Thumbs up – February 2018

Thumbs up – February 2018

Positive comments about products, people and places.
Here are some recent “thumbs up” letters or comments we’ve received from readers of

Advantage of primitive camping
It’s nice to be in the middle of nature with no human noise and no cell phone service. It’s very very peaceful. —Ric
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“Find a view – park the house”
At 72 and 66, we still seek out hookup-less campgrounds or just plain boondocking in the middle of “nowhere”. Here in Nevada (where we do most of our RVing) it’s still easy to just “find a view – park the house.” This also obviously helps to eliminate crowds . . . —Tommy M.
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“Oldie but goodie” motorhomes
I love seeing a GMC motorhome on the road. I see them around New England. Some of them are being used by radio stations for on the road broadcast. —Cheryl
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“Thetford customer service – THUMBS UP!” —quote from customer
I recently purchased a Thetford Titan sewer kit from a local dealer. While I deployed the hose it malfunctioned and collapsed on itself. I looked at some reviews and noticed some similar issues with frustrated results being the main outcome – by that I mean the user tossed it due to already used conditions and grumbled over the situation.
1. I decided to contact THETFORD at their Customer Service number.
2. A real (NICE) person answered and listened to my issue AND asked for further PROOF (pictures that I was able to send her).
3. She investigated and contacted me the same day informing me THETFORD would send a replacement for the improperly operating hose. No Charge.
4. I received a replacement within normal shipping timeframe.
The replacement did perform correctly. The defective one was mine to dispose of.
I am so pleased with Thetford’s CUSTOMER SERVICE I wanted to shout it from the roof top! You know where satisfaction leads… —Jim
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Has no problem with Marcus Lemonis, et al.
I have never had any problem with Mr. Lemonis or any of his subsidiaries. I am a Good Sam life member. I get several services through the club. I guess I’m one of his tools. I don’t feel the pain. I shop around for my RV needs. I buy what I consider a good deal which isn’t everything offered by the club. —Buzzelectric

