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Issue 817 • Week of October 28 – November 3, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Every once in awhile you come across an RV park you just love. That happened to Gail and me last week at the Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA in Staunton, Virginia.
For the record, I am not a big fan of KOA, although I do stay in them from time to time. In general, I believe the quality of the parks has declined in recent years. But that does not include this one.
Andy Zipser and his wife, Carin, own and operate the Staunton KOA, which is a mile off I-81 with no traffic and/or train noise. Along with family members, they watch over the place carefully. It’s big, 44 acres, with about 150 campsites, most with plenty of breathing room between each, some almost private, with wide expanses of beautiful lawn throughout.
“Kerplonken Lake” is loaded with whopper bass, no license needed. Unless you want bass for dinner, toss back what you catch. “We don’t mind if they keep a fish, we just don’t want them stocking up their refrigerator,” Andy told me.
Andy is often urged by other campground owners to add more sites (he has lots of space) to make more money. He doesn’t do it. He’s one of the really good guys, in my opinion, more interested in providing a quality camping experience than milking his customers for every dollar. He’s a former journalist, which gave us much to talk about. I spent a day with him and he answered every question I had about what it’s like to own an RV park. He reminded me, once again, that it’s not easy.
The park was once a plantation, where slaves labored. The estate’s beautiful home remains next door. Remnants of various outbuildings including slave quarters are still visible if you look closely. The current park office and store was originally the plantation’s stable. Most visitors do not even notice that the rental DVD case was once a horses’ feed trough. “The fact that it was a stable and not a barn may be one reason it was not torched by Union troops during the Civil War,” said Andy.
If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and stay with Andy, Carin and their family. The prices are reasonable for a KOA.
Join our new RVillage group
I am very happy to report that we have set up a group at RVillage.com, which is like Facebook except better and for RVers only. This will become a gathering place for our readers (hopefully you included), much like a forum, where we can meet up online, and even in the real world (you’ll learn more about that if you sign up). What I am most excited about is that Gail and I will now know the area where most members of the group are at any given time, even in our same campground. We will be able to send any nearby members a message and suggest, for example, that we meet up at a nearby cafe or even invite them to stop by our campsite. If you are not a member of RVillage, sign up here. If you are already a member, click here to join our group.
Free Good Sam memberships?
A reader asked me the other day if the Good Sam Club was giving away free memberships. He said he let his membership expire, but three months later received a new card in the mail with a “complimentary” membership with the same member number but an expiration date a year later. I realized after talking with him that the same thing had happened to me. Have you received a free membership from Good Sam? If so, would you please let me know at chuck (at) RVtravel.com . The next time my membership comes due I’ll let it lapse and see what happens. I mean, why pay?
Our progress promoting RVers’ rights
The largest periodicals in the RV and campground industries wrote about our ongoing discussion at RVtravel.com about the quality of new RVs and the impending crisis in finding a space to stay in RV parks. This is excellent because it just exposes our message to important people in these industries that there are problems, and maybe they should do something! Read more.
P.S. If you are one of our supporters, either as a voluntary subscriber or through your frequent purchases at Amazon through our affiliate program, and did not receive my special email yesterday, please let me know so I can send it along and also add you to our list for special newsletters and special private videos.
Letters to the editor (your comments are welcome)
• Family sours on RVing over new RV’s problems.
NEW TO RVtravel.com? Read about its founder, editor and history.
Sign up for RVtravel.com’s
new monthly newsletter about RV electricity.
COMING IN NOVEMBER TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX
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Some recent recalls:
• Ford recalling more than a million F-series trucks.
• Forest River recalls some Coachmen Express travel trailers.
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The Answer: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Win this Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: Which National Park had more visitors in 2016: Yosemite, Yellowstone or Great Smoky Mountains? The answer is below if you want to cheat (fine with us!). 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. [Note: The wrong name was initially listed in the answers below. It has been corrected. Those who submitted entries with the name we incorrectly listed will not be disqualified — you don’t need to enter again. We apologize for the error.]
Last week’s winner: Keri Partee of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. She won the cozy Lasko Personal Ceramic Heater.
