RV Travel Newsletter Issue 811

RV Travel Newsletter Issue 811

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Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 17th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 811 • Week of September 16–22, 2017


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Best-selling RV products and AccessoriesUPDATED HOURLY.
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Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com

I’m writing to you on Thursday from “America’s Largest RV Show” in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Special deals wherever you turn.

The show opened yesterday. I awoke to rain pounding on my motorhome’s roof. I felt sorry for the show organizers. “They won’t set any attendance records today,” I said to Gail. Two hours later we arrived on the scene, and I could hardly believe my eyes: The place was packed! It looked like a Saturday crowd! But this was Wednesday and more rain threatened. How could this be?

Is RVing so popular these days that buyers are willing to attend a mostly outdoor show even in marginal weather? Apparently so: The opening day attendance topped last year’s record crowd by almost 10 percent! 

This scares me! With so many RVers already on the road, and practically no new campsites, where will we all stay?  

Who cares? Apparently not these would-be buyers, some of whom plan to live in their RV full time! They see the beautiful coaches here and fall in love, and as the wise among us know, love is blind.

Some of these rolling homes are as comfortable as a luxury hotel suite. They’re smaller than a traditional home, yes, but they have every convenience. With four or five slide outs, a bathroom (or two), washer-dryers, dishwashers, big screen TVs, heated floors, king size beds, built-in WiFi boosters … well, who couldn’t travel or live comfortably in one of these mobile mansions?

SOME OF THEIR PRICE TAGS are incredibly appealing — much lower than a home with similar amenities. Why? Often, it’s irresistible financing terms. “Only $779 a month,” a sign on one RV notes, and a savings of $41,657 over the MSRP of $159,656 on another. “That’s only half as much as our mortgage,” a couple might think. But read the fine print: After 10 percent down, at 4.99 percent APR, that monthly payment stretches for 20 years! That’s crazy — 20 years of payments, while the coach depreciates to practically zero at the end! Yet people get sucked into these deals. If they pay on time each month, in 20 years, they will have paid a whopping $186,741.

Traveling (or living) in this is hardly “roughing it.”

STILL, THERE’S THE DREAM, and what a powerful dream it is! You see it in the eyes of buyers: Sell the house, get rid of all their stuff, and head out to see America at their own pace, leaving responsibility and worries behind, in an incredibly comfortable, rolling condo. I bet in some cases their new RV is nicer than the home they left behind. 

All this said, if you’re looking for a new RV and can afford it without financing it for 20 years, get on over to the show this weekend if you’re close by, or plan to attend next year. It’s worth it. It’s Disneyland for RV buyers — 33 football fields of RVs. Plan to stay a few days. While you’re in the area, visit Hershey’s Chocolate World, and maybe sip a Chocolate Beer or two at a local watering hole.

chucksignature

 

 

ALSO: Be sure to sign up for our new, monthly newsletter about RV electricity, edited by Mike Sokol. First issue this fall. Sign up here.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)


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


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woman-748Is reading this newsletter
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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.


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMRecent recalls:
Hymer recalls some Aktiv RVs for taillight problem.
Thor recalls some Hurricane, Serrano, Windsport motorhomes.
Big recall on Ford F-150, F-250 and F-350 trucks.
Thor recalling 860 trailers for propane hazard.
Forest River recalling some 2018 Rockwood, Flagstaff trailers.
Big recall on 2016-2018 Springdale, Summerland trailers.



THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The answer was century-old turn signal. Win this paperback edition of No~Shock~Zone RV Electrical Safety by Mike Sokol. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: What product is shown in the photo at right? An electric arthritis pain reliever from the ’30s? Century-old turn signal? Hand strength exerciser from the ’50s? If you’re not sure, click here. 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 Monday 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: Priscilla Derrick, of Buzzards Bay, Mass. She won the nifty double-sided panini and sandwich maker.


breaking-newsSales of new motorhomes continue to be a mixed bag. Overall, manufacturers saw 13 percent more motorhomes registered in July 2017 than in July 2016. However, Class C units were what kept the market alive, as sales of these units were up nearly 42 percent, while Class A units advanced less than 0.5 percent for the same time period. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc. 

Towable RV sales are still on an upward trend. Reporting on sales for the first seven months of 2017, Statistical Surveys Inc. says towable sales were up more than 11 percent for the period. Leading the group, travel trailers were up more than 12 percent and fifth wheels were up nearly 9 percent. Bucking the trend, pop-ups continued to sink almost 2 percent, and park models dragged down more than 9 percent. 

Planning a snowbird migration but worried about fuel prices? They’re up now, thanks to the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey, but they’ll likely sink back to normal levels by October. This opinion comes from analysts with fuel price watcher GasBuddy. While many refineries in Texas were shut down by the big blow, happily few suffered major damage and are coming back online.

