RV Travel Newsletter Issue 828

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 828 • Week of January 13–19, 2018   #rvtravel

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

As you may know, I am now staying near San Antonio, Texas. It just so happened there was an RV show there last weekend. So I attended.

And what I witnessed vividly illustrates a change in the RV industry. If you have not shopped for an RV or attended an RV show in the last couple of years, you may not have noticed.

Residential refrigerator. Popular these days.

Nearly every fifth wheel trailer, 30 feet and longer, and high-end travel trailer and motorhome at the show was equipped with a residential refrigerator, just like at home. Inexpensive RVs still come with the traditional RV-type refrigerators (usually made by Norcold or Dometic), nearly all of which run on both electricity and propane.

You didn’t commonly see residential refrigerators as standard equipment in RVs even five years ago.

Here’s what I found interesting: If you buy an RV equipped with a residential refrigerator, which runs solely on electricity, you do so knowing that you will not do much boondocking — camping off the grid. Oh, you could, if you added a huge bank of batteries and solar panels. But few buyers will do that. Instead, they will stay in one place for months, even years on end, where they can hook up to electricity.

I asked a salesman if the RVs could be ordered instead with an RV refrigerator. He said some could, but not all. “Ninety-nine percent of the people want the residential refrigerator,” he explained, adding, “They don’t catch fire.” He was referring to a well-publicized recall of some Norcold refrigerators, which were prone to catching fire. I have a feeling this is a little scare tactic salesmen use to encourage selling RVs with residential refrigerators.

QUICK POLL: Has your RV refrigerator ever caught on fire? Answer here and see how other RVers respond.

It’s hard to imagine that a motorhome like this, equipped with a residential refrigerator, is designed for “roughing it.”

MOST OF THE RVers who buy RVs with residential refrigerators will be forced to stay in RV parks with a power hookup. They won’t be able to stay in campgrounds in national parks, national forests, most state parks, BLM sites and on America’s vast public lands.

And even if they do stay on public campgrounds, where electricity is very seldom available, they couldn’t do so even a full day without depleting their batteries. Even with additional batteries and solar, a few days of dark, rainy days would require moving to find power or running a generator for hours on end. In the same situation, with an RV refrigerator running on propane they could stay for a week or two (or longer).

These RVs with residential refrigerators are meant for RV “living.” In no way are they for “camping.” They should not be called recreational vehicles: They are, plain and simple, mobile homes. Many of the fifth wheels and higher-end motorhomes I saw in San Antonio included features like heated floors, wine coolers, washer/dryers, dishwashers, fireplaces, king-size beds, built-in vacuums and multiple big screen televisions. Many had three or four slideouts, making them as roomy as a small house. Of course, some models these days have two bathrooms, even two bedrooms.

How far will RV creature comforts go? Read about a new concept motorhome with a built-in helipad (and helicopter to go with it) and a smart-toilet that knows when you plan to go number 1 or 2 so it can position the toilet lid properly.

For RVers who camp or move from place to place often, perhaps boondocking on occasion, those RVers with residential fridges will become a thorn in their side: They will further clog already crowded RV parks, making reservations harder and harder to get for RVers who don’t just “live” in their RVs but “travel” with them.

The idea of “going where you want, when you want” will die even faster than it currently is.





In last week’s essay I showed you a photo of a “Stonehenge” near where I’m currently staying in the Texas Hill Country. Here’s information about the structure and its unique origin.

A man with wanderlust
My long-time friend Dave Williams, who those of you in Dallas may know as the morning co-anchor at KLIF-AM, has an incurable case of wanderlust. Listen to his delightful essay (and brighten your day).

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

Sign up for RVtravel.com’s
new monthly newsletter about RV electricity

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

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMGoodyear Tires under investigation
A consumer group is saying Goodyear Tires could be treading on thin ice with the federal government’s safety watchdog, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Earlier this month, the agency opened an investigation concerning Goodyear’s G159 tires, popular on some Class A motorhomes. The tires were manufactured between 1996 and 2003, but only came under NHTSA’s radar recently – which at this point figures there could be as many as 40,000 still on America’s roadways. What problems raised the red flag? Read more.

Recent Recalls:
REV motorhomes recalled for electrical issue.
Coachmen motorhomes recalled for fire risk.
Newmar recalling nearly 3,000 motorhomes.

We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. 
The Answer: D.) Out West: The Newspaper That Roams
Win this Wild West wall hook for your home or RV! 
The question: What was the slogan for editor Chuck Woodbury’s offbeat travel newspaper, Out West?
A.) Out West: Where We Take No Bull
B.) Out West: Tales of the West 
C.) Out West: Kick Off Your Boots & Read Awhile 
D.) Out West: The Newspaper That Roams
The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday
Email your answer to RVcontests(at)gmail.com. (Find the answer somewhere below). 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. We’ll email you if you win.

Last week’s winner: Mary Masters of Mount Laurel, NJ. She won the fascinating book, Nomadland.


Our news section has moved 
We’re beefing up our news coverage and there’s not enough room here to post it all along with all our other great features. So click here to read this week’s news.

Truma AquaGo®: Instant, Constant, and Endless Hot Water
The revolutionary Truma AquaGo® hybrid instant water heater provides instant, constant and endless hot water. It is the only water heater that can be decalcified to extend product life to maintain performance, replace any 6-16 gallon water heater and the “Easy Drain Lever” makes winterization simple. Make an appointment to upgrade your RV at a Truma Sales & Service Center or find your closest dealer here.