As part of its commitment to improve the visitor experience, the National Park Service is considering increasing its fees at 17 highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons. Proposed peak season entrance fees at those parks will generate badly needed revenue for improvements to the aging infrastructure of national parks. During a five-month peak season at the designated parks, the entrance fee would be $70 per vehicle, $50 per motorcycle, and $30 per person. Learn more or comment by November 23. Would you pay $70? Take our poll (and then see what others think).
Popular among RVers, the wireless router known as WiFiRanger is among many susceptible to a computer hacking virus known as KRACK. The virus can break the encryption system, exposing your data. WiFiRanger has announced they have developed a software patch to defeat the KRACK virus and released it October 26. Users will see an “Update Firmware” link in their control panel at the upper right corner while updating on a solid connection to the internet.
September was an odd month for RV sales at auction. Normally sale prices decline as fall nears, but market watcher Black Book reports both towable RVs and motorhomes saw gains in sales. Towable values averaged $14,591, up nearly 4 percent from August. Motorhome prices were up close to 1 percent, at $48,537. In terms of the number of rigs sold, towables sank 8 percent, while motorhomes were flat.
Visits to public lands are up nearly 8 percent from 2016 – to date adding 23.7 million more guests. Users visiting recreation.gov, Uncle Sam’s reservation website of choice, jumped an astounding 26 percent over the same period.
Camping World continues to engulf the RV marketplace. The latest independent consumed is Coopers RV Center, a 65-year-old fixture in Pittsburgh, Penn. In a takeover farther south, the giant struck in central Florida, swallowing up the former America’s Choice RV near Ocala.
More than a month-and-a-half since Hurricane Irma caused destruction in Florida, things are moving very slowly for affected residents. Officials in the Keys have announced that as many as nine travel trailers have been moved in by FEMA. Another 120 are set to be moved into Big Pine Key, one of the hardest hit areas. It should be added that officials say, “These are not finalized, those are what we’re working on.” Another announcement said FEMA has approved travel trailers for 400 families in the Keys.
Kentucky State Parks boasts some 2,850 campsites – and all have been reviewed for inclusion in a program called “Refreshing the Finest,” wherein $18 million-worth of improvements will be made. Now Greenbo Lake State Resort Park is reaping the benefits. A total of 29 non-utility sites are being upgraded to full-hookup status; 25 others with power are being boosted to 50-amp service. After the normal winter closure, the park will reopen April 1 with a phase-in of reservations for the newly renovated sites.
California wildfires continue to create misery and destruction. The U.S. Forest Service says it has closed many campgrounds in the area of Southern California’s Mount Wilson after a 30-acre brush fire flared up near its famous Observatory. If your plans include camping anywhere near the area, check in advance for closure information.
Oregon’s Coos Bay community will soon have a new RV park. The Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon will sport 200 sites and cabins, an indoor pool and clubhouse. The site overlooks a mile of beach scenery and will open sometime in spring or summer of 2018.
Fall is the
best time to camp!
Plan your next fall getaway. Enjoy colorful camping with fall leaves and autumn breeze. Click here to book your RV site or cabin today and get 10% off your stay.
RV parking changes are in the offing for Las Cruces, N.M., residents. Currently any vehicle with four or fewer tires can be parked out front for any period of time; rigs with more than four tires are allowed 14 days. But city councilors may chop that back to five days for any RV, and no more than 14 total days in a 90-day period. Move the RV off the street and onto your property and you may “occupy” it for no more than 14 days in a 90-day period. Comment at email@example.com. Comments will be delivered to councilors on November 3.
The bison herd at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (N.D.) will be getting a cutback soon. With an aim to keep no more than 800 of the big beasts in the entire park, officials will soon transfer up to 50 bison to two Native American tribes. One, the Three Affiliated Tribes, will use their animals to establish a new herd near Twin Buttes. In the agreement, all of the donated bison must be kept alive at least a year.
Like a campfire at your RV site? Then you may want to skip visiting Oliver, British Columbia. A draft ordinance would allow only one fire pit per campground – not campsite. City officials say that campfire smoke and nearby residences don’t mix. At least one RV park owner is upset by the shutdown, feeling he’ll lose business if the law goes into effect.