Market watching firm Black Book reports a surprise in the used motorhome wholesale auction market. Typically, all RVs begin to decline in value at auction this time of year, and in August, that held true for towables. But motorhome values jumped up 15 percent from July — completely unexpected, reports the firm  — to an average sale price of $47,723. Towable units declined 2 percent, to an average of $11,984. 

For campers in Connecticut, it’s all over but the shouting. State parks in the Nutmeg State traditionally hold campgrounds open until mid-October, but due to a budget disagreement, it shuttered campgrounds right after Labor Day weekend. State parks themselves are open — but camping is cut.

Photo: KSL.com

A school bus driver is credited with saving the lives of a busload of students in Utah. An SUV pulling a travel trailer lost control and headed into the path of the bus Steve Peterson was driving near Levan. Peterson kept his cool and avoided a direct collision. He managed to bring his busload of 50 students to a safe stop, even after the windshield was peppered with what remained of the overturned travel trailer. He’ll need facial reconstruction, but only a few of his charges were injured, none seriously.

When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita roared into the U.S. in 2005, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) reacted by issuing some 144,000 travel trailers for families in need of emergency shelter. Not so with Harvey and Irma. FEMA says it has different plans — and using travel trailers or manufactured homes is a “last resort.” The agency wants to put more people up in temporary existing housing like motels and apartments, and focus on getting them back into their own homes as quickly as possible. 

The U.S. Forest Service says it has reopened the Iron Creek and Railroad campgrounds, both in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest in the state’s southwest corner. The campgrounds closed down more than a month ago after flooding required the rescue of campers trapped when entrances were washed out. 

Last week we reported that several National Forest campgrounds in southern states had offered free camping to Hurricane Harvey evacuees. Now Texas joins the group, with several forests offering camping, and others trying to restore facilities to provide shelter in the future. Click here to see locations and availability.


Save your knees when working under your RV
Do you ever need to reach under your RV to grab something, adjust something, add air to a tire, or remove a leveling block? If you’re parked on dirt, gravel, hot pavement or other uncomfortable surfaces, your knees can take a beating! This kneeler pad, for about $7, will save the day. The RVtravel.com staff uses its pad all the time. Learn more or order


news524(2)More News

Keystone says its RVs now come with a “three-year limited structural warranty.” Items covered include the roof, roof materials, installation, floor, walls, cap, internal framing and chassis. All other items in the unit will evidently continue under a one-year warranty. Keystone calls it “a huge commitment.” How it works out in practice remains to be seen. 

Spectrum RV

An Australian company that has imported American-built RVs to the Land Down Under for nearly 20 years got fed up with product quality. Spectrum RV reports it would take six weeks for a team of technicians to rebuild the newly arrived U.S. RVs to meet spec. What to do? They’ve built their own manufacturing facility in the U.S. and will sell their product in the U.S. and Australia, featuring rigs which they say offer “a European look, American muscle and [are] Outback tough.” Visit Spectrum RV.

Washington State Fish and Wildlife enforcers say they’ve broken up a poaching ring — led by a man who used his position as a campground host to facilitate illegal hunts. Authorities allege that Eddy Dills (age 57) of Longview, Wash., while camp hosting at Takhlakh Lake Campground, used it as a spot to organize illegal big game hunts in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Several people have been charged in connection with incidents that include black bears, cougars, bobcats, deer and elk – many taken with the assistance of hounds. 

Escapees RV Club members can now get discounts on Goodyear tires, both for their RVs and any other “tired” thing they own. The club says members will typically save $90 on a four-tire purchase. 

Photo: ABC 33/40

Among the millions forced from their homes in Florida is one 90-year-old woman who drove her RV from Homestead, Fla., to Hoover, Ala., alone. Estrellita Izquierdo told ABC 33/40 about the 800-mile journey. She decided to evacuate because she didn’t have electricity, but she had everything in her RV that she needed. Her cat accompanied her on the trip, along with a photo of her late husband. They had been together for 64 years before he died three years ago, but on this trip she felt that he was there with her. Estrellita’s large family continues to check on her, to “make sure I’m still breathing,” she laughed. She doesn’t have a timetable for when she will return home. Source: abc3340.com/news


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 more than 570 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.


Photo: Jesse Tinsley, The Spokesman-Review

A married couple named Schluter from Spokane, Wash., have quite a history. They’ve been married 75 years, and have taken in 102 foster children. As the children grew up and flew the coop, the Schluters would sometimes go and visit them — in their motorhome — covering several decades of travel. If their story isn’t remarkable enough — you’ll likely not forget them. Their names are Harvey (age 104) and Irma (age 93). 

