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Issue 820 • Week of November 18–24, 2017 #rvtravel
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I read the wonderful book “Endurance” this past week. It’s by astronaut Scott Kelly, about the year he spent aboard the International Space Station.
As I read the book, I realized that I have something in common with Kelly. Both of us have spent a long time away from “home” as we knew it before we departed on our journeys — Kelly in his Space Station, me in my “Earth Station,” a 32-foot Winnebago motorhome. How Kelly adapted to his life in Space — eating, sleeping, pooping, brushing his teeth (swallow the toothpaste because you can’t spit it out in zero gravity) and dealing with the isolation from most things familiar is fascinating. My adaptation to life on the road with an RV is far less dramatic or interesting, but it is, indeed, dramatically different from my life before, when I owned a traditional home and traveled only part time.
I, too, now live in a foreign environment, foreign to me at least, compared to my former life. The view from my window constantly changes. I live now in unfamiliar towns and terrain, and sometimes in hostile weather. I cannot simply get into my car and drive to a local supermarket without using my iPhone to help map my route.
MY MOTORHOME SHELTERS ME from the elements, just as Kelly’s space station does him. We are both away from friends and family, which can be stressful — feeling lonely at times especially during holiday celebrations. Some of Kelly’s fellow astronauts play recordings of nature — rain, ocean waves, wind, crickets — to feel more “at home.” I have no need for such earth sounds, but as a frequent resident of RV parks I now grapple with the frequent sounds of traffic, passing trains, the banging of garbage trucks and late-night arrivals as they hook up, leaf blowers, screaming kids, barking dogs and loud neighbors.
What I realized while reading “Endurance” was that Kelly could not have written it without spending extended time in Space. Sure, he could have interviewed other astronauts about their experiences, but it wouldn’t be the same as living the experience himself. That’s true with me on my own “mission.” Since I have been on the road full time, without a traditional home, I have learned a hundred times more about a mobile life than I could have known simply holing up in a traditional home with an occasional trip away.
* * *
Our new website NewRVer.com (Beginners Guide to RVing) is now up and running. From now on, we’ll post articles aimed at brand-new RVers there rather than here on RV Travel. If you have not yet purchased an RV or are new to RVing, please sign up for our monthly Beginning RVers newsletter. You’ll learn a lot. Also, within a month or two we will bring back our once-popular FullTimeRVer.com website. This was another site I put into hibernation when I seriously considered retiring, or at least slowing down. But I later decided I was not ready for a life in a pasture, so the site is coming back, dealing with living in an RV 365 days a year. Please sign up for its newsletter, which will be posted twice a month.
Also, The New York Times quoted me last week in an article about overnighting at Walmart. You can read it by clicking here.
Ooops, can’t forget!
My staff and I hope you have wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday weekend. As a famous turkey once said, “Gobble, gobble.” And just in case you missed it, in honor of the holiday, here’s a pic I snapped two years ago of the World’s Largest Turkey. That’s Gail in front. The turkey was way too big to eat. But it was a mighty fine looking fowl, a sight to behold! To see it for yourself, head on over to Frazee, Minnesota.
P.S. We’ve now made it easier for you to shop through our Amazon affiliate program. Simply click the link on the blue bar near the top of every page of this newsletter. You’ll go directly to Amazon. Everything will be the same as if you clicked there directly except we’ll get a tiny commission on what you buy. At the end of the month, these dollars and cents add up, helping us improve this newsletter and ultimately the lives of RVers.
If you are a paid subscriber, you didn’t miss a special message from me this last week. I was way too busy doing dreaded business stuff. But I’ll be sure to get something super good to you next week. For readers who have not subscribed, you can do so here.
Letters to the editor (your comments are welcome)
• Snake in the RV grass.
SATURDAY MORNING JOE:
My Life in a Shoebox. Another delightful essay read by Dave Williams. Start your day with this. You’ll come away smiling.
