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Issue 799 • Week of June 24–30, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Reuters News Service published a story last week about Elkhart, Indiana, where 85 percent of all RVs are built. Specifically, it talked about jobs in the RV industry, pointing out some of the challenges and problems.
The good news about the jobs: there are plenty of them — too many for major employers to fill. But the working conditions? Not so good. For example, most factories are not air conditioned. Imagine what it must be like to work there on hot, muggy summer day!
“I was constantly sweating,” 32-year-old Brandon Seitz told Reuters. “There were days in summer when I drank two-and-a-half gallons of water and was still dehydrated.” In 2014, surgeons cut into his back and used a laser to break up and remove a large kidney stone that they said was caused by dehydration. That’s when Seitz vowed never to work on an RV production line again. “The money is good,” he says, but “it’s just so hard on your body.”
Workers jump from job to job in search of better conditions or to maximize their earnings before the next downturn. At many RV factories, the annual turnover rate is 100 percent or higher – meaning a number equal to the total workforce or more is replaced each year. Much of the churn occurs as the companies struggle to repeatedly fill the same lower-end, entry positions.
RV workers often work on a piece rate, meaning the faster they work, the more they can earn. Some like it, but for others the pressure is almost unbearable. That, workers told Reuters, has given rise to increased numbers of “speeders” — people who take methamphetamines and other stimulants on the job. Manufacturers say they enforce strict drug-free policies.
Kirsten Southern, a 34-year-old mother of three, was paid by piece rate in successive jobs on RV production lines at two different companies. The work “tears your body down after a while,” she told Reuters. “A lot of bad things happen when piece rate comes into play, because you’re trying to rush to get things done.” She was never injured on the job, she says, but she was constantly exhausted.
Each factory is typically dedicated to a handful of RV models. The result is a proliferation of workplaces. Thor operates 190 plants, most of them in or around Elkhart.
RV factories, Reuters noted, are more like workshops than the high-tech assembly lines used in the auto and other modern industries. The process is similar to home construction: workers hoist walls and install sinks as the RVs inch along while others crawl over, under and inside the vehicles.
AFTER READING THE REUTERS’ ARTICLE, I thought about problems with the often poor quality of RVs being built today. The Reuters article did not even touch on those issues, but it’s understood by countless RVers and most manufacturers that quality is, indeed, an issue that needs improving.
But with nearly a half million RVs being cranked out each year in today’s booming market, and often poor working conditions, it makes sense that’s a recipe that might easily lead to mistakes, as well as rushed, shoddy workmanship.
I urge you to read the Reuters’ article. It was an eye-opener to me, and maybe it will be to you, too.
P.S. I wrote something Friday evening right after I had finished doing my part for this newsletter. I titled it Friday evening. Newsletter done. Whew! You might enjoy it. I sort of rambled, but in a good sort of way (I think).
RV Name Contest: About a month ago we asked you to submit your RV’s name and how you chose it. We received about 300 entries, but in the end our staff couldn’t agree on our favorites. So last issue we asked you to decide. After more than 4,000 votes, here are the three names you liked best: Sue Walton, “Hercules”; Ken Merkel, “Barbie”; and Stan Waters, “Bert.” Click here to see the 14 finalists and the poll results, or here to see all the RV names submitted. The best three names earned their owners Tekton digital tire gauges.
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Editor’s Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Squirrel bridge saves them from slaughter.
• Thinking about fleas and a bomber crew.
• Our Earth from afar! If only. . .
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THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The correct answer is Oregon.
Win this incredibly cool Waterproof LED headlamp. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: The August 21st total solar eclipse will be first seen in which U.S. state: Oregon, California or Maryland? Answer below in “Trivia.” 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: Guy George of Fernley, Nev. He won the cute and useful Loch Ness Monster Soup Ladle.
Auto club AAA says yes, gas prices are indeed down. Go anywhere in the U.S., and more than half the stations are selling fuel at less than $2.24, which is the current national average price. The lowest price is in South Carolina, at $1.97 per gallon. Part of the reason prices are so low: U.S. oil producers are bringing more rigs on-line, saturating the market with more oil than there is demand. That’s great for now, but AAA predicts the low prices won’t last.
