgrounds like the plague. You need to make a decision as to what direction you want your “full-time” RV life to take… either be committed to adapting to the public campground reservation system and plan your calender at least 6 months ahead, or accept the direction private campgrounds/RV parks are going and be willing to put up with the conditions. We are in our 70’s now and have decided that for the remaining years we can enjoy this marvelous adventure, we will plan our schedule, make our reservations and continue to enjoy the great beauty our National Forests and Parks offer. Life is too short to be be miserable and crowded into some private campground.

  17. Tom & Josie

    Dear Chuck, Thanks for all the info on the state of the RVing industry. Both positive and negative. Any owner of a RV that we have met in recent years have tales of things that should have been addressed and fixed before delivery of their unit. Your weekly list of recalls by the RV manufactures is proof! We would recommend the “RV DOCTORS” Mr. Gary Bunzer’s RV book to all. It has saved us many trips to the dealer.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Tom and Josie, Gary’s book, Woodall’s RV Owners Handbook, is out of print, and hard to find. There are a few copies at Amazon but they’re at ripoff prices.

  18. Patricia Purtell

    In response to your editorial regarding the redundancy of public parks, I applaud your suggestion to fellow ‘big riggers’. Please encourage all ‘luxury 35+ vehicles’ to stay where they belong…in expensive resorts. Then those of us traveling in smaller, less luxurious vehicles can enjoy our natural space and not feel like we are parked in a Greyhound Terminal and all the aesthetic wonder that includes. I have been traveling in my 18 ft Fiberglas trailer across the USA since October 1 and I am now heading home from the pacific coast. I understand the human need for our creature comforts, especially those of us who are in the ‘boomer’ bracket. Dish washer , 3 TVs. 2 baths. Pulling a car behind the BUS. Once again our generation has exceeded itself. Leave the state and national parks to the little guys, big rigs are just blocking our view.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Patricia, I was just saying we don’t need them because all RVs, even little 12-foot RVs have toilets, which was the reason we went to public parks in years past, when RVs did NOT have toilets. I wish there were more public parks, but, alas, I don’t think the federal government, at least, will be creating any new ones, just closing or shortening the season on current ones. The only new parks these days are luxury resorts. Personally, I chose the smallest “big rig” I could for full-timing, 32 feet. I would much rather be in a Forest Service Campground, but I find that as a full-timer I prefer to stay in one place for a month or more to explore an area with my car. I’ll write more later. I think I just got everybody confused about what I was saying with a headline that was misleading. My mistake.

  19. Dave Graham

    I was contemplating unsubscribing to RV Travel.com because of so much negativity of the website the last 2 or 3 weeks. I subscribe to this website to get RV information, find interesting places to visit, and listen to other RVers experiences around the country. I have enjoyed this website for a long time and contribute periodically. Everyone has their own definition of RV camping. We used to tent camp a lot here in Arizona when we were younger. Now we still camp in the forest but in a 35′ 5th Wheel. We also use our RV to visit historic locations we were not able to see when we were younger. We also stay in RV parks when we to see a DooWop show or visit family because ii is cheaper than staying in a hotel or motel. Some people just boondock. Others are Full Time Rvers. And some use RVs for multiple reasons. If we all liked the same thing there would only be 1 car, 1 truck, 1 RV available for all to purchase, But having personal wants and needs, there are many options and choices for all. Please start reporting about positive RVing because we all seem to have more than enough negativity in our lives every day and don’t need to add to it on Saturday morning.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Dave, I have been RVing for 35 years and have preached the wonderful RV lifestyle for most all that time. But I have seen a big changes in recent times, since I went full-time. If you want fluffy “Gee this is wonderful” stories about RVing there are 5,000 websites and blogs that will serve you well. I don’t aim to be negative, but I have seen a lot in the last year and will report what I think about all of it. Nobody else is. And, frankly, if my editorials don’t please you, just unsubscribe, or skip them and read below. Heavens! There is always plenty to read that celebrates the RV lifestyle, which is still in my opinion, mostly wonderful. I love RVing, but am pretty conflicted these days about the lifestyle and what it means now.

