RV Travel Newsletter Issue 791

RV Travel Newsletter Issue 791

 

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 791 • Week of Apr. 29–May 5, 2017


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Best-selling RV products and AccessoriesUPDATED HOURLY.
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Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com

One of the best places to stay a night or longer is little known to most RVers: Elks lodge RV parks.

There are about 2,000 Elks lodges around the USA, and about half offer overnight RV stays to members, making it the largest “chain” of RV parks in America, twice that of KOA. Some offer dry camping but others are in beautiful settings with partial or full hookups. Many allow members to stay for free, while other lodges may request a donation of $5 to $25 a night. Stays may be limited to a day or two in some lodges or up to a week in others (a few offer monthly rates). But whatever the deal, staying at an Elks lodge campground will almost always be a bargain.

I learned about Elks camping from Jim O’Briant, the publisher of OvernightRVparking.com, the largest resource for free and inexpensive places to stay with an RV in the U.S. and Canada. Jim currently lists 585 Elks lodge campgrounds on his very helpful website. Please watch my video interview with him about staying at Elks lodges.

“I originally joined the Elks primarily for the access to the  campgrounds,” he told me when we met up at the lodge in Hollister, California, for a members’ calamari steak dinner. But like many other members, Jim later became active in his local lodge.

Have dinner or a cocktail at some Elks lodges.

Dining with Jim, looking around the room, it was easy to see that the Elks are in a pickle: an aging membership in decline. I’d guess that the average diners, mostly men, were 70 to 80. It’s the same at most other lodges, although a small number do attract a younger crowd, both men and women. 

I asked Jim if it’s really okay to join a local lodge without participating in regular meetings or activities. He said yes, the lodges were happy to get the badly needed membership revenue from RVers. 

Elks RV park in Willcox, Arizona.

The lodge in Willcox, Arizona, for example, eagerly accepts RV snowbirds as members. The annual membership fee is a mere $73.50. Most others are $75 to $200 a year. Although most members are male, Jim noted that since 1995, when the organization began admitting women, their numbers have grown significantly.

SO WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?

Is there a secret ritual or regular meetings to attend for new members? Yes, there is a ritual of sorts (new members meet at a lodge and are taken through a ceremony that explains the organization and its purposes). The basic requirements to join Elks are you “must be an American citizen, believe in a supreme being, be of good moral character and be at least 21 years old.” When I asked one member about the requirement about believing in a supreme being, he said a simple “yes” to the question on the application was sufficient. 

There are other requirements, as outlined on the Elks’ website, including being sponsored by a current Elks member, which Jim says is “not a problem.” 

After a person applies for membership, it can take a month or two to be accepted. Some lodges in snowbird areas like Willcox have greatly speeded up the process to accommodate full-time RVers.

Complete information about joining Elks is available here.

With RV parks and campgrounds getting harder to find, holing up at an Elks lodge is a nice option, and often a very convenient and comfortable one. A separate Elks organization is located in Canada, where there are about 200 lodges.

Oh, a little trivia about the Elks: It was founded in New York City on February 16, 1868, under the name “Jolly Corks” by 15 actors, entertainers and others associated with the theater. In ensuing years, membership expanded to other professions.

Other fraternal organizations also offer RV parking or camping. Perhaps the most popular spots are Moose lodges.

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P.S. MY ESSAY LAST WEEK about why we no longer NEED public campgrounds and my recent video about the crummy site at a Utah KOA campground drew many comments, including many angry, mean-spirited ones. Read more.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Funny small town crime reports.
The sad tale of pickled Willie.
Quick moving, photo-snapping tourists.

Sources of information about free and 
inexpensive RV camping, official and unofficial.


back-768•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of back issues.

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Please support this newsletter
with a voluntary subscription
Our staff works hard to bring you an honest, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. A pledge of even $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription and help us invest more on editorial to be even better! Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check. Thank you!!!


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Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for April

The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Keystone, Newmar, Thor, Tiffin, and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.

Thor recalls some 2017 motorhomes
Thor Motor Coach is recalling certain 2017 Ace, Hurricane, and Windsport motorhomes. The weight rating labels for the tow hitches on these vehicles indicate a 10,000 pound weight capacity when the actual hitch capacity is 8,000 pounds. Learn more.



Reader RVs

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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 this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.


ppl-logo-1America’s Largest
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! No more entries this week, please.
Win this Stainless Steel Belgian Waffle Maker. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What is the secret phrase posted below? Email your answer to RVcontests (at) gmail.com. We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.