Long Beach, Calif., joins the long list of other Golden State cities who’ve made owning an RV more challenging. Changes to the city’s codes will mean anyone owning an “oversize vehicle” (22 feet and longer) will now need a permit to park in a residential area. With a permit, rigs will be allowed to park for 72 hours. Under the ordinance, a property owner can apply for up to 20 permits per year.
While a potential federal budget plan is short on details, one thing is clear, says the non-profit organization American Forests: A potential 73 percent cut in the improvement and maintenance dollars for the U.S. Forest Service will have a heavy impact on recreation. The Trump administration is asking for $100 million for those programs, compared to the current $363 million. Forest Service officials are mum, pending more information, but at least one U.S. senator isn’t as reserved. “How do we sustain the $10 billion generated by visitors to our national forests and the 143,000 jobs they create if we don’t have roads to access the forest, or safe and accessible facilities or hiking trails for visitors to use once they are there,” asked Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., at a Senate hearing. Read the full story at yorkdispatch.com .
Jayco has signed on as a high-level sponsor of the October 1-5 RV Technical, Education & Safety Conference coming October 1-5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The annual event features instruction in RV driving, safety and technical topics taught by RV experts including RVtravel.com contributor Gary Bunzer. Learn more or register at RVsafety.com.
Death Valley’s Furnace Creek Ranch and Furnace Creek Inn will soon be history. Both are currently under the management of private contractor, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, and Xanterra is “rebranding” them as “the Oasis at Death Valley.” The company says it is pumping in “upgrades and improvements.” Recently, the park service added electric hookups to some campsites in Furnace Creek Campground.
While Delaware may be the penultimate state in terms of size, don’t think it lacks interest for campers. The Small Wonder State boasts five state campgrounds, and this year, they report overnight stays are up 7 percent from the same time last year. Last year, full-hookup sites were added to Lums Pond State Park; this year the park reports a 400 percent increase in overnight stays.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has recommended that 30 car dealers owned by Berkshire Hathaway have their dealer licenses revoked, and be fined $30,000. Texas law prohibits vehicle dealers from being owned directly, or indirectly, by vehicle manufacturers — and the parent company of the dealerships owns Forest River RV manufacturing. The state says each of the dealerships presented a “material misrepresentation” when they answered “no,” when asked if they were owned by a motor vehicle manufacturer.
It’s often said, “Our national parks are being loved to death.” Witness how Parks Canada is dealing with visitor crowding. Log onto an official park website and you’ll get a clear map and details of how full campgrounds, parking lots and trailhead sites are through Banff National Park, for example. Colored pins range from green (lots of room), to yellow (getting close to capacity), to red (full-up). Park officials say the system works great on mobile phones. Perhaps some of the “more-loved” U.S. parks will follow suit.
Here’s another reason why traveling by RV is sometimes better than by other means. More than 40 regional airlines flights were canceled in and out of Phoenix on Tuesday because of excessive heat. The planes involved have a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees, and the temperature was expected to be 120 on Tuesday. Phoenix’s all-time record high is 122 degrees.
Keep in mind, if the Washington state Legislature doesn’t come up with a budget deal by June 30, all Washington state parks will close July 1, and all prior camping reservations will be canceled despite the July 4 holiday. Refunds will be issued for all reservations if a shutdown occurs.
“No More Sore Back!”
The STRONGBACK Chair is Your Solution!
RVTravel’s editor Chuck Woodbury is a big fan, and owns two of these amazing chairs. Click the video to see his 60-second testimonial. Our patented lumbar support technology gives UNRIVALED COMFORT AND BACK SUPPORT. Visit the STRONGBACK website to learn more or buy your STRONGBACK chair now.
Ohio’s Wayne National Forest will be one-up on available campgrounds next month. The Hune Bridge Campground, which has been closed since October out of concern for a road crossing that could flood, will reopen as soon as road maintenance is completed.