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No more entries for this contest, please. We have a winner! The answer: Perry White. Win these super handy shoe dryer/sanitizers. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: Who was Clark Kent’s boss at the Daily Planet? Was it Joseph Pulitzer, Perry White or William Randolph Hearst? 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: Karen Pattist of Rockfall, Conn. She won the cute RV Salt & Pepper Shakers.
Auto club AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year and the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005. Of all travelers, 89 percent, or 45.5 million, are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 22, to Sunday, November 26.
State government safety inspectors have slapped Keystone RV’s Goshen, Ind., manufacturing plant with $12,000 in fines for violating work safety standards. Six faults were located, which ranged from protecting workers from falls to lack of safety training and blocking of fire exits. The company has until November 21 to pay up or appeal.
Want to take an RV driving safety class but can’t make it to an on-site seminar? The RV Safety Education Foundation (RVSEF) is now offering one as an online course. The course requires between four to six accumulated hours in front of your computer, and costs $49.95. Visit www.rvsafety.com and click the “Education” tab at the top of the page.
The Scottsdale, Ariz., developer that proposed building an aerial tramway down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon to ferry some 10,000 daily tourists has seen the idea crash and burn. Plans for the Grand Canyon Escalade, which would have been built where the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers meet, were soundly killed in a 16-2 vote against it by the Navajo Nation Council. The developer foresaw a 420-acre site atop the rim, with shops, an RV park, hotels and more. The tribe would pay $65 million up-front, and agree to a 20-year non-revocable operating license to the developer. Their return? Eight percent of the revenue.
A proposed new campground in San Diego, Calif., has been labeled “a bastard child of San Diego” by activists after they discovered the state had kicked in $1.5 million toward its development – but only a half-million to figure out how to stop nearby sewage from pouring into the area from Mexico. A senate-originated bill was signed off last month, allowing state park bond money to be allocated toward building the campground in the Tijuana River Valley.
With some 40 million Kidde-brand fire extinguishers on recall, the RV industry is understandably concerned, as many manufacturers have included the now-recalled fire tools in their rigs. Two giants, Forest River and Thor, announced they’re working with Kidde to provide a more direct contact between their dealers and the extinguisher manufacturer. The plan is to see to it RV dealers carrying these lines would get priority in obtaining replacements for recalled units. For the rest of us, dialing 1-855-271-0773 or visiting www.kidde.com will have to suffice. Not sure if your unit is recalled? Visit this website.
A high demand for RV camping spaces will spell the opening of a new private RV park in Clear Lake, Iowa, next year. The 82-site RV park will open near Interstate 35 in April on a 100-acre site called Hidden Lake Campground. It’s been a fast move – the developer proposed the park earlier this year and is already dropping in utilities for the new operation. Labeled a “seasonal” park, the outfit says it has already rented out 20 of the 82 sites, and will phase in new additions each year until about 200 total sites are available.
With public park maintenance backlogs, many recall with fondness the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Roosevelt era. “Why not now?” some ask. West Virginia looks to have the modern equivalent: The state’s education department and natural resources department have agreed to allow some 24,000 high school students in “simulated workplaces” to help with park revitalization throughout the state. It’s a volunteer program that helps students gain real-world skills in a variety of fields, including construction, HVAC, and bathhouse renovation.
A Fairfield County, Ohio, man is on the hook, accused of selling RVs without providing titles to the rigs in Port Clinton. Thomas Owens, 42, owner of Tom’s Toys Inc., was indicted on 15 counts including grand theft of a motor vehicle, selling vehicles without titles and falsifying titles.
Waterless trap for your RV plumbing system
Make foul smelling odors a thing of the past!
Already used by major RV manufacturers, the revolutionary HepvO waterless trap is a fantastic alternative to a conventional ‘P’ trap and it won’t fail due to evaporation, movement, freezing or leakage. Its unique membrane prevents foul air from the grey water tank entering your RV and its in-line design helps create extra storage space! Save 10% off all purchases before 11/30/2017 using code RVTRAVEL10. Learn more.
It’s not too early to start thinking about camp hosting next spring. Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources needs hosts in state parks, recreation areas and forest campgrounds starting in April and running through October. Put in 30 hours per week, get a free site. Screening and interviews required. For more information click here.
