Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 16th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Issue 778 • Week of Jan. 28–Feb. 3, 2017
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By Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
You must visit Quartzsite. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert. Technically it’s where I-10 and state route 95 intersect, about 20 miles east of Blythe, California. It’s no place to be in the blazing hot summer unless you’re a lizard.
It’s home to 3,600 year-round residents. In the winter, with its abundant sunshine and mild temps, the population jumps to as many as 50,000 at times. Nearly all of them are RV snowbirds. In January, I’ll bet there are more solar panels per capita here than anywhere else on Earth.
RVers in every shape, size and condition of rig squat in the desert for free for weeks at a time on the public lands of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Or they can camp in a Long Term Visitor Area (LTVA) for seven months for $180 — about 85 cents a day.
The town itself isn’t much — a half dozen gas stations, a few small markets, some restaurants and fast food joints, a nearly-naked bookseller named Paul (the “first male stripper”), 60 RV parks, a couple of truck stops and modest homes with no lawns but lots of cactus. The nearest Starbucks is 20 miles away.
For a couple of weeks each January, a tent the length of two football fields goes up for a big RV show. Three long aisles are lined with hundreds of booths hustling everything from sewer hoses and RV park memberships to cookware, back adjustments and wonder creams.
Nearby flea markets, which are open all winter long, sell nearly every conceivable gadget, most from China: It’s like a giant dollar store in the desert. Rocks, gems, petrified dinosaur poop and other rock-like things are also available in abundance. The Quartzsite Yacht Club bills itself as the “Largest Yacht Club in the World,” even though it’s unlikely there’s a seaworthy boat for miles.
GAIL AND I BOONDOCKED a few days with some friends at an Escapees “Boomerville” camp a few miles out of town via a dirt road. Members settled in by campfires each evening to chat, tell jokes, dance to oldies and enjoy happy hour libations with friends.
For miles around, other groups gathered — members of clubs or just friends who meet up each year to hike, explore with ATVs, and share stories by their campfires. At night, with practically no city lights, the sky is breathtaking with a million stars.
Quartzsite is an experience. Whether you come with a group or by yourself, there are miles of wide open space to park your rig, hang out and enjoy the desert and solitude. For many RVers, a few days of Quartzsite and its dust is more than enough; but for others, Quartzsite and its surrounding area is a wonderful, dirt-cheap place to spend a winter season, enjoying the sun and the vast desert, and the company of friends they will surely make.
P.S. Check out my recent video. . .
“Full-Time RVing: Why you don’t need many clothes.”
My Roadside Journal: Click here.
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Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Beast Wash at the Wade Maid website.
Quartzsite Internet woes — getting results!
When the snowbirds descend on Quartzsite every winter, capacity is put to the max. Long lines at the LP outlets, no place to sit at McDonald’s, and at the top of the list, a short supply of broadband capacity, at least for folks who rely on Verizon Wireless as a carrier. Troubled by lousy service and hunkered down in Quartzsite? If you’re paying for data service, get on that phone and complain. That is, if you can get through on the phone! It might do you some good. Learn more.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
RV Consignment Dealer
Buy or sell your used motorhome, diesel pusher, fifth wheel or travel trailer hassle free at PPL Motor Homes. And check our huge selection of parts! PPL is the largest RV consignment dealer in the USA, selling more than 24,000 consigned RVs since 1972. Visit the PPL website.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! Thanks for playing. The answer is “Spike,” Snoopy’s older brother.
Win this very cool coffee mug. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. Answer the question posed in this 30-second, low-res video. 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 Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.
No contest last week so no winner to announce.
Despite a budget stuck at year-2000 levels, Montana’s state parks are high in popularity. The system had 2.65 million visits last year, up 7 percent from 2015 – the fourth straight record year.
National Park Service officials are on the horns of a dilemma. Tasked as stewards of the nation’s treasures, its mission is to preserve them while also sharing them with visitors. Share them they did, as last year saw the third straight year for record visitation. One staffer likened the crowds in some parks as a “Disneyland-like situation” that has led in some cases to aggressive visitor behavior after waiting in lines at entrance gates for an hour, then being hard-pressed to find parking. Perhaps it’s no longer “Beware bears,” but rather “Heed the humans.”
