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Issue 801 • Week of July 8–14, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
My staff and I had to work frantically to get this issue to you on time. Early Thursday morning, our website was hacked, shutting us down for 11 hours. Instead of working on this newsletter as we usually do, we concentrated on getting our website back up and running, a frustrating process. Finally, early Thursday evening we succeeded. Unfortunately, we lost everything we wrote the day before, putting us two days behind schedule. If you left a comment on an article on Wednesday, it was lost.
So here I sit, Thursday evening, playing catch up. Diane McGovern, our managing editor and staff night owl, just emailed me. “I’m going to feed the dog and then I’ll be able to really focus on what needs to be done,” she wrote. “I’ll stay up tonight and see what I can do. Adrenaline works really well for me when I’m really busy.”
I want to tell her to get her sleep but it’s never any use. She typically works into the wee hours. It actually works out okay, because I’m a morning person. Between us, we keep our eyes on this website all but a few hours a night. Speaking of morning person and night person, what are you? We’ll make that this issue’s Reader’s Poll question (see below).
* * *
AS LONGTIME READERS KNOW, we were unable to conduct reader surveys for a couple of recent years. Well, as you have likely noticed, they’re back, although we now call them polls. I’m learning a lot about you again, which is a huge help in choosing what topics to cover in this newsletter and on the RVtravel.com website.
Recently, for example, I learned that most of you are in your 60s and 70s. That’s a bit older than the last time we asked your age: It seems that as I grow older, so does this audience. I simply do not know how to write effectively to Millennials. Their reasons for RVing are, I think, very different from yours and mine.
I also learned through our polls that more than three quarters of you travel with your RV at least two months or more a year. Almost a third of you travel more than half the year or full-time! All together, we are one active, adventurous group.
Meanwhile, RV industry bigwigs continue to toot their horns, bragging about its sales efforts to Millennials, often ignoring you and me — us old folks. Well, think about who’s buying the higher-end rigs and traveling in them the most? You, me and our peers! We are still the most important segment of the RV consumer universe, and through this newsletter, our voice and concerns will continue to be heard.
I must move on now. There’s still much to do to get this issue finished and dispatched into cyberspace.
Thanks for being here, reading what we write. We’d appreciate it very much if you would tell your RVer friends about us. And if you would like to help support our efforts, become a voluntary subscriber. Not necessary, of course, but always appreciated by our dedicated staff.
P.S. If you just can’t wait for your Saturday morning email alert, please sign up for a daily email with all the stories we posted in the previous 24 hours. There are no ads, just a short paragraph about each story with a link. Sign up here.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Is reading this newsletter
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.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The correct answer is 2.75 million horses.
Win this Remote Control Lamborghini Sports Car. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: How many military horses did Germany use in World War II? 2.75 million, 1.1 million or 472,000? 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: Lincoln Brown of Tullahoma, Tenn. He won the very useful Camco TastePure Drinking Hose.
You’ll find some good reading (and viewing) material here.
• Internet access/Wi-Fi
• Women RVers
• Outdoor grilling
• Leveling and stabilization
• RV maintenance and repair videos
• Editor Chuck Woodbury’s Roadside Journal
Extreme fire conditions have led to a fire ban in Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.). Effective July 1, no campfires are allowed throughout the park, and smoking is limited to inside of enclosed vehicles.
After pressure from local RV park owners in Prince George, British Columbia, the Treasure Cove Casino and Hotel said recently it would no longer permit overnight RV parking on its property. Local RV park owners were thrilled. But, their party didn’t last long. Early this week, the casino reversed its decision. Overnight parking is once again okay.
Lassen National Forest (Calif.) needs campground hosts at Almanor North, Almanor South, and Domingo Springs campgrounds near Chester. Meet and greet, do a bit of light maintenance; get a place to park your rig, water and sewer hookups, and a bit of propane at the Almanor sites. At Domingo Springs, no hookups, but you’ll get the propane and some gasoline for your generator. Contact Stacy Kronner, at 530-258-2141 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A British RV owner, disgruntled with problems in his new motorhome the dealer wouldn’t fix, has hit on a novel approach to calling attention to the RV industry’s problems. Lee Owens and his wife saved for eight years to buy a $60,000 Swift motorhome to enable them to take their disabled daughter on holidays to France. But once purchased, the rig reportedly had a leaking water pump, gas stove issues, and interior trim problems. When the dealer wouldn’t respond, Lee parked the new rig in front of the dealership with a huge sign on it stating, “Warning – New van falling to bits. Waited months. No after service.” It didn’t take long for the manufacturer to step in and offer to fix the rig. Would this work in the U.S.? Full story here.