When Tulsa, Okla., fire crews responded to an RV fire last Saturday, things couldn’t have been much worse for the RVer. The man, whose name has not been released, was found in the bedroom with no pulse or respiration. Paramedics determined he’d inhaled more than a small amount of smoke and was technically dead. However, unlike most inhalation victims, paramedics were able to resuscitate the man, and by the time they delivered him to the hospital, he was breathing on his own. As of Sunday he was in an ICU.
Nasty vandals with spray paint left their mark after a long hike near St. George, Utah. Sandstone cliffs at the Snow Canyon State Park are normally colored from burnt orange to creamy white, but after taggers struck, they were anything but pretty. It will take considerable work to clean up the mess, and may permanently alter the rock formations. It required a hike of several miles for the miscreants to reach the site, and officials would like to track down those responsible. If you know anything, call 435-628-2255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fire officials in Hamilton, Mont., say an explosion in a fifth-wheel at the Black Rabbit RV Park wiped out the rig and created a $100,000 loss. An Oregon couple had parked the rig at the park and, for some reason, had a propane cylinder inside the rig. Evidently the cylinder leaked LP, which eventually found an ignition source. The rest is history, but happily, neither of the RVers was seriously hurt.
The problems of a lack of affordable housing and RVs camping on city streets for weeks and months at a time has come to a head in East Palo Alto, Calif. Wednesday evening, East Palo Alto officials towed away the last RV parked on the 1100 block of Weeks Street. Watch a news segment from KTVU TV.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
The 6,330-acre Pinery Provincial Park on Ontario’s Lake Huron has been shut down until further notice. No, it’s not due to forces of nature, but rather, authorities decided to run out all campers and close the gates when Maynard T. George said he was coming to “repossess” the park and several demonstrators apparently intended to occupy the park. George says he is a descendant of Chippewa Grand Chief Thomas Wabgance who, it is said, at one time controlled ownership of the entire area. George told media members he had no intention of blocking access to the park, but park officials said they were shutting the park down out of concern for public safety.
The big fire November 6 at Premier RV Services in Junction City, Ore., that wiped out several RVs and caused $8 million in damage, is now deemed accidental in nature. However, fire investigators say less damage would have occurred had it not been for a hazard situation firefighters encountered. Reports of fire came in at 2:41 a.m., and first responders had to drop back for nearly an hour after one smoke-eater sensed electrical voltage and they had to wait until the power company could cut off the current to the site.
A Carabelle, Fla., RV park is facing a lawsuit for alleged violations of the U.S. Fair Housing Act. The suit says that Darrell Rogers phoned the Ho Hum RV Park inquiring about reservations and was told the park didn’t accept children under 17. Since the park is not registered as an “over-55 park,” the suit says the park illegally discriminated against Rogers on the basis of family status. Park owners told reporters they had yet to see the suit, but that they feel it’s based on “a misunderstanding.” While a cached history of the park’s website read, “Ho Hum RV Park offers a quiet enviroment [sic] in a No Children Park,” that statement no longer appears on the current website. The attorney behind the suit is recognized for filing numerous suits of a similar nature.
Two people were left homeless after a gasoline-fueled blaze gutted a motorhome and damaged a trailer on Friday in Gresham, Ore. The couple told investigators they were pouring gas directly into the RV’s carburetor because the engine wasn’t running properly. An electrical element likely sparked the fire. Read more.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
What’s the longest you’ve waited for RV or automotive repairs on the road?
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:
Where are you right now? Click here for the results.
Have you checked your rig for recalls?
This could be a cautionary tale for us all. While the investigation hasn’t closed at this writing, it may be that the experience that befell a North Carolina RVer may actually have been “prophesied,” in a manner of speaking. Here’s a case where we can’t stress enough the importance of keeping on top of recalls that affect not just your car or truck, but your recreational vehicle as well. Learn more.