An older Texas couple is alive after spending six harrowing days lost and wandering in Utah’s Escalante National Monument. Helena Byler, 78, and Gerald Byler, 76, drove their rental car into the monument, trying to make it to Lake Powell using a GPS to guide them. When the car got stuck, they struck out looking for help, and when Gerald could walk no farther, she kept going. A cattle rancher found her days later, dehydrated and confused. Rescue crews assisted her, and she began to piece back memories of what had happened. A helicopter crew located an SOS sign, followed it to the abandoned car, and finally located Gerald, holed up in an abandoned RV. Ironically, Helena had also spent some time in another RV nearby, not knowing where Gerald was. Both were hospitalized and expected to make a full recovery.
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 water heater. Find out how the Truma AquaGo® gives you a real shower in your RV. Learn more
Two national forests in Montana are looking at raising fees in campgrounds. Spotted Bear Campground in the Flathead National Forest could see rates run up from $10 to $13 per night. Several campgrounds in the Bitterroot National Forest are also looking at price jumps. Fee changes could occur at Stevensville, West Fork and Darby/Sula ranger districts including the Charles Waters Campground, the Magruder Ranger’s House and the Como Lake Campgrounds. Fees could rise from $8 to $10 in some “fewer amenity” campgrounds, and from $8 to $15 in other campgrounds. To comment on the Flathead rates, click here and click on the Flathead tab, or contact Chris Prew at (406) 758-3538. For changes at Bitterroot campgrounds click here and click on the Bitterroot tab, or call Erica Strayer at (406) 821-4252. Comments accepted through November 20.
A 10-year-old boy visiting Niagara Falls is fortunate to be alive after falling 100 feet and injuring his head. The unnamed boy perched on a railing so his mother could take a photo of him with Horseshoe Falls as a backdrop, but lost his balance and made the huge plunge. Initially thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries, hospital officials in Hamilton, Ontario, changed his status to serious but stable.
Nobody’s laughing at the haunted house clown at a KOA campground in Fulton, Wisc. The unidentified clown was recently arrested and charged with sexual assault after he allegedly grabbed women by the breasts as they were touring the “haunted house” at the Hidden Valley Resort. The clown claims he only did so when asked to do so by the women who were posing for photos.
An Oregon cougar has eaten its last house cat. The male cougar, thought to be about 3 years old, was repeatedly seen at Casey’s Riverside RV Park in Westfir, Ore., and residents complained the big cat had been eating little cats. It all came to an end when the cougar was shot by the relative of one of the park residents. A Fish and Wildlife official said the shot was legal, as the cat raised a public safety issue. An estimated 6,400 cougars call Oregon home.
RVers in a Casper, Wyo., neighborhood were more than dismayed to find that a number of their rigs were left without batteries after thieves stole them. Security cameras were able to catch a few views of the brazen burglars who did their dirty work at 3 a.m. Happily, the RVers were able to recover their pilfered power cells – the burglars had sold them to a local recycle yard.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Would you pay $70 to enter a National Park?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
How many slideouts does your RV have? Click here for the results.
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
RV shipments hit record high in September
RVs continue to roll out of factories at a record pace, according the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). RV wholesale shipments have climbed to 378,006 units through nine months of 2017, up 16.6% over the 324,286 units shipped during the same period last year. Learn more.
Loan your RV to help families displaced by California wildfires
Do you have an RV in California that you’re not using? Or, did the recent California wildfires displace you or your family? If so, loan your RV, or find an RV to stay in for temporary shelter, through Mighway, an RV rental site. Read more.
Full-time RVing – Don’t be a drowsy driver
Driving while drowsy is a formula for disaster. The NHTSA estimates that each year 100,000 crashes are reported to police nationally in which drowsy driving or driver fatigue is a contributing factor. NHTSA estimates those crashes result in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Find out here the only effective countermeasure for drowsiness and how not to become a statistic due to drowsy driving.
Electric RV heating system auto-adjusts to available power
RV Comfort Systems of Bothell, Wash., has debuted a new “Two Stage 30/50 Add-on Kit” for its new and existing all-electric RV furnace and hybrid systems. The kit will allow RVers to upgrade their system to operate automatically on either 30- or 50-amp shore power. Learn more.