The latest salvo in the ongoing legal war between Camping World kingpin Marcus Lemonis and Gigi Stetler, an independent RV dealer, was fired by Lemonis. Stetler’s attorneys have been attempting to get Lemonis in for a deposition since last April in a case filed against Camping World and others. A court order mandated Lemonis to appear, and as we reported last week, the deposition was set for January 27. Lemonis has now filed a protective order to escape the deposition, claiming Stetler’s attorneys were in error when they asked the court to order the appearance. Source rvdailyreport.com.
The State of Alabama is handing out $1.3 million in grants to enhance recreation in the state – and at least one RV campground will benefit. Lauderdale County will put together an RV campground and improve existing facilities at Brush Creek Park near Waterloo. The county will contribute $164,000 to the state’s grant of $150,000.
A proposed campground along the California/Mexico border has stirred up interest and controversy. At least one San Diego county official is pushing for a campground in the 1,800 acre Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. Pressured by a mandate to develop affordable tourist lodging on the coast, county supervisor Greg Cox says he’d like to see a campground fill that role. But U.S. Border Patrol officials aren’t keen on the idea. “Over 3,200 of [the 5,300 arrests in the Imperial Beach sector] occurred within the immediate vicinity of the proposed campsites. Twenty-five percent of those apprehended had prior criminal convictions in the United States and some of the illegal crossers were documented gang members,” says a letter from the patrol’s sector chief.
An Oregon RV park is going to pot – or is it up in smoke? Grow Condos, an Eagle Point, Ore., company that provides completely outfitted marijuana growing “condos” for lease, wants to branch out. Their vision? A dope-smoking friendly RV park near Lake Selmac called – what else – Smoke on the Water. Grow Condos already has a deal in the works to buy Lake Selmac Resort & RV Park, south of Grants Pass. If the deal goes through, not only would pot smoking be the order of the day, guests could purchase pot from an on-site dispensary.
The Southern Tier Outdoor Show, which has rolled out at Wilkins RV in Bath, N.Y., for 10 years, has nearly grown too big for the tub. The 2017 show will take up new quarters at the Steuben County Fairgrounds (also in Bath). The traditional second weekend of October event will continue, so the show goes on October 14 and 15, 2017.
Campsite fees at F.J. McLain State Park will be reduced this year. The popular Michigan park on Lake Superior has been struggling with beach erosion, and officials say they’ll be working on the water supply at the campground. As a result, showers and flush toilets won’t be available, and short-term interruptions to campsite utilities could occur. To compensate, the state will reduce the campground rates to the lower, “semi-modern” level for the season.
Winter Differently in Yuma, AZ!
With 7 resorts to choose from, book your stay in one of the sunniest places on earth, Yuma, Arizona! Whether you are looking to book an RV site or relax in one of our beautiful rentals, we have something for everyone. Stay a week, a month, all season or all year long! Click here to reserve your Yuma site today!
As reported last week, a Pacific storm brought heavy rain, wind and widespread damage to parts of the Central California Coast. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said a slide on Branciforte Drive took down three trees which crushed a parked RV and nearly sent it sliding off a hillside. No injuries were reported. Farther south, rescuers also pulled an estimated 20 campers out of El Capitan Canyon and Resort Campground, some from vehicles in the parking lot, after fast-moving floodwaters overran the Santa Barbara County park.
Often the most-visited National Park Unit in the U.S., the Blue Ridge Parkway (N.C. and Va.) didn’t miss a beat in 2016. A little less than 15.2 million visitors hit the 469-mile scenic roadway, up 1 percent from visits in 2015. But campground use on the parkway really rocketed: Campground visits jumped 25 percent for the same time period.
In Milton-Freewater, Ore., it’s okay to live in your RV on private property for up to two weeks. Ah, but leave it to great thinkers to come up with some way to complicate issues. Now the city council is taking a crack at updating the covering ordinance by tweaking it just a little. You can stay for two weeks – provided you pay $30 for a permit for the privilege, or suffer a $500 fine for failing to get the permit. A vote on the matter will take place shortly.
Sales of towable RVs in Canada were a bright spot in an otherwise dull market for November 2016. Compared to the previous November, sales were up more than 15 percent overall, with travel trailers blasting off more than 28 percent. Fifth wheel sales bombed, losing more than 14 percent, while pop-ups bucked up 15 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
In a move to appeal to downsizing RVers and newbies, Tiffin Motorhomes has cranked up production on its first new Class C motorhome in 45 years. The Wayfarer is built on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter foundation, and features two slideouts (one on the rear of the coach) on its 24-foot unit. List price? $138,000 for a “typically equipped” coach.
