RV Travel Newsletter Issue 824

RV Travel Newsletter Issue 824

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 824 • Week of December 16–22, 2017   #rvtravel


Editor’s corner 
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com

The last year has been a great adventure for Gail and me as full-time RVers, especially the last five months. In early July, we departed from Seattle to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the giant RV show. We then continued on, at first south, then southwest, staying for one to three weeks at a time in RV parks in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and now Texas.

Home sweet home in Medford, Oregon

We flew back to Seattle last week for a quick visit with friends and family. In my case, I have spent almost every day with my daughter, Emily, who recently joined RV Travel, to teach her the ropes. Lucky for our staff, she has been an RVer her entire life (and loved every minute of it), from age three months on. So she can “talk the talk.” She and I took a half dozen long RV road trips during her teen years. I drove her to New York in my Winnebago View to attend college, stopping often at quirky roadside attractions, which we both enjoy. The Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota, was a highlight. We still talk about it.

But back to my current life as a full-time RVer. It’s been a huge eye-opener, a window into a changing America. I have written at length about crowded RV parks, where reservations a week, month or even a year ahead are often required. If I were not on the road I would never have realized the extent of the problem this represents for many RVers.

One significant change we’ve observed is the increasing number of closed shopping malls. Many were anchored by Sears or Penny’s stores, two businesses that are struggling to stay alive, and closing many stores in the process. And when they go, so goes the mall. We all know the reason: online shopping, Amazon in particular. I pondered the extent of my own Amazon shopping the other day. While I still buy food, some hardware items, and most of my clothing in the real world, I purchase most everything else from Amazon, which will deliver the goods in two days to the RV park where I’m staying, a big deal for those of us who move around a lot.

So many wonderful roads to explore!

This past week I flagged down two postal carriers and asked them, “How many of the packages you’re delivering this season are from Amazon?” The first one paused a few seconds and then answered, “I’d say between 30 and 40 percent.” The second one answered immediately, “At least 50 percent.”

Wow! Is it no wonder that malls are closing! Where is this all headed? A couple of years ago, walking the main street of Shelby, Montana, we visited a wonderful Western clothing store. Of course, the downtown area was struggling with a new Walmart a few miles away. I asked the owner about his business. He said he was the fourth generation of his family to own it, and will be the last: The store would soon close. I asked, “Is it because of Walmart?” He shook his head: “No, Amazon.”

One of the huge benefits of traveling as Gail and I do is being able to explore communities far and wide, gaining insights into present-day America that we could never know sitting at home. For curious people like me, every day presents an opportunity to learn more about our society and the RV subculture in particular. How Americans live, work and retire is changing, and RVs are playing an increasingly larger role. RVing is no longer only about camping: This is something I’m trying to understand better and write about. One of these days, when Emily can help free some of my time, I will write a book about this. I never have enough space here to go into depth on any one subject.

I hope you are having a joyous holiday season. Christmas is fast approaching and then a new year. Where does the time go? How can it be 2018?

chucksignature

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


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Directory of back issues


Holiday Gift Guide
Here are some ideas for your favorite RVer!
CLICK HERE


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMOPINION: Camping World “RV Home Delivery” is bad idea
Earlier this week Camping World announced a new program that will allow shoppers to buy an RV online without ever personally seeing it. RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury believes it’s a bad idea for buyers. Read more.  

Some recent recalls:
Some Forest River Dynamax RVs recalled for CO danger.
Newmar recalls some motorhomes for headlight issues.
Grand Design recalls some Reflection trailers.
Winnebago recalls some Grand Tour and Journey motorhomes.
Triple E recalls some RVs: Passenger seat could come loose.


Support Honest Journalism
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $5, $10 or $20 a year is appreciated — that’s for more than 50 weekly issues! Many readers set up an ongoing subscription, most $5 to $10 month. Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.



NEW CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries, please! The answer: Chicago Win this cute Happy Camper Mug. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: The Ferris Wheel was introduced at which World’s Fair? A.) New York,  B.) San Fransisco,  C.) Chicago. (Find the answer somewhere below.) 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: Jim Waddell of Nevada City, Calif. He won a very cool novelty apron. Lookin’ good, Jim!

