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Issue 796 • Week of June 3–9, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
It’s prime time, the season for many of us to head out in our RVs for summer adventures. Gail and I will hit the road to the East in a few weeks, making reservations ahead of time so we can be sure to have a place to stay and also to avoid cramped parks where we’re packed like sardines. We like to stay at least a week or two at each place and then explore the area with our small car.
A lot of RVing newbies will be joining us as we explore America. Since you and I headed out a year ago, about 450,000 new RVs have been sold. Their owners will be sharing essentially the same number of campsites as in recent years.
Few new campsites have been created lately while RV ownership has skyrocketed. New campgrounds are low priority with the Federal government, and few states or other municipalities have added locations or even spaces to existing campgrounds. New RV parks are few and far between: Most new ones are associated with casinos or RV resorts for full-timers and RVers in luxury rigs.
According to KOA spokesperson Mike Gast, KOA added 20 new parks between 2013 and 2016 but only a total of 38 new campsites. He said it’s because of larger individual campsites. My guess is that it’s because so many RV sites have been plowed over to make way for more profitable cabins. Whatever the case, KOA is not helping accommodate the huge influx of new RVers.
To me, the RV industry is one of the most invisible “big” industries in America. Few business people pay attention unless they’re already in the industry. Those who are already there care about either selling more RVs or packing their existing RV parks. On my fast road trip this week from New York City to Seattle with my daughter, we have encountered hundreds, if not thousands of hotels— Comfort Inns, Best Westerns, Holiday Inns, Motel 6s, Days Inns, and dozens of other recognizable chains.
But what recognizable campgrounds have we encountered? A scattering of KOAs. That’s it. Sure, there were some Mom and Pop parks, but taking a chance on staying at one of them is like playing roulette — you never know what you’ll get — the good, the bad and (unfortunately) the ugly.
Why doesn’t some visionary businessman see a great opportunity here? New hotels go up one after another. Existing campgrounds, too many of them dumpy and half-occupied with permanent residents, are packed because there’s nowhere else for vacationing RVers to stay (not every area of the country is suitable for boondocking). Something is wrong with this picture.
It’s not about creating more resorts but bargain-priced camping places with bare bones rates. The idea: Buy cheap rural land along major roads (start with interstates), 100 miles apart; create 60 individual campsites at each with ample room between; provide electricity at one or two dozen sites which can be ordered for a few dollars with a credit card.
Forget restrooms. Provide a few vault toilets, maintained by a sanitation service, for visitors without onboard facilities, add a few water spigots. But no dump station. With no sewer system, government permits to build are vastly simplified.
Encourage local police to drive through occasionally or hire a security service to swing by a few times after dark. Erect a solar-powered security camera at the entrance and hire a service to monitor it.
To stay, pay $10 with a credit card at an automated kiosk at the entrance. Push a button to add electricity for $5 or $10 extra. A ticket will pop out with your campsite number and checkout date. Sell advertising on the ticket and on the posts at every campsite. Erect a big sign at the entrance: This campground sponsored by (name of company). Forget WiFi — too much trouble. No on-site campground attendant would be necessary, so practically no cost for labor.
Maximum stay: Two nights.
I’ll be an investor. We’ll name each location “Chuck’s Super Express RV Stop” with the motto: “Quick stops for smart RVers who don’t want to waste their hard-earned money at an expensive RV park of uncertain quality just to sleep and then leave.”
BYE BYE WALMART
Face it, the day will soon come when Walmart will pull the plug on free stays in its parking lots. There will be a big lawsuit or its parking lots will be so crammed with RVs that shoppers will be annoyed, and Walmart’s lawyers will say “enough is enough.” Ditto for other popular pavement-parking locations.
According to some very rough math on my part, at least 20,000 RVers a night (probably far more) stay in Walmart parking lots during the travel season. Where will those people stay when Walmart starts booting everybody out? It won’t be pretty. Think about your own situation. Where would you go? Our survey two weeks ago revealed that half our audience stays at a Walmart on occasion.
Somehow we need to create more places to stay a night or two besides parking lots. This must happen! Another half-million RVs will be sold this year. Do you see where this is headed?
I’m available as a consultant to anyone who wants to start up the business I envision: No charge for the first 20 hours as long as the coffee is free.