You may soon need more gold to camp at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (Calif.). The National Park Service is mulling over fee increases in two campgrounds. Kirby Campground presently books for $25 and could rise to $30; and where camping is now free at Bicentennial Campground, users could get hit with a $20 tab. If the new fees go in, Bicentennial campers would get grills and a vault toilet. 

Photo: East Jefferson Fire-Rescue

A man in Chimacum, Wash., had a problem with an RV. The travel trailer hadn’t been used in more than a year, and a colony of yellowjacket wasps had built a home of their own in the RV. What to do? Hire somebody to rid the rig of the offending wasps! He did — by lighting a fire on the floor of the rig to “smoke them out.” He got the yellowjackets out, all right, but he burned up the RV in the process.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.


This week’s Reader Poll
Do you change the oil in your RV or tow vehicle yourself or pay to have it changed?
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:
Do you prefer to carefully plan your RV trips or travel spontaneously?
Click here for the results.



RVers should know about these emergency weather services
As RVers, we often travel in places where disaster may strike, and sometimes we may not even know what’s headed our way. In this article are a few resources that you might find helpful. If you know anyone in any “at risk” areas, pass this information along to them, too. Learn more.

“Camping” at the dump station
Here in a self-admittedly “cheeky” report by Wolfe Rose is a humorous recount of his recent “campout” at a dump station, and his not-too-subtle observations of those who went before him in line. Also, he explains point-by-point how he handles dumping his RVs tanks in a very efficient and hygienic manner (four minutes start-to-finish). Be entertained while you learn more.

How to carry extra propane safely
It can be a problem for many RVers, but especially those with truck campers: Sometimes there’s not enough room for propane. Where can we carry an extra cylinder or two of LP? TC users have come up with a variety of innovative places. Russ and Tiña De Maris point out some do’s and definite don’ts for storage of propane cylinders. Learn more.

Full-time RVing: Tips for downsizing your possessions
Are you preparing to head out into the new world of full-time RVing? Congratulations! But if you’ve been a sticks-and-bricks dweller for many years, you’re probably face-to-face with a BIG problem: What do I do with all this stuff? When it comes to getting rid of stuff, here’s a boil-down of the psychology and practicality of shrinking your possessions. Read more.

Good or bad idea:
using sewer hose as p-trap?

In the last issue, RV Travel editors commented on three sewer hose hookups at RV parks. No one took issue with photo #1 or photo #3. But photo #2 started a conversation regarding using the sewer hose at the sewer inlet end as a p-trap. Read more.

Okay to jack motorhome off ground for winter storage?
A reader wrote to Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, when he was the RVtravel.com technical editor. The reader wanted to know if it’s okay to use the leveling jack system on his motorhome to raise the RV off the ground and take some weight off the tires for extended periods of time during extremely low temperatures. Read full question and Chris’ response.


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.


RVers: Spend money – save money
We don’t know too many RVers who have money to burn. Most of us watch the fuel prices like a hawk; food prices hit us like they do anyone else. And, of course, “unexpected Bills” are like those hoodoo relatives we wish would never darken our doorway. So when you spend money, can you actually save money? Here are some thoughts from RVers on purchases they’ve made that they feel actually saved them money in the long run.

RV mods: Screen your engine for protection
Greg Illes was driving along the highway, enjoying the scenery, when suddenly a small flock of sparrows crossed his path. All escaped except for one, who had passed straight through the factory grill (in several pieces) and was distributed in a very messy fashion across two radiators and the hydraulic jack pump. Needless to say, it was a sad (and yucky) task to clean up, and it left him with a resolve to try to avoid a recurrence. Find out his quick (and attractive) fix to better protect his engine compartment. Learn more.

Even the simple things — Silicone grayscale multi-use pads
A while back Rich “The Wanderman” wrote an article about a massive rollable potholder/counter protector. That thing worked great, but was a little large for smaller pots. He recently found a smaller version, and they work great as pot holders, counter protectors and grips to loosen stubborn jar lids. He calls them “little squares of coolness.” Yup. Included is Rich’s rant about high-security packaging — we’re sure you’ll agree with him. Read more.

“Easy-lube”-ing your RV axle bearings? Take note!
Much has been written about the wisdom of pulling your trailer wheels apart every year or two and taking the time to inspect and repack the axle bearings. Oftentimes you’ll hear a response like: “Why waste the time? Just put on a lube system that allows you to pump fresh grease into the system.” Find out why a manual bearing lube job may be well worth the extra work — for more than one important reason.