Fire has damaged a Bismarck, N.D., RV dealership to the tune of $2.5 million. Capital RV was closed last Sunday when firefighters were called out at about 9:00 a.m. to find a major fire blazing in the dealership’s shop. After crews forced open shop doors, blazing RVs had to be towed out of the building to complete fire-killing efforts. While the building itself sustained about $1.5 million worth of damage, at least $1 million in customer rolling stock was destroyed.
Alaska’s Eagle River Campground was temporarily closed on June 14 after a mother brown bear attacked and injured three visitors. The scene was best described as “chaotic” as some bystanders immediately rushed in to render aid, while others took off running. When professional first responders arrived, it took them nearly a half-hour to locate and transport the three victims. But on the way they also came face-to-face with the same charging bear. Reports are that responders shot at the bear, but were unsure if the sow was hit. Earlier in the week, two people were killed by black bears, one south of Anchorage, and one 300 miles northeast of there.
If you’re planning to camp at Ohio’s Indian Lake State Park, where you gonna swim? Maybe at the new $1.5 million swimming pool? With nearly 500 sites, the state hopes that its new pool will attract some of the guests. Also new: a shower house and 30 campsites with full hookups.
Eclipse campsites available!
Family and senior friendly!
Oregon Eclipse Camp is releasing a limited number of camping spots near Unity, Oregon, directly in the center of the totality path for the upcoming solar eclipse. Easily accessible by paved road, with spacious pull-thru and back-in RV sites, Oregon Eclipse Camp is offering families and seniors an eclipse viewing experience away from the commotion and bustle! Learn more at OregonEclipseCamp.com or by emailing info(at)oregoneclipsecamp.com .
The Carolinas may be added to your list of hot spots for summer camping. Already state parks and Forest Service campgrounds report reservations are either impossible to get on short notice, or only in out-of-the-way places. While more area residents are adding to the crowding issue, last year’s Hurricane Matthew has shut down some popular campgrounds while repairs are completed. Meanwhile, park managers say the best bet is to plan — and reserve — as far in advance as you can.
His fifth wheel may have been demolished, but an RVer in East Pembroke, N.Y., still has his life. Piloting his dually truck down Route 5, the unidentified RVer swerved to avoid hitting a wheel rolling down the road — one that had come off another vehicle. Losing control, the fifth wheel apparently rolled, and still firmly attached to the tow unit, flipped the pickup over. Happily the hitch continued to hold, as the truck came to rest with its nose dangling over a creek, the driver trapped inside. First responders took 15 minutes to cut the man loose, and he was sent to a hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries.” There wasn’t much left of the fiver. Read the full story at thedailynewsonline.com
A code enforcement officer who wrote a proposed RV ordinance for Rockland, Maine, has not only begged the city council to kill his proposed ordinance — he’s also asked to be excused from writing ordinances in the future. John Root told council members, “Some have suggested that those who enforce ordinances should not be the ones to write them. This job is difficult enough as it is, and I am beginning to see that being an author of regulations might be perceived as a conflict of interest or an attempt to empower this position.” The council took his advice and unanimously vetoed the rule, which would have allowed RV owners or their immediate families to live in their RVs several months out of the year.
While southern Arizona is sweltering in 120-degree weather, perhaps some of those denizens would like to go camping in Canada’s Pinware River country in Labrador. Whoops! Sorry, no can do. It seems the provincial park there has yet to be opened — too much snow on the ground.
Dozens of RVers have learned, to their dismay, that there’s more to Iowa than cornfields and soybeans. A freak storm on June 16 wiped out their rigs that had been parked at a campground in Pacific Junction. Happily, nobody was hurt, as most of the campground guests took to storm shelters when emergency sirens sounded.
A federal jury has convicted a Minnesota man of stealing $2 million from investors to build an RV park which he hoped would bring in money from North Dakota‘s oil boom. Ronald David Johnson, of Corcoran, Minn., has been found guilty on all counts of wire fraud and money laundering. Read more.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Roughly how much of 2017 do you estimate you will occupy your RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll: How important is the Internet where you camp? Click here for the results.