RV dealer says: “Didn’t buy from us? Then we won’t service it”
It’s a familiar tune. We hear it often. Someone buys an RV from an out-of-town dealer, then when they need it serviced, their local dealer won’t do it — of if they do, then far into the future. “You didn’t buy from us,” they say. Read more.
Oh, there’s one vacation ruined!
It doesn’t appear any harm came to humans in this travel trailer wipeout (we hope), but the RV surely didn’t fare well. You can’t tell exactly what caused this accident, but the driver obviously didn’t deal well with the situation. Let this be a reminder to you why passengers are not allowed to ride in moving travel trailers. Watch the short video.
Town’s RV parks are booked solid, but not with campers!
The same story is happening across America, in RV parks once designed to accommodate RVers on camping vacations. These days the parks are packed with a different group, and they aren’t there to camp. End result: Good luck finding a space when you pass through town. Read more.
Winterize and pre-clean for next season – Work smarter, not harder!
After Rich “The Wanderman’s” last trip of the season a week ago, it was time to shut down all the RV systems and clean and sanitize the interior so it’s mostly ready to go next season. Mold and mildew can develop inside an RV over the winter season, so Rich does his best to prevent that from happening. What works? What doesn’t work? And, most importantly, what are the easiest methods to do all of the above? Read Rich’s smart tips here.
Clean your RV’s interior with Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are so powerful how can they be used on babies? Really, these things have potent cleaning power. Here are many uses for these handy little wipes for inside and outside your RV. Do you have a use for them that isn’t mentioned here? Leave a comment below the article. Read more.
Overnight RV Parking at Golf Courses & Resort Hotels
An RV Golf Club membership allows you to park FREE every night of the year at 430+ beautiful, safe, private Golf Courses and Resort Hotels in the U.S. and Canada. No blackout days or restrictions. Golf, restaurants & shop discounts at most locations. Watch the video for answers to your questions or visit the RV Golf website.
Truths about buying an RV you should not ignore
Here are 18 truths about buying an RVing in today’s booming economy that you should know before making a purchase. Some of this advice from NewRVer.com is blunt and not flattering to the RV industry. The point is to convince would-be RVers to be very careful when they buy. In many if not most cases, an RV will be the most expensive item a person will ever purchase after a home. Read more!
Heading to the desert? Read these tips
If you are planning to head south to the deserts this winter for the first time, here are a few tips from Bob Difley, an expert on boondocking in the Southwestern deserts, to help make your winter escape comfortable, safe and stress-free. Learn more.
Buying an RV? What you need to know about RV dumping
RV makers save money by installing narrower drain pipes from an RV’s gray water tank (shower and sinks) than from the sewer tank. The result: toilet crud left over in sewer hoses after dumping, and smelly gray water holding tanks. Buying a new RV? Check out the pipes. Watch the short video.
Some household cleaners may not be RV-friendly
A clean RV provides the same level of accomplishment and pride as a spotless home, but the products used to get to that point are vastly different. Shurhold Industries, manufacturers of RV cleaners and maintenance tools, offers tips to help owners keep their trailers, campers and motorhomes in showroom-like condition. Read more.
Not using your RV? Rent it and earn money!
Campanda is sort of like the AirBnB of RVing. It matches up RV owners with RV renters. The renters can choose from a huge variety of RVs. And the RV owners can earn an excellent income renting out their RV that’s just sitting in their driveway. RVtravel.com has partnered with Campanda to help get the word out on this new, peer-to-peer concept. Learn more here, including how you can rent your RV and potentially earn thousands of dollars a month.
Restore them overnight with Caravan Sensor Cleaner
Caravan’s highly concentrated, bio-enzymatic formula is guaranteed to remove the debris causing your tanks to misread. No driving necessary. No dangerous chemicals. No strong odors. Perfect for full-timers and permanently parked RVs. Learn more or buy at Amazon.com.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
• FMCA announces new internet data plan.
• National park fees to skyrocket – Comment now or forget it.
• Paying an RV park for power? Read your meter!
• Hubby’s campground “hobby” driving wife “plumb” crazy.