Snowbird haunts: Pioche, Nevada
Pioche was southeastern Nevada’s richest mining town in the 1870s. It was so isolated that supplies had to be hauled over the grueling desert from a railhead 275 miles away, and the only law enforcement was 400 miles to the west. The historical experience of Pioche is 175 miles north of Las Vegas on US 93. Cathedral Gorge State Park, ten miles south, has 22 sites, each with a table, grill and shade ramada. Electric hookups are also available. Read more.


trumalogo

How can you end the “military” RV shower?
You know the routine, constantly turning off the shower to conserve hot water. That’s because most RVs have tank heaters with limited hot water. You never have to run out of hot water with a hybrid instant hot water heater. Find out how the Truma AquaGo®  gives you a real shower in your RV. Learn more here.


Readers’ comments on recent articles

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
Advantages of AGM batteries in motorhome.
Do you like to carefully plan your trips or just wing it?
Neophyte boondocker interested in staying long term in the woods.

More popular articles from last week’s issue
Should you unplug your RV during a lightning storm (VIDEO).
Full-time RVers: What object(s) would you not leave behind?
Ouch! Motorhome tail swing can get you in trouble.
Avoid little RVing disasters to reduce marital conflict.


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.


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.

Current wildfire information in the U.S. 
Complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. (There are 195 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday, Sept. 15.)


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 days 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

Avoid some little RV disasters with better communication

Dear RV Shrink:
We had a mini disaster while traveling recently in our older motorhome. My husband is always saying we need automatic levelers. Presently we use plastic levelers we drive up on. We were at a nice city park in Montana for the night and up on levelers on the passenger side only. I was boiling coffee on the stove and told my husband to let me know when he was coming off the leveling blocks so I could hold the coffee pot. Less than a minute later he rolled off without a word.

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.


Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust 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.

Click here for more information about using Airtabs™. Click here to purchase Airtabs™.


gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.69 (on Sept. 11). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 48 cents.
Diesel: $2.80 (on Sept. 11). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 40 cent.


Keep your slide out
sliding smoothly!

3-IN-ONE RVcare Slide-Out Silicone Lube is specially formulated to lubricate, waterproof and prevent rust and corrosion on all types of slide-out mechanisms. It’s quick drying, long lasting and safe to use on metal, rubber, vinyl and plastic. Watch the video or click here to learn more or order.


extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 9 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation

You may need to tailor your plan to accommodate a visually or hearing-impaired person. A whistle can aid a visually impaired person who needs to signal for help during an evacuation. Alarms that sound intermittently allow for an exchange of emergency information otherwise masked by the noise of a constant alarm. Continuously sounding alarms can disorient people who are auditory-dependent. Visual signaling systems are now available for those who can’t hear smoke alarms. Posting emergency information on your coach’s windows can alert rescuers to the fact there’s a person with special needs inside.  Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors


Full-timers: Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency,” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. Click the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with America’s Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll


RV Quick Tips

From Roger Stickley. Toad is “RVING-2”. Email photos of RVing-related personalized license plates to Diane (at) RVtravel.com

A safe-following-distance driving tip
Some suggest gauging a safe following distance by using a vehicle length for every 10 mph of speed, but it might be difficult to gauge a “vehicle length.” Myron suggests using a landmark the vehicle ahead is passing, then counting the seconds until he reaches the same spot. “The usual count is four seconds,” writes Myron. “When I drive my motorhome, I increase that time to six or seven seconds because of the extra weight I’m carrying and the distance I want between me and the next guy.” Thanks, Myron!

RV co-pilot provides second set of eyes
Having a co-pilot can be especially helpful when driving along narrow city streets. It’s important for your co-pilot to watch for signs that sort of “lean” into the right-hand traffic lane. Oversized temporary construction signs often stick out into the driving lane, too. These can damage a side mirror or scratch your RV. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.

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


90-degree-hosePrevent hose crimping and strain
. . . and extend RV hose life
This Valterra 90-Degree Hose Saver eliminates unnecessary stress and strain on all RV water intake hose fittings. The elbow, with an easy-grip connector, is made of brass and is lead-free. Learn more or order for a great price!


Gizmos and Gadgets

Stuff this backpack/duffel for day trips and weekend escapes
BoondockBob Difley likes containers of all sorts, especially soft containers that have divisions or pockets to organize stuff. So when Solo New York asked him to review the Weekender Backpack Duffel he couldn’t resist. This duffel is the perfect size and configuration for a weekend or day trip away from your RV, with enough pockets of different sizes for Bob to give it a thumbs up. Learn more.

Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.


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.


Reader RVs

photographer-682(2)

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.


 

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.


gary-736Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions

Fifth wheel travel trailers – inverters and generators

Dear Gary:
Do fifth-wheel travel trailers have inverters? If they do not, then I need one with a generator, right? —Robert P.

Read Gary’s response.