How to make a tow vehicle safer
An RVtravel.com reader recently wrote in with a question about what type of equipment he can add to his new 2017 Dodge Ram to make it safer to tow a 26-foot RV he’s considering buying. Read the advice from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Winter is almost here – Time to prep that RV!
Once that final road trip of the year comes to an end, it’s time to look toward the months ahead and get your RV ready for its winter hibernation. Regular inspection and cleaning of your RV roof is critical, and this time of year is the most important time to do just that. Roof membrane manufacturer Dicor explains a few measures you need to take to prep your RV for the winter months. Learn more.
RV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
Electric pressure cookers are perfect for RVing
For many RVers, few things are better after a cool fall day of hiking than to sit down in a toasty RV to a hot bowl of fork-tender stew or a fall-apart pot roast. The problem for many campers is that setting up the RV close enough to the great hike often involves camping without hookups, and it would be crazy to run a generator all day for a crock pot, not to mention all the steam it would produce. The solution is an electric pressure cooker. Read more.
Even the simple repairs – When water drain valves go bad
When Rich “The Wanderman” was boondocking in a Cabela’s parking area recently, he noticed a significant puddle forming under his RV. It was coming from the cold water low side drain outlet. With a limited supply of fresh water, watching ANY of it wasted was not a good thing. But Rich came up with a temporary fix that took only 10 minutes. Learn how he did it so you can be prepared – just in case.
Apples, arts and autumn leaves – the beauty of Appalachia
Fall is an extraordinary time to explore Appalachia’s Tennessee River Valley. When the hardwoods of the mountains produce the classic hues of autumn and the skies take on a cerulean blue, the people of Appalachia know it is time to celebrate the harvest and the traditions of their agrarian heritage. Read about some exciting things to see and do in this beautiful region, and learn about some of its interesting history.
RV Mods: 50-amp service at your home base
Parking your RV at a friend’s or relative’s house? What happens if you keep blowing fuses because your RV pulls more amps than the 15-amp circuit can supply? Heatwave not allowing you to use your air conditioner because you really need 50 amps to make it happen? Well, do not despair, help is as near as your local hardware store (but a certified electrician is highly recommended). Learn more.
Mexico bound? Be prepared for (possible) permit requirements
RVers planning to travel into Baja, Mexico, may – or may not – run into a bit of unexpected permit hassles on their entry. According to a story that appeared on sandiegoreader.com, some travelers have recently been hit by border officials with the need to purchase Travel Import Permits (TIP) and pay refundable deposits for rigs taken into Mexico. Learn more.
Unique 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.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
• My letter to an RV industry association leader.
• Do you use an EMS/Smart surge protector on your RV?
• RV delivery driver tells workmanship horror stories.
• Get more from your RV trip – Sit a little longer.
• Readers’ tales of woe about the quality of their RVs.
• Reader poll: How many slideouts on your RV?
More popular articles from last week’s issue
• Fill your free time with an interesting hobby.
• Power pedestal testing (including at COE campgrounds), Part 3.
• How to safely jack up a travel trailer.
• Crashing in the Walmart parking lot.
• Reader’s Recipe: Ray’s Easy Homemade Bread.
• Astronomy for RVers – Let the stars be your road map, Part 3.
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.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Click here to see many submissions from our readers about their RVs.
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 13 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
An example of the importance of vigilance while traveling
Dear RV Shrink:
We have had years of trouble-free travel around North America, meeting many wonderful people. However, we recently had a scare that has my wife very nervous. We were headed for Florida on a four-lane road when I noticed a car pull up beside me and look over my rig, then drop back behind my toad. It seemed odd, but I didn’t mention it to my wife. I kept observing the vehicle in my rear camera, wondering why he didn’t pass me. After several miles, my wife noticed a man on the overpass we were approaching. Suddenly she yelled, “He’s going to drop something on us!” I slowed but it was too late. …
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.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.48 (on Oct. 23). Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 24 cents.
Diesel: $2.80 (on Oct. 23). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 32 cents.
Keep your slide-out
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.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Know your location and get help in case of fire
In case of fire, after you get people away from the fire, get help. Adults and older children should know how to dial 911, and how to get emergency help on any CB, VHF or ham radio available. It’s crucial to know your location so firefighters can find you. 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.