Nine easy steps to holding down fuel costs
In an article in the Financial Edge newsletter from Investopedia.com, Jean Folger points out these nine effective ways to increase your gas mileage by driving more efficiently. This can be even more timely and important as projections for fuel prices appear to be on the rise, and unexpected “outside” events and forces of nature can dramatically alter the fuel price landscape overnight. Learn more.

The mystery of the melting RV cover
Here’s a situation that you have likely never encountered: a brand-new RV cover, in this case a high-quality one from ADCO to cover a 37-foot travel trailer, that began to melt in an arc-shaped pattern across the cover for no apparent reason. What caused it? Find out here.

video camera WPLuxury motorhome comes with helipad and helicopter!
Now, this is not your everyday motorhome, not by a long shot. You won’t find too many RVs with a retractable helipad — and helicopter to go with it — a roof hot tub, and a smart toilet that can determine if you’re planning to go #1 or #2 so it can adjust its lid accordingly. Read more and take a tour in the short video.

Author seeks understanding of full time RV lifestyle
With keen insight, real-life experience and a quest for a fuller understanding, author and entrepreneur Jeannine Patané is looking beyond the common notion that fulltime RVing is a lifestyle choice and the primary domain of a retired couple spending their children’s inheritance traversing the country cozied up in a luxurious motorhome, travel trailer or fifth-wheel. Ms. Patané has created a non-invasive questionnaire for fulltime RVers which she hopes will shed light on not only the “where” and the “how,” but also the “why” of a nomadic life. Learn more.

RV shopping? Two “musts” you may not have considered
How do buyers decide which RV to buy? They focus on interior design and floor plans. Manufacturers know this and go to great lengths in “staging” their various models for photographs used in advertising. Potential owners likewise pick their favorites based on what they see inside and, to a lesser extent, the outside of the RVs they consider. What’s the matter with that strategy? It’s a terrible way to choose! Find out why.

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

Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
Do you insure your RV and passenger vehicles together or separately? Click here for the results.

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.

Drive ’til the wheels fall off? Seems like this RVer did
A motorhome, held together largely with bungee cords, was spotted motoring (well, sort of) down the streets of San Jose, California. Ya’ gotta see it to believe it! Watch the short video.

Charge your phone and other devices – without wires!
Rich “The Wanderman” has written quite a few articles about charging your electronic devices while on the road. Carrying lots of different charge cables is annoying. In this article he tells you of a way to charge your devices without cables at all – with old-fashioned magnetic induction. Cool! Read how.

Best practices: Turn water heater off at night, on in the morning?
If you’ve wondered about the right way to use your water heater, in this video Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, answers a question from a viewer of a live webcast about whether it is best to leave an electric water heater on all the time or just turn it on when hot water is needed. Watch the video.

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 Club website.

See the Redwoods, for free!
To celebrate Redwoods and Save the Redwoods League’s 100 years of preserving California’s regal Redwood forests, California State Parks has partnered with the League for free day-use admission to Redwood state parks. On the second Saturday of each month in 2018, more than 40 state parks will be free for wandering and gazing at the majestic giants. Learn more.

video camera WP

Stop damaging your electrical circuit boards
Certified RV technician Chris Dougherty says he has replaced a lot of circuit boards in RVs, and in this video he offers two tips that will help you avoid damaging your RV’s electrical circuit board. Watch the video.

An RV park with a twist: vintage trailers only
An Arkansas resort that rents vintage trailers will open this spring if local officials approve. Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort will have eight trailers from the 1950s through the 1970s on about 20 acres in Prairie Grove. At least six should be available for reservations in April, said Zach Kraus, co-owner. Read more.

Abandoned RVs a costly headache for property owners where they’re dumped
Junker RVs that are dumped illegally on the private property of others become a giant and costly headache for the owners of the property. Read about one case where the junked RV was packed with trash, which also had to be hauled off. Click here.

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.

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
A message to RVtravel.com readers about safe internet use
Reader unhappy with my negative reporting: Unsubscribes
Is reverse osmosis water safe for your RV batteries?
Couple disagree on RVing full-time with cat
Iowa RV dealer blasts Camping World tactics
Can you be shocked by camping near high power lines?

More popular articles from last week’s issue
What are the blue flakes coming out of the water heater?
Doing the “Quartzsite Crawl
RV Electricity: Can water puddles shock you?
Snowbirds – Can you feast on fresh fruits and veggies?
RV Mods: Is a “solar ready” RV right for your needs?
Searching for evidence of prehistoric hunters and gatherers

“SafetyStruts™ Prevent RV Bumper Failure”
Sales of the innovative SafetyStruts™ RV Bumper Support Brackets exploded in 2014 after the US-based start-up 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.

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.

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

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.

Ask the RV Shrink

Full-timers: Husband wants to downsize RV; wife says no

Dear RV Shrink:
We have been living in our fifth wheel for just over a year. We’ve been to many wonderful places we’ve always dreamed of visiting. My wife and I love this lifestyle and have adjusted well to living in a small space in comparison to our home. I keep talking about downsizing even more into a smaller rig and my wife will have none of it. …

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.

Income wasted!

Earn excellent income renting out your RV!
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

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.52 (on Jan. 8). Change from week before: none; Change from year before: Up 13 cents.
Diesel: $3.00 (on Jan. 8). Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 40 cents.

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.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

More tips to help you be prepared in case of fire
Have at least two escape routes —one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children to open hatches and emergency exits. Make sure visitors can open the front door – not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. Choose a rallying point where everyone will meet immediately after escaping, so everyone can be accounted for. 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

micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen 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.

RV Quick Tips

Be prepared for loose screws
It seems like most RVers – Woops! We mean RVs – have a few screws loose. Road vibration tends to loosen anything with a thread to it, so be sure to keep a set of screwdrivers and wrenches with you no matter how short the trip.