Last week’s winner: Susan Fucci of Rosedale, Maryland. She won the Quadcopter Drone with FPV Camera and Live Video.


breaking-newsIf wholesale shipments of RVs are any indicator, RV park spaces will get increasingly difficult to secure. RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) reports March movements were up significantly: Overall, nearly 21 percent more RVs moved to dealers in March compared to February – 47,579 rigs. Of them, 41,766 units were towables, nearly 17 percent more than shipped in March 2016.

Steve Walser photographed this (“Lifetime MH”) 1966 Town & Country with a Ford Chassis. See a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog by clicking here. Photo © Steve Walser

As reported last week, Camping World boss Marcus Lemonis is having a go-round with Georgetown, Ky., officials over a signage issue at the company’s new store there. The huge retailer wanted to erect both a tall advertising sign and tall flagpole – but zoning officials permitted only the sign. Lemonis said he’d skip the sign and erect a 130-foot-tall flagpole with a 3,200 square foot U.S. flag. Zoning officials now say that size makes the flag more of an advertisement than a commemorative, and told the outfit they’ll need to come back and seek permission.

For some, there may be a loss of joy associated with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decisions directed toward the Oh Be Joyful Campground near Crested Butte, Colo. The campground is hugely popular, and the BLM says come spring thaw, joyful campers will have to pay $10 for a site with a picnic table and fire ring – previously it was free. Distressed by having 20,000 folks overnight at the campground each year, the BLM is planning on reducing the number by chopping back the number of sites from 50 to as few as 25.

Reader Don Callahan sent this photo of the hookups at the Highlands RV Park in Bishop, Calif. “Blatantly poor installation,” he said. We agree.

North Las Vegas, Nev., has joined the ranks of cities that invite RVers to park, quickly move, or pay. The city council unanimously voted in an ordinance that allows “oversize vehicle” parking on residential streets for a maximum of 48 hours. Stay too long, you could get a $500 ticket and watch your RV towed away at your expense.

RV manufacturers let out a sigh of relief as the federal government has again given a green light to allowing people delivering new RVs to dealers to do so without a requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Requirements must still be met: Motorhomes must scale in at no more than 26,001 pounds either by themselves or in combination. Towables must have an actual dry weight of 10,000 pounds or less. Without the CDL exemption, the RV industry says it would take weeks for customers to get new rigs due to a shortage of CDL-carrying delivery drivers.

Looking to camp in Washington state’s famed Olympics region? Jefferson County park officials say you’re welcome to visit any of their campgrounds – and you won’t need a reservation in advance. Campgrounds at Quilcene, Lake Leland and Oak Bay are now open and boast new road surfaces and fire rings. The only time you may find things a bit tight in any of the parks is July 4 – “Come early” is the advice.

The Kalispel Tribe of Indians says it’s adding an RV park to its casino near Airway Heights, west of Spokane, Wash. The tribe has big plans – figuring that the RV park will attract 50,000 visitors a year. The new park should open in spring 2018. Source: krem.com.

There’s big money in the national parks. According to figures released by the U.S. Department of Interior, last year visitation to U.S. National Parks cranked nearly $35 billion into the country’s economy. Roughly 318,000 jobs depend on park visitor spending.


The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.


news524(2)More News

A freak, chain reaction collision that left three people dead in Kansas underscores the importance of verifying trailer-to-tow-rig safety. A Missouri man, towing a travel trailer on U.S. 54 near Fowler, had just crossed off a highway bridge when the trailer came loose from his pickup truck. The runaway trailer was promptly hit by a semitruck, which caused a blowout on the rig, locking up its brakes. What was left of the trailer continued on across the road, striking a passenger car. Meanwhile, the semitruck careened across the center line, clobbering another oncoming semitruck. The second tractor-trailer unit caught fire and burned to the frame. The tractor on the first combination came loose from the trailer unit, and the tractor unit went over an embankment and ended up in a creek. Both semi drivers and a passenger in one of the big trucks were pronounced dead at the scene.

Photo: Laguna Vista, Texas, PD. Click on photo for larger image.

Texas officials warn visitors at this time of year to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes coming out of winter hibernation. Apparently one cat in the Laguna Vista area hasn’t read up on the warnings. Police were called by area bird watchers on a walking trail when the birders found a domestic pussycat, calmly sitting next to a monstrous rattler in its “strike position.” Authorities removed the snake; no word on the cat’s opinion of the matter.