An RV park owner at Clio, Calif., northwest of Reno, Nev., got a bit of a start when walking his dog around the park. Passing the porch of the park’s meeting room, the dog’s hackles went up – and peeking under the step, the man spotted a mountain lion. The big cat stayed under the step, but later came out and walked around the park. Game officials later checked out the situation and found the cougar was injured and emaciated, and euthanized it.
Imagine finding a letter in your mailbox that reads, “We all hope you are making plans to have your RV moved. Obviously as a neighbor, we are interested in having a nice, attractive street, and your RV parked in the driveway makes that impossible. Some lesser neighborhoods, an RV fits right in: Independence, Garner, Troost Area, Western Shawnee, etc. However, in beautiful PV KS it does not fit, and we would all appreciate your having it moved.” Now imagine you don’t even own an RV. The recipient, a Prairie Village, Kansas, woman, says someone down the block with a similar address does have an RV parked at their home, but describes the letter as inappropriate and “snooty.”
A self-admitted ISIS supporter from Washington state has been given a 10-year prison sentence for gun crimes after he plotted to attack an RV park operated by and for the benefit of military members on the state’s coast. Daniel Franey, age 34, was caught up in an FBI sting wherein he had made arrangements to purchase a machine gun and ammunition. Franey had previously been institutionalized for a mental condition, and convicted of domestic violence, so could not lawfully possess weapons. In a recorded conversation, Franey spoke about his attack plans, saying of the military RV park, “It’s a bunch of colonels getting drunk. No guns, no guards. These are the people making the decisions. Highly effective. Highly effective.” Source: seattlepi.com.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
RV Quick Tips
Handy leveling tools
Got levels? Having bubble levels on the side and front or rear of your rig make it easier to level up when you’re setting up. Or use a small “torpedo” level. With your rig known to be level, see if your storage bay trim or windows are also level. If they are, you can use a torpedo level lined up on the trim anywhere it’s convenient.
Secure your RV awning while traveling
Reader Mark Walsh says he gets peace of mind regarding his RV awning while traveling. How? “I use a large piece of Velcro wound several times around each arm of the awning up near the top. I have to use a picnic table or ladder to get it there but it takes away the worry.” Thanks, Mark.
Be prepared in case of fire
One of my biggest fears as a full-timer is fire — not just something that could start in my rig, but also to a neighbor’s unit parked nearby. As a preventive measure, I use a water “splitter” or manifold at my site’s water spigot. One side supplies water to our rig, but the other has my extra 30-foot hose that I could use to fight a fire in my rig or a neighbor’s. This precaution, in combination with smoke detectors in our living area and one in basement storage, helps me sleep better at night. Thanks to Jim Schrankel.
Organize your RV’s shower!
Quit hassling with shampoo & conditioner bottles
RV showers are small! Hassling with bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap are a pain! Make it easy with this Better Living Classic 3-Chamber Dispenser. It utilizes a “patented pump technology” and comes with a lifetime warranty. The liquid is stored in three 15 oz. refillable chambers. The right amount of product is dispensed with a stroke or two of the pump. Installs in minutes without tools. Learn more or order.
Rein in unnecessary electricity usage
One of the skills for making boondocking enjoyable if you haven’t installed solar panels is the efficient use of your available electricity. The simplest and most efficient skill is learning where and how much electricity your rig uses and what you can do to reduce this usage. Learn some great tips in this article from BoondockBob.
Website lists thousands of free and cheap spots to stay with an RV
OvernightRVparking.com is probably the best single source today for information about where to spend a night with an RV for free or less than $20 in the U.S. and Canada. The RV Travel editor talked with founder and publisher Jim O’Briant about the membership site and how it benefits RVers. Watch the video.
Backroad RVing: Don’t get ‘er stuck!
One of the great joys of RVing is to get closer to nature and farther away from the noise and problems of “civilization.” Of course, getting away from civilization can also mean getting away from paved roads – and at times that can put you in the way of getting your rig stuck. Russ and Tiña De Maris can vouch for the truth of this maxim: The best way to get your RV unstuck is not to get stuck in the first place. Read this to help avoid getting stuck, or what to do in case you do get stuck.