Solar eclipse madness continues in Oregon. Now operators of the Mt. Bachelor ski lifts say they’ve got a deal for you. A special “eclipse-viewing” lift ticket will let you view the eclipse from an elevated platform. For $39, see the eclipse from the lift, and get a free set of eclipse viewing spectacles, too. Or bring your RV and park among 99 other RVs for three days for only $149.
A huge blow to some campers in Montana: Crystal Lake Campground in the Lewis & Clark National Forest has closed down. Rangers discovered a large number of trees that came down in heavy snowfall over the winter, leading to an investigation that revealed stem decay and root disease had hit trees in the area. Now these hazard trees must be removed, and reports indicate the campground could be closed “for the next few seasons.” Officials say that even after the disease-affected trees are gone, healthy ones not used to resisting winds could blow down with their formerly sheltering trees removed.
As of the end of June, the Born Free Motorcoach plant in Iowa was still closed, with its phone disconnected. The firm’s product manager was in the dark, saying he was still waiting for the company to either put up cash for continued operations — or not. The plant had a two- to three-month backlog of orders when the doors slammed closed “for a week” back on May 15.
Mill Creek Campground in Ohio, an Army Corps of Engineers facility, closed July 5, and will remain that way “for the foreseeable future.” The campground, which hosts 1,500 to 2,000 people on a busy weekend, is suffering from sewage issues, and the Corps says it’s been forced to close until the problem can be cleared up.
We reported earlier on Bismark, North Dakota’s Capital RV, where a fire caused $2.5 million in damages. Fire officials are still scratching their heads over how that mid-June fire started, but now they have another one: Last week another RV at the dealership burst into flames, a loss of $50,000. Officials say neither fire looks “suspicious,” but they haven’t completed their investigation yet.
A visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Mich.) will likely cost you more in the near future. In 2016, entry fees to the site jumped 50 percent, and plans are to pump rates up another 25 percent in 2018. Park Superintendent Scott Tucker says the lake shore needs additional funds for upkeep and maintenance, and says the intent of the two-step fee increase was to not jack the rates too quickly.
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.
An aerial drone hampered efforts on Tuesday to extinguish the Silver Dollar Fire at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state. As a precaution, three helicopters and an airplane which were battling the fire were grounded. “If a drone is detected flying over or near a wildfire, this intrusion will prevent air tankers from dropping fire retardant, helicopters from dropping water and other aircraft from performing wildfire suppression missions until it can be confirmed that the drone has left the area and fire managers are confident it will not return,” officials said. Sheriff’s deputies are investigating who was flying the drone. As of Thursday the fire, which had burned 31,000 acres, was totally contained. The cause of the fire remains unknown.
It wasn’t the grandest 4th of July weekend in Grand Haven State Park in Michigan. On Monday police from several agencies were called as some 200 to 300 beachgoers at the park, some evidently fueled by banned alcohol, started mixing it up. The 30 responding officers from three different agencies took about a half hour to break up the fights and toss everyone from the park. Tuesday, with a higher level of security and booze-check measures in place, the crowds were allowed back in.
Last year we ran a feature story on Susan Luckie Reilly, who at that time celebrated a century of living, and was the darling of California’s Joshua Tree National Park where she had been a ranger-naturalist — the first woman to attain such a position at the park. Sadly, we report Ms. Reilly died on her 101st birthday on June 22.
Got visions of an RV trip to Alaska in your planner? Alaska State Parks officials now have more space for you and your rig, with the opening of K’esugi Ken Campground in Denali State Park, at milepost 135.4 on the Parks Highway. Views from the 33-site RV area of the campground are breathtaking, with Denali’s summit in easy view.
Deschutes National Forest (Ore.) officials say, “Watch out for the sinkhole at Wickiup Reservoir!” The reservoir is near La Pine, Ore., and the 10-foot by 12-foot sinkhole was, at last report, nearly five feet deep. The hole is near the campground at the reservoir, about 250 feet from the boat ramp. Officials aren’t sure if the hole will result in any closures, but warn visitors to steer clear.
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 .
The Jellystone Campground in Austin, Minn., got an unwelcome phone call that resulted in 100 campers being evacuated. On June 24, a campground ranger got a phone call from someone speaking in a “Middle Eastern accent” who reported bombs had been placed around the campground, set to detonate at noon. The call was completed with the expression, “Praise Allah.” Bomb-sniffing dogs evidently turned up no explosives.