In the space of less than two months, Utah has received another International Dark Sky Park designation. Antelope Island State Park joins Cedar Breaks National Park as stars on the list of where you can see stars well at night. The park has “exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment,” says the International Dark Sky Association.

Photo: ktla.com. Click on photo for larger image.

When his RV caught fire at the propane station, one man showed remarkable stupidity (albeit in panic mode) as he boldly attempted to put out the flames with a garden hose, while standing next to a huge LP tank. It all happened in Sun Valley, Calif., just north of Los Angeles. Details aren’t clear, but apparently the RVer pulled his rig into Propane For Less, and somewhere along the line the large Class-B unit caught fire. He finally dropped his hose and waited for the professionals to respond – and one fireman was chased away from the rig as the tires on the RV began to blow, worsening conditions. Happily the fire was contained before the huge supply tank was compromised.


Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.

Click here for more information about using Airtabs™Click here to purchase Airtabs™.


Photo: JimboRocks on flickr.com

Revelries and drinking matches, accompanied by campfires, shall be controlled, says the Canadian government. Keeping a lid on obnoxious partying is the goal, and to that end, several campgrounds in Alberta’s Banff National Park have a ban on alcohol consumption and campfires from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., right on through March 31, 2018. Booze or burn, expect to get tossed out immediately, and possibly charged with a law violation.

Photo: Shawnee SP, from Pennsylvania State Parks

Pennsylvania has a new “Park of the Year”: Shawnee State Park, just off Interstate 76 and southeast of Pittsburgh, was recognized as outstanding by the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

When five-year-old Precious Valdez vanished in Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Waller, Texas, authorities pulled out all the stops. A search involving a dog team, scoping out a lake with sonar equipment, and frantic search parties turned up nothing – until the next morning. Precious was found asleep, cuddled up around – not Yogi Bear – but an air-conditioning unit that was giving off heat.

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


Your RVer Horoscope for May
Back by popular demand! RV Travel is honored to present to you the RVers’ horoscope for May from Swami Hal, a retired psychic who travels full-time in a 37-foot Pace Arrow motorhome with his considerably younger, full-figured German wife Helga, aka Helga the Magnificent. Swami Hal has won many awards (he says), due to his uncanny ability to predict the future with fairly decent accuracy. 

Read your RVer horoscope for May.


scenic767The Most Scenic Drives in America
The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic roads. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured 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.


Online resource explains motorhome electrical systems
A new e-learning video is now available from Progressive Dynamics, Inc. as part of its Online Learning Center. Available on the company’s website, the informational and interactive video features electrical systems and components of standard RVs and motorhomes. Learn more.

Viking comes through to help customer
Some good news to report: Reader Cindy Trombly wrote to us about some problems her son had with a used Viking pop-up he purchased a couple of years ago, and how, by the end of last year, the floor needed replacement. The dealer wouldn’t touch it and claimed the manufacturer wouldn’t either. But in his travels her son struck up a conversation with a guy and the conversation turned to camping. Find out who the “guy” was and how Viking RV made things right and then some. Read more.

Transition to RV solar with low-cost task lights
Many RVers new to boondocking shudder at the expense of putting in a solar charging system. Here’s how you may be able to still enjoy your boondocking while you save up for an alternative power system. Since most people need to run the lights at night, how about relatively inexpensive, portable, solar-charging work lights. Read more.

video camera WPHow to choose the right sealant for your RV
RV sealants are essential for keeping out moisture and maintaining a firm bond between the components of your RV. In this four-minute video from RV Repair Club, learn what sealant is right for your job. They are not all created equal, as you will learn. Read more and watch the video.

Take care with campfires
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician and former professional fireman, wrote a very helpful article about campfire safety when he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. Campfire safety is something most RVers are cognizant of, but after having seen a number of burned awnings over the years Chris wrote this article to refresh campers’ memories and hopefully prevent awning fires or worse. Read more.


Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.


RVs and WD-40: Unusual combinations that work!
Seems like every RV has at least a can or two of WD-40 for lubricating various parts. But there’s more use for good ol’ WD-40 than just the occasional thread loosening. Here are a few tips that may make for slicker RV trips. Learn more.

Even the simple things — Amazing, fresh corn “niblet stripper”
Lots of recipes taste great when the niblets (i.e., kernels) of fresh roasted, grilled or even boiled corn on the cob is added. Rich “The Wanderman” used to use a knife to cut them off in large flat strips, which can be difficult when the cob is still hot. This latest model of a “niblet stripper” is simple to use and inexpensive. Read more, including Rich’s rant about anti-theft packaging. BTW — Rich assured us this is not about a vegetarian exotic dancer.