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


Keep robbers out of your storage compartments!
lock-758Did you know that many if not most keys to RV storage compartments are exactly the same — a key for your coach will open the storage compartment doors of others? So how do you keep your compartments secure from bad guys? Easy. Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, shows you how. Watch the video for a demonstration or order at Amazon.com.


bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

How to minimize and manage waste when boondocking

Hi, Bob,
[From last week] In the past you have probably reflected on various boondocking techniques. If so, some reruns would be appreciated. For a neophyte boondocker interested in staying in the woods like maybe for 2–3 weeks: How to maximize energy usage? Routine for use of generator and inverter? How to minimize and manage waste? —Dan

Read Part 2 of Bob’s response. If you missed the first part of Bob’s answer last week, click here.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: How RVers can avoid dangerous collisions with wildlife.

You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.


Test the RV park water before you drink it!
How pure is the water at the RV park you just entered? Is it pure enough to drink or full of contaminants? This TDS meter provides an inexpensive and convenient way to instantly check your overall water quality. Don’t risk drinking bad water! Use this hand-held device to check the condition of your water filter, too. Every RVer should have one of these! Learn more or order.


RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Surge protector for 30- or 50-amp outlets

Hi Mike,
My wife and I are going to RV full time starting next month in a Class C. I was planning on buying a Progressive Industries surge protector, the 50-amp model. Your book explains that 50-amp and 30-amp pedestals are more than just a difference in plugs. If I buy this surge protector for 50 amp, and then come to a campsite that is 30 amp only, can I use an adapter to plug the 50-amp surge protector to the 30-amp outlet? Am I setting myself up for a big problem? —Doug

Read Mike’s response.

Be sure to sign up for Mike’s new monthly newsletter about RV electricity. First issue this fall. Sign up here.

rv-safety-764Mike 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.


meshshowerOrganize your bath with a shower caddy
This waterproof hanging shower caddy has 6 durable mesh pockets — 3 generously sized pockets with holes for holding bottles upside down and 3 smaller accessory pockets to store loofahs, bar soaps, razors and more. It has rust-proof grommets and is made of quick-drying breathable mesh — wipe with a damp cloth or wash by hand. Just hang using your existing shower curtain rings or hooks. Great for the RV! Learn more or order.


RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

OK to change tire size on duallies?
An RVer writes: “I need six new tires for a 2004 38-foot Dutch Star on a Spartan chassis. Michelin tire models and sizing has me totally confused. Current Michelin size is 275/80R22.5. Dealers claim this Michelin size is interchangeable to 295/75R22.5 from brands that don’t offer the original size. They tell me there will be no ill effects on the drive line or instrumentation.”

Read Roger’s response.


Motorhome and RV Retirement Living
This highly regarded book by Jerry Minchey reveals how full-time RVers make their lifestyle work in retirement. Minchey lives full time in his motorhome. His honest descriptions of the RV lifestyle will answer your most pressing questions as well as those you probably never even thought to ask. Learn more or order


mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

RV battery safety
Lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid, which is extremely corrosive and can cause severe burns or even blindness. The hydrogen gas that batteries produce when they are charging is very explosive. When you work around batteries you need to wear goggles and gloves, remove all jewelry and do not smoke or use any open flames. If you accidentally get battery acid on your skin, flush it with lots of water, and if it gets in your eyes you need to flush with low pressure water for 15 minutes and call a doctor. To prevent arcing always disconnect the negative battery cable first, and then the positive.

Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more


vac-square-755vac-long-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 vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20. 


janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Whole Meal Cole Slaw
Cole slaw makes a meal.

Make it ahead or throw it together at the last minute. Serve it cold or nuke it just enough to take the chill off. Whatever the occasion for a camping meal, this simple slaw will be a snap for the camp chef and a hit with hungry crew. Get the recipe.

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

BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM


Don’t be without this
Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $15, you can rest assured that anytime severe weather threatens, you’ll be notified, even if cell service is down, the Internet is down or power fails. The RVtravel.com staff travels with this small, handheld, battery-powered NOAA weather radio. If severe weather is on the way, the radio sounds an alert, followed by detailed information about the the storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for your parent or child who travels a lot. Learn more or order.


“See where you’re going to stay. . .”


Timberlane RV Park and Resort, Bradenton Florida
Heading to Florida this year? Timberlane is brand-new with huge sites. Unfortunately, the word is getting out. So, hurry, take a peek and give them a call to see if you can stay. Watch the video of the park.

Lower Pines Campground, Yosemite National Park
Do you know where the most amazing campsite in all of the U.S. is located? We do and it’s located in this campground. Click here to see it.