Mosquito season tips and tricks
Here we are again — June and the warming of lakes and rivers, and billions of mosquito eggs. Soon (if not already), the pesky little demons will be upon us. Through many states, provinces and seasons, Greg Illes has learned some lessons about avoiding encounters of the blood-letting kind. Learn what works and what doesn’t work to protect yourself from mosquitoes in this very informative article.
Motorhome destroyed; reminder to drive safely
If you need a reminder to drive safely with your RV, the photo in this article might help. This accident occurred on I-90 near Moses Lake, Wash. In this instance, the frame of the RV did little to protect it from near-total destruction. A trooper at the scene said it appeared the motorhome crashed into the SUV and that alcohol was a factor. Read more.
Don’t let your RV wind deflector be so much hot air
Just how effective are those RV wind deflectors you see on trucks pulling 5th wheels and travel trailers? Though somewhat technical (what you’d expect from “Professor of RVing,” Jim Twamley), this information could save you some serious cash. Learn more.
Propane — the devilish details
A beautiful day can become sad, or tragic, when an RV catches fire. Read, and learn from, this first-hand report of a very close call with leaking propane and an essentially non-working leak detector. Read more.
It’s roll-out time for your RV awning — Is it ready?
With summer here, you may have already rolled out your RV awning. It’s a great addition to any RV and with a little care it will provide many years of service. But just what kind of care does it need? Find out in this article written by Chris Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, while serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor.
How to improve a “crappy” situation
Public restrooms: a traveler’s worst nightmare. Whether it be at a campground, visiting a national/state park or a quick stop at a rest area — when nature calls, it calls. Sometimes we get lucky: We nab one that’s just been cleaned, the toilet paper hasn’t run out or there’s still some hand sanitizer left to de-germ before we bolt out of there. For those other, more unfortunate times, we’ve found Potty Packs. Read this product review.
Newmar Corp. is recalling 210 model year 2012-2015 King Aire and Essex motorhomes built on a Spartan Motors chassis. A component within the starter motor may break, potentially resulting in the starter motor overheating or drawing excessive current. A starter motor that overheats may increase the risk of a fire. Learn more.
The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.
Dealing with ticks — an expert’s advice
If your travels take you to tick country, be on the lookout for these biting and often disease-carrying insects. Here are the latest “tick tips” from Amanda Roome, an expert in ticks with Binghamton University. Learn more.
Thinking of full-timing? Some basic advice
Thinking about becoming a full-time RVer? There are plenty of things to be considered. It can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Here are some things seasoned full-timers recommend you chew on when making that important decision. Read more.
Summer is here and for many RVers that means a visit to a national park or other rural or scenic area. In some of those places, humans are not the only creatures enjoying an experience with nature: among those other creatures — bears! Here are important tips to protect yourself in case of a bear encounter. And watch a video (in the article) of a bear spray story from Yellowstone National Park employees.
RV Mods: New galley faucet? Think before you sink!
One of the most common upgrades RV owners take on is replacing the galley faucet in their RV with a higher-end model, like one found in their home. But hang on, here’s the snarl: You’ll often find that household models have different connections than RVs and, while it can be done, you may waste considerable time if you don’t choose a model with connections that match your existing faucet. Learn more.
Bavarian tiny homes debut at Washington RV park
The Thousand Trails Leavenworth RV Campground in Washington is introducing its latest Petite Retreats Tiny House Village with a “Tiny Open House” event Saturday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The five individually designed, Bavarian-themed tiny houses are surrounded by nearly seven miles of hiking trails located within 300 acres of beautiful forests and meadows. Read more.
Check for water leaks before they’re a problem
Before last week’s “hideous” heat and humidity wave, Rich “The Wanderman” dealt with torrential, constant rain for well over a week — what his friend calls “frog strangling” rain. In any extended rain event like that, it’s always a good idea to get inside your RV and check for any leaks — not just from the roof. Rich explains how and where to check.