Last week’s bonus contest: The object was a Beaten Biscuit Machine. The winner of the Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill is Jim Morgan of Cincinnati, Ohio.


breaking-newsAuto club AAA forecasts 107.3 million Americans will travel during the year-end holiday period from Saturday, December 23 through Monday, January 1, including 97.4 million who will be driving. That’s a 3 percent increase over the same period last year. The 90 percent of holiday travelers choosing to drive will find the most expensive year-end gas prices since 2014.

Aggregated sales statistics for towable RVs show the first ten months of 2017 were pretty good for most in the industry, with overall sales up 9.4 percent. Travel trailer sales were up 10.7 percent, while fifth wheels gained 7.7 percent. Bucking the trend, “pop ups” and park model rigs declined nearly 7 and 11 percent respectively. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.

Class B “van campers” enjoyed a 28 percent jump in sales over the first 10 months of the year, says Statistical Surveys Inc.

It’s an ill wind-blown fire that brings nobody good – near Healdsburg, Calif., anyway. Area tourism generally focuses on the Russian River, which at this time is too cold to attract swimmers, but the Alexander Valley RV Park is a packed house. RVs fill the campground, occupied by clean-up workers helping out with the aftermath of October’s Sonoma County wildfire. In order to free up motels for folks who’ve lost their homes and for tourists, one major cleanup contractor must find other ways to accommodate workers, and the RV park became a quick solution to the issue.

Image of clubhouse: RA Architecture + Design

A 103-acre coastal Oregon site, the former home of a lumber mill and yard, is giving way to a new upscale RV park called The Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon. Due to the riparian nature of the land, sites will have more privacy and be connected by walking trails. One of the unusual features of the project is a clubhouse with an indoor swimming pool. The new resort at Coos Bay is slated to open in April.

The latest California wildfires continue to take their toll, including a KOA campground in Santa Paula. The Ventura Ranch KOA Holiday is now closed indefinitely, having been “severely damaged” on December 4. Sixteen campground buildings and two of the KOA’s owner’s RVs were lost. No campers’ RVs were lost.

JUST FOR FUN: In the video to the right Homer takes the family on vacation in an all-terrain motorhome. Well, maybe not such a good idea (2 minutes).

At one time, the gateway to New York State’s Adirondacks was a Wild West theme park called Frontier Town. Tourists brought money there until 1998, when the “town” folded up. Now the state’s conservation department has plans to breathe life into the ghost town, building a new campground on the site with space for 91. Mind you, only 13 sites will be designated for RVs, with 45 tent sites and 33 equestrian campsites rounding out the numbers. Construction is slated to start in February, with camping available in the summer of 2019.

More RV overnighting spaces are coming to Tucson, Arizona. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, which operates the Casino Del Sol Resort, says it’s taking bids from contractors to build an RV park with 90 water/electric hookup sites. Don’t look for cheap here: Rates are anticipated to start at $99 a night.
NPS photo by Gavin Newman

Nearly $5 million will be spent in taking care of the ups and downs in Carlsbad Caverns National Park (N.M.). It all got started when the primary elevators down into the cavern went on the blink in 2015. Since that time, alternate elevators have been in use. But a modernization contract was awarded, and new guide rails and cars are being installed. You can get a lift in the new conveyances at the end of next May.
Citing cutbacks in recreational budgets, Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest has changed campground fees at two locations in its jurisdiction. A new fee of $5 per night now applies at Saddle Lake Campground, and a doubling of fees to $8 per night affects German Ridge Campground.

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 Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.


news524(2)More News

Things got a little ticklish at one of South Texas’ most popular RV parks. On December 7, a runaway vehicle mashed the Isla Blanca Park toll booth in Harlingen, Texas. The park is home to 600 RV sites, and at high season not being able to check in campers could be a nightmare. Quick-thinking park officials have responded by turning a nearby service gate into a temporary check-in entrance, and life goes on.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts have reported double-digit, year-over-year park sales gains, the ninth year of continuous sales growth. Jellystone Parks is the nation’s second largest franchised campground system with 83 parks in the U.S. and Canada. And in the “Good News Department,” work is underway on four new parks scheduled to open in early- to mid-2018.