      1. Dave

        You know, I had changed my mind about unsubscribing and not being a reactionary, but to insult me about wanting “fluffy” and that there is 5,000 other websites that would serve me well seems to indicate to me that you are ready to dump subscribers for giving their opinions as well. That might change my mind again. If everything is now negative about RVing, why bother buying or using an RV. Mixing in positive with negative gives a more rounded insight to RVing instead of just negative thoughts. Sadly, but not missed obviously, I will now have to unsubscribe. Thank you for all you have done in the past.

        1. Chuck Woodbury

          Dave, sorry to see you go. Did not intend to offend you. Just trying my best to write honestly as I see things. It’s hit and miss.

          Best of luck down the road.

          Chuck

          1. Don G

            Thank-you Chuck. I appreciate hearing the negative things about RV’s, campgrounds, etc. How else would we here about some of these places? The other publications will only talk positive things so as not to offend their advertisers. As a 35 year RVer, I am seeing a lot of the same things that you do, and it bothers me too. Besides, you have many positive things to add to the mix also.

          2. Frank D Akridge

            It appears to me that this website is trying to favor 1 type of camping over another. I choose a class A 40′. I have had every type of RV including motorcycle and tent, pickup with cabover, class c, 5th wheel and trailer. I have enjoyed each with their unique benefits. I would never look down on a person for their choice. I am now in the gray hair time of life and enjoy my mobile condo / camper. Who has the right to say I should limit my activity in any way? I do not expect to see these types of comments on a RV website that should be endorsing harmony.

          3. Chuck Woodbury

            This site does not favor one type of camping/RV over another, although I personally am no longer a fan of tenting. But that’s just me. It’s great for others. This site likes small RVs and big RVs, but we all need to keep in mind that people use RVs for far different purposes — for a weekend camping trip with the kids, a one month road trip, and increasingly for full-timing.

      2. Dawn

        I really like the RV Travel Newsletter. My husband and I started “camping” over 40 years ago, first with a pup tent, then a little bigger tent, then a pop up camper and then finally with a fifth wheel camper. We enjoyed them all at the time. (We just can’t handle sleeping on the ground anymore) We have only been on a few trips with our 5th wheel, but we plan on many more when my husband retires! I like to hear the good and the bad about camping. We can use all the advise we can get about RV camping! I always say “To each his own!” Please, keep on with your RV Newsletter!

  20. Calvin Rittenhouse

    Plenty of tent campers would rather the RVers abandon the State and Federal campgrounds, and more people camp in tents than by any other means.

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Yeah, I can understand that. Tenters, I would say, are probably really “camping” where more and more RVers these days are “living” in their RVs rather than camping in a “roughing it” sort of way. Interesting, however, that many if not most RVers were once tent campers, then moved on to something more substantial.

  21. Robbie

    Good point Chuck. As full timers for 12 years, who live in class A motorhome, we only use paid campgrounds for the convenience of dumping our tanks and filling back up with water. If we haven’t planned our travel time well enough to stay in good weather, hot vs. cold, we may need air conditioning or our electric heater for a day or two at a paid campground. We prefer to boondock, pay nothing except for the equipment to be able to boondock. Yes, we are living, not camping….but, we spend most of our time in nature and away from the campgrounds on purpose.

  22. T. Favero

    Now we can dispense with black water tanks as well….the answer BEER.
    Yes, 2 days before your RV trip, start drinking beer to clear out your system. Then on the day of your RV trip load up with the required amount of beer to see you through your trip. Camping World may get on this too….so look for beer specials there in the future….by the case of course. Then enjoy black water free travel. See…a college education provides another answer to efficient and cheaper RV travel. Enjoy!

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Excellent idea T. Favero. I would give it a try, but after about three beers I go to sleep. So won’t work for me.

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