OUR NEW MAILING ADDRESS: We have moved. Our new address is 9792 Edmonds Way #265, Edmonds, WA 98020
THE NAMES OF YOUR RVs
We asked you in May to tell us the name of your RV. Well, you did — more than 300 of you. We said we’d pick the three best and award a prize to each owner. Well, we changed the rules because there are too many great entries, and we can’t decide. So what we’ll do is each member of our staff will pick his or her 20 favorites and we’ll combine them into a list of our 10 most favorite. We’ll post them here in two weeks and let you vote for your favorite. Each of the three top vote-getters will receive a Tekton digital tire gauge.
POP THE CHAMPAGNE!
The RV Travel YouTube Channel has hit (and now passed) the 50,000 subscriber mark with more than 15 million views of our videos, with one of them approaching one million views! We have some exciting plans ahead including live Q&A events with RV experts. So be sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube Channel!
Is reading this newsletter
worth 10 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $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. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
Permanent Jack Pad Installs in Seconds – Leave on Forever!
No more crawling under your RV to set up!
View the installation video here. For Class ‘A’ and Class ‘C’ motorhomes, SnapPad Prime is a permanent jack pad that adds unparalleled stability and frees up storage space. Compatible with Power Gear and Kwikee ‘Level Best’ Jacks. Click here or visit RVSnapPad.com to learn more & buy now.
Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for May
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 Forest River, Foretravel, Grand Design, Jayco, Keystone, Thor, Winnebago, and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Let’s Go Camping!
You’re just a road trip away from the perfect getaway in some of the most desirable vacation destinations. Enjoy all you love about RV camping adventures. Plan your ideal RV getaway with RVontheGo.com – we offer the best in cabin and RV camping in more than 180 locations across the country. Click here to receive 10% off your stay today!
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 managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Are You Stinking Up The Campground?
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintains clean sensors, eliminates odors, and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this week’s contest, please. The answer is “pain.”
Win this very handy George Foreman Grill. Create nutritious meals in minutes with this Classic-Plate Grill, with a patented slope to drain off the fat as you cook. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: In our Bet You Didn’t Know section below, what is the final word in this sentence? “Counting money makes you feel less ____.” Is it Tired? Pain? or Healthy? 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.
Shipments of RVs from factories to dealers continued on a high pace in April, says the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. For the second straight month, more than 40,000 rigs rolled out the doors, with towables leading the way. A total of 37,195 towables went forth, up 6 percent compared to April 2016, with travel trailers the majority. Some 5,100 motorhomes shipped, mostly Class C units, up nearly 2 percent for the same time period.
Think your fuel bill is a bit low? You’re right: Prices this year are up only a little more than 1 percent from the same time last year. It was only cheaper to fill up in 2005 and 2016.
Who is buying new RVs? According to a story in USA Today, the average new RV customer is a Millennial. Usually unburdened by children, these new buyers are shooting for travel trailers ahead of motorhomes, largely looking to keep the investment down. According to the story, Winnebago representatives say that even when they buy a motorhome, their sights are generally aimed at 21- to 24-foot rigs.
Would you pay $125 a night to camp in a state park? That’s what the average bid worked out to when the Oregon State Parks Foundation auctioned off the rights to stay four nights at Cove Palisades State Park during the upcoming solar eclipse. The group reeled in $60,000 when it put up the silent online auction for 30 sites. All of the money will be used by the nonprofit group to help support Oregon’s state parks.
RV auction prices continue to set records – at least for towable units. According to Black Book, towable values averaged $13,591 in April, up nearly 1.5 percent from March. Motorhome prices continued to slide, down more than 7 percent to an average $41,149.
If it’s true that “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” then Warren Buffett may rue the day that Berkshire Hathaway Automotive moved into Texas. Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns automotive dealerships in the state and Forest River RV manufacturing, whose brands are sold there. Under Texas law, it’s not legal to own a vehicle manufacturing firm and a vehicle dealership, even if the vehicles sold aren’t the same type as the ones made. The state’s DMV is investigating to see if there is a violation of the law, and if found to be true, Buffet’s outfits could be liable to the tune of $10,000 per day, per dealership (35 of them) – so, $350,000 per day. The solution is to either liquidate the dealerships, or Forest River, if they can’t come up with a legal workaround.
Camping World continues its gobbling: Now Reines RV Center in Virginia is the latest independent to succumb to the unending CW “appetite.”
Hurricane Matthew has scored a major toll on South Carolina camping. Last October’s big wind blasted through Hunting Island State Park, and officials say 88 of the parks sites will not reopen. Those sites, closest to the Atlantic, had been sheltered by dunes, but Matthew removed the dunes and now it’s impractical to rebuild the campsites. The remaining 100 sites away from the shore will be reopened by the end of June, with improved utility service.