After a disastrous summer wildfire season, officials in Washington’s Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest are bracing for the aftermath: With burned slopes, water runoff and mudslides could endanger campgrounds and other infrastructure. A special response team has mapped fire-damaged areas to assess risks, and plans are now being drawn up to try and take proactive protection measures. Safety Harbor Campground on Lake Chelan is high on the list, and the Service will barge in metal constructs, placing them around the campground in an attempt to redirect flows away from the facility.

Fulltime RVers are sometimes frustrated by voter registration laws, making it difficult to vote if they don’t have a “permanent” address. Oregon seems to be making a bold move that could have an effect on those who call Oregon their “resident” state. A special election set in January to vote on funding for health care for low-income people has caused official advertisements to tout: “Any U.S. citizen who is a resident of Oregon and is at least 18 years old is eligible to vote in this election if registered. A permanent address is not required to register to vote. People can use the address where they stay most often, which could be a friend’s house, a shelter, a park, a motor home or even an intersection. They can also use the address of the county clerk.”

If the director of the agency that manages Iowa’s state parks has his way, you could see campground fees rise and fall, according to demand. Chuck Gipp says Iowa’s parks are in heavy use, and supporting dollars from taxes are down. Raise the rates when demand is up, drop them when down to get more into those open spaces is his philosophy. It will take legislative approval for the “dynamic pricing” policy to be approved.


Income wasted!

EARN EXCELLENT INCOME RENTING YOUR RV
Is your RV just sitting around? 
Rent it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can earn! The owner of a Class A motorhome, for example, could earn up to $4,520 a month. Own a popup trailer? It could bring you $1,780 a month in rental income. Join thousands of happy RV owners making significant money! Learn more at Campanda. Endorsed by RVtravel.com


The proposal for a small RV park in Rome, Ga., appears to be fighting an uphill battle. The park would be on a nearly 8-acre site that at one time held a mobile home park, in an area near a prison and the city sewage treatment plant. Nevertheless, locals argued against the project, citing traffic concerns and bad memories from the days when the property was a mobile home park. The local planning commission gave a unanimous “deny” recommendation but the final vote is in the hands of city commissioners later this month.

Photo: starnewsonline.com

And that’s one reason why you don’t carry passengers in your travel trailer: An RVer in Wilmington, N.C., must have had a considerable surprise when his travel trailer was skewered by a log that fell off a passing log truck. The log, estimated to be some 16 feet long, passed straight through the rig from side to side.

High winds caused a fair amount of damage on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton National Park over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The Ingonish Beach Campground had many fallen trees, some landing on the campground building. 

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


This week’s Reader Poll
Will you migrate south this winter with your RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.

Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
Are you happiest participating in group activities or spending time alone? Click here for the results.



Not all RV antifreeze is created equal
If your rig is sitting in cold country and you haven’t already done so, it’s high time to get it winterized. Keeping your RV water lines from freezing (and breaking) is serious stuff. One question that pops up when discussing winterizing is this: Is there a difference in the types of RV antifreeze? And what in the heck does antifreeze have to do with Kickapoo Joy Juice? Find out here.

“How do I flush this thing?”
A new RVer lamented that his family had bought a used rig and had taken it out a couple of times. During those trips they’d used the shower and the sinks – but never the toilet because they didn’t know how to use the thing. Are you in such a predicament? Well, fear not – help is on the way from Russ and Tiña De Maris. Here are tips for using and maintaining the RV toilet and black tank.

Keep that RV going straight down the road
There are a lot of RVs that don’t always drive straight down the road – and it’s not always someone else’s rig. If your rig is squirrelly, you don’t have to just live with it. No matter what the cause, there are some remedies available to you. Learn more.

Maintain your RV roof vent – even in winter
While it may not seem such a critical item in winter, keeping your roof vents clean and fully operational is an RVer’s “good thing.” Here are a few tips to maintain your roof vent and provide a healthier living environment in your RV. Learn more.

Make sure your RV drinking water is safe
There are two kinds of RVers: those that drink raw water right out of the tap and those that don’t. For those of us that do drink water and spend a lot of time on the road and in questionable locations, here are some measures that have kept Boondock Bob Difley and his wife free of waterborne illnesses. Learn more.

Top RV dealers of 2017 announced
RVBusiness Magazine has named its 2017 Top 50 RV Dealers. The program is held in conjunction with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and is designed to honor the top dealerships in the U.S. and Canada based on their commitment to professionalism and customer care. Is your dealer on the list?