The motto of CampgroundViews.com is “Look Where You’re Going.” See videos or photos of nearly 16,000 campgrounds and RV parks “as they are,” not as shown in fancy, often misleading brochures. Learn, too, about amenities (water, sewer, pool, pets, cable, Wi-Fi, etc.). Do you own an RV park you’d like spotlighted on CampgroundViews.com? Contact Mark (at) campgroundviews.com


stepbraceScreen-shot-2014-10-03-at-2_46_34-PMHelp stabilize
and keep your RV steps safe
The RV Save-A-Step Brace is designed to be placed under RV entry steps for safety. It stabilizes the RV steps and helps keep the coach from rocking — preventing sag and wear. The brace is made of heavy-gauge steel with a 3/4″ solid metal screw thread, 1000-pound load rating and 7-5/8″ to 14″ adjustment range. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.


RV Short Stop

Sitka Sound from Castle Hill, by Julianne G. Crane

Stroll Sitka, Alaska – “Paris of the Pacific”

Sitka, Alaska, is a beautiful, quaint, small seaside city. Like most southeast Alaska communities, part of its charm is that it is only reachable by sea or by air. Settled on Baranof Island, Sitka is located on the outer coast of Alaska’s Inside Passage. It is a popular destination with RVers because it is a year-round port-of-call for the Alaska Marine Highway System. RV parks are located nearby. Read all about historic Sitka and its many great places to visit in this article by Julianne G. Crane.


Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
Lake Dennison Rec Area, MA
Great American RV Show – Colorado Springs, CO
Wheelchair Accessible Hunting Trailer


Sign up for a faster way to see
the newest articles on RVtravel.com 
If you’d like to receive daily updates (most days) of new articles we post to RVtravel.com, please sign up here. You’ll receive an email update of what we published in the past 24 hours.


Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Smith Center Roadside Park, Smith Center, Kansas
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Rigs may parallel park on either side of road through park. Two potable water sources, about 75 ft. from semicircular drive through park. Long hoses needed. Area is quiet, level, well-lit and has no apparent security concerns. Located on north side of US 36, about 0.2-0.4 miles west of junction with US 281. GPS: 39.784900, -98.793980

Lake Village Welcome Center, Lake Village, Arkansas
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Lot too cramped for larger rigs. Small or medium-sized RVs may park in two end-to-end auto spaces, or along outer curb of loop drive. One-night stay allowed. Located at 3697 Hwy 65-82. GPS: 33.300545, -91.278416

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 demoWatch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.


Be prepared for a roadside emergency!
flares-765Forget messing around with flares.
You’ll be thankful to have this set of three emergency flashers along with you if you’re forced to the side of a busy highway with a flat tire, mechanical or other issue. One FlareAlert™ provides about 20 hours of safety before a battery change (three AAAs in each). You’d need to strike 80 incendiary flares, one after another, to achieve the same thing. Learn more or order.


Upcoming RV Shows

America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
• Portland RV and Van Show, Sept. 14-17, Portland, OR
• Fall Maryland RV Show, Sept. 14-17, Timonium, MD
Utah RV Supershow, Sept. 14-17, Sandy, Utah
• Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, Sept. 22-24, Indianapolis, IN
Great American RV Show, Sept. 28-30, Colorado Springs, CO
Evergreen Fall RV Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Monroe, WA
Austin RV Super Sale, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Round Rock, TX
New York State RV Show, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Syracuse, NY

See the list of all upcoming RV shows

SPECIAL EVENT
The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.com. Learn more or watch a two-minute video about the event.


Keep critters out of your RV!
The best rodent and insect control is keep them out of your RV to begin with! A mouse that gets in through an opening the size of a dime can chew on wiring and cause major damage! Great Stuff foam sealant forms a long-lasting, airtight and water-resistant barrier to keep out what you don’t want in! Learn more or order


del-545This week in history
Week of September 16–22
Compiled by Dell Bert

1938 — The Great New England Hurricane causes 600 deaths.
1940 — United States imposes the draft.
1961 — President Kennedy signs Peace Corps legislation.
1976 — Space Shuttle is unveiled.
1985 — The first “Farm Aid” concert is held.
1985 — Earthquake (8.1 magnitude) kills 10,000 in Mexico City.
1994 — TV sitcom “Friends” debuts.

Trivia
For $45, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing will sell you a five-pound bag of $10,000 of shredded U.S currency.

Bumper sticker of the week
Buckle up. It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car.

Funny/clever business slogan
Seen awhile ago on the back of a dump truck in Kenai, Alaska: “Remember: If Carroll’s doesn’t pave your driveway, it’s your own assphalt.” —Thanks, Danny!

Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com



Joke of the Week
Customer: “How come this car is covered with dents? You said it had one careful owner.” Car salesman: “The others weren’t so careful.”