The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. He covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order
RV Quick Tips
Night settings reduce glare after dark
Many rear-view monitors found on motorhomes will adjust automatically, or they have settings (a switch) for day and night usage. Change your setting as needed. Using the night setting will greatly reduce glare and be easier on your eyes when driving at night or on heavily overcast days. This will be similar to decreasing the brightness of your dash lights. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.
Help keep dust out of your RV when on dirt roads
To keep dust out of your camper while traveling on dirt or gravel roads, turn your front roof vent around to open frontwards. Leave the vent lid wide open when traveling and it will pressurize your RV and keep dust from coming in all the little nooks and crannies. I did this for many years and never lost a vent cover. Just make sure it’s open all the way. If it starts to rain, stop and close the cover. Thanks, George Bliss!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Treat your little ones with their own kid-sized hammocks
What could be more fun than stringing up a hammock in your campsite between two trees to spend a hot, lazy afternoon with a good read or a snooze? Well, stringing up a hammock for the kids as well would be equally fun. Grand Trunk, the hammock people, have a line of well-made, strong Junior Hammocks just for that purpose. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
What to do about a loud RV water pump
We have a new 27-foot travel trailer. The first time we used it the water pump was very loud. What can we do to quiet it down? —Kim H.
Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push & hold. When the battery is at the proper level, the water will automatically stop. Then move to the next cell, etc. You won’t over- or under-fill your batteries this way, helping extend their lives. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
with Bob Difley
Where to start learning about desert camping
My wife and I are from the St. Louis area and are currently visiting our son in Seattle. When we head back home we would like to visit the Southwestern deserts and also try some boondocking, but we haven’t a clue where to go and what to expect. Can you direct us newbies to a good desert experience? —Victor
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: The little things determine the comforts of a boondocking lifestyle.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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 Mike Sokol
Discussion of RVtravel.com’s surge protector survey results
Last week RVtravel.com ran a survey asking which brand of surge protector you used, or if you used any surge protector at all. Mike discusses the results of the survey, in addition to responding to some specific comments which readers added after answering the survey. Learn more.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
What effect does speed have on tire failure?
“I have an 8000 lb. trailer with four Goodyear Marathons. The truck is a Dodge 2500 diesel so I can cruise at 75 mph subject to wind and hills. How much, if any, does speed factor into tire failure? I replace tires every 4-6 years regardless of what they look like, and keep them inflated at the PSI marked on the tires.”
Keep critters out of your RV!
The best rodent and insect control is to 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
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
LP gas system maintenance
You should take your RV to a qualified RV service center annually to have the LP gas system checked. RV technicians have the equipment required to test the LP gas system for leaks and to test and adjust the LP gas operating pressure so the appliances will operate properly. When you change a gas bottle there is a possibility you will get air in the gas lines. A good habit to get into is to light the range burners first. What this does is help evacuate any air out of the system to make it easier to light the other appliances.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
Outstanding tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. Learn more or order.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows, Serenity Mobile Observatory
Tricks to help you see more in the night sky (and elsewhere)
As Chris explained previously, distant and faint objects in the night sky appear as gray fuzzballs or smears in all but the largest telescopes under the darkest skies. This week he teaches us a few tricks that should improve our ability to see those “faint fuzzes” and enhance our celestial views. One technique even works in any low-light situation: It can be used it in dark alleys, gloomy wooded trails, or in our backyard while taking out the garbage. Read more.
[Editor: The amazing photo is by Chris Fellows and was posted on the Serenity Mobile Observatory page on 10/25/2017. It is a mosaic photo of M 31, Andromeda Galaxy, and consists of six panels taken over several different nights and from different parts of the country.]
Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best seller and costs about $8. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Low Sugar Desserts
Easy desserts to cut sugar. Janet has some important tips for those needing to watch their sugar intake, along with some delicious dessert ideas which cut down on carbs, calories and refined sugars. And you don’t need to be watching your sugar, etc., intake to enjoy these yummy treats! Read more.
RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes
with Emily Woodbury
Julie’s Cast Iron Nachos (cooked over a campfire!)