RV SnapPads For the Special RVer in Your Life
The world’s only permanent jack pad is also an ideal RVer Christmas gift! With three different product lines, we now offer SnapPads for luxury fifth wheels and Class A Motorhomes by Forest River, Heartland, Tiffin, Jayco, Winnebago, and more! Visit rvsnappad.com for $10 off your order with code CHRISTMAS2017 and a chance to win your purchase.


Avoiding “mysterious” RV battery deaths
A dead RV battery is always a frustration, and oftentimes a mystification. Why did it die? There are “things” that happen, and we’re all familiar with them. Even with everything in its place there are mysterious causes of battery failure. We’re not talking about UFOs landing on your RV roof and taking a jump-start for their warp drive. We’re talking parasites. Learn more.

Taking pictures – What’s the best way and why
No matter what they are for, your photos record moments you want to keep. For how long? Well, that’s up to you. In any case, there are many ways to take photos and many devices you can use. Each has its pros and cons. Figuring out what to use and how to compose your photos is really important. Rich “The Wanderman” explains.

Keep your pets safe this holiday season
Lots of us have pets, especially dogs and cats that accompany us on our RV travels. This holiday season, while you’re busy decorating, cooking and wrapping gifts, remember to watch out for holiday temptations for your pets. FDA veterinarian Carmela Stamper tells how to keep your animals safe.

Urban RV driving tips
Some of the most white-knuckle experiences that new RVers can have is negotiating urban traffic in an RV. Traffic is heavy, streets narrow and things just seem so overwhelming. Even seasoned RVers can dread downtown driving. Here are a few tips to help make navigating city streets easier on the nerves. Learn more.

National Parks announce free entrance days for ’18
The National Park Service announced that the public will be invited to experience all national parks, without entrance fees, on four days in 2018. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation or special tours. Read more.


“SafetyStruts™ Prevent RV Bumper Failure”
Sales of the innovative SafetyStruts™ RV Bumper Support Brackets exploded in 2014 after the U.S.-based startup was profiled by RVTravel.com. The product line has grown with 5 types of SafetyStruts, 4-inch & 6-inch aluminum replacement bumpers, generator trays, hitches, etc. Watch the video or visit Mount-n-Lock.com to learn more.


Readers’ comments on recent articles

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
Beginners Guide to RVing• “Best RV of the Year” comes with hefty price tag.
How to keep rodents out of your RV during storage.
RV mods: Fuel-saving devices for your RV?
RV ghettos along the road.
The Quartzsite phenomenon.
Wife uncomfortable in remote boondocking spots – What to do?

More popular articles from last week’s issue
Is surge protector enough to protect an RV?
Can blowout plug damage water pump when winterizing?
Fulltime RVing – What’s the best kind of RV for you?
Boondocking threatened at two Utah National Monuments?
Keep those expensive RV batteries alive!
Test your eyes on M45 aka Pleiades or Seven Sisters.


Tank Sensors Reading Full?
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.

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.


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! Learn more.


Reader RVs
Click here to see many submissions from our readers about their RVs.

Upcoming RV Shows
See the complete list.


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.


Ask the RV Shrink

Wife has created a “solar monster”

Dear RV Shrink:
I have created a monster. My husband and I bought a nice used motorhome to do some traveling. It came with a generator, but I wanted a solar panel. My husband thought they were too expensive and called them “toys.” Finally, tiring of hearing me yak about them, he ordered a 123-watt panel. I was a happy camper until he bought the second one, then a third. Then we needed inverters, special batteries, fancier control panel, the list goes on. …

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.


Winter Differently with Us!
Come down to Encore RV Resorts this winter. Plan your season of fun at any one of our sunbelt resorts in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Palm Springs and more. Find your winter destination today and stay a week, a month or the entire season! 
Learn more.


gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.49 (on Dec. 11). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 25 cents.
Diesel: $2.91 (on Dec. 11). Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 42 cents.


extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Safety tools can save lives
There are plenty of fire and life safety tools that can save lives, but for them to be effective, they must be in working condition and you must know how to use them properly. 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


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.


RV Quick Tips

Handy storage and catch basins under sinks
“Plastic bins or boxes without their lids offer great storage under the kitchen or bathroom sink. Not only will they keep your jugs and bottles organized and upright, but if the plastic boxes are strategically placed under a water line joint or water filter, you have a catch basin should a leak develop. Guess how I know.” Thanks to Ken and Helen K.!