Low cost RVing at nearby wildlife refuges
Be on the lookout for Fish and Wildlife refuges, both national and state, for good boondocking and cheap camping opportunities. When there is no hunting season active, these refuges can be deserted. Though policies vary with each state, generally you can camp either free or for very cheap. Read more.

RV Mods: A place to carry your “grass carpet”
Plenty of RVers carry a “grass carpet” with them to stick out under the awning. It’s great to simulate a little green when parked at some high-class RV park where your parking area is solid concrete and the nearest green is at the shuffleboard court. Problem is, how do you store your grass carpet? Find out here.


BEST SELLER
“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2017 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


del-545This week in history

From Bob Worcester, on his Class C. Email photos of personalized license plates you spot to Diane (at) RVtravel.com

Week of April 29 – May 5
Compiled by Dell Bert

1926 — Ford factory workers get 40-hour, five-day work week (down from six days).
1931 — Empire State Building is dedicated.
1933 — Willie Nelson is born.
1948 — Original Land Rover debuts at auto show.
1961 — Alan Shepard Jr. is the first American in space.
2002 — “Spider Man” is first movie to top $100 million in opening weekend.
2011 — Osama bin Laden is killed by U.S. forces.


sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


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Bumper sticker of the week
“Free range humans and a couple of dogs.” —Thanks to Pete Doddato (one of the free range humans)!

Funny/clever business slogan
And yet another sign from a veterinary office. Seen at Dodgeville, Wisc., Veterinary Services: “Where tails wag, cats purr & owners smile.” —Thank you, Marlene!

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


Plug your 30 amp RV
into a 50 amp hookup

More and more, RVers with 30 amp coaches are finding only hookups to 50 amp service at RV parks and even some state parks. Without an adapter like this, they’re out of luck. With this dogbone adapter along, you’ll be able to plug into a 50 amp hookup and enjoy the benefits of 30 amp service. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:

Working with FlexSteel, Newmar has introduced a new couch that when extended becomes a bunk bed. Good idea!

America’s 22 most scenic road trips you need to take before you die
If you need some new ideas for a road trip, check these out. We’ve presented similar lists before, but each source has some different ideas. “Hit the road and explore a new place, meet new people, and try unique food. Find out firsthand why this way of traveling is an American classic.” From The Active Times and msn.com.

50 small towns to visit across the U.S.
State by state, here are some of the best small towns across the country to visit for their charm, natural beauty, history and great food. These look really fun! From cheapism.com and msn.com.

Best bars in America
These 30 bars stand out from the crowd, and for various reasons. They’re all top-rated and you’ll find out why as you scroll through this list. Some offer award-winning drinks, some offer a funky atmosphere, some offer live music and dancing — there’s something special about each. Check ’em out, and maybe visit while you’re in town. It’s interesting just reading about them! Cheers! From Lovefood and msn.com.

Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.

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.


Use inside for reaching high cabinets!
Fold-up step helps enter and exit RV
Camco’s Folding RV Step is an extra-wide 8″ by 19″ platform with angled legs to provide stability. The folding legs lock open for an overall height of 8.75″. The gripper strips on the platform help keep you on solid footing. It folds down to only 2″ high for easy storage. The heavy-duty steel frame supports up to 350 pounds. This will really come in handy! Learn more or order at a discount.


RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

How fast can an ST tire run?
Q: “So Roger, can you explain how Carlisle has raised the max speed of their ST tires like the Radial Trail RH?” —Chris

A: “It’s easy. Just run a drum test for a few minutes and you can claim the tire ‘passes’ the requirement for the speed symbol,” he said facetiously. Read Roger’s response about DOT regulatory test requirements for different types of tires and his concerns regarding them.


tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
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. Used by the RV Travel staffLearn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Good reading from RV123.com 629-rv123
Bored of S’Mores? Try this tasty campfire treat!
You’d have to drop around $2.5 million to take one of these home!
Watch this video for an 8 step checklist of everything you’ll need to do once you arrive at your campsite.


1,000 Places to See in the United States & Canada Before You Die
For the first time with full-color photographs, here are 1,000 compelling, essential, offbeat, utterly unforgettable places to see in North America. Pristine beaches & national parks, world-class and specialty museums & festivals, salmon-rich rivers, scenic byways & much more. Published in 2016Learn more or order.


rvshrinkAsk the RV Shrink

RV insurance — Never leave home without it!