Happy RV shopper
We are heading to the RV show in Novi, Michigan, next weekend. Can’t wait to see all the new RVs. We are keeping it under 25 feet due to the fact I do not want to trade in my car. Plus I don’t need anything huge. Simple. Have fun. I know I will. —Jillie
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Happy with Camping World in San Martin, Calif.
While I feel that your situation is terrible, I am guessing that an untrained technician was given this project. What did the Service Manager say? I have had an installation done on my 2016 Travel Trailer by Camping World in San Martin, California, and I am very happy with the result. I don’t and won’t blame ALL CW’s for the poor workmanship at ONE. Anyhow, I hope that your case is very rare, and I hope you can get satisfaction. —Larry Z.
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Peaceful camping
We live in Ontario, Canada and camp often at a small campground with no cell service out in the middle of nowhere. Only 14 sites and very peaceful with dark sky. —Dave
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“Just right” amenities
Most state parks around us (Texas and OK) have the best of both worlds. They have electric hookups but very limited cell connections. We love it. —Lorin
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Why vultures poop on their legs (and more)
• Very interesting; thanks! I look forward to your future submissions. —JC Taylor
• Fascinating. No knowledge before reading this, now feel a little educated. Thank you. —Lindsay
This is a thumbs up from me too–very enlightening! —Drew
Once again, never too old to learn something new and interesting. —Doug
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Good advice
As we get older, there are exercises to perform to preserve/improve balance, flexibility & strength to prevent falls or at least mitigate the results to bruises & strains vs broken bone, bleeding and/or head/spine injuries. We must all be active in preserving as much of our health/function as possible. —Becca Ray
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Astronomy for RVers – Star lore – stories to tell around the campfire
• I love the mythological stories. Took a class in college. Thanks for the reminder of some of my favorites. ❤—Evelyn
Awesome article. I agree that making a connection will help people remember constellations. Great writing! —Elyse G.
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Grateful for tire pressure monitoring system
We have a TPMS (TT-500) on both our 32′ Class C motor home and our 14′ Enclosed trailer that contains our motorcycles. A total of 10 sensors. We have had the TPMS set an alarm twice on the trailer indicating a low pressure in one of the tires. I’m sure the TPMS saved us LOTS of money by giving us an early warning of the low pressure. Both times there was a nail/screw in the tire tread and we were able to get it repaired within a few miles of where the alarm sounded. Well worth the investment. —Mike A.
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Plenty of camping opportunities with small trailer in Midwest
Here, in Midwest USA, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, we have so many camping opportunities and such a small trailer, 18′ towable, that we have never had a midweek crisis trying to locate somewhere to land. We have no idea of how it would be way out west or to the far east. If we went to camp on a weekend, it would probably be much different but we go mid-week almost always —Dann G.
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OxGord tire lock “works very well”
I have this lock. I use it on my tow dolly. Works great only thing is the rubberized parts after about a year outside (in Florida heat and humidity) start to degrade. The paint also fades (not that it’s very important). However this locking device works very well. It does it’s job very well. —Ric
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Praise for museum putty, plus a tip
Museum putty is great [for keeping objects in place in your RV]. I have used it for years. There is a knack to using it in the trailer because of the heat when it is not being used. Apply it but after the trailer gets really hot, “roll” the excess that melts from under the object to remove. It only happens when first applied. —Betty D.
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RVers happy with their investment
To each his own. Buying an RV in the first place rarely makes economic sense. I’m going to be spending $35,000 on a 12 year old motorhome to have it resided and custom painted. In the end we will have a great looking unit on a good sound chassis and an interior that’s like new and well suited to our needs. It would cost us over $550,000 to replace it with a comparable new coach. This one is paid for and has pretty much all of the bugs worked out of it. We never had resale value in mind but comfort and convenience when we bought it. Will we ever get our money back out of it? Not a chance, but we’ve gotten a lot of joy and seen much of our country that we would not have otherwise had we not made this investment in our enjoyment. —Bruce and Joanne
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Dispersed camping – on a beach in Mexico
With solar and a generator the whole western federal land are at your beck and call – dispersed camping is where you find it. Currently setting on a beach in Mexico. The new 5ver does need more power draw than the older rigs – just add more battery and solar capacity. —Robert W.
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Sanitizing fresh water system
HA! Enjoyed the bloober at the end…forgetting to pull the pressure relief valve can leave a lasting impression…cheers! —Dago55
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Unforgettable experience
29 years ago I took my sons on a cross-country camping trip. One of our stops was The Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. There was a group of WW2 Vets there. They took my sons (ages 9 and 15) through the museum pointing out to my boys where they served and telling them about it. This was a highlight experience that my sons still talk about. Thank you to all our vets for your service! —Hannah
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Happy campers
From April to October we enjoyed camps in 9 states with our 33-foot TT. Wintering at a fine camp in the Arizona desert has added four couples to our list of true friends forever. It has been good to park awhile and get acquainted. —Don B.
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Fun in Florida
When in the Tampa area in January we ride our Curie Tech ebikes on the Pinelas Trail near the Gulf Coast and stay at the Dunedin RV Resort. One of our favorite ride destinations is Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks with lots of good eating. —Richard and Anne B.
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Is your RV just sitting around?
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Hopeful for future RV campgrounds
We follow many Facebook RV pages. One great thing we see often are people building new RV campgrounds. They come to the pages asking for our input. They want to build the best RV park possible. With so many giving them ideas, I’m hopeful that these will be really RV friendly places. —Pat
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For RV accessories, try these resources
Northwest RV Surplus Supply in Oregon and Dyers online have both saved me a ton of money and have excellent customer service. —Rag-ftw
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Some deep thoughts on “life”
No one gets out of life alive… might as well eat food that tastes good before someone makes it illegal. If you forgo wine, women and song, you’ll live 5 years longer… but it will feel like 50! —Wolfe
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Shopping for RV parts
• Like many I shop around: online, Walmart, local RV parts store and even buy parts from the mobile RV repair guy that does many of our repairs. He sells many parts, even the ones he uses for repairs, at or near his cost. —rvgrandma
Tweety’s and eTrailer. Good service and good prices. —Scott
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Exploring by ebike
Love the ebikes! No more worrying about getting too tired to make it back up that last hill. Or not doing a ride because of too many hills. Thank you for adding another tool to my ride planning. I like using the Komoot web site to plan a ride then send the plan to the Komoot app on my Android phone to use while riding. The audio guidance during the ride is helpful, as well as being able to change the route as I explore. —Mark S.
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Backing into RV site
One word regarding walkie-talkies — VOX! Just in case there is no cell phone service. —Wayne