Weighing an RV
Roger Marble, RV tire expert, read a question on an RV forum recently about four-corner weights versus axle weights. Here is Roger’s reply, including how to correctly weigh your RV and how often it should be done.
Let’s talk about ceramic knives — good, bad … ugly?
Rich “The Wanderman” carries a folding ceramic-bladed knife that has served him well for many years. But that particular brand is no longer available, so he did some research on other ceramic knives. He reports on their pros and cons and how they stack up in comparison to their steel/stainless steel counterparts, especially for use in an RV, in this article.
Good Sam Campground Guide
With more than 12,500 North American locations, the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide is the only print directory of RV parks and campgrounds. The 2017 edition features expert ratings completed in the past year. Park listings include amenities, services, restrictions, rates, contact info, Good Sam discount locations, hundreds of dollars’ worth of Camping World savings and pages of helpful information. Learn more or order.
Wash your rig with dish soap?
When RVtravel.com ran a video that espoused the idea of cleaning RV exteriors with water and liquid dish soap, it didn’t take long for a reader to respond. We were well chastised for the suggestion. “Dish soap is known to soften automotive paint,” came the comment. “Never ever, ever use it on a painted surface.” Here are the results of much (informal) research on the matter.
Full-time RVing: Self-storage insurance for peace of mind
What can full-time RVers do to insure their belongings if they sell their home and want to store some possessions, since they no longer have homeowners’ insurance to cover them? Find out here.
Work campers: Earn up to $2,500 in 2 weeks at sugar beet harvest
Every fall, RV work campers are needed to help with the annual sugar beet harvest in Montana, Minnesota and North Dakota, earning up to $2,500 or more in two weeks. Workers also receive a free campsite. Learn more about how to participate by watching this video.
City water inlet regurgitates — help!
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received this question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor: “I have an issue with the fresh water from my fresh water holding tank shooting out the city water inlet connection when I turn on my freshwater tank pump. There is a trickle of water coming to the faucets. However, when the city water connection is hooked to an external water source, everything seems to be OK. Do you know what might be causing this, and can it be corrected fairly easily?” Read Chris’ response.
Forest River recalls some toyhaulers and fifth wheels
Forest River is recalling 556 model year 2017 XLR Toyhauler and Prime Time Spartan recreational fifth-wheel vehicles manufactured August 21, 2016, to December 12, 2016. The affected vehicles have rear cargo door hinges with welds on the hinge pin and hinge plate that may be insufficient, and as a result, the top of the door may swing down with more force than normal, increasing the risk of personal injury. Learn more.
Essential equipment for many RVers!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100-micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.
This week in history
Week of Jan. 28–Feb. 3
Compiled by Dell Bert
1861 — Kansas enters the Union; Texas secedes from it.
1887 — First Groundhog Day.
1933 — The Lone Ranger debuts on Detroit radio.
1959 — “The day the music died” — Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson die in a plane crash.
1986 — Space shuttle Challenger disaster, killing seven astronauts.
1990 — First McDonald’s opens in Soviet Union.
2003 — Columbia mission ends in disaster, killing seven crew members.
(Editor: It was a bad week.)
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Bumper sticker of the week
I am a nobody, nobody is perfect, therefore I am perfect.
Funny/clever business slogan
“We run a shady business” — seen on a mobile tarp business in Quartzsite, Arizona.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
2017 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
JUST PUBLISHED: Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm during travel in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. Includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open carry, 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.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Liquefy solid wastes in sewer holding tanks
Happy Campers Treatment liquefies solid waste and household tissue. It’s a natural formula that’s environmentally friendly and biodegradable, with no formaldehyde or harsh chemicals. Basically, the good bacteria overtakes the bad bacteria to eliminate odor and accelerate the natural decomposition of waste. Because it is totally organic and odor free, you won’t be embarrassed by bad odors inside or when you dump. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Websites of the Week
Here are two we like:
Ten of the coolest parks for RV camping
Some of these parks are private, some are public, and each offers its own unique features. Scattered around the U.S., check these out to see if there’s something that interests you. Maybe there’s even something here you haven’t heard of before. From The Active Times and msn.com.