Long storage space in RV
Storing long items in an RV is often difficult to do since the tallest place is often the closet. Check for storage space behind the sofa. Sometimes a short, folding ladder can be stored there, or maybe mops or brooms. Other items to store behind the couch are the screens from the front driver and passenger window and, if a front entry coach, the door screen, too. This will make driving through scenic country much more pleasant. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.

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

Hot off the press!
2018 Good Sam RV Park Directory
The Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide is the only print directory of RV parks in North America. It features an exclusive rating system by consultants in the field at privately owned parks. Plus, detailed park listings include amenities, services, restrictions, camping rates, contact information, Good Sam discount locations, hundreds of dollars’ worth of Camping World savings, pages of helpful RVing information and much more! Many RVers consider this printed directory essential even with all the online resources available. Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Portable propane campfire: A safe campfire solution
RVers love campfires. It’s part of the lifestyle. But after the devastating wildfires of 2017, the safety of our campfires is becoming paramount – if it wasn’t already. If you take your RV into camping locations where a safe fire ring is not provided, Camco’s compact portable propane Little Red Campfire could provide a solution to campfire safety. No mess, no ash and no need to gather firewood – you can have a campfire wherever you go. Learn more.

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

“The” guide to services at Interstate exits

Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2018 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.

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

Dealer says water in RV from retracting slideout is normal

Dear Gary,
I’m a single woman and have a Fleetwood Bounder. When it rains and I bring the slideout in and un-level the motorhome, water from on the top of the slideout comes pouring into the rig. My RV dealer says this is normal. It’s quite a bit of water and others I know do not have this issue. Shouldn’t there be a seal to stop the water from coming in? —Linda F.

Read Gary’s response.

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

2018 Guide to Firearm Laws of the 50 States
PUBLISHED JAN. 2018: Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. Includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open & concealed carry, state & national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome & RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Will HUD make living in an RV or tiny home illegal?

Hi Bob,
Is it possible that HUD will be able to make living in a trailer or RV or tiny home illegal? Where do they think all those folks will live – under a bridge? This doesn’t seem reasonable. Thanks. —Pamela C.

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: Wallace, Idaho’s mining past and the historic Oasis Bordello.

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

corps-book-748Camping 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

Electrical reference graphics to print and save

Dear Mike,
First… Thank you for your No~Shock~Zone book on RV Electrical Safety. I’m only half through and love it. The way you explain things is wonderful and easy to understand. Also following you on RVtravel each week. My question is, the book is black and white and I would really like to make some quick reference guides (laminated) to keep with my electrical RV cord and test equipment. Is there a location (internet) showing all the colored Quick Reference Guides in the back of your book that I can print? Thank you. —John Renicker

Read Mike’s colorful (and printable) 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.

Refillable lighters
come in handy

Every RVer can always use these — to light a campfire, grill, even the gas stove in your RV. This inexpensive three-pack of long-reach butane lighters will keep you well supplied for a long time. Free shipping, too. Learn more or order.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Why do trailer tires fail more often than tow vehicle tires?

Here is a question posted on a travel trailer forum: “Why so many trailer tire failures and so few, if any, tow vehicle tire failures?” The reason, says Roger, is staring everyone in the face. He explains.

Pop popcorn the fun, easy way
Pop your popcorn with Colonel Popper, the all-silicone popcorn maker that folds down for compact storage. It’s super durable, safe and eco-friendly. You can eat fresh microwave popcorn right out of its colorful bowl! Perfect for the RV. Click the video for a one-minute demonstration or order at Amazon.

The RV Kitchen   
with Janet Groene

Coconut Pineapple Pie
Taste of the Tropics: A pie to die for. This delectable dessert is a take on pecan pie, minus the nuts. It’s delicious plain and truly heavenly when served cold with a scoop of coconut ice cream or a cloud of whipped cream. It goes together quickly. Bake two while you’re at it. 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.”

RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes 
with Emily Woodbury

Attention RV Chefs!
We need your help! Please take this poll and tell us if you usually dine out, get takeout, or cook your meals at home. Our editors have some cooking ideas “cooking” and your responses will be greatly appreciated! 

Have a favorite recipe you prepare in your RV? Send your recipes to emily (at) rvtravel.com to be featured in our newsletter!


No more crusty leftovers – cooking for two!
Cooking for two can be challenging. Sometimes you might end up with nine portions and other times not enough for two. This cookbook’s recipes are designed specifically for two people, so you don’t have to worry about eating the same leftovers for multiple days in a row. The recipes are easy to follow, tasty, and work great for small-space living. Buy the book here. 

Digital RVer

App helps you find fresh food while on the road
One of the wonderful benefits of traveling by RV is that you can do your own cooking. You can eat what you like, when you like – if you can find the ingredients you like. When you’re away from home, that can be the hardest part. But wait … There’s an app for that! Learn more.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here is a recent webcast: #132, Google Photos for Picasa UsersWatch live or archives of past programs. The next live YouTube show will be this Sunday (tomorrow): “Who can see your stuff on Facebook?” Sign up to watch it live.

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.

vac-square-755vac-long-755Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.

Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
International RVers
Route 66 Wineries
A Toddler’s View of Van Life

damp-rid-2-761damprid-761Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000 square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square-foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order.

Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Unnamed I-25 Gravel Lot, Santa Fe, NM
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Large, level, and unlit gravel lot. Part of the lot sometimes used for gravel storage, but usually still room to park. Traffic noise from I-25 & possible noise from trucks parked nearby. One RVer says it’s “an excellent spot for overnighting, with trees around the lot, lots of room, and wild horses observable in the distance.” Address: In SW Quadrant of I-25, Exit 276. GPS: 35.520285, -106.180944

Flying J Travel Plaza # 749
, Ruther Glen, VA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Park in one of 11 marked long-vehicle spaces. Do not park in truck parking area unless directed there by Flying J. Well lit, and appears level. Expect significant noise at this busy truck stop. Dump station is $10. Propane available. Denny’s Restaurant, deli & pizza on site. Address: 24279 Rogers Clark Blvd. GPS: 37.93351, -77.474111

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.

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed 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 about $16! Learn more or order.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Ohio RV and Boat Show, Jan. 5-14, Columbus, OH
Pittsburgh RV Show, Jan. 6-14, Pittsburgh, PA
• Indy RV Expo, Jan. 6-14, Indianapolis, IN
• Ohio RV Supershow, Jan, 10-14, Cleveland, Ohio
Mid America RV Show, Jan. 11-14, Kansas City, MO
57th Annual RV & Campgrounds Show, Jan. 12-14, Allentown, PA
• Valley RV and Camping Show, Jan. 12-14, South Bend, IN 
Washington Camping RV Expo, Jan. 12-14, Chantilly, VA
• OKC Boat & RV Show, Jan. 12-14, Oklahoma City, OK
Boston RV & Camping Expo, Jan. 12-15, Boston, MA. Visit Show Website.
• Florida RV Supershow, Jan. 17-21, Tampa, FL
• Austin Boat & Travel Trailer Show, Jan. 18-21, Austin, TX
Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, Jan. 18-21, Grand Rapids, MI 
• Inland Northwest RV Show and Sale, Jan. 18-21, Spokane, WA
• Tacoma RV Show, Jan. 18-21, Tacoma, WA
• Toronto RV Show and Sale, Jan. 18-21, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Georgia RV & Camper Show, Jan. 19-21, Atlanta, GA
• Greater Chicago RV Show, Jan. 19-21, N. Schaumburg, IL
• Lexington RV Show, Jan. 19-21, Lexington, KY
• New Jersey RV & Camping Show, Jan. 19-21, Edison, NJ
• Tidewater RV Show, Jan. 19-21, Virginia Beach, VA
• Quartzsite RV Show, Jan. 20-28, Quartzsite, AZ. Free parking and admission.
Calgary Expo & Sale, Jan. 25-28, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Seattle RV Show, Feb. 8-11, CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle, WA

See the complete list of all upcoming RV shows.

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.

del-545This week in history
Week of January 13–19
Compiled by Dell Bert

1942 – Carole Lombard is killed in plane crash.
1953 – Corvette is unveiled at GM Motorama.
1967 – Green Bay Packers beat Kansas City Chiefs in first Super Bowl.
1969 – Heavy rain leads to landslides in Southern Calif., killing 91 people.
1972 – “American Pie” hits #1 on the pop charts.
1994 – The Northridge quake in L.A. kills 54 people.
2009 – Sully Sullenberger performs Miracle on the Hudson.

Mardi Gras float riders are required by law to wear masks.

Bumper sticker of the week
Irony – the opposite of wrinkly.

Funny/clever business slogan
“We take a bite out of grime”– at a car wash.

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

Perfect RVer gift!
Lucy and Desi go RVing

What a hoot! Lucy and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic 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 about $8.

CONTEST ANSWER: It was called “The Newspaper That Roams.”

528coffeeJoke of the Week
When the X-ray specialist married one of his patients, everybody wondered what he saw in her.

Random RV Thought
‘Tis the season for RV shows from now through March. Here’s a money-saving tip for anyone who plans to attend a show. Using your favorite search engine, find the show’s website. Many offer a money-saving coupon on an admission ticket and offer lower prices certain days of the week. For a list of upcoming shows, visit here.

Worth Pondering
“You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it.” —Dr. Wayne W. Dyer


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.

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This newsletter is copyright 2018 by RVtravel.com


70 Thoughts to “RV Travel Newsletter Issue 828”

  1. M. Williamson

    Chuck! How do you know when you click the link for Amazon.com that the sale is getting thru to the newsletter? Purchased a couple of items today 1/30/18 and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that you guys got any rewards for it?? ??? Thanks!

    1. RV Staff

      Thank you for your question — and I apologize for the long delay in responding. When you click on one of the Amazon links in our newsletter or on our website, there is a code embedded in the URL that identifies us, so we get credit whenever you buy something using one of those links. Thank you very much, M! We greatly appreciate your support! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

    2. Chuck Woodbury

      M. Williamson, You wouldn’t see any message about us when you shopped, but we do get the credit, as long as you go through any Amazon link on our site. Thanks so much for thinking of us.

  2. Mike Sokol

    Talking about RV refrigerators, I wonder if any of you are using a 12-volt DC fridge using a Danfross swing compressor? It uses 12-volts DC directly and varies the amperage draw based on how much cooling needs to be done. The compressor technology doesn’t scale up to a full size refrigerator, but the trucking and marine industries make a bunch of mini-fridges that should be able to run from a modest solar panel array. Should Chuck and I do a survey about this? And I can probably get Engel to send me one of these for testing on a solar panel array. https://www.engelcoolers.com/sr70f-u1.html
    So is there enough interest in refrigerator power draw of various cooling technologies that I should research it and do an article in my RV Electricity Newsletter on the topic? Let me know and I’ll make the call.