More advantages to RVing
In 2012 we left California for a 2 year trip to the East Coast and the Southern states in our 40′ motorhome. Our total cost per night for our 2 year trip was $18.36. As members of Coast to Coast ($10 a night) Resorts of Distinction ($0 a night), Passport America (1/2off) we stayed in great parks and had a terrific time. Same bed each night, great coffee each morning. In Maine we could have a lobster dinner for $27, or buy lobster for $3.99 a lb and eat in our coach. How about Louisiana fresh shrimp, right from the dock at $4.25 lb. No contest. Have met many guys married to “gold digger wives” that no way in hell would go RVing. Sad. —JerryXS

Response to above:
Maine lobster dinner $6.99 in Bar Harbor on the deck! —Terry
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Camping away from RV parks
Interesting how the survey asks about electricity. We have solar and a generator, so, we have electricity, and prefer to always stay away from the confines of the expensive RV parks, and all of the negatives associated with living in confinement areas with tons of rules. Living in the peace and quiet is not for everyone…..good deal! —Robbie
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Praise for Banfield Pet Hospital
We were in Bozeman Montana and had to find a vet fast for our puppy. It was a Saturday afternoon and thankfully Banfield Pet Hospital was open and did a wonderful job diagnosing and treating him at a very fair price, especially considering they were the only vet we could find open on the weekend. —Robert
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Great RV shop in Carson City
We have a funky little RV parts and repair place here in Carson City (NV) called Ed’s RV. This place has every part RV related known to man! Hard to find the place but once you do it becomes your “go to” place. —Tommy M.
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Service “above and beyond” at vet clinic in Manitoba
Our German Shepherd came down with a very serious case of pneumonia on a cross Canada trip. Used Google to find an emergency vet clinic in Brandon, Manitoba. By the time we got her in she was down to 1/4 of her lung capacity. They weren’t sure she’d make it. She spent a week in emergency care until she had recovered enough for us to head for home. The clinic was great – they found us a campground and arranged with the furniture store across the street for us to park our A Class there during the day. And their total bill was less than a third of what I’d have paid at home. We also found out that our travel insurance includes $500 for emergency vet care. (Who knew?) Since she’s at risk for a relapse we now travel with antibiotics and a stethoscope (to listen to her lungs). —Paul
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Terrific mobile RV tech
We knew it was the cooling unit when we walked into the MH and smelled ammonia. We have a terrific mobile RV tech that tries to repair vs replace if possible – unless you demand new. His prices are labor plus whatever his cost is for the part (part and shipping). —rvgrandma
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Happy ending to fridge “problem”
I noticed a skim of yellow dust below my burner area … was told by a service tech that it is ammonia residue from a leaking cooling coil and that with that amount of residue my refer should not even be cooling. Happy Day .. on a lot of further inspection found that cooling unit had been replaced by previous owner and they had not cleaned the yellow residue from the burner area. Fridge, as always, is still performing beautifully. (Knocking on wood as I write.) —Bill and Kitty B.
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Q&A about finding a reliable mechanic away from home
Q. I am interested in buying a motorhome from a private seller located across the country from my home. What is the best way to find a reliable RV mechanic in the area of the motorhome to check it over for me? Thanks. I very much enjoy your newsletters.—Jeff J.
A. Go to the RV Inspection connection website and search for a certified inspector.  —Gary R.
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Advantages to traveling non-interstate routes
Consider going non-interstate routes to save gas, as well. Our mpg doubled when We left the interstate and went more wind-protected routes on US highways and byways, doing same 55-60 mph. Gas is usually less expensive, as well, and you’ll pass all the grocery /supply stores your heart desires. —Terry
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Need mail forwarding? Choose the best!
Choose Americas Mailbox! It’s the best, endorsed by which has toured its South Dakota facility and interviewed its very customer-oriented owner. Many plans available. Learn more. Or view the videointerview RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury conducted with Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes.