• RV Electricity – Portable space heater safety, Part 2.
• How to save every drop of “get warm” water.
More popular articles from last week’s issue
• What to do about a surging RV generator.
• Snakes in an RV? Call Samuel L. Jackson, or do this.
• Thumbs up – October 2017 (positive comments from our readers).
• Reader’s Recipe: One Pot Pot Roast Dinner.
• Is it safe to camp in a desert wash?
• A Rumpl Puffy hits the spot with the arrival of the winter chill.
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 Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
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.
Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that lets you discover how you can travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than it costs to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he shows you step-by-step how to enjoy the RVing lifestyle while traveling and living on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Couple’s “storage turf” battle in a Class B motorhome
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I recently bought a Class B motorhome van – we like small and maneuverable. Our friends all told us it was too small for spending several months a year on the road. What I didn’t plan on was my husband changing his mind about alternative transportation. Now he has decided to haul his motorcycle on a rack. This is where we access storage from the rear doors. He spent a week rewiring and re-plumbing to gain extra storage space. Yesterday I found his helmet in my already-small clothes closet. I told him where he could put it. …
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.
Find stores for shopping and overnight stays
This is an invaluable aid for RVers who occasionally spend a night in a Walmart parking lot. State maps identify where the stores are located in the USA. Detailed information includes city or town where each store is located, type of store (Walmart or Supercenter), availability of gas and diesel fuel, distance from Interstate if within 10 miles, overnight RV parking info, and more. Published 2017. 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: $2.59 (on Nov. 13). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 41 cents.
Diesel: $2.92 (on Nov. 13). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 47 cents.
“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.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Have a CO detector in the bedroom
Deadly, invisible, odorless CO usually results from exhaust leaks or misuse of heating devices. Be sure to put your CO detector in the bedroom. The proper location is on an inside wall at least eight inches from the ceiling and at least four feet from the floor. 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.
Great gift for a child! A Lego RV
What a great gift for an RVer’s children or grandchildren! Check out the variety of Lego RVs at Amazon — motorhomes, vans, trailers and more. The RVs include doors that open, roof compartments and lots of space inside for the little people to move around — just like in a for-real RV! Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Save water when cleaning “real” dishes while boondocking
Hubby and I don’t like the paper and plastic waste involved in using paper plates to eat and plastic bags to mix stuff. We simply use a rubber spatula to scrape away food scraps, then spray the plates and bowls with a mixture of mostly water and a bit of dishwashing liquid that we keep in a spray bottle, then wipe with one-half of a paper towel. We put the dishes in a dish tub, let them pile up until we’re ready to wash, spray again with the bottle, use the sponge, then rinse with boiling water. Works like a charm, saves water and paper. Boondocking is the best way to camp! 🙂 —Thanks, Karen and hubby!
Follow-up tip on reading the meter at an RV park
“Noticed an article in issue 819 on reading your electric meter at campgrounds. I recently had a dispute on the park’s meter reading. I had read the meter when I arrived and the reading differed from the park manager’s. I was staying for a month and the amount was almost double. Now I take a photo with my phone as soon as I arrive so there will be no discrepancy in the future.” Thanks, JR Thornton!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Great gift for shorter folks!
Fold-up step helps enter and exit RV
Camco’s Folding RV Step is an extra-wide 8″ by 19″ platform with angled legs to provide stability. The folding legs lock open for an overall height of 8.75″. The gripper strips on the platform help keep you on solid footing. It folds down to only 2″ high for easy storage. The heavy-duty steel frame supports up to 350 pounds. This will really come in handy! Learn more or order at a discount.