    1. Steve Willey

      YES! For 28 years we sold solar power systems for remote off-grid owner-built homes. We used the Danfoss compressor based Nova-Kool refrigerators. I still have one in my kitchen installed about 1980 that is working fine. In 1998 I took one small 4 cu ft unit with me to purchase a Pro-Van Tigert motorhome, to have them install it in place of the gas ref. Now I notice Pro-Van uses Nova-Kool 12 volt refrigerators in all their units I see in campgrounds. Nova-Kool, based in Vancouver BC area, make sizes that are exact replacement size for Dometic RV units. (see http://www.novakool.com/products/two_doors/rfu6200_6800_8000_9000.htm)They use FAR less power than a residential AC powered unit and can run of course, from a converter power as well as solar battery. Far fewer solar and batteries required.

  3. Steven Scheinin

    Chuck, you need to wake up to what is going on around you. If you notice at the RV show, a lot of the shoppers are like me, baby boomers. We are now retiring and looking for something to do. We are healthy and have money. We do not want to sit in a rocking chair on our front porch, like our parents and grandparents. I purchased an RV with a lot of the amenities you scoff at. I am not camping, I did that for 30 years. I am now sightseeing in my condo.


    Hey Chuck, you really opened a can of worms! We fell into that trap of buying a new M/H in 2016. We were & still are planning an ALCAN vacation this June. When we were looking all the “A” seemed to only offer residential & up until then we were mostly boondockers for 40 years, hated hook uppers & generators, still do. Anyway we got a new 35′ with the residential refer & its awesome compared to the gas one! I’m still trying to get the amperage draw figured out so I don’t need to run the “YUK” gen! So far I bought 4 AGM L16, 390ah batteries. Have only one 160w solar & ready to install 2 more. But due to current roof issue I have to & see if that will cover my needs for a day without using the gen. If anyone has info on a real life usage with boondock camping with the residential refer, please let me know.

  5. Tom becher

    Back in the late 50’s early 60’s Chicago had nothing but gas refrigerator s . There was not enough wiring for electric refrigerators . The brand name was Servel if I spelled it right still used in remote areas for cabins That was called residential then Never heard of a fire. I like my Dometic, keeps things cold/frozen and I’ve never had a fire either

  6. Steve Rosenlund

    While in San Antonio area, recommend a few days in Fredericksburg. Stay at fairgrounds for $25. Lots of music and history including museum of the Pacific War. Luckenbach is a suburb and music starts at 1pm every day if you like old time country and gospel. Love your newsletter.

  7. Darrel

    We are now in our 3rd motorhome in our lives, 2 of those as full timers (FT since 2009).

    1st 2 rigs had propane fridge. Current rig has residential fridge (installed as modification after market, not from factory). We will NEVER go back to a propane rig.

    We have three 8D AGM batteries and a quiet 10KW diesel generator in a quiet box mount. If you are not camped right next to us, it will not bother you. However, I just installed 1400 watts of solar panels to take advantage of “free” sunlight and ZERO noise.

    And no our rig is not a expensive new motorhome. It is a high end 2003 Foretravel U320 40′ 2 slides. We have no sticks and bricks, and hope to never have one again. Love this lifestyle.

  8. Dan

    Josh the RV Nerd agrees with Chuck and this article on residential refrigerators. Josh is a straight-shooting RV sales person. I have never met Josh, but I do enjoy watching many of his videos. He discusses this topic based upon the experiences of his dealership here if you are interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fj5MIHYXGQ

  9. Cheryl

    Your Trivia info is not correct for all areas. I grew up in Mobile (home of the original Mardi Gras) and there is no state, city or county law requiring masks on floats. Instead, each parading society makes the rules and while all of the older ones have strict mask requirements, several (comic cowboys ex.) does not require masks on the floats.

    1. RV Staff

      That’s interesting. Thanks, Cheryl. I was surprised to learn that any of them required masks to be warn. —Diane at RVtravel.com

  10. Charles Yaker


    For what it’s worth. I often like to check back on comments I make to see if there are replies. This is difficult at RV Travel – there are systems that allow for notification when replies are added. Never having investigated I don’t know costs but suspect others feel the same and might warrant your investgating

  11. jane shure

    We had a saying in the electronics company I work for over 35 years. Talking to the dead is only slightly more difficult than talking to an engineer and talking to a computer programmer is the dead. The upper level management does not have a clue about what is engineered, built and sold. The management and engineers should have to live in one of their designs for a few months and I will bet there will be some changes made. I have a passionate dislike for gas refrigerators because they are nothing but troublesome expensive pieces of junk which has been the cause of many a fire. The #1 complaint I hear out in the world of boon docking is the troubles people are having with their junk gas refrigerators. The engineers of these things should be casterated with a dull rusty knife. When people ask me what they should do when they have troubles, I tell them to get a picture of the CEO of the company who made their refrigerator. They should glue the picture of the CEO to the front door and drag the damn thing out to the gun range and shoot it with a high powered rifle aiming at the CEO picture. Also while they are doing it they should video record and put it on you tube.

  12. Wayne

    Two things annoy me with RV,S nowadays.
    First some engineer decided it was better to have an Rv fridge that requires 12 volts to operate on propane.
    That’s going backwards in my books. The old ones only required the propane bottle.
    The other is the lack of any improvement in efficiency with furnaces.
    One could roast a wiener at the exhaust outlet on a furnace.

  13. Alaska Traveler

    Lots of comments about residential refrigerators. We have an RV refrigerator and dislike it’s ups and downs. The freezer gathers ice at the bottom and the refrigerator is impossible to regulate. We bought a tiny refrigerator and put it in the garage for salads, fruits etc that freeze in our RV refrigerator. Can’t comment on the big residential ones myself but I have friends I boondock with that have them and they have no complaints.