Dear RV Shrink:
We just bought a new Montana 5th wheel last month. We are in a great park in Bradenton Beach, Florida, and feel we made the right decision. Having a new rig is exciting but I think my husband worries about it too much. We are well insured but have seen two hit-and-runs already this month. They are not malicious attacks. These people probably didn’t even know they had hit something until they discovered a dent in their rigs. … —Bump and Grind in Bradenton

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.


Easily check the tire pressure on your inner dual tires!
Do you have trouble reading the tire pressure on your RV’s inner duals? This dual head tire pressure gauge with an extension steel shaft will reach where a standard gauge won’t. Be sure you know the pressure of all your tires, or risk a potentially dangerous blowout. No batteries required. Learn more or order at a discount.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Tire inflation
Always check and add air to the tires when they are cold, before traveling. When tires get hot the air expands and you get a higher pressure reading. If you let some air out they will be underinflated when they are cold. Do you check your tire pressure before starting your trip?

Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.


2017 Large Scale Road Atlas from Rand McNally
Give your eyes a break with this large-scale spiral-bound road atlas of the U.S. and Canada from Rand McNally. Maps are 35% larger than the standard atlas, plus more than 350 detailed city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact information conveniently located above the maps. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.


Latest fuel prices
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.45 (on Apr. 24). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 29 cents.
Diesel: $2.60 (on Apr. 24). Change from week before: Down 2/10 cent; Change from year before: Up 40 cents.


happy-camper-567Liquefy 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. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Elegant Egg Sauce
Give a saucy answer.

Did those beautiful fish fillets stick to the grill and come away in shreds? Is the cornbread too dry or the pancakes too wet? The old joke is that doctors bury their mistakes and bad cooks cover theirs with sauce. When the same old camping meal needs to be classed up, or a dish doesn’t quite turn out the way it should, whip up this sauce. It’s delicious over everything from vegetables to burgers, toast, pasta, fish or omelets. Get the recipe.

Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at Amazon.com, including the brand-new “The Survival Food Handbook.”

BEST-SELLERS IN KITCHEN AND DINING AT AMAZON.COM


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

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

How many fire extinguishers for your RV?
While the National Fire Protection Association does not require that you carry more than one fire extinguisher, don’t take chances. One fire extinguisher is simply not enough. Fire and Life Safety instructor Mac McCoy recommends having at least two extinguishers inside of your coach — one near the door and one in the bedroom — and an additional one in an unlocked outside compartment or in your towed vehicle. Make sure that everyone traveling with you is trained to use the extinguishers. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.


mice-653rodent-653Keep 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.


RV Quick Tips

Important “rest stop” safety checks
Do a safety walk-around at every “rest stop”: Thump your tires – they should all “sound” the same. Feel the wheel hubs – excessive heat is a warning. Check lighting, hitch, safety chains, breakaway cable. Look for “loose stuff,” like a bumper-stored dump hose. Save time, save money, maybe save someone’s life.

Easy fix for sticky sliding windows
Ever had a sliding window “stick” when trying to open or close it? Frames can contract in cooler weather, making things tight. Reader Fred Campbell says his fix is lubricating the window tracks with a simple “puff” of white graphite powder. Why the white? “It doesn’t make a mess like the black stuff!” says Fred – the “smoother operator.” Thanks, Fred!

“Clean” firewood
Can’t find a good source of campfire wood? Restrictions to keep invasive bug species at bay make it even harder. Hit the “big box” lumberyard and buy cheap “utility”-grade, untreated 2x4s. Cut ’em in foot or foot-and-a-half lengths. They are easy to chop into kindling, if desired, and they light easily, don’t support bugs, and put out plenty of heat and light.

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


Stop rust in your RV or car
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV, rust is the one that will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges and other vulnerable metal surfaces and moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust and corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts and tools to stop squeaks and sticking. Learn more

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


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

RV fresh water chlorination

Dear Gary:
The water in our RV had a bad odor, a musty smell, so we added some Clorox to the tank and let it set awhile. Now we cannot get the Clorox taste out. What do you suggest we add to get rid of the Clorox taste? —Stacey

See Gary in person.

Read Gary’s response, including the proper way to chlorinate the fresh water system.

Gary will be a featured seminar speaker at the upcoming Puyallup RV Show (just south of Seattle), May 4-7. Learn about his topics. The seminars are free with an admission to the show.