Easy way to check trailer brake magnets
Not sure if your trailer brake magnets are working? Have an assistant hold an old-fashioned magnetic compass a few inches away from the hub. Step on the brake, and the needle should jump. No jump? Magnet isn’t working – neither is the brake. Get help.

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


tempgun-682Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C and heater output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.


Gizmos and Gadgets

Device helps keep your batteries charged
Though some would find a depleted battery on their cell phone or laptop annoying, finding a dead battery in the car, truck or RV is more than annoying. The AdventureJumpStart Power Bank from myCharge will not only recharge your devices but will also get your vehicle on the road again. As dependent as we are today on our devices and transportation, you will not want to leave home without it. Weighs less than 1/2 pound. Learn more.

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


Bracelet could be lifesaver in emergency
This bracelet could be a lifesaver next time you’re hiking. It unravels to expose strands of tinder with a built-in fire starter. But wait! It catches fish, too! Two pieces of fishing line are included plus 10 feet of paracord wrapped into the bracelet band! Don’t leave your RV without this. Watch the video to see it in action. Buy this lifesaver here.


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

Our RV holding tank is frozen – Help!

Dear Gary,
How do I unfreeze a black holding tank on my RV? I’m not sure if it’s full or not. The dump valve is frozen shut also. I only need options for a stationary RV as I can’t get the 5th wheel to a shop. Emergency! Help! —Mike A.

Read Gary’s response.

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


Protect yourself from intruders, bears and more!
The BASU eAlarm lets us explore, sleep and adventure with confidence! This tiny device emits a 130-decibel alarm which scares away intruders, burglars and wild animals, and will call for help if you find yourself stranded. Used by the RVTravel staff, you can count on this alarm to keep you safe. Watch the video to learn more or click here to order for about $10.


bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

What hikers and others need to know in mountain lion country

Hi Bob,
Two of our greatest pleasures that my wife and I enjoy now that we are fulltiming is hiking and camping (boondocking) in the national forests and deserts. We seldom see other RVers or hikers. We’re used to bears, but are apprehensive about meeting a mountain lion when so isolated. Are we being unusually fearful? —Harry and Jocelyn

Read Bob’s response.

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

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: In the Spirit of Giving.

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.


RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Surge protector evaluation

Dear Mike,
We purchased a TRC Surge Guard RV Power Protection Model 34730 120-Volt / 30-Amp unit online for our R•pod 177. My question: Is this going to take care of “surge” and electrical management or should we return and get something else? Thank you for your reply. —Linda M.

Read Mike’s response.

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.


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, “The Long, Long Trailer” – 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.


RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

OK to support just one dual tire on leveling block?

Roger received the following question: “I have some questions about leveling with ramps, specifically on vehicles with rear duallies. The obvious temptation is to use only one ramp. However, since tires and wheels are clearly designed with safety factors, and since the overload is a very static situation with none of the dynamic variations of a moving scenario, what do you think are the real risks involved?” Roger explains the safety factors involved, and the best way to support duallies. Learn more.


gauge4Endorsed 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 off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for about $16! Learn more or order.


Horse-head nebula in the constellation Orion, by Chris Fellows, Dec. 13

Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows

How to find a dark sky location for spectacular stargazing

Chris has been frustrated recently by the terrible light pollution in Yuma, Ariz., and the inability to see even the brightest of celestial objects and the disappointing views his visitors were getting at the eyepiece. He has now moved to a much nicer location near Quartzsite, Ariz. (happy camper/astronomer). He discusses the issue of light pollution and provides some resources that you can use to avoid the problem. Read more.


convection767Cooking with Convection
Don’t know how to cook with your RV’s convection oven? Then this book is for you. Beatrice Ojakangas, an authority on convection cooking, explains how to use your convection oven to achieve perfect results in dramatically less time than with a conventional oven – from meat to side dishes to dessert — all at the same time. Learn more or order.


The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Lemony Beef Stir-Fry
Stir fry a quick supper. Stir-fry meals are quick and easy, and they cook in a flash if the slicing and dicing is done ahead of time. That leaves the chef free to enjoy Happy Hour with the gang. Serve this over rice or crisp Chinese noodles. Lemon zest adds a new dimension to this Asian classic. 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.


foil-757Fix 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.