    Also: We’re bringing back our Zip Code Contest next week. If you see your randomly selected Zip Code in this newsletter and are the first to tell us, you win cash. In the past, we given away as much as a few hundred dollars to individual winners.

    Did I miss it?

    1. RV Staff

      Sorry, Mark. We had to postpone the Pot of Gold Contest for a week. Had a couple of last-minute details to take care of. Look for it next Saturday. Thanks for asking. 😀 —Diane at RVtravelcom



        1. RV Staff

          You’re welcome, Mark! And good luck! It’ll be fun to have that contest back. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  15. Kevin Hogle

    I like my propane/electric RV refrigerator. Mine will operate at zero or -2 in the freezer and about 34F in the bottom when set on “6” out of 10. Uses a minuscule amount of propane. Either I got a good one or they have been around long enough the bugs are all out. I did have the option of a residential style when buying my 2013 Winnebago new but apparently now the choices are limited.

  16. Steven & Trisha Ruth

    We agree with you Chuck. Along with those residential fridges another thing the rv industry has done is to change out the style of windows. The new ones hardly open. If you are in an rv park with electric hook ups, you can run fans or air conditioning. But if you want to boondock, even in a Walmart parking lot while on the road, you can’t get hardly a breeze through those windows. We feel both windows and fridge changes are simply economics. They are cheaper for the manufacturer.

  17. Dave

    Good Lord Chuck- I didn’t know it was a debate. I just thought you were presenting some insight on new RVs. From what I’ve seen and heard, the residential fridge is for larger capacity- more food. Nothing more than that. Dude. (yeah, I’m chuckling)

  18. David McKEE

    Hey, you guys heard of solar powered fridges. Mine runs all the time, use as a spare beer fridge when laid up at home. Just remove a few beers and load up for the next trip. Does not cost anything. Sunlight is free in New Zealand.
    David McKee

  19. Ron Schulz

    YAYYY. Three polls…

    1. RV Staff

      Well, you know … In case you run out of things to do, Ron. 😉 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  20. James

    Please put the News section back where it was.

  21. Don Stout (CMC Ret)


    You have missed the mark. I too as several have the residential style fridge. If I choose to boondock I will simply turn off the fridge and use my coolers that I have had since tenting. Your fridge excuse of not calling a 5r a recreational vehicle is weak at best. Better to report on the Glamping vs Camping or simply take yourself back to tenting and report on why it cost as much (or near to it) to tent as it does to camp.

  22. Jerry X Shea

    I’m selling my Allegro Breeze 32BR. Would have sold it 10 times if just a guy was buying it. Wives are killing the deal. 1st time RVers and they want a residential refer, dishwasher and washer/dryer. They dont want to go “camping” — GO BUY A CONDO.

  23. Mike H.

    This whole residential refrigerator thing kinda makes me wonder… The rv manufacturers buy these things in bulk ,so they get a price break. They were never designed to be shaken, rocked and rolled down the highway liken to a 6.0 earthquake ( trust me I know bout that) , and also the battery manufacturers are going to love these things because of replacements…. I guess time will tell. Kinda like when the class A’s went to tripod jacks in the early 2000’s and told all this was the wave of the future …. just sayin…

    1. Lee Ensminger

      “This whole residential refrigerator thing kinda makes me wonder… The rv manufacturers buy these things in bulk ,so they get a price break.”

      Mike, I’m pretty sure the manufacturers are buying in bulk from Domestic and Norcold as well. You can be sure they aren’t paying what we’d pay for a replacement. I’m not sure what your point was with that.

  24. Ron Bunge

    Changed out my Norcold 1200 fridge for a Samsung RF18 and love it. I have solar and 4 12 volt AGM batteries in my 5th wheel. And a Honda 3000 generator. Run the gen at night to watch TV etc and the batteries are at 12.4 V in the AM. So no problem boondocking. In Quartzsite right now having a great time. Also getting a check now each year from the class action suit against Norcold.

  25. Ron Hough

    It’s a thin line between RVs and manufactured housing. We can’t call them “campers” any more and I wonder if a unit can be called self-contained if its only for a day or until it arrives at the next full hook-up RV park. I’m sure there would be a market for RVs without holding tanks or propane, with the expectation that they will hop from one full hook-up park to the next and never boondock.

    1. Bill LeCluse

      They have something like that already, they call them “hotels”…

      1. Ron Hough

        Good point Bill, but most folks can’t take their own beds from hotel to hotel.

        1. jane shure

          Nor their stove or refrigerator

    2. George

      “Park models” are just that. No tanks and nothing that allows you to be self-contained. They are built much the same as a mobile home which are not really designed to be mobile just transported to a permanent site.


    If they can put a residential refrigerator in RV’s, why can’t/won’t they install a CheapHeat Hybrid Electric Furnace Kit in those same RV’s. With the CheapHeat Kit you can switch back and forth from electric when you’re plugged in to shore power or gas when you’re boondocking.
    This system is UL listed, RVIA compliant, and according to CSA (the certification Agency) it does not affect the furnace’s ANSI listing.
    Seems to me these are the types of questions that need to be asked; WHY IS THE INDUSTRY HOLDING BACK NEW PROVEN TECHNOLOGY like Gas/Electric furnaces?
    Check it out at http://www.rvcomfortsystems.com

  27. Bill LeCluse

    As always a informative newsletter and we look forward to our Saturday morning issue which takes priority before the local paper.