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


Best Road Trip Book
If you’re heading cross-country or through a few neighboring states, bring along Jamie Jensen’s best-selling guidebook Road Trip USA. You’ll learn about great two-lane routes plus road-tested advice for adventurers who want to see the parts of America that the interstates left behind. RVtravel.com always travels with this wonderful, highly rated book. Learn more or order.


bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Revise the way you think about boondocking

Hi Bob,
Whenever we get into discussions with other RVers about boondocking, I find that we seem to be making more excuses for not trying it than reasons to give it a go. I think we need to revise the way we think about boondocking. What do you suggest? —Mike and Kathy

Read Bob’s response.

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

Read the most recent BoondockBob’s Blog post: 2017 Coconino NF Motor Vehicle Use Maps now available for download.

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


JUST PUBLISHED
Casino Camping: Guide to RV Friendly Casinos
Discover hundreds of RV-friendly casinos throughout America. Learn which casinos have an RV park and which ones allow free overnight parking! This 8th edition of Casino Camping includes state maps that identify the cities and towns with a casino as well as contact information plus gaming and food info. Learn more or order.


RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

How generator neutral-ground bonding for an RV works

Hi Mike,
I am an electrical utility worker in a power plant and have a decent understanding of electrical grounding, etc. Before reading your article, I didn’t know that my trailer neutral and ground were isolated “floating” the trailer. Now having read your articles I understand both why this is done and the code requirements to do so. I also am clear on the neutral–ground (N-G) bond that exists from the shore power “pedestal” power supply. Where I am still slightly unclear is when it comes to my Yamaha EF2000IS generator that I just bought. I know it has a floating neutral and the generator now labels this very clearly. I understand the function of the neutral-ground bond plug described in your article and how it allows a user to use a floating neutral generator with an Electrical Management System (EMS). My confusion is around if there is no EMS on the trailer…. —Kris H.

Read the rest of the question and Mike’s response.

rv-safety-764Mike 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.


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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Gizmos and Gadgets

Adidas stylish Sport sunglasses prevent eye damage
We RVers spend a lot of time in – or looking into – bright, sunny landscapes when boondocking, hiking and biking, and while on the road touring. Most people know the sun’s rays are bad for our skin, but did you know they’re just as bad for our eyes? Adidas Sport sunglasses were designed for protection from the sun’s UV rays, dust, debris, insects and all the other things that can blow into your eyes when biking, running, hiking, and golfing. Learn more.

New cell booster: Up to 32X enhanced signal for RVs
weBoost®, the global leader in cell signal boosters, has announced the launch of the Drive 4G-X RV, the brand’s most powerful and best performing in-vehicle cell phone signal booster providing up to 32X stronger cell signal. RV owners will now be able to experience exceptional call quality, faster data uploads and downloads, fewer lost connections and dead zones when on the road or off. Read more.


battery-charger-655SAVE MONEY!
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But often you can’t tell if a battery is still good so you toss it to “be sure.” This inexpensive tester will alert you instantly to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing good ones away! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Upcoming RV Shows

• Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show, April 27-30, Elkhart, IN
• Puyallup RV Show, May 4-7, Puyallup, WA (Seattle area)

SPECIAL EVENT: The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive, networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.comLearn more.

See the list of all upcoming RV shows


motor-carrier-2017-752Essential for big RVs!
2017 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this truck driver’s road atlas will be a huge help in knowing where you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


RV Short Stop

Photo: TourismOxford.ca

Summer festivals in Oxford County, Ontario
For RVers making their way to Canada’s Maritime Provinces this summer, consider going through Oxford County in the southwest section of Ontario. It is about a two-hour drive from United States border crossings at Buffalo, Detroit and Port Huron. Hiking, swimming, birding, paddling, fishing and many children’s activities are available at four nearby campground destinations. Click here to see the priceless expression on this pup’s face!

Read this article by Julianne G. Crane about a few of Oxford County’s summer festivals.


Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push and hold. When the battery is at the proper level, the water will automatically stop. Then move to the next cell, etc. You won’t over- or under-fill your batteries this way, helping extend their lives. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


laughing-man-RVT-752Stupid Statements of Yesteryear 

“But what … is it good for?” —Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

Bet you didn’t know!
• Under a black light bananas glow blue.
• In the early days of baseball, umpires sat behind home plate in rocking chairs.
• At last 1 in 10 people in the Stone Age were murdered, compared to 1 in 100,000 today.
From 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.