Random RV Thought
When selecting a campsite in a campground with a looped layout, select a site on the inside of curves in the park road so headlights of passing vehicles won’t beam at you at night.

Worth Pondering
“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” —Ernest Hemingway



RV Travel staff 
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com. cw501

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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, 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

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27 thoughts on “RV Travel Newsletter Issue 811

  1. Michael Butts

    Chuck, I know you’re not a fan of the smoke-filled campground. Have you seen the “smokeless” fire pit now being advertised on Kickstarter.com? Hop over there and search for BioLite FirePit.

  2. Don Capellani

    When are going to talk about how us diesel drivers are being ripped off at the pump when we have to pay more when using a credit card. Who travels with that much cash. This is one big ripoff. There needs to be a class action lawsuit. You need to get the ball rolling

  3. John Hiler

    Every issue you deplore the state of rv sites in the US. We are in a cycle where it is almost criminal to spend money on structure for our citizens. How about giving a shout-out for more funding for our Parks Service, our Forest Service our Land Management, our Bureau of reclamation, our Dept of Agriculture. The citizens of USA have a perfect right to share in the taxes that they pay. Pass the word…

  4. Jerry X Shea

    Why “own” depreciating assets once you are retired? No, we will not payoff our new 20 year RV loan. We will sell it in 5, 8 10 years. If we have to come up with more money to pay it off, we will still have been making interest money on that money we did not have to put out.
    Being retired, living off your retirement income and SS, you know what you can afford to spend each month so GO SPEND IT. You saved for it,now enjoy it. For God sake don’t spend your life sitting at home so you can pass it on to your kids. If they want money, let them earn it like you did.

  5. squeakytiki

    Why is that Spectrum Rv website in Latin? Only the home page and the contact page are in english, the rest is in latin? While I appreciated the chance to practice my dead language skills I really did want to read about possible dealers in my area.

    1. jerry g

      Because they have not finished their web site. The nonsense characters are used by the web design folks to construct templates that the user replaces with their own text. Obviously Chuck jumped the gun with the link because they “are not ready for prime time.”

      1. RV Staff

        Thanks, Jerry. I responded to SqueakyTiki before I found your reply to her (in our long list of Comments). And we posted this item as an interesting news story (we thought) and included the link in case anyone wanted further information (or brushing up on whatever language it is). At least some of the info is in English — they just have a little more work to do on their website. But I’m glad to see that my “wild guess” about the template was close — never having seen a website template before. 😀 Have a good night. —Diane at RVtravel.com

    2. RV Staff

      Well, that’s very interesting, SqueakyTiki! The About and Dealers tabs are in a foreign language — strange. But the links on the Home page, Fifth Wheels page and Contact page are mostly in English. No clue what’s going on. I think I’ll send them an email and see if they’re even aware of this. Maybe they’re using one of those templates where they have Greek or Latin or Martian filling in and you replace it with your own text. But who knows. If I find out, I’ll post it here. Thanks for writing! —Diane at RVtravel.com

    3. Russ De Maris

      Staff contacted Spectrum RV regarding their website — last week there wasn’t any “Latin” however, the links to product information often led nowhere. We tried to give them a “heads up” that they’d likely be getting a big hit from rvtravel.com readers wanting more information. Sad to say, it appears they didn’t take the warning to heart. Hopefully they’ll get their web site together in a hurry.
      Russ De Maris
      Senior Editor, rvtravel.com

  6. Jerry Collis

    On-demand water heater issues:
    For those that have the Atwood On-demand hot water heater and have had t he same issues I have had, that being no hot water or water so hot you scald your skin, the solution offered (free) is to replace your on-demand system with the standard 6-10 gal hot water system.
    I elected to pay for a new Truma system. It works like they say. I get hot water and I can temper it to suit my every need (shower, doing dishes, or washing my hands). I have no worry of scalding and I have not lost hot water because of low water pressure at a campsite.
    You may wish to ask those that have the Atwood system their issues and even how many have the system. Maybe start a survey?

    1. DAVE TELENKO

      I totally agree & I think I know why they operate like that. It said it there manual that the unit requires .5 gallon of water flow to make hot water. Thats fine when your washing dishes you’ll use at least that. However my shower mixing valve is a single handle & when you try to throttle down to the right temperature, you actually are using less that the required .5 gallons of water & now your getting a COLD shower the same goes the other way when your asking for more hot water , you get a lot of it. WOW its even worse when we boondocking & try to save water. I think those engineers need to re-think how we need to use our showers. So where do get a FREE solution to replace your on demand Atwood system?

    2. Dean Kueppers

      On-demand water issues:
      It seems that the Atwood system is not the only system with problems. We have a Girard Model GSWH-1M Tankless water heater, with the same problems, I couldn’t have written it better. If you don’t mind adding the Girard to your survey. Unit in for water heater repairs now.