    Agree with your thought on residential refrigerators in RVs today. We are looking at going to 5th wheel and most have them although we also found most would let us “downgrade” (as they refer) to a typical RV model.
    We personally know 4 families that own them and 3 of the 4 have issues specifically when camping on batteries, 2 of them even with expensive solar upgrades. The technology just isn’t there yet to support this camping style.
    We also noticed every 5th wheel today has double opposing slides. That’s great for that extra space but every one of them have the utilities, (sink, oven, stove, fridge) on there. That means all that extra weight is on that slide.
    Factory reps assured us that engineers took this into consideration when they calculated for the motors and hardware that move the slide. But they could not provide any specs or clue as they stood there with blank stares when I questioned, as if how dare I question them.
    The same reps had no explanation as to who why 3 families we know had/have still slide issues with units bought in the past 3 years, all with the utilities on them, (2 of them are the above mentioned with residential fridges). All we got from them is this is now the industry standard.
    As much as we love to camp we may just give up the RV life we love and invest into something else. What else is there today……

  28. John Hiler

    More residential refrigerators means more camping spots in the Idaho forest and desert campgrounds. Until all the public lands are gifted to corporations and closed to public use. In Idaho a lot of state land is being transfered – and of course trading land for money is a fools game. Tho considering who is elected to the legislature, not unexpected…

  29. George Burns

    I heard Lance Campers sold, but did not read about it in your new letter.??

    1. Chuck Woodbury

      George, you are right. It was acquired by the REV Group. We will have a report in next week’s issue. The acquisition was announced at 4 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday, when we were, as usual, focused on the last minute stuff that goes into getting the next day’s newsletter finished up.

  30. Steve Browning

    Chuck, I disagree with you about the residential refrigerator not allowing boondocking. We use one in our 35′ MH and have run on the batteries (4X12v) for up to two days without recharging. This includes other electrical equipment in the MH. Of course I have a gen set which allows me to charge when necessary (don’t have solar charging). Running the generator for a couple of hours per day is not terribly inconvenient.

  31. Judy Wiemer

    We have a residential fridge in our class A Holiday Rambler Vacationer. Going to Quartzsite Arizona for the RV show in two weeks. Checking into portable solar so we can boondock more. Don’t mind using generator to recharge batteries for fridge but with all the solar advances why not get something to run fridge. We can stay out longer with a packed fridge this way. Portable solar for us, then if we get another unit down the road we can take with us. Also, we do love staying in nice parks. We meet so many wonderful new friends.

  32. W Jordan’

    I also believe you are inaccurate in your assessment on residential refidgerator power use. While I have no experience in trailer 5 th Wheel battery capacity. Most motorhomes add additional batteries with a residential installation. Newer refrigerator models can easily run a day on the batteries.
    Constant generator runs? Perhaps you should try before you jump to conclusions. Our prior coach with a residential ( Samsung 18 cubic foot) required a 2 hour am run and a 1-2 hour evening run I realize some folks are large energy consumers lots of microwave tv , satellite etc but with a little care the convenience of the residential outstrips the old gas /electric. Let’s also face the fact that people purchasing these larger rv’s aren’t rushing out to go camping . They may be hiking and other recreational activities but they don’t want to “rough it”. For dinner or sleeping accommodations!

  33. George Sears

    Agree about the residential fridge. I spent a year in a Lance camper, boondocking (’95). The fridge had a mechanical thermostat. It would freeze things, so you had to be very careful, but no power demands. I bought a TT in ’11. I noticed it drew about 30 AH a day when nothing was ‘on’. The fridge had a computer board and a gasket heater, undocumented. The heater could be snipped. The board was still 15 AH a day. This annoyed me a lot.

    I’m not buying another RV. The products have all gone big and deluxe, which misses the point for me. I bought a small cargo van and just camp in it. It’s too useful as a vehicle to build out, so I use stuff that folds or rolls up. The Danfoss compressor fridge I have draws maybe 20 AH a day, which is less than the electronics in the Dometic.

    The RV industry is not selling minimalist or conservation, basic interactions with nature. If people say you are out of it, that’s not fair. You have a perfectly valid point of view. A lot of the simpler stuff is DIY, whether vans or box trucks, Tiny Houses. This is where Bob Wells provides decent information for people.

  34. Joe

    GreasGo cleans refrigerators inside and out. Great product.

  35. john & lana

    Chuck, You are a celebrity so you need to let people know where you are so they can come meet you. Love the newsletter.

  36. George

    Definitely go residential fridge. This leaves more room for me in the WalMart parking lots.

  37. GBehrle

    RE: Editors corner 1/13/18
    We too visited the Dulles RV Show yesterday. We go every year just to see whats new and walk around. We also noted the inclusion of residential size refrigerators. The space is designed around it, so it does not surprise me that an option of a smaller refrigerator is not possible. This was a limiting factor in our purchase of an RV last year. There are many reasons we prefer a smaller frig that can operate on gas. There is no reliance on electricity so it opens your options for locations, We also prefer to travel lighter and do not want to carry a loaded refrigerator. We have traveled for weeks at a time and have never needed more than what we can store in a smaller frig. for larger families they may need more or buy more frequently. I still believe it should be an option. For those who have multiple people and use their RV as a vacation home with long stays in one spot, I can see where a larger refrigerator may come in handy. But there are many of us that want a smaller/gas option with the other amenities that come with those rigs. We would like that option.Think about what you need when you buy. You may be looking in the used market.

  38. Earl Balentine

    We never boondock and love our electric/gas refrigerator. Once you know how to fine tune the adjustments they work quite well. We learned to not buy groceries for the next 2 weeks stuffing the fridge. We never drive longer than 300 miles or 6hrs which ever comes 1st and our fridge stays cold without running the propane while pulling.