I think my favorite thing about moving back to the West Coast (besides, you know, the beauty) has been being reunited with good (really good) Mexican food. Sorry, New York, you just didn’t cut it. I’ve been eating burritos, chile rellenos and salsa verde enchiladas like it’s my job and I’m getting paid to do so (I wish). Julie’s recipe caught my eye this week, not only because it’s nachos, but because she cooked it over a campfire. Read more and get the recipe here.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
RV Short Stops
Winter activities for RV Snowbirds in Tucson area
In addition to the warm days, magnificent sunsets and free natural beauty surrounding Tucson, Ariz., there are numerous fun and low-cost activities that entice tens of thousands of RV Snowbirds to return each winter. According to the folks at VisitTucson.org, this area “inspires a sense of freedom among all who visit. Freedom of thought and expression. Freedom to discover and explore. And the freedom to be yourself.” Learn more in this article from Julianne G. Crane.
CONTEST ANSWER: Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited in 2016 with 11,312,786 visitors. Grand Canyon was second (5.9 million) followed by Yosemite (5 million), Rocky Mountain (4.5 million), Zion (4.295 million) and Yellowstone with 4.257 million. [We apologize for initially incorrectly listing Rocky Mountain NP as the most visited. If you chose that answer, your entry will not be disqualified — you don’t need to enter again.]
WINTER IS COMING SOON:
Check out this huge selection of RV covers.
“See where you’re going to stay. . .”
Bingham Park RV Sites, Sedro-Woolley, WA
“One of the most popular parks in our directory (because we are one of the only directories that have it!), this small city park right in town has large pull-thru sites with full hookups. Great for visiting the Cascades and quaint town, Anacortes.” Check it out by clicking here.
Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, Orick, CA (in the Redwoods)
“For all of you with the smaller RVs and truck campers, this is an amazing place to camp right out on the sand. Sites are bordered on one side by towering Redwoods and the other by pounding surf. See it, save it, visit it.” Click here.
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
Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000-square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order
Essential for big RVs!
2018 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this is for you. The truck driver’s road atlas shows all the highways 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.
Free and bargain camping
Stockman’s Casino, Fallon, NV
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Permission from casino required. Park is in a fairly small lot without obstructing traffic lanes. Do not park in adjacent Holiday Inn Express lot. Fairly level, well lit, appears safe. Two restaurants on site. Address: 1560 W Williams Ave. GPS: 39.475784, -118.793842
Battery Park, Apalachicola, FL
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Park in large gravel lot or under the bridge; don’t obstruct movement by other vehicles and don’t park near boat ramp or in the grass area. Mostly level, unlit, with marina and road noise. Appears safe; within sight of a police station. 5-10 minute walk into town; many restaurants there. Address: 1 Bay Ave. GPS: 29.7232, -84.9814
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.
Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads on your travels? If so, you’ll love this guidebook. It thoroughly describes at least 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Portland Metro RV Show, Nov. 9-12, Portland, OR
• Tampa Bay Fall RV Show, Nov. 9-12, Tampa, FL
• West Palm Beach Fall RV Show, Nov. 9-12, West Palm Beach, FL
• Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale,Dec. 7-10, Indio, CA
“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.
This week in history
Week of October 28 – November 3
Compiled by Dell Bert
1858 – First store opens in the frontier town of Denver, Colorado.
1864 – Helena, Montana, is founded after gold is discovered.
1864 – Nevada becomes the 36th state.
1886 – Statue of Liberty is dedicated.
1929 – Stock market crashes.
1938 – Orson Welles scares the nation with realistic “War of the Worlds” on radio.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis comes to an end.
1974 – Muhammad Ali wins the Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman.
1998 – John Glenn returns to space at age 77.
The act of stretching and yawning is called pandiculation.
Bumper sticker of the week
Go around. Obviously this isn’t a race car.
Funny/clever business slogan
In a veterinarian’s waiting room: “Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!” —Thanks to KFK!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Did you hear about the hyena that jumped into a pot of boiling water with some onions and made a laughing stock of himself?
Random RV Thought
People who are “homebodies” often prefer to be at home more than anywhere else; they may not like to stray far from home. Sometimes an RV is good for a person like this because they can combine being at “home” in their RV with traveling to other places.
“Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” —Elie Wiesel (9/30/1928-7/2/2016)
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, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Chris Guld, Julianne Crane, Chris Fellows, Wolfe Rose and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(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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