RVers are usually well-versed in dealing with wild animals they may encounter in their journeys. Don’t get too close to the buffalo, don’t leave food out that bears might eat, and (of late) watch out for rabid critters. But monkeys? A family visiting Florida’s Silver Springs State Park in Ocala say they were attacked by a troupe of wild rhesus monkeys on June 29. Officials say there are about 200 of the primates in the park. For the record, to protect yourself from wild monkeys, don’t look directly in their eyes. And for heaven’s sake, if you smile at them, don’t show your teeth — it’s just asking for a fight. Back away with open palms, which shows you’re not carrying anything tasty.
An apparent road rage incident in Missouri left a motorhome driver shaken but uninjured. The unnamed RVer reported she was driving her rig north on Interstate 55 in Perry County when a car came up behind her as her coach slowed on an upgrade. The car passed her, but on the downgrade, the motorhome passed the car. On the next up and down grade, this happened again, apparently frustrating the car driver. On the next upgrade, the car passed the motorhome and the driver, David Paul Ellis of St. Genevieve, Mo., pulled a gun and blasted out his own rear window. Two bullets went through the coach’s windshield, one ricocheting around and ending up in the dashboard. Police later found Ellis’ car, abandoned, with an empty handgun on the front seat. Ellis admitted he “flipped out,” and is now charged with three felonies.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Are you a morning, afternoon, evening or night person?
In other words, when do have the most energy and are most productive? 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:
Did you buy your RV new or used?
Click here for the results.
Power up your RV with wind power
Priced on a “per watt” basis, wind turbines beat solar panels hands-down. A typical RVer’s wind turbine costing in the mid-$500 range can put out 400 watts of power in a 28-mile-per-hour wind. You’d be hard pressed to spend much less than $1500 to obtain solar panels that will produce that much power. But hang on, there are plenty of considerations besides dollar costs. Learn more.
Be prepared for RV breakdowns — physically and mentally
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, wrote this article about RV breakdowns while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. As we all know, it really doesn’t matter what form of “transportation” you use, breakdowns happen. So how do you deal with the ever-present specter of the dreaded breakdown? Find out here.
Ten ways to make your RV safer
You might have heard the phrase “Better safe than sorry.” With a few minutes of your time and a safety checklist for things in, on and under your RV, you can prevent many accidents and dangerous practices. Learn more.
Full-time RVing — What about your driver’s license?
Planning on embarking on a lifestyle of full-time RVing? There are lots of considerations and details to be worked out, not the least of which is that little card in your wallet — a driver’s license. How does a full-time RVer who, by nature, doesn’t have a “fixed” address get a driver’s license that shows a “fixed” address? Find out here.
RV Mods: Is an RV cover right for you?
It’s never too early to think about storing your unit in preparation for a long, cold winter or when you will not be using it for a season. Some RV owners wonder about the best methods of caring for their investment and how to maintain its spiffy, shiny finish. The question they usually have is: Should I invest in an RV cover? Russ and Tiña De Maris will help you figure it out.
Save $$ on fresh fruits and veggies — Pick your own!
Picking your own fruit and vegetables is catching on as health- and taste-conscious consumers seek fresher and healthier food. You can now find everything to pick yourself from apples and nuts to fruits, berries and vegetables. Prices are considerably cheaper since you have eliminated the labor cost of harvesting from the farmer’s overhead. Learn more.
Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
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 maintains clean sensors, eliminates 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.
Who says you can’t make “exotic” meals in the RV galley? — Japanese Gyoza
Rich “The Wanderman” says dumplings are good, and Japanese dumplings or Gyoza are amazing. They are related to their Chinese counterparts, but are quite different. He learned how to make these little beauties about a year ago and then realized that they could be made in the RV without much trouble. Since they cook in a single skillet, they are even easy to clean up. Find out how to make mouth-watering Gyoza.
Trailer users — Here’s a front/rear leveling tip
When you’re logging long miles and pull into a campsite for the night, the last thing you want to do is take the time to unhitch, just to hitch back up to leave the next morning. If you have a level campsite you can just stay hooked up, but what do you do when the campsite slopes to the front or rear so much that you are unable to level the RV without unhitching? Here’s a quick tip.
Airstream tribute video is inspiring
If you own an Airstream RV, you must watch this wonderful four-minute mini-documentary about the trailer and its history. Even if you are not an Airstream owner, the video will delight you. Yes, it’s about Airstream in particular, but no matter what RV you own or hope to own, the video is inspiring. Watch the video.
The case of Flo and the swimming motorhome
If you want a new RV and think you can get more from an insurance claim for replacement cost on your old one than the trade-in value, don’t do what this guy did. The facts of the case paint an interesting — if not thought-provoking — picture. After Progressive’s “special investigations unit” investigated, the claim and the motorhome were both sunk. Read more.