Digital RVer

Taking a trip? Don’t leave home without Google Photos
If you’re going on a trip, be sure your phone has plenty of space for all the photos you’ll want to take. And when you’re deleting photos off your phone to make space for the new ones, make sure they’re backed up first or you may lose them. Here’s an easy way to prepare your phone for a trip, or to just store your photos without taking up space on your phone but they’re still easily accessible. Learn more.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #131, Mobile Internet with the experts. Watch live or archives of past programs.

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.

Contest answer: C.) Chicago. The Ferris Wheel was introduced at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.


gift-cards-770Give 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.


Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
Herkimer Diamond Mines KOA, NY
Luxury Camping Resort to Open in Keystone
Improving Your RV’s Water Filtration Process


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. 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 


Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Sunoco Truck Stop (Closed), Bath, NY
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Permission 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 and 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 demoWatch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.


Don’t be without this Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $19, 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 storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for someone you care about who travels a lot. Learn more or order.


Joshua tree
Joshua Trees are found mostly in the Mojave Desert. There is concern that climate change will eliminate 90 percent of them in Joshua Tree National Park by the end of the 21st century.

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

1865 – Slavery is abolished in America.
1903 – First airplane flies (Wright brothers).
1917 – National Hockey League opens its first season.
1957 – Elvis Presley is drafted.
1961 – The Tokens earn a #1 hit with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
1963 – Berlin Wall is opened for first time.
1967 – “The Graduate” opens.
1968 – Apollo 8, first manned mission to the moon, departs for moon’s orbit.
2010 – “Larry King Live” ends after 25 years on CNN.

Trivia
German and British front-line soldiers sang carols, exchanged gifts and played soccer during a World War I Christmas truce in 1914.

Bumper sticker of the week
Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s still snowing. —Phyllis Diller

Funny/clever business slogan
At an auto body shop: May we have the next dents?

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



Joke of the Week
An RVing grandmother, visiting her daughter in her fifth wheel at Christmastime, was preparing pancakes for her young grandsons, Kevin and Ryan. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their grandmother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.'” Quick-minded Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus!”

Random RV Thought
A candle or candles can produce enough heat in an RV on a cold day to provide some warmth. Just be mindful of where they are placed and do not leave them unattended. Buy them cheap at a discount store.

Worth Pondering
“Men have become the tools of their tools.” —Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)



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, J.M. 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.

cw501About 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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24 thoughts on “RV Travel Newsletter Issue 824

  1. Eric Meslin

    Chuck, I appreciate your honesty. I think we can agree that we are all flawed humans with differing levels of knowledge, experience, and opinions. We should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Thanks for being honest in you observations based on your experience as a long-time RVer.

    I admit to being part of the problem (not in the global warming sense, at least not significantly – unless baked beans are involved). We have been RVing for just 4 years. I can’t remember a time when on-line reservations weren’t recommended, at least for nicer sites at public parks. In my short experience it has gotten worse. Many state parks that once had at least a few walk-up sites have now gone to 100% reservable. I have always planned a couple of days to a month out (generally just for weekends), so I have learned to work the system. It’s not easy though, especially over slow and public campground wifi or patchy cell phone reception. I frequently have to match my plans to the reality of campground availability. Last year I planned a trip all the way to Newfoundland. The uncertainty of availability forced me to make early reservations at the most important places on our bucket list. Our plans changed due to a medical delay. This cost me more than $100 in sunk costs (reservation fees + cancellation fees). I can’t complain though. I love traveling with my RV and, like I said, I’m part of the problem.

    One other comment. Even before RVing I’ve noticed how Walmart, and other big box stores/malls, have killed downtowns. Most of the small towns in Europe still seem to have vibrant downtowns. Over the last decade though this trend seems to be improving. Some historic/quant downtowns are coming back with shops and upscale restaurants.

    We made it to Newfoundland this year and noticed what seemed to be a general decline in spirituality. There are quite a number of churches that have been abandoned or turned into private residences and businesses. We attended a few that were still operating and none of them had more than 30 older congregants. There is a bit of an exodus from the island and the population is aging. Everyone we spoke to wouldn’t live anywhere else, and many folks retire to return home to Newfoundland. However, on the more youthful end of the scale there is a decline. We heard of schools being closed and combined with others. Church decay was also noted across the other Atlantic provinces and even across New England (original home of those escaping religious persecution in England and Europe).