50 of the craziest laws in every state
Here are 50 of the most absurd laws and bans in the U.S. Examples: Be sure to clean your tires before you go to Minnesota, or else. In Vermont women can’t wear false teeth without their husband’s approval. And it’s a good thing Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor didn’t live in Kentucky! (This is not the list we previously presented.) From Good Housekeeping and msn.com.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• To see Florida at its wildest, you have to visit the Everglades National Park.
• USA Rest Stops is a nifty free app which automatically finds your location and displays nearby rest areas.
• Watch this Youtuber review 9 different flashlight models!
Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads? If so, you’ll love this guidebook which describes about 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada with many full-page reviews by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Where to go to find warm winter weather?
Dear RV Shrink:
We have decided to spend our second winter on the road in Florida. We spent our first winter in Arizona and froze to death. We thought Arizona was like Hawaii but found out that is not the case. Now we are cold in Northern Florida and I want to go to Mexico next year. My husband refuses to take our RV into Mexico, so where the heck can I go for the winter and be warm? I might just as well stay home next to the wood stove. —Cast member from the movie “Frozen”
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new eBook: 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.
Be prepared for a roadside emergency!
Forget messing around with flares.
You’ll be thankful to have this set of three emergency flashers along with you if you’re forced to the side of a busy highway with a flat tire, mechanical or other issue. One FlareAlert™ provides about 20 hours of safety before a battery change (three AAAs in each). You’d need to strike 80 incendiary flares, one after another, to achieve the same thing. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
More on holding tank dumping
A golden rule for RV holding tanks is to never dump the black water tank until it is at least two-thirds full. You want the tank nearly full so the weight and the gravity will force the contents of the tank to drain properly. Another golden rule is to never leave the black tank valve open at the campground and expect the toilet to drain or flush like the toilet in your home. It won’t work.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.33 (on Jan. 23). Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 47 cents.
Diesel: $2.57 (on Jan. 23). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 50 cents.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Dumplings complete the meal.
Need a quick comfort food meal for your frazzled first night out? Turn any soup, homemade or store-bought, into a hearty meal by adding these eggy dumplings. Get the recipe.
Use handy silicone lids for cooking & storage
Use on the stove or to seal containers instead of using plastic wrap or foil. They’re BPA, Phalate and PVC free and heat resistant to 440 degrees. Press down gently in the center of lid for airtight seal. Use to replace missing or broken lids. Use on leftovers and to keep salads and fruits fresh! Learn more or order.
Want to downsize? Sell your stuff on eBay
Thinking about full-time RVing and need to downsize? Here are some tips from Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour to start you on your way to achieving your goals. And maybe once you’re on the road, you’ll decide to make a little extra income by selling your “finds” on eBay. Read more.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… every Sunday on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. A great recent show topic was #106 Internet Connections as you Travel. Watch live or archives of past programs.
The special offer for RV Travel readers is back!
Become a member of Geeks on Tour and get a 20% discount. Click here.
Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best-seller and costs about $8. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
How to thaw frozen holding tanks
I think I really messed up. Last night the temperature dropped to minus 5 degrees. I thought about the fresh water and left it dripping at a faucet, but I never thought about the holding tanks. They were left closed and by the time I thought about it at 2:00 a.m., it was too late. What is the best way to get them thawed out? The temperature is supposed to stay below freezing for a couple of days. Thanks! John R.
The Most Scenic Drives in America
The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic road every time. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured road trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Do you leave your porch light on?
In last Saturday’s RV Travel Newsletter, Chuck mentioned that his neighbor leaves his RV’s outside lights on. He commented, “I don’t think he had given any thought to other campers who might enjoy something at night other than his light show.” I’ve often left my porch light on when boondocking as a safety measure. Do I need to rethink this practice as well? —Barry M.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Should you be concerned with distracted driving?
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
COSTS LESS THAN $16!
Don’t get caught in a weather emergency!
The Midland HH50 Pocket Weather Alert Radio receives NOAA weather alert broadcasts and searches for the weather frequency for the area when powered up. Its automatic alert system turns it on in event of dangerous weather or civil emergency, so you don’t miss anything crucial. Requires 3 AAA batteries. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Prevent theft with heavy-duty battery lock
Prevent RV battery theft with a heavy-duty dual- or single-battery lock from Battery Shackle of Redding, Calif. Perfect for anyone out hunting, camping or fishing, or leaving an RV in storage. It is the only dual/single battery lock of its type on the market. American made and easy to install — no tools required. Learn more.