GMC motorhomes were way ahead of their time
Most motorhomes built more than 40 years ago are badly showing their age by now — if you can even find one outside a junkyard. Not so with the GMC motorhome, which first rolled off the production line in 1973 and is still very visible on the highways today. Eight thousand of the sleek motorhomes are thought to still be on the road, an incredibly high percentage of the total ever built, about 13,000. Do you have one? Read more.
America’s Largest RV Show coming 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.
Websites of the Week
Here are four we like:
The best summer vacation spot in every state
You don’t need to go far to have an epic summer vacation. From local gems to world-famous spots, Insider found the best summer vacation destination in every state. From Insider and msn.com.
The 16 dumbest things people have done in U.S. national parks
You won’t believe some of the things people have done in our national parks, but we’re positive that you are lots smarter than these folks! From Insider and msn.com.
The best thing to see from your car (or RV) in every state
No road trip is complete without a few stops to take in the best sights America has to offer — from wacky roadside attractions to stunning vistas. The best part? You don’t even need to get out of your vehicle to see most of them. Here’s the best thing to see from your car (or, better yet, your RV) in each state. From Insider and msn.com.
Current wildfire information
Incident Information System (InciWeb) is a U.S. government interagency which provides the public a single source of incident-related information. Learn about current incidents (wildfires), including location, status and acres, as well as announcements, closures, photographs and maps of wildfires. The information is constantly updated, and is important when planning a road trip.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
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.
Ask the RV Shrink
Pros and cons of RVing with mother-in-law
We have had a large motorhome for many years. I always thought that after I retired, my wife and I would travel several months during the year. Now that I have retired and have all my ducks in a row, my wife refuses to go because her 83-year-old mother would be left alone. My mother-in-law is healthy and active but my wife is afraid she would feel abandoned if we were gone that long. … —Mommy-in-Law’s Boy in Bowling Green
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.
Time to change your water filter — if you haven’t already!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100 micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.26 (on July 3). Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 3 cents.
Diesel: $2.47 (on July 3). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 5 cents.
Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that lets you discover how you can travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than it costs to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he shows you step-by-step how to enjoy the RVing lifestyle while traveling and living on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Why one fire extinguisher is not enough
When using an extinguisher to put out the surface flames, make sure to totally penetrate the fuel so that it’s cooled; otherwise, the fire can flare up again. This is when having an additional fire extinguisher is important. If you use your only fire extinguisher to stop the fire and don’t have another one to cool the area down, the fire could restart and you won’t have anything to fight it. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
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.
RV Quick Tips
Another important pet reminder
Travel with pets? If you’re worried about them getting lost and have ID tags on their collars, remember to put your cell phone number on the tag, not your home phone. After all, you won’t be home to answer the phone.
Keep your ceiling light covers in place
RV fluorescent ceiling light covers often pop off on bumpy roads. Get out your tube of acrylic or silicone sealant and put a dot on each end and in the middle of both sides of the jumpy covers. Let the goop dry, then reinstall the shade. The dried goop should provide enough friction to keep things in place.
Easy and fun window coverings for privacy
Hate the curtains on some of your windows – like the one in the bathroom or the “relite” in the entry door? Ditch the curtains and simply pick up a chunk of privacy screen contact paper or static cling window film. Cut it to size, pull off the backing sheet (if applicable), and apply to a clean window. Amazon.com has lots of styles to choose from.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
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.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Simplify your life with FloJet Portable RV Waste Pump
Dumping your RV waste tanks is the slowest, messiest job in the RV world, but not anymore! The FloJet Portable RV Waste Pump system chomps down the waste in your holding tanks to garden-hose size at 25 gallons per minute. The FloJet macerator breaks up all the waste in your gray and black water tanks to 1/8 of an inch, making dumping quick and easy — emptying a 40-gallon holding tank in less than 5 minutes! Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
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 on this website. Send to managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
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
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV carpet replacement
We are considering replacing the carpeting in our motorhome with new carpeting or vinyl flooring. Should we see an RV service dealer or a carpet store? Thanks! —Carole B.
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.
with Bob Difley
I boondocked (in a BLM dispersed camping area) recently near a group of people in tents and they dumped their dishwashing water on the ground several feet from their campsite as well as allowing the water from their sun shower to fall on the ground. Yet, since I have a motorhome, I am required to contain all my wastewater in a holding tank and carry it to a dump station. Can I instead just run a dump hose from my gray tank out away from my campsite and empty it onto the ground without running the risk of getting a ticket? —Clifford
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Enjoy our public lands — while there are still some left.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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.
with Mike Sokol
All about non-contact voltage testers
My 2015 R-Pod 178 tests hot with a Fluke Meter when plugged into my 110 house circuit. It tests hot when touching the metal frame of the RV. I do not feel a shock when touching the same metal. This is quite disturbing. What do I do now? —Irish Tom
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.