Gizmos and Gadgets
NUBOOM wireless solar Bluetooth speaker delivers powerful sound
Have you experienced a poor connection, poor sound or a sudden loss of power when you were playing music with your little Bluetooth speaker? NuVending has introduced the NUBOOM, a solar wireless Bluetooth speaker with a CSR 4.0 top-in-industry Bluetooth chip and a huge 4400mAh battery capable of 55+ hours of playing time. You can use the speaker anywhere, no plug-in needed, and stream news, music and podcasts from almost all Bluetooth-powered cell phones and tablets with a few clicks. The sound will surprise you. And they have a special limited-time offer just for RV Travel readers. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Easily clean those
stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
This is much better than a P-trap
I was at an RV show recently and I noticed that there wasn’t a regular P-trap under the lavatory sink, just a straight fitting or adapter. Any idea what this was? I thought all sinks had to have a water lock to keep the holding tank fumes from getting inside the motorhome. —Craig J.
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
How to find boondocking campsites in our national forests
How do you find places to camp in the National Forests that are not designated campgrounds? —Reggie
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Pioche, Nevada: A taste of the Old West.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Give gift cards to your favorite stores and restaurants
You can’t go wrong giving a gift card for the holidays — or any other occasion. Here’s where to order most of America’s most popular gift cards.
with Mike Sokol
DIY – Safely welding on your RV
I recently purchased a travel trailer and need to reweld the bumper support to the frame. Besides unhooking the battery, what other precautions must I take to protect the electrical system on my RV? The welder I’m using is a standard 120-volt unit. Thanks for your help. —Tim Kurta
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
The Most Scenic Drives in America
This trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic road every time. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured road trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
When to replace tires? Can you drive on one “dual”?
Roger was recently reading a magazine aimed at motorhome owners and there was an item about a man that suffered an RV tire failure of one of the rear duals. The RV owner decided to drive to the nearest tire store, where it was suggested that he replace all six tires. It was explained that the life of tires in RV service is 10 years or less, but the article did not educate the readers with a warning of the damage that was probably being done to the mate of the tire that failed. Learn more.
Space heater uses only 200 watts!
GREAT GIFT! It’s hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs —a fraction of other space heaters. And this one really works! It’s meant to heat a nearby person, not a room (although it will keep the chill away in a small bathroom). Put it on your desk or at your feet. Perfect for the RVer who’s “always cold.” For about $20, this is a winner. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Cake Mix Coffee Cake
Sugarplum dreams and cinnamon smells. Make it the night before and bake it in the morning. Then serve it up, hot and cinnamon-y, with rafts of scrambled eggs. It’s just in time for the holidays, when there is nothing better than the smell of cinnamon in the morning whether you’re in a campground or at home. Get the recipe.
RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes
with Emily Woodbury
Hazel’s Ziploc Omelettes
I’m a sucker for breakfast foods. My weekend mornings aren’t quite right if there’s not a big breakfast production involved. Why would I start my day with anything but delicious foods? I would have had a tough time in the early 1800s when breakfast wasn’t even a “thing” yet. In the morning they ate foods like leftovers, stewed grains, or cheese (okay, I’m fine with the cheese for breakfast part). It wasn’t until the late 1800s that meats were introduced as a breakfast food (up until that point there just wasn’t the supply for it). Cereal wasn’t invented until 1863 when Granula came about (basically granola made with graham flour), and nobody was eating yogurt until about 1980, when the low-fat kind hit the markets. Read more and get the recipe here.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.
with Geeks on Tour
Adding maps (or almost anything) to your blog posts using screenshots
Any map (or anything at all!) that you can see on your phone or on your computer can be captured as an image. Then it can be used in your Blog, just like any other picture. Here are Chris Guld’s step-by-step instructions for taking screenshots on your cell phone or computer and posting them to your blog. Learn more.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
12-volt warming blanket is perfect for winter!
Here’s a way to keep warm in your RV without wasting propane to run your heater. Just snuggle up with a warming blanket! This one operates on 12-volt, perfect for RV use. Stitched from 100-percent polyester fleece, the blanket is comfortable, functional, safe and gentle on your RV’s battery. Put it on your bed before turning in to warm your sheets! Learn more or order from Amazon.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows
What’s the best telescope mount for you?