Protect your RV from damage from high water pressure!
It’s hard to imagine any RVer not carrying one of these along on a trip to protect against damage from a high-pressure water hookup at an RV park. It happens often! And the damage can cost thousands to repair! This inexpensive, highly rated Valterra lead-free water regulator will allow 15 to 20 percent more flow than standard regulators. The orange plastic grip allows easy, screw-on installation and removal. Learn more order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


SECRET PHRASE: Harry’s cat Charles ate Priscilla’s gerbil Missy.


Free and bargain camping
From OvernightRVparking.com

Montgomery County State Fishing Lake
Independence, Kansas
FREE: No formal spaces, no hookups, no potable water or dump. Pit toilets and picnic tables. Appears safe. Sheriff patrols. Mostly level. Located off CR 3600 and CR 4100. GPS: 37.164820°, -95.692220°

BJ’s Wholesale Club
Tilton, New Hampshire
FREE. Obtain permission from store. Large, well-lit lot, easy on and off for all size RVs. Seven or eight eating places are walking distance. Location: 119 Laconia Road. GPS: 43.457678°, -71.558572°

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.


PUBLISHED THIS YEAR!
Guide to the National Parks
This award-winning guide, completely updated for the 2017 edition, includes more than 450 new photographs, 160 revised maps, and 50 hiking tables, making it the only guidebook you’ll need to explore the United States National Parks. Attractions beyond the parks and suggested road trips make it even more valuable. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Videos you’ll like

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PM•Why buy an “RV” generator when a Home Depot gen is cheaper?
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury talks with RV electricity expert Mike Sokol about RV generators. Mike explains how a portable generator designed for RV use differs from far cheaper and often more powerful generators found at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Watch the video

Amazing restoration of a 1974 Winnebago Indian motorhome
This Winnebago Indian motorhome is more than four decades old, yet to look at it you would think it’s a brand-new tricked-out model produced yesterday. Watch the video.

HOW TO WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS USING VERY LITTLE BANDWIDTH.

youtube_logoVisit our YouTube Channel.
Join nearly 50,000 subscribers! More than 500 free, helpful videos.


Random RV Thought
It could be successfully argued that one of the most exhilarating parts of an RV trip is the week leading up to when it begins. The daydreaming is magnificent.  

Trivia
Nutella was invented in the 1940s, when cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. Pietro Ferrero, the founder of the Ferrero company, used hazelnuts to extend his chocolate supply, and it soon became the Nutella as we know it. (Yum!)


Record RVing memories in this Camping Journal
Remember all your journeys with this easy-to-fill-in format. Each journal page is complete with thoughtful prompts including: Location, Date(s), Weather, People I (We) camped with or met, What I (We) did, and Things I (We) enjoyed most. RVing is an adventure: Write it down & treasure the memory forever! Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.


Worth Pondering
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau



fmca-750Join the largest club
for motorhome owners

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has been the most popular club for motorhome owners for more than half a century. Special rate for RV Travel readers. Save $10 on a first year membership. Click to learn more.


RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing 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. cw501

About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

Our offices are located at 610 5th Ave. S, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

RVtravel.com includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of RVtravel.com to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to RVtravel.com and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com.

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22 thoughts on “RV Travel Newsletter Issue 791

  1. Harry salit

    Many Elk Lodges do not have campgrounds but the ones that do often are in a city and very handy for visiting friends.
    There are also campground directories available for for various regions, very handy.
    During a 6 month trip we may stay over 25 nites in their lodges.

  2. Pete Linn

    Chuck,
    Enjoyed seeing the link to join FMCA but I must ask, has the membership agreed to allow owners of non motor homes, like us lowly travel trailer types, to join the organization? My wife and I were at the recent FMCA rally in Phoenix with my inlaws with their 40′ motorhome and we liked what we saw. Thanks for the great newsletter and I really like your posts, even with the nay-sayers and negative comments nipping at your heels. Pete

    1. Pamela Kay, FMCA, Director of Communications, Publishing

      Hi, Pete. Glad you enjoyed the FMCA convention in Arizona along with your in-laws. During the upcoming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana — July 12 through 15 — FMCA’s Governing Board will be considering a proposal to extend FMCA membership to owners of towable RVs also. If the Governing Board decides in favor of doing this, the entire membership will have an opportunity to cast a vote via mail ballot, with final results to be tallied at the end of November. So, stay tuned. So far comments we’ve received about this proposal have mostly been favorable. Meanwhile, please feel free to join the fun in Indianapolis in July. Owners of towable RVs are welcome to attend. The early-bird deadline, which offers a $30 savings, ends May 12.