Worried about the safety of his guests due to speeders blasting past his RV park, a British Columbia park owner has taken the law into this own hands – sort of. Dennis Smith owns Monte Lake Resort Campsite and RV Park near Kamloops, and to get from your RV to the lake, you have to be like the chicken and cross the road. Trouble is, speeders often blast past the recommended speed sign of 70 kph (43 mph) closer to 90 (50 mph). To slow ’em down, Smith has parked a white Grand Marquis at the entrance of the park’s driveway, equipped with a park logo. Put together, the logo and car bear an eerie resemblance to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police cruiser. “Real” Mounties have no beef with Smith’s subterfuge, and so far, it seems to have worked. More at cbc news.
The Village People proclaimed, “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA!” They may want to rethink their lyrics, at least at Idaho’s Horsethief Reservoir. Located just east of the city of Cascade, the reservoir is under the purview of the state’s Fish and Game Department and features a 150-site campground. Now the YMCA is taking over management at the campground and come July 1, what had been a free campsite will now cost $15 per night.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
AND SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating RVs of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better way. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
Another national park being “loved to death”: California’s Joshua Tree National Park is on track to post yet another record year of visitation. March 2016 saw 327,000 visitors pass through the gates. This March it was 404,500 – the largest monthly record in history. Park officials are scrambling to deal with the hordes, including building a new visitor center and starting up a park shuttle system this fall.
Bird watchers are grabbing their binoculars and heading to California’s Eldorado National Forest. At the Sunset Campground a pair of bald eagles has taken up nesting duties, forcing the closure of a couple of camp loops. The Forest Service says it will gradually reopen the loops in mid-June. Don’t have binoculars? Rangers are providing visitors a chance to peep through their spotting scope.
When a driver started flashing his lights at her, Ann Marie Craig pulled her Winnebago Class C motorhome over on the shoulder. Smoke was pouring out of the engine compartment, and Craig popped the hood – fire extinguisher at hand. After a quick assessment, she then did the smart thing – she walked away from the rig, recognizing her extinguisher was too small to do the job. While the rig was a total loss, the choice may have prevented Craig from being seriously injured there beside Highway 101 near Sequim, Wash. A smart RVer indeed. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Ann Marie is a firefighter.
Yellowstone National Park is now offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for shooting a rare white wolf on the north side of the park, near Gardiner, Montana. National Park Service law enforcement believes the incident happened sometime between April 10 at 1 a.m. and April 11 at 2 p.m. If you have information about this incident that could help with the investigation, please contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). For more information, click here.
RVs and Alaska – here are some statistics. According to the Alaska Travel Industry Association, some 13 percent of Alaska visitors used an RV in their explorations. In Anchorage, RV rentals are big – so much so that the city raked in $17.5 million in taxes on RV rentals last year – compared to a minuscule $9 million for car rentals.
Raise Cain in Canaan, get stuck with duct tape. That’s the story in Canaan, Maine, where a man at a KOA campground came out slashing tires with a couple of big knives. A contingent of campers descended on Brandon York, age 26, after he cut loose and caused at least $3,000 in damage. The group subdued York, took away his knives, and tied him up with duct tape until police arrived.
Got a beef with your GPS? A survey of GPS users in Britain says nearly half of GPS owners have had “a verbal disagreement” with their navigation system, while 31 percent confess they have shouted at theirs. And 27 percent say they’re annoyed with their GPS because it gives confusing directions. Based on the survey of 2,000 drivers, it’s felt that the average GPS driver in Britain wastes 29 hours each year by being sent the wrong way, or the “long way,” by their GPS unit. We wonder how our GPS units in the U.S. compare. Care to comment below?
Officials at Banff National Park (Alberta) say they’re hiring private security patrols to keep night watches at the park this summer for wolf protection. Not that they’re afraid that visitors might be attacked by wolves; rather, they want to protect the wolves from visitors. Last year two wolves from an area wolf pack had to be killed after they became accustomed to humans when visitors left food and garbage out in campsites. The principal duty of the security personnel will be to ensure proper food storage rules are adhered to by guests.
In Texas last week, Tony Kelly allegedly kidnapped his girlfriend and her 1- and 3-year-old children, then blasted down a freeway with the family. Along the route, the mother texted 9-1-1 telling dispatchers she’d been shot. She apparently jumped from the rig at speeds estimated to be 80 mph with police in pursuit. When police tried to stop the rig with spike strips, Kelly kept driving and the rims began to make sparks. When the vehicle came to a stop then burst into flames, Kelly apparently shoved the kids out, then shot himself dead. The kids and mom are expected to live.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Where do you store your RV when not using it?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the responses from last week’s poll: What does the term “boondocking” mean to you? Click here for the results, including comments.