RV “Twilight Zone” — Eureka Dunes
If you are not a boondocker and don’t like weird, out-there locations, you need read no further. However, since you are still reading, Boondock Bob Difley suggests a place you might want to visit. It’s primitive and basically deserted. And it’s very quiet — except for a mysterious low rumbling sound. Read about this intriguing location.
Troopers target left lane “campers”
If you drive in the left lane of multiple-lane highways and aren’t passing, be warned: If you do it in Washington state you could be in for a fine of $136. When motorists stay in the passing lane for long periods, it can lead to road rage, aggressive driving, traffic and congestion, said WSP. It’s never safe to hold up traffic in the left lane. Even in the slow lane, excessively slow speeds can lead to accidents. Read more.
Overnight RV Parking Alternative
For a low annual membership fee, join RV Golf Club today and park FREE every night of the year at 400+ beautiful, safe, private golf courses, resort hotels and RV resorts across the U.S. and Canada. Plus, receive discounts on golf, restaurants and shops at most properties. Click here for more info and to purchase a membership .
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The best free tourist attraction in every state
Museums, botanical gardens, beaches, candy factories, historic trails, cultural centers — and lots more free, fun and educational places to visit. Be sure if you’re going near any of these locations to add them to your must-visit list. From Reader’s Digest and msn.com.
Secrets of the West’s ghost towns
Here are 16 ghost towns to explore, with a bit of history of each. Some of these locations have updated tourist attractions mixed in with the old, some don’t, but all are fascinating. From msn.com.
The best all-you-can-eat restaurant in every state
Do you ever get hungry — and we mean really hungry — on the road but just don’t feel like cooking? Delish set out to find the best all-you-can-eat joint in every state and came up with this list, which includes a huge variety of cuisines. And have you ever heard of all you-can-eat lobster and filet mignon? Oh, my! From Delish and msn.com.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Are You Stinking Up The Campground?
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintain clean sensors, eliminate odors, and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Husband wants to keep moving;
wife wants some “downtime”
Dear RV Shrink:
We sold our house six years ago, bought a Class A motorhome and hit the road. We have had a wonderful journey. We have been all over North America. Having that experience under our belt I think we are a bit spoiled. Things seem to be changing. It is harder to get into campgrounds, and the price is skyrocketing on camping. The government keeps trying to take away the few camping benefits we have and it just doesn’t seem as enjoyable as I originally remember it. I want to buy some property in the Southwest and spend the winters in one spot and my husband wants to keep moving all the time. … —Stale Mate in Big Bend
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.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.32 (on June 19). Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 4 cents.
Diesel: $2.49 (on June 19). Change from week before: Down 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 6 cents.
America’s Largest RV Show runs September 13–17, 2017
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Extinguishing a fire
There is a simple way to remember the steps to using your extinguisher to fight a fire — it’s called the P.A.S.S. procedure. These are the four steps to follow:
Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the contents of the extinguisher.
Aim low: Point the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.
Sweep from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until flames appear to be out. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Jump start your car or RV easily
Stuck in the middle of nowhere or along a busy highway with a dead battery? No need to call emergency road service or find someone with jumper cables. With this Stanley J509 Jump Starter just hook it up and fire up the engine. It provides 500 instant cranking amps and 1000 peak cranking amps. Plus, it can also power up 12-volt and personal electronic devices with USB outlets. And what a reasonable price! Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
“Reusing” a bumper sticker
Want to remove a bumper sticker and then use it again later? Use a heat gun to gently heat up the sticker, pull it loose, and “stick it” on a piece of wax paper. When you’re ready to reuse it, pull it off the paper and slap it back on the bumper.
Removing an overhead mattress
Need to remove a mattress from your motorhome or truck camper overhead? It can be a tight proposition! Start to roll up the mattress, then bind it around with ratchet-style tie down straps. Cinch them up tight, then pull the mattress out. Or buy your new mattress from an outfit that will deliver and install your new mattress!