“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.
Your RVer Horoscopes for July
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for July in last week’s newsletter? No problem. He anticipated that (he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
“Care and feeding” of your valve stems
Roger offers important tips if you’re getting long “bent” metal stems installed on your tires and the proper way to check the tire pressure with those long stems. He also explains about the proper torque of the metal nut for bolt-in valve stems — especially critical to know if your vehicle came from the factory with an internal TPMS. Learn more.
Keep your food cool
with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Controlling holding tank odors
One secret to controlling odors and extending the life of your RV holding tanks is to add plenty of water to the black water tank every time you empty it. You want the bottom of the tank to be completely covered by water, and depending on the size of the tank this might require three or more toilet bowls of water. Another thing to keep in mind is to add plenty of water to the bowl every time you flush the toilet so there is enough water in the tank at all times to help control holding tank odors.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Beer Cheese Dip
The recipe works with regular or non-alcohol beer or ale. It also works with hard cider. Serve it savory and warm with lots of pretzels, chips, pitas, raw veggies and all the dippers you like best. This makes a large batch of dip that is so rich you might serve it with chunks of peasant bread and a salad for a meal. Get the recipe.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — and perfect for RVers: it pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer, too! Learn more or order at Amazon.com
RV Short Stop
LeMay America’s Car Museum
LeMay America’s Car Museum (ACM), is a sprawling four-story, 165,000-square-foot facility near the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. Since 2012, it’s housed 815 vehicles including cars, motorcycles and boats (no RVs yet). The museum’s eclectic cars and rotating exhibits offer a glimpse into the histories of countless makes and vehicle types. A hugely popular event is the Summer Drive Series (free with admission) where visitors can ride in vehicles from the ACM Collection and “experience history in motion.” Read Julianne G. Crane’s article.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Who says you can’t have delicious barbecue while you’re camping?
• A recent report found the U.S. RV industry to be thriving.
• Accidents happen. Luckily, the American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies right in your hand.
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.
Free and bargain camping
Itawamba County Welcome Center
FREE: Park in marked long-vehicle spaces. Use of slideouts not permitted. In the center there are complimentary beverages and WiFi. Dump station. Located on westbound 78 at milepost 114 or 115. GPS: 34.221253, -88.233035
SunRay Park and Casino
Farmington, New Mexico
FREE. Obtain permission at security guard at main entrance. Park in lots E through K only. Not quite level. Appears safe. Located at 39 Road 5568. GPS: 36.698510, -108.098910
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 required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
Videos you’ll like
• Okay to run RV fridge with inverter while moving?
Rob Heckenask of Xantrex has an answer. Watch the video.
• FMCA motorhome club to admit towable RVs?
That will be the question at this coming week’s FMCA rally in Indianapolis. In this video, FMCA president Charlie Adcock explains more. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Upcoming RV Shows
• Green Country RV Show, July 21-23, Tulsa, OK
• Midwest RV Super Show, August 10-13, Elkhart, IN
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
Keep rodents out of your RV!
The overwhelmingly positive reviews on this make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets so no safety warning is required. 98% biodegradable. Tested and endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of July 8–14
Compiled by Dell Bert
1862 — Medal of Honor is created.
1914 — Babe Ruth makes MLB debut.
1962 — Bob Dylan records “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
1962 — U.S. Patent issued for three-point seat belt.
1985 — Live Aid concert raises more than $125 million for famine relief in Africa.
1995 — Heat wave in Illinois and Wisconsin kills nearly 1,000 people.
The German army used 2.75 million warhorses during World War II, twice the number used in World War I. More than 60 percent of the horses ended up as casualties. Their average life expectancy was four years. — SOURCE: The Perfect Horse.
Bumper sticker of the week
“A chocolate doughnut in each hand. Now that’s a balanced diet!”
Funny/clever business slogan
“Satisfaction guaranteed or double your trash back” — at a disposal company.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Random RV Thought
On a dark night, when the night sky is ablaze with stars and you are camped far from the lights of the city, grab a pillow and a blanket and climb to the roof of your RV. Lie on your back and observe the heavenly spectacle above.
Joke of the Week
The sergeant major yelled, “Private Philpott, I didn’t see you at camouflage training this morning!” Philpott replied, “Thank you, sir!”
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” —Charles Kuralt
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. Advertising Coordinator: Gail Meyring
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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