America’s Largest RV Show runs September 13–17, 2017
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.
RV Quick Tips
Safer parking in parking lots
If you park your tow rig and trailer in a “normal” parking lot, you’re likely hanging out into the driving lane. When making a short stop in a lot, put “safety cones” out in the drive lane to make sure oncoming drivers really see the rig.
Easy way to use baking soda to freshen water tank
Like to “freshen” your water tank with baking soda but can’t find an easy way? Put a cup of baking soda inside a water filter canister (take out the filter!) and hook the filter canister to your hose. Fill the tank with the “output” side of the “soda filter.”
Don’t allow antenna “wings” to contact RV roof
Add this to your inspection list: Are your roof-top antenna “wings” coming in contact with the roof when in travel position? If so, they may rub against the roof with road vibration and can actually chew a hole in your rubber roof. If it looks as if they are, GENTLY bend and flex them upward enough that they lose contact with the roof.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Fits Right in – Evelo’s Foldable E-Bike Perfect for RVers!
We’ve long raved about EVELO’s Electric Bikes, but EVELO’s latest model —the Quest— is a must-have for any RVer. One of the world’s first folding e-bikes, light and compact for easy storage, yet features a sturdy design and 40-mile range. Quests are perfect for exploring trails, moving around campsites or heading to town. Click here for more info on Quest and other models at EVELO.com
RVers: Find TV signals easily with a free app
If you’re like Russ and Tiña De Maris, you probably aren’t a satellite antenna user. Too much junk for too much money. But when you’re traveling and you want to watch the news or whatever, it’s not always easy to find a TV signal to home in on. Here’s a nifty app they use that will help you locate free “over the air” digital and high-definition TV broadcasts wherever you go in the U.S. Learn more.
Toilet paper — What kind is okay for your RV?
Rich “The Wanderman” says it’s time to have a serious talk about TP — toilet paper. RV sanitation is always a touchy subject. If you watch many RV scenes in movies you’ll notice they usually show the disastrous results of the sewage system. It’s funny if it’s in a movie — not so much if it’s real. What can you do to make sure everything, umm, comes out OK? Find out here.
Ohio rest areas do it right for RVers
Rest areas, or Service Plazas as they are formally called, on Ohio’s Turnpikes could serve as a good model for rest areas in other states. For $20, you can stay a night in a designated site with electric hookups. Read more.
The readers write: Back up your RV & keep off the grass
Here are a few of the more interesting and/or insightful comments from our readers in response to some of our most talked about articles recently, including Forest River’s new warranty policy, Backing in the RV — without killing each other, and keeping off the “grass.” These are compiled/edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, who say they are “part editors and part referees.” Interesting reading.
Full-time RVing — How safe is it out there?
Some contemplating a full-time life on the road are a bit concerned about safety. They read about crimes and wonder how subject to the criminal element are folks in RVs? Yes, we have heard of incidents where travelers have run into trouble — but in reality, it’s a very rare situation. Here are some tips to help keep you and your possessions safe. Learn more.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at 500 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
Where do our readers read the RV Travel Newsletter?
A couple of weeks ago we asked in a Reader Poll, “Right now, where are you reading this?” Almost 2,500 RV Travel Newsletter readers responded. Here are the results, along with some very interesting and informative comments from our readers around the world. Read more.
RV raindrops keep fallin’ on the head — under the A/C!
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. The reader, a new full-time RVer, had been experiencing water dripping from the air conditioner into the coach after his trip from Arizona to Florida. He asked for Chris’ advice.
Get free, but valuable, RV info from the Forest Service
Summer is almost here, and boondockers will soon be looking for campsites in the national forests. These tips may help make your camping trip more efficient and more pleasurable. Learn how in this very informative article from Boondock Bob Difley.
Keystone RV recalling some Dutchmen trailers
Keystone RV Company is recalling certain 2017-2018 model Dutchmen Voltage trailers equipped with the Onan 5.5 generator option. The fuel line may have been clamped incorrectly to the generator. If the fuel line disconnects, it increases the risk of a fuel leak leading to an increased risk of fire, personal injury and property damage. Learn more.
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
This week in history
Week of June 3–6
Compiled by Dell Bert
1876 — Express train crosses the nation (New York City to San Francisco) in 83 hours.