    Keep up the good work speaking the truth as you see it Chuck. God bless.

  2. Phil Strong

    Regarding your continued complaining about camp site availability. Here is what I know from my personal experience. In the past I looked forward to the arrival of your news letter and read it immediately. Lately, I rarely read it the day it arrives. I read it for ideas that will enhance our rv travels, not your personal challenges. I know the problems associated with campgrounds and understand that is my responsibility to plan accordingly. It is not going to change any time soon and your annoying repetition will only serve as a distraction to what otherwise is an informative news letter.

  3. Kenneth Merry to Check W.

    Please, Please do not change your reporting of the good the bad the ugly and the humorous, I love this site and have learned so much. I am on my forth RV and wilderness camped for many years before with and without tents. I am 72 years young and do almost all my own maintenance and repair the links and info have helped so much keeping my 2003, 33 ft. Coachman in good working order, thanks, and Merry Christmas

  4. John Hiler

    I suppose you realize that you have reverted back to the Native Americans who traveled around, to a place where there was grazing for horses and plants to eat, water, fuel, animals for food, and they too had favorite places to go. The white northern European males called them savages. Then built towns that were sink holes of disease and chaos. Now we’re back to Savages. And denial of Climate change is fear of reality or control by an outside force…

  5. bd2

    On buying a RV on line. INSANE ! You probably end up with a useless RV with a huge punch list of problems. Then the joy of trying to get some dealer to fix and then re-fix it after waiting for this privilege for weeks/months

  6. bd2

    Frozen black tank ? Mix some hot water/salt brine and pour it in. Later add more salt. A heat lamp on the tank might help too. Once it thaws dump out and get some GOOD pink stuff in it [check freeze temperature on bottle – I have seen -15 down to -50 and I feel safer with the -50

  7. Mark Nawman

    Chuck, I have enjoyed your news letter for several years now, but lately it is getting more and more depressing to read. We all know this is not a perfect world and we know the world is changing. RV s break down. The millineals that build the RV s today don’t have the same work ethics as their fathers did. There are more RV ers on the road and in the campgrounds today, many of them thanks to you. That’s life and we just have to deal with it. Pardon my rant, but I want to read happy and fun stuff in your news letters. I want to read about all the interesting places you have visited so I can plan a trip there. You don’t sound as happy as you used to Chuck. Give the negativity a rest and get out and enjoy life while you still can. Life is too short. I will continue to read and support your newsletter and hope for sunnier days.

    1. Mark, there is an endless amount fun and happy stuff out there. Most RV websites would fall into that category. I write about what I experience. Lately, it’s been harder to ignore certain things that are adversely affecting RVers. I still love RVing, I just find it more challenging to travel “where I want, when I want,” as the industry promotes. I realize I have been “more negative” than in past years, but that’s because of what I have seen, experienced and otherwise learned in the last year of being on the road full-time. I understand what you are saying. But the fact is, I have a wonderful, charmed, blessed life, and I don’t know how I could enjoy it any more than I do. So don’t worry about me. I’ll just keep doing what I do, and as long as people keep reading, I’ll likely not stop until my time comes to journey off to the big RV park in the sky. –Chuck

    2. Michael McCracken

      Sorry Mark, I disagree. Can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore the problems traveling in an RV presents today. I like knowing what problems as a full-time RVer I face in today’s world. Chuck has plenty of interesting and non- negative articles in the newsletters. Those well informed are well prepared, be it positive or negative.

  8. Mike

    Kinda interesting, and a little ironic. Your feature letter talks about changing America, and that Amazon is putting small businesses out of business. Then, right below your feature letter is the plug for Amazon affiliate program.

    I know you just reported the facts, and no commentary on Amazon killing small biz, but it was kinda ironic to see the comment, then the link to support Amazon.

    1. We earn a good part of our income by referring people to Amazon. I don’t say Amazon is bad, I just say that how we shop is changing. I like Amazon. Jeff Bezos, whether you like him or not, is brilliant. But then Mr. Sears, Mr. Roebuck, and J.C. Penny were brilliant in their days, and changed the way people shopped, and definitely put a lot of Main Street merchants out of business.