This week Chris explains the telescope mount, a very important part of any astronomy equipment setup. The mount is basically the part of the rig that attaches the optical tube assembly (OTA) to the tripod or pier, and points the OTA at the targets you are going to be looking at. Mounts come in two basic designs, Altazimuth and Equatorial, and Chris explains the differences so you can make an informed decision before buying one. Read more.
Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com!
An excellent 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. All for less than $12! Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Video of the Week: RV Water Heater Flush & Inspection
• EasyCare Engage RV Appearance Protection
• Zion River Resort, Utah
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
GREAT GIFT! 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 $15.
Free and bargain camping
Sunoco Truck Stop (Closed), Bath, NY
FREE. Overnight RV Parking is allowed. Permission is not required – business is closed & there is no staff on site; Pilot location across SR 53 now directs RVers to park overnight here. Note that if this truck stop re-opens, the policy may change. Park without obstructing movement by other vehicles. Level, well lit, with some I-86 traffic noise & possible noise from trucks also parked here. No amenities. Address: I-86, Exit 37. GPS: 42.3758 -77.3617.
Grant County Rest Area, Fairplay, WI
FREE. Overnight RV Parking is allowed with a maximum stay of 24 hours. Camping Prohibited. 29 car and 18 truck parking spaces. Truck/RV spaces near the center are the most level. Restrooms, telephones plus TTY, picnic area and tables, drinking water, weather information, pet exercise area, recycling areas, vending machines. Address: At interchange of US 61 & 151 with SR 11 & 35. GPS: 42.521668, -90.619219.
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.
Easily brew a single cup of coffee
This is great for RVers! Brew a single cup of coffee without the high cost of an expensive coffee maker with the MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker! Just fill reservoir with hot water from tea kettle, or heat water in a microwave. Assemble, place K-Cup pack in base, attach the water reservoir and pump. Watch the video for a short demonstration or learn more or order at a big discount.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale, Dec. 7-10, Indio, CA
See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.
Guide to RV Camping in State Parks
Learn about more than 1,730 state parks, forests & recreation areas for RVers. Book includes maps, locator charts, reservation & fee info, plus contact details & website. Plus park location, directions, GPS coordinates, contact info, type of hookups, season, RV length limit & availability of showers, dump station, Wi-Fi, etc. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of November 18–24
Compiled by Dell Bert
1863 – Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address.
1877 – Edison’s first great invention: the phonograph.
1883 – Railroads create the first time zones.
1936 – First issue of Life is published.
1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
1971 – Hijacker D.B. Cooper parachutes into thunderstorm.
1976 – “Rocky” premieres.
1980 – Millions tune in to find out who shot J.R.
2012 – Actor Larry Hagman (“J.R.”) dies.
There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.
Bumper sticker of the week
I took the road less traveled. Now I’m lost.
This tow car from the future, as envisioned in the mid-20th century, comes equipped with a periscope. And how about that futuristic trailer? Sad to report, neither ever went into production. Watch the old movie newsreel.
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen on a billboard near Fresno, Calif., for a business selling bar stools and dinette sets: “Check out our stool samples.” Thanks, Mark!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Perfect stocking stuffer!
Lucy and Desi go RVing
Now, here’s the perfect stocking stuffer — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic — in gorgeous Technicolor — the famous couple (as newlyweds) invest in a 40-foot travel trailer and hit the road. The result is hilarious! The scene in which Lucy tries to make beef stew, a Caesar salad and cake in the wobbling, moving trailer is a classic! This DVD is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Learn more or order for only $7.97.
Joke of the Week
A family of mice is sitting around in the lounge. Father mouse is reading the paper while mother and the children are watching television. All of a sudden a cat rushes in. Father mouse gets a terrible fright and starts barking like a dog. The cat runs away. Turning to his family he says, “You see now how important it is to learn a second language.”
Random RV Thought
At this very moment, as you read this, thousands of people across North America are daydreaming about their next RV trip. Some are at work, others at home, others just out for a morning stroll. Daydreaming about an RV trip is not as good as taking the actual trip, but it’s better than daydreaming about things like mowing a lawn or ironing clothes.
“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” —William Shakespeare
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, Jason Montigel 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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