Adjustable cutlery tray expands to fit your drawer
No more fishing around in a cluttered cutlery drawer for what you need. No more wasted space between your cutlery tray and the sides of your drawer. It’s not exactly magic, but it’s a simple idea that works. The Camco Adjustable Cutlery drawer fits your drawer from 9 inches to 13 inches wide. Read more.
Keep rodents out of your RV!
The overwhelmingly positive reviews on this make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets so no safety warning is required. 98% biodegradable. Tested and endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
Non-contact voltage tester and false positive results
I’m hoping you can answer a question I have. I’ve tried the Internet, but I think you may be the only person on the planet who can help me. The question is: Can a non-contact voltage tester have a false positive? —M. Morse
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show, January 21-29, Quartzsite, AZ
• Louisville Boat, RV Sport Show, January 25-29, Louisville , KY
• Fort Myers RV Show, January 26-29, Fort Myers, FL
• Atlanta Camping & RV Show, January 27-29, Atlanta, GA
• Cincinnati- Dayton RV Show, February 2-5, Vandalia, OH
• Fort Wayne RV & Camping Show, February 2-5, Fort Wayne, IN
• St. Louis RV Vacation & Travel Show, February 2-5, St. Louis, MO
• Hamilton RV Show & Sale, February 3-5, Stoney Creek, ON, Canada
• Seattle RV Show, February 9-12, Seattle, WA
• Jacksonville RV Show, February 9-12, Jacksonville, FL
• Minneapolis/St. Paul RV, Vacation & Camping Show, February 9-12,,Minneapolis, MN
• Salem Spring RV Show, February 9-12, Salem, OR
• Ottawa RV Expo & Sale, February 9-12, Ottawa, ON, Canada
• San Antonio Boat & Travel Trailer Show, February 9-12, San Antonio, TX
• Montana RV, Boat & Powersports Show, February 10-12, Great Falls, MT
• Columbus RV Show, February 10-12, Columbus, OH
• Richmond Camping RV Expo, February 10-12, Richmond, VA
Heated hose keeps your water flowing in the cold
Camco’s Heated Water Hose provides safe drinking water in freezing temperatures by combining a drinking-water-safe hose with a self-regulating heat source encapsulated in an all-weather, PVC coating. Operates on 120VAC/1.3 AMPs. Made in the USA. Learn more or order at Amazon.
Joke of the Week
Joe and Jenny drove for miles in silence in their new motorhome after a terrible argument in which neither would budge. After many miles had passed, a frustrated Joe pointed to a mule in a nearby pasture. “A relative of yours?” he asked Jenny. “Yes,” she replied. “By marriage.”
Keep your fridge in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution. Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And the good part is the price tag: about $5! (The RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
Videos you’ll like
Are dog bone RV electrical adapters dangerous?
RV electricity expert Mike Sokol says “maybe.” Here’s why: Watch the video.
How a blown tire on an RV could catch it on fire
RV technician Chris Dougherty explains. You’ll travel safer with your RV if you watch this video.
Random RV Thought
On a hot summer day, a campsite with a good shade tree is a wonderful thing. On a crisp, cold, but sunny winter day, a campsite without a tree is a wonderful thing.
Stay warm, save money with a space heater
Most RVers carry a portable electric space heater. They save money, and the space heater provides a nice, steady heat compared to the often off-and-on pattern of a built-in propane system. If you aren’t carrying a portable space heater you’re just tossing away money on propane at RV parks when the electricity is free. Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
J. K. Rowling (“Harry Potter”) is the first author to make it to Forbes’ billionaire list.
2016 RVer’s Friend
LEARN ABOUT SERVICES FOR RVers
This annual directory lists 6,700 U.S. & Canadian “big rig” fueling locations and the services they provide. Services include RV parking, propane availability, truck wash, scales, laundry, food, diesel and RV accessible gasoline. Locations are listed in Interstate exit order as well as alphabetically by city and state. Learn more or order.
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” —Abraham Lincoln
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Janet Groene, Roger Marble, Julianne Crane and Chris Guld.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for nearly 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. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle, where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. 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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Essay posted to article 11-17-17