  39. John Zumwalt

    If Norcold and the others made a decent refrigerator, I would agree with you. We got tired of 50 degrees inside on a hot day, slow ice production on hot days. It was more than frustrating. when it quit altogether whenever it rained and Norcold’s “fix” shut it down. With proper management and enough batteries, we boondock just fine.

  40. Greg Labadie

    I disagree with you about the residential fridge. I have no problem boondocking and camping with mine. The AGS runs about an hour in morning and hour in late afternoon (not during quiet hours), and I am running everything in my coach as if I were hooked up to shore power. If I scrimped some on power, I suspect the fridge would require 1 hour a day of generator time. The generator does not “run hours on end” as you say. The residential fridge is much nicer than that little RV fridge, and fires do happen. Why not eliminate that risk. Many with coaches like mine “upgrade” to an Amana residential as soon as they can.

  41. Charles Wenning

    Chuck, We just purchased a new fifth wheel with an RV refrig. I think you missed why the move to residential refrigerators. I think it is because they are cheaper for the RV industry. We found that the salesman pushed the residential refrig, saying that they could run off of the battery for up to three days and that they will stay cold for up to eight hours while traveling. We found that the quoted price for a RV or residential refrig equipped RV to be similar but the profit margin on the residentiual refrig to be larger.

  42. Rich Dzialo

    We do not have a problem with the residential refrigerator. Our pet peeve is the floor plan that we really like doesn’t come with a gas cook top. Only induction. That uses more power than the fridge. Also need to have the generator running. So much for quiet times in New York State parks.

  43. Tommy Molnar

    While I HAVE read about fridge fires, I’ve never met anyone who actually experienced one. So, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that, and DO spend a lot of time boondocking.

  44. Leo Suarez

    Chuck, your continued lamentation that the world of RV’ing has changed, that people want bigger, more luxiourious rigs is getting old. Dude, let go of the past, people and times have changed, most of us now don’t want to boondock, but rather, travel around the country, exploring, in comfort. Yes we have to plan ahead more to get in to a preferred RV park, so what, we have done this for every other type of travel since we were born, ie plan ahead. Instead of moaning about the good old days, why don’t you start writing about the RV’ing world as most of us enjoy it today, not how it was. Your magazine would be much more useful and relevant to most of us.
    P.S. I have a 38′ class A (with a big, beautiful residential frig, 3 TV’s, fireplace, etc). I spend about 4 months out of the year traveling around the US, and I don’t find it a hassle to go and camp where I want to, just the opposite, all my trips seem to always be enjoyable, that’s why I RV.

    1. Judy Wiemer

      Ditto x 2

      1. Steven Scheinin

        Me Too.

    2. Ed

      I agree with Chuck, I hate to have to plan my stays just so I have a site to park in. If I didn’t require a CPAP for me and my wife we would be in the National Forests all the time. I can go for maybe a week but as my generator is propane that limits my time away from the plug. I do miss the old days and the simplicity of hopping in the rig and getting away. I don’t need the TVs and stereo and if it wasn’t for the local weather report I would not have repaired the dash radio when it died. Wife insisted it be repaired.

      1. Wayne

        Good morning Ed. I use CPAP too. I wired a 12 volt plugin straight up from batteries into bedroom and bought a 12 volt power supply for CPAP.
        Bingo… into the bush. Your CPAP supplyer can get one for you.

    3. Chuck Woodbury

      Leo, I disagree about living in the past. I’m writing specifically about how things are changing, for the good, for the bad, depending on how one uses his or her RV. That’s about today, not the good ol’ days. As I wrote today, these residential fridges are for “living” not “camping.”

      You write: “Most of us now don’t want to boondock, but rather, travel around the country, exploring, in comfort.”

      No argument there. But for those RVers who do wish to take their “self-contained RVs” out into the desert, a BLM or Forest Service campground where other RVs are around, then don’t go bothering your neighbor with your noisy generator two to three hours a day just so you can run your refrigerator. I run mine on propane on those occasions, which respects my neighbor.

      Have you noticed the ads for the RV industry, showing RVs in gorgeous settings, away from crowds, the RVers enjoying the peace and quiet. I like that idea. But in reality, what I see a whole lot more is crowded RV parks with my neighbor 12 feet away.

      “Going where you want when you want” isn’t true much anymore as the industry advertises. I’ll bet 98 percent of RVers with residential refrigerators camp in RV parks rather than in the boondocks, which seems to agree with what you are saying. So where will they, and all the other half-million new RVers each year, stay when so many more RVers with all-electric refrigerators are basically unable to stay where there are no hookups, which means crowding into already crowded RV parks? That, Leo, is about today, not the good ol’ days.

      I don’t moan about the good ol’ days, as you say. I reflect on change and do my best to interpret what I see.

      I’ll be writing more about this.

    4. Jeff Mitchell


    5. Beuford Coss

      I agree.

    6. Patti L.

      Absolutely agree!

  45. Tom Fischer

    just wondering where you are staying…looks to be near Ingram, TX. We will be at the Johnson Creek RV Park and Resort for the month of February, just a few miles north-northwest of Ingram. This will be our third winter visit there. We are from Ottertail, MN, not too far from Frazee where you saw the world’s largest turkey statue a couple of years ago.

  46. Dennis Strope

    Once again, an excellent and informative issue. Thank you.
    Perhaps you could present both sides of the residential refrigerator “debate”.
    After replacing one RV type `fridge, and having the next worked on or repaired numerous times, I elected to install residential knowing I limit my camping options, but tired of having to cope with the headaches that came with the RV type `fridge. Will be looking to upgrade / change RV, and will most likely go with the standard gas / electric.

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