  9. James S

    Good morning, folks,

    Your link to Amazon’s “As Seen On TV” section, and comment about useful items, caught my eye this morning. So, I clicked.

    I then searched the first 20 pages as sorted by (1) relevance, and (2) highest price (hoping the second search would yield something “useful).

    But, FYI, there was not a single useful or clever item that might have remote relevance for an RVer on any of those 40 pages. All I found were games (Poop), stuffed animals, toys and other trash.

    You might want to reconsider this and other similar links going forward. Because, honestly, it seems like either you either: (a) didn’t look into the link results at all, or (b) you’re just attempting to sell anything possible (even junk) for the Amazon commission. The latter surely would be uncharacteristic.

    I love your newsletter and read it religiously. But this link, and the time I wasted attempting to find something useful, was a low point in my couple of years of reading RVTravel.

    1. James S. — When people go to Amazon through our link, which is usually to a product related to RVing, they often — maybe most often– toss in something else. We sell far more products through our Amazon program that have nothing to do with RVing. RVers are RVers, but they are also people with needs in common with millions of other consumers. Maybe you did not find something at the As Seen On TV section, but your needs/wants/interests are not those of all others who read this newsletter. Yes, we try to send people to Amazon in the hope they will buy something and we will get a little commission, which add up at the end of the month. We make about a dollar on average per sale. But, for example, if someone orders a Kindle Book, we may get only a few cents. We find that earning our money through Amazon is far superior to accepting advertising from, say, an RV manufacturer, which then demands (without actually saying it) that we do not write anything negative about its products. If we do, they pull their advertising. Our Amazon income comes with absolutely no strings attached, which provides us with the ability to be honest instead of avoiding subjects that might result in losing a big chunk of money from an advertiser who doesn’t like what we say.

      1. Ray

        I agree. I have a unique sense of humor, which often creates memories unknown to me until after-the-fact. I found a few items for my grandkids that I wouldn’t normally search for. I am sure that the next time we meet I will hear giggles and stories experienced, because Papa sent something totally unexpected. I live for the giggles. I also glean a lot if information that is important to me, or shared with other people. Thank you Chuck for the varied knowledge and experiences provided by you and your staff. Good Job!

  10. Stan Mangas

    Your picture and comments about Joshua trees being 90% gone because of climate change is a joke and liberal fear mongering. Stop! How convenient that you say by the end of the 21st century when none of us will be around to see your lie not come true!

    1. Virgil

      Sounds to me like another armchair re-sponder.

    2. JB

      Anyone not believing that climate is changing to some degree has not worked in the Arctic and seen Polar Bears starving because of lack of sea ice,or the ground thawing on Alaska’s North Slope creating bogs where none have been for thousands of years. I have witnessed both,you should try it sometime.

      1. George

        I lived in the Arctic and have seen petrified trees 800 miles from the North Pole on Ellesmere Island. I needn’t say which direction as everything is “south” from the North Pole. The closest tree nowadays is over a 1,000 miles south of that. Point being there will ALWAYS be climate change. Can man affect the climate? I believe so. Will the climate change whether man is on Earth or not? Absolutely.

      2. Walt

        “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations ‘may now be near historic highs,'” it read.

      3. Monty Arch

        Polar bears are thriving. There is no evidence of man-made global warming.

    3. Glenn

      Sad that so many live with their heads stuck up their ……… and don’t have a clue about the world around them!

    4. Stan, you’re a scientist who has studied this, right? With such qualifications — one who has studied global warming exhaustively — you have the credentials to label us liars. Is that right? Sorry, but we do not lie. Lying is an intentional act. We do make errors, as all humans do. But saying we lie. . . well that’s below the belt and unappreciated by our very hard working, honest staff. I don’t object to you disagreeing with us but using “fear mongering” and saying we are lying are inflammatory words, which we do not appreciate on this website. Intelligent conversation where we disagree? Absolutely! But let’s not call each other names. Okay?

      1. Darrel

        Politics and climate change discussions are divisive – as you have just seen. no reason to have these subjects on a RV group and cause conflict by doing so.

  11. Rob

    I enjoyed the article about fuel mileage devices.
    Has one been done about Diesel additives?

Comments are closed.