  7. Carol G.

    I totally agree that it is necessary to leave extra space between your rig and the car in front of you to provide more opportunity to slow down safely. This, however, gives rude drivers the opportunity to nip and tuck into the extra space without any regard of the danger they create by you now not being able to slow down in time.

    I’ve had idiots coming onto the freeway as far as they can just to get around you.

  8. Elaine Ashton

    We recently spent four nights at the huge RV park in Sparks, Nevada. There’s so much new building going on in Sparks — including this RV park. It’s neat and clean but a bit cramped but they’re making a large addition to this well over 300 unit RV park. We noticed two motorhomes worth well over a million dollars … one towing a Lexus (of course). I can only wonder where these costly behemoths stay for their “vacations”.
    Also wanted to say how grateful I am for the stories about the aged RV travelers — inspires me to keep on as I’m only a mere 78.
    Thanks for a lot of great information. I don’t normally get the time to write to you.

  9. Eric Eltinge

    The cheapest way is to buy a used motorhome for cash and then drive it until it’s dust. But how many people do or would want to? The best things in life rarely “pencil out.”
    I’m 63 and none of the men in my family made it out of their 70s. I’m enjoying my new Winnebago. Sometimes you have to calculate in the “What the F***” factor and go for it!

    1. Kevin Hogle

      Well said Eric. Same here, you’ve got it figured out. Life’s pretty short.

      Surprisingly, most financial planners tell you to have the longest mortgage possible because of the low interest loans available.

  10. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    I looked at it from a different angle. From an investment perspective, why would I remove money from my IRA that is earning 10% – 20% or more every year when the interest on the 20 year loan I have for my Monaco coach is only 4.5%? I put nothing down and financed the entire purchase. Yes, I am upside down with 6 more years to go but I also knew that this was the last coach I was going to own and will hopefully still have it when I pass on. Then it will be my kids problem as to what to do with it.

  11. John Palmer

    re: Test the RV park water before you drink it!
    How pure is the water at the RV park you just entered? Is it pure enough to drink or full of contaminants? This TDS meter provides an inexpensive and convenient way to instantly check your overall water quality. Don’t risk drinking bad water! Use this hand-held device to check the condition of your water filter, too. Every RVer should have one of these! Learn more or order.

    This is total BS. TDS is total dissolved solids. This has virtually no bearing on whether the water is safe to drink! It gives no indication of whether pathogens are present and no indication if organic chemicals are present.

    1. bd2

      John is true on his assessment. What are the solids ? Lead, arsenic, etc ?? Nasty organics will ruin your trip fast !!

      1. Denny Napora

        This has some bearing on water quality, I also have always, run the water for a minute, and then smell it and taste it prior to hooking up.
        For bigly drinking water, I always carry several gallons of my own home water. ( which has never been checked for potability)

        1. Robbie

          Our Zero Water Filter has a map that shows the high TDS areas. Arizona where we winter is very high in TDS, and the zero filter would last about 10 days. We now buy water at the local grocery store in gallon jugs and fill those again at the water machines for about 25 cents. We then filter that water through the zero water filter, which then can last up to 4 months or more.

  12. Kenneth Pooler

    I agree with you Chuck

  13. Larry

    Your perspective on leasing for 20 years is looking at it from an investment angle. It’s not an investment it’s a lifestyle. You could go on vacation for two weeks every year and spend $200,000 on flights and hotels and meals and tours and you’re not going to get that money back either. Besides in 20 years I’ll probably be dead so who cares what it’s worth then. 🙂

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      Of course it’s a lifestyle. It’s also how we spend our money. What I did not mention is all the people who buy an RV with 10% down, on a 20-year plan, and then they get sick three years later, and the RV is worth half what they paid, and they are upside down in their loan by $20,000, $30,000 or more, even far more. If I were writing about RVs as an investment, I would have figured how much it would cost if the RVer invested that $779 a month in a good mutual fund for 20 years. There are all kinds of ways to look at this. My point is that stretching out any large loan for 20 years, except for a home, which appreciates, is not always wise.

      1. Gene Bjerke

        For some of us, that may be the only way we can do it. No way my motorhome is a good investment. But when my wife and I leave the “crisis center” that is the home we share with other family members, it becomes worth the expense for all the intangibles (too numerous to mention) the travel provides that ease our spirits and give us pleasure.

      2. Richard Davidson

        I say hold off on an RV purchase for a year or two. If as many new RVs are being sold as you report there will be an overabundance of new/used RVs available from those who jumped in without any fore thought and found out the lifestyle isn’t for them. And you can save big bucks too.

        1. Chuck Woodbury

          Richard, that’s really good thinking!!

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