Heartwarming story
We were driving down a 4-lane divided highway in Alabama on a cold, rainy day about 4 years ago and saw a dog lying in the middle of our lane of travel. The car in front of us just veered around him and kept on driving. We stopped and while I directed traffic around us, my boyfriend checked the dog. Thankfully, another car stopped and the 2 of them were able to move the dog to the side of the road. After ascertaining that the dog (lab mix) did not “belong” to anyone nearby (one neighbor said he had been living under her porch for a month but he wasn’t hers), we got a blanket out of the truck and were able to get it under him and move him into the back seat. No one knew of any local vets but, using our GPS, we were able to find one about 20 mins away. God Bless our Nuvi!

The vet couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t sit but chose to lie down all the time. After bloodwork and x-rays, she found he had heartworms and each front leg was broken in 2 places.

We have named him Willie (for Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”) and he is a licensed, chipped, loving, gentle member of our family that consists of 2 dogs (another stray joined us 2 years later), 2 cats and 2 birds.

For those who might be faced with huge vet bills, ask if your vet accepts Care Credit. You pay over time and if you pay the full amount within a reasonable time-frame, no interest is charged. We’ve used that for dental work and hearing aids in addition to vet work. —PennyPA
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Savvy RV shoppers
I guess we got lucky. In 2007 we caught our local dealer being bought out by Camping World. And Camping World was doing all they could to sell all my dealers inventory that was on their floor plan. They had a new 2007 Gas Class A, bath and a half, washer/dryer, option after option with an MSRP of $166,000 on sale for $144,000. We had an old 1997 to trade that my dealer had serviced and knew its condition, and negotiated a $100,000 out the door price with satellite, awnings, you name it. Some 7 years later in the winter of 2014, we ordered a 2015 40 foot diesel Class A, bath and a half, stacked washer/dryer, satellite, awnings, option after option, and negotiated our 2007 Gas Trade in at $96,000 after 7 years and almost 60,000 miles. No, we did not steal anything. We got a good deal on our new diesel unit and a great trade in price for our 2007 rig. Know what you want, do your homework, there are good deals out there —Dick and Sandy
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High praise for Outdoors RV, La Grande, Ore.
Two years ago I was in Borrego Springs, traveling from Canada, when my sani flush valve stuck. I phoned Outdoors RV in La Grande, Oregon, and asked how to fix it. The manager said they could send me a replacement part. When I asked for a price, he said it would be on them. A few days later it arrived by Fedex at my park. Wow! —Rod
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Great mom-and-pop RV business – but they’re gone 🙁
We drove from Carson City, NV to Salt Lake City to buy our 2012 travel trailer. The dealer was a small sorta mom and pop business. They had a parts department that really impressed us. All of the good stuff that RVers really need, and none of the worthless stuff that usually lines the shelves of most dealers. They bent over backwards to turn the trailer into what we REALLY wanted (like swapping out a couch for two swivel rockers) before we picked it up. As far as buying a trailer went, it was almost a perfect experience. A couple years later – they were gone . . . Sigh. —Tommy M.
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Protecting dogs’ paws
Ruff wear dog shoes/boots are perfect protection for your dogs paws. Our dog has been wearing them since he was a puppy. Ruff wear makes boots for the hot pavement, snow and hiking. The military uses this brand for the dogs. Before going full time we lived in Arizona for 30+ years. —Susan
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High recommendation for geocaching
Regarding geocaching, we would highly recommend it. Not only does one get the fun of finding caches (secondary on my list), one gets to find new and often scenic/interesting places. The caches are often hidden in great places that we would never have known about as visitors to many different locales. It is a perfect companion to RVing. We have found family cemeteries and isolated soldier’s graves in the desert, museum of the first patented helicopter, beautiful hiking trails and tons more novel and scenic spots. —Grumpy
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No spam calls – lucky!
We have Verizon and never had a spam caller ever. I guess we have a good cell phone company that blocks it for us? I love the peace and quiet until my mother calls. Then I am busy for an hour. —Jillie
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Honk! Honk!
You know you are camping correctly when the honking that wakes you up in the morning is coming from the geese on the lake and not cars. —BrianJ.
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