GPS home security advice follow-up
Last week we advised that you never put your “home” coordinates in your GPS, so if a crook steals your GPS and keys he won’t know where to go and clean you out. Well, we heard from Steve B., Kurt, and Tony M., who all advised putting in the local police station as the “home” address. (Would that be a case of “poetic justice”?) But then George B. wrote that he lost a handheld Magellan while out hunting 300 miles from home. About two months later another hunter found the device. Turned out the man lived about 12 miles from George and after tracking the coordinates (in the GPS) to George’s “home” he returned the GPS to its rightful owner. George says, “I’ve told this story many times of how my GPS found its own way home. One more case of having trust in humanity.”
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
“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.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Jazz up your backsplash with peel-and-stick Smart Tiles
Few people redecorate after purchasing a new or used RV, but you can quickly breathe new life into your RV with these light and easy-to-install peel-and-stick tiles from Smart Tiles. They’re specifically designed for kitchen and bathroom walls; no special tools are needed and installation is dust free. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Propane running low? This will tell you!
With this Dometic LPGC10 LP Gas Checker you can instantly monitor your LP tank’s level. It uses ultrasonic technology to tell you in just a few seconds how full – or empty – a propane tank is. It’s about the size of a writing pen and weighs less than ounce, so it’s easy to store. For use on steel and aluminum liquid propane tanks. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
A/C concerns in long-term shady campsite for camp hosts
We start our first 8-week camp hosting activity in a few weeks. Our campsite is very shady with hardly any sunlight making it to the ground because of all the trees. My real concern is our air conditioners will always be wet/moist causing mold/mildew to form. One of our A/C units has duct work throughout the roof. I can just imagine having mold spores flying through the duct work then ending up inside the trailer for us to breathe. Also, will our roof and awnings end up getting very nasty? Am I overly concerned? Please help! —Gene Bennington
Graphite keeps your locks working
Keep your RV’s locks (and other locks, too) working the way they should. This product from AGS will keep them lubricated and working smoothly and will guard against sticking and dirt buildup. Also reduces wear and corrosion. This should be essential equipment on all RVs. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
with Bob Difley
Where can I boondock and see California condors
My wife and I are RVers from the Midwest and would like to see the California condors that have been introduced into the wild in California. Are there any places to boondock where we can see them? —Bernie
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: The struggle to keep America wild.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
JUST PUBLISHED! Essential for big RVs!
2018 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.
with Mike Sokol
Beware of Electric Shock Drowning — Critical information!
You may have read Mike’s articles and watched his videos about RV hot-skin conditions. But for those of you who boat or swim around boat docks, there’s another dangerous shock condition that claims dozens of lives a year. It’s called Electric Shock Drowning (or ESD for short), and it occurs when a boat or dock is powered by an AC shore pedestal and there’s a failure in the boat’s or dock’s grounding system. There have already been two deaths in the USA from Electric Shock Drowning just in the last week, and since we’re now in the middle of the recreational boating season, it’s a good time to go over the basics. Read more.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Stop rust and corrosion
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV —like mold, mildew, leaks and black streaks — rust will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges & other vulnerable metal surfaces & moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust & corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts & tools to stop squeaks & sticking. Learn more.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Another example of learning correct tire inflation
Roger Marble was asked how to calculate correct tire inflation when the individual was having difficulty getting an accurate RV weight at the CAT scale. He wanted to weigh each side separately, but ended up weighing each axle. Roger explains it is CAT policy to not do one-side weights; but that since it’s important to know the actual side-to-side load on the tires, he should go somewhere other than a CAT truck stop scale. Learn more.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
RV Camping in State Parks
The 6th edition of this guidebook profiles nearly 1,750 state parks, forests and recreation areas in 49 states that offer accommodations for RVers. Included are state maps, directions (and GPS), number of sites including those with hookups, WiFi access, plus other amenities. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Walking on an RV roof
Some RV roofs are not designed to walk on — consult the owner’s manual. If your RV roof is not designed to walk on, use a ladder and a long-handled brush for routine cleaning. If you must get on the roof to inspect sealants, use 2-foot x 4-foot pieces of plywood to distribute your weight evenly across the roof rafters. Exercise caution whenever you are on the roof of your RV. A fall can result in serious injury or death.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Easy way to add water to your batteries!