  3. Debra

    One of your quick tips recommended using lumber for firewood. I just wanted to point out that most lumber is treated with toxic chemicals. I would never use lumber for a campfire because of the possibility of breathing in the residue of these burning chemicals, and forcing your neighboring campers to do so as well. Bad tip!!!

    1. RV Staff

      Thanks for the reminder, Debra. We’ve updated the tip to say to use untreated lumber. Good point! —Diane at RVtravel.com

  4. DnJ

    With regard to the cheap firewood tip, a few years ago the company I worked for built a small storage building on the property. The mill ends left over were burned in a burn barrel, and we were fined $10,000 by the Air Resources Control Board. for burning processed lumber. Check with California law before using mill ends for firewood.

  5. Carol

    Here’s another option for layover Here’s when traveling. You get to stay at wineries and farms. Cost is $50 a year – but what savings and opportunities.

    https://harvesthosts.com/

  6. Carol Guthrie

    Active duty and retired veterans can use http://www.militarycampgrounds.us/. Some of the campground ‘all others’. Worth looking at.

  7. Howard

    There are always some purist and good for that–the reality is most fraternal organizations just like FMCA, a non fraternal, and that is that membership is in a tail spin decline and survival may have little patience with “purity”.

  8. Ken

    This past summer I became aware of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW) while visiting New Orleans. See google for their description.

  9. Ron Schmitz

    Chuck,
    I am glad there KOAs in a lot of places, but i would only use them for a night or 2 while traveling somewhere. They are ussually very clean, have laundry facilities, & have hook ups. Dump at your RV (its not a camp) site would be for people staying more than 3 nights, and ussually KOAs are too expensive for that. I would like to see more roadside RV parks with a central dump station instead of one at every site. Yes you would have to move to dump, but I would on my way out anyway, and you wouldn’t have the smell at your site.

  10. William Johnson

    I also considered joining the Elks just for the low cost sites. I decided not to because it didn’t seem right to join for that reason only.

    1. Ted

      My guess is the Elks would welcome your dues payment and the opportunity membership would give you to learn about what the organization does.

  11. William Johnson

    Since you changed how the weekly quiz is handled, I have not be able to respond? I find the instructions to difficult to follow. What was wrong with the old way of responding?
    I love the newsletter and wait with anticipation for it each week. Keep up the great work. Thank You

  12. Don C

    Elks lodges like the one in Wilcox AZ and many others like ours in Alamogordo NM also have sub organizations of what we call travelling Elks, We all have RVs and travel as a group or in groups to areas of interest. Lots of good fun and enjoyment for all You must be a Elk to stay at a Lodge RV park but while there you have full use of all the lodge facilities. Our park with 15 full hook up sites is used extensively and the visitors often comment about the good time they have had in our lodge and the excellent park at a very small cost.

  13. Dennis

    Revelries and drinking matches, accompanied by campfires, shall be controlled, says the Canadian government. Keeping a lid on obnoxious partying is the goal, and to that end, several campgrounds in British Columbia’s Banff National Park have a ban on alcohol consumption and campfires from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., right on through March 31, 2018. Booze or burn, expect to get tossed out immediately, and possibly charged with a law violation.

    Correction on this story, Banff National Park is in fact in Alberta, Canada and not British Columbia.

    1. RV Staff

      Thanks, Dennis. It’s been fixed. 😮

  14. Tom Caro

    In our town Levittown, NY the Elks do not have a Lodge they use the local VFW (just an FYI).

  15. Dan Armstrong

    The Elks organization is based on community service. It is truly improper to join a lodge just to be able to camp at other lodges. And just as improper to promote this behavior in a national publication. And for any lodge to accept a “member” just for camping. (Elk member for 12 years)

    1. Charlie

      Get over it Dan.

      Yes, the organization is based on community service but it has the amenities as noted. Further, if camping there overnight there is a large likely hood that the camper will eat are drink in your lodge.

    2. Chuck Woodbury

      Dan, I bet many who join will end up, like Jim, eventually participating in the lodge’s activities. And while they are camping, those RVers will likely support the lodge’s restaurant and bar. Wouldn’t that benefit, at least to some degree, the Elk’s greater purposes?

      1. Carol

        I looked at the site and some of the Elks campsites are open to the public.

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