Never, ever, let your automotive or RV deep cycle batteries run out of water. Here’s a simple way to keep them topped off for maximum performance and long life. Just use this syringe with distilled water. So easy. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Curry in a hurry.
To some RV travelers this will be a vegetarian main dish. To others it’s a spicy side dish to go with almost any bland meat or casserole. Easy, affordable and nutritious, it can be made in a skillet or saucepan on the stove, grill or grate. Get the recipe.
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.
Readers need help
Reader seeks help with Keystone trailer problems
Editor Chuck Woodbury received an email from reader Peter Morgenstern about several unresolved issues with his Keystone Cougar travel trailer and lack of acceptable response from Keystone. We’re sharing it with you to see how many others have had the same experience. Please leave a comment if you have encountered similar defects in your Keystone trailer. How did Keystone respond? Do you have any suggestions for Peter? Read more.
Do you have an RV-related problem that you’d like to share with other readers for their advice to help solve? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and it could be featured here.
Keep your fridge in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution: Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And it’s only about $8. (The RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Need a break on I-40? Pull off at
the “World’s Largest Spinach Can”
Interstate 40 is an incredible highway — it cuts through the south-central portion of the United States and is the fastest route from the Atlantic Ocean to California. To relieve boredom, or to just get out of your rig, stretch your legs and grab an ice cream, consider an RV Short Stop in Alma, Ark., the self-proclaimed Spinach Capital of the World.
Good reading from RV123.com
• The Hutte Hut is a teardrop trailer that has just enough room to sleep two adults.
• Watch this video for an 8 step checklist of everything you’ll need to do once you arrive at your campsite.
•Organize all your outdoor gear in Mountainsmith’s Modular Hauler System.
Easily clean those
stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
U.S. 60 Roadside Picnic Area
Willard, New Mexico
The state allows parking for a maximum of 24 hours in any 3-day period. The picnic area has room for several rigs. Historical marker, one sheltered picnic table, view of dry lake bed. Very busy RR tracks across US 60. One RVer stayed here specifically to observe trains and counted 50 passing by in less than 24 hours.
FREE: GPS: 34.598300, -105.919400
Pine Bluff Information Center
Pine Bluffs, Wyoming
State of WY prohibits overnight camping in rest areas, but allows sleeping in parked vehicles, provided vehicle is in travel ready condition: no levelers, slides, awnings or other items deployed. Information center open May – Oct; restrooms open all year. Picnic tables, fireplaces, information board, trees, pet walk area. Take exit 401 off I-80.
FREE. GPS: 41.174685, -104.074866
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 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 is required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Videos you’ll like
• How a paper cup can save the day at an RV sewer hookup
Here’s a quick tip that could save the day for you down the road. Watch the video.
• RV History: When a motorhome wasn’t a motorhome
Does an RV need an engine to be called a motorhome? Today it does, but it wasn’t always so. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Upcoming RV Shows
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
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.
This week in history
Week of June 24–30
Compiled by Dell Bert
1936 — “Gone with the Wind” is published.
1953 — First Corvette is built in Flint, Mich.
1956 — Congress approves Federal Highway Act,
to construct 41,000 miles of interstate highways.
1966 — First mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles.
1985 — Route 66 decertified after 59 years.
2003 — Katharine Hepburn dies at age 96.
•A polar bear’s fur is transparent and holds no color. (from numerous sources)
•The total solar eclipse will be first seen in the USA at Lincoln Beach, Oregon, on August 21, at 9:05 a.m. Pacific Time.
Bumper sticker of the week
“Women Want Me. Fish Fear Me.”
Funny/clever business slogan
At a propane filling station: “Thank heaven for little grills.” —Thanks, KFK!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Random RV Thought
On those occasions when you’re traveling by car and not with an RV, and you pull into a rest area, you can get a little sad. It happens when see happy RVers walking in and out of their RVs, or maybe see them sitting inside having a snack. You realize that all you have is a car, which is boring compared to an RV.
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” —William Wordsworth
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Administrative Assistant: Emily Woodbury.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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