1933 — First drive-in movie theater opens (Camden, N.J.).
1944 — D-Day, when the Allied powers landed on the beaches of Normandy, France.
1949 — George Orwell’s “Ninety Eighty-four” (remember “Big Brother”?) is published.
1956 — Rock and roll is banned in Santa Cruz, Calif.
1966 — NFL and AFL announce merger.
1968 — Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated.
1971 — “The Ed Sullivan Show” airs for the last time (first show aired in 1948).
2004 — Ronald Reagan dies.
2018 Large Scale Road Atlas now available
This 2018 Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas has maps of every U.S. state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact info is located above maps. Mileage chart shows distances & drive time between 77 North American cities & national parks. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more.
Bumper sticker of the week
If I can’t be a good example, I can at least be a horrible warning.
Funny/clever business slogan
On a truck for a local towing service was written, “One day you’ll break down and thank us!” —Thanks to Willard Smith, Watkinsville, Ga.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
“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.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The Great American Travel Bucket List
Here are 71(!) terrific places to visit in the U.S. — in case you run out of ideas. OMG! Where to start? From PopSugar and msn.com.
Camping recipes. More than a thousand delicious-sounding campfire and RV (or anywhere) recipes, from KOA campers.
U.S. national parks you didn’t know you needed to see
These parks include the least-crowded national park, a park where you can see all four types of volcanoes (there are four types?), some of the best spots to stargaze, where you can check out 200-million-year-old fossils, and view a coral reef and underwater fossils at 8,000+ feet elevation. What are you waiting for? From The Active Times 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.
Your RVer Horoscopes for June
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for June in last week’s newsletter? No problem. He anticipated that (he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.
Easily brew a single cup of coffee
This is great for RVers! Brew a single cup of coffee without the high cost of an expensive coffee maker with the MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker! Just fill reservoir with hot water from tea kettle, or heat water in a microwave. Assemble, place K-Cup pack in base, attach the water reservoir and pump. Watch the video for a short demonstration or learn more or order at a big discount.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Is your TPMS warning psi set correctly?
Here’s some very important advice from Roger about how to set your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) warning psi level, and why. Learn more.
Endorsed 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 staff. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Are you looking for an exciting RV destination? Consider a visit to the McKee Botanical Gardens.
• Google Maps is an all-inclusive navigation service that will ensure you never get lost again.
• Don’t get caught unprepared! Here are ten helpful tips for camping in the rain.
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.
Ask the RV Shrink
Soon-to-be full-time RVers disagree on having pets — need advice
Dear RV Shrink:
We are thinking about buying a large Class A motorhome. My husband and I want to travel full-time for a few years. We have been planning this for some time. We read a lot of RV blogs and I see that many full-timers have pets. My husband doesn’t think that is a good idea. We have two cats and they are my babies. I don’t plan to travel without them and he doesn’t plan to travel with them. We are at a roadblock before we even get on the road. … —Catastrophe in Columbus
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.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
RV Camping in State Parks
The 6th edition of this guidebook profiles nearly 1,750 state parks, forests and recreation areas in 49 states that offer accommodations for RVers. Included are state maps, directions (and GPS), number of sites including those with hookups, WiFi access, plus other amenities. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Engine performance at higher altitudes
A gasoline engine will lose 3 to 4 percent of its available power for every 1,000 feet above sea level. Ford Motor Company recommends a reduction in Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Gross Combined Weight (GCW) of 2 percent for every 1,000 feet above sea level to maintain engine performance.
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: $2.41 (on May 29). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 7 cents.
Diesel: $2.57 (on May 29). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 19 cents.
Cooking with Convection
Don’t know how to cook with your RV’s convection oven? Then this book is for you. Beatrice Ojakangas, an authority on convection cooking, explains how to use your convection oven to achieve perfect results in dramatically less time than with a conventional oven – from meat to side dishes to dessert — all at the same time. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Fireball Fish Skillet
Flavors of the South of France
Make this one-dish supper outdoors over the campfire or grill or in the RV galley using the oven. It’s a complete meal when you add chunks of peasant bread to mop up the delicious juices. Get the recipe.
Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
Automatic maps of where you’ve been, by Google Maps
Chris and Jim Guld, the Geeks on Tour, mostly travel by RV in the United States, but right now they’re in Venice, Italy! The only way to get around there is to walk or take a boat. Chris loves the fact that, just by carrying her phone around, she can get a map of where they walked. This comes from Google Maps, and can happen automatically with a couple of easy settings. You can see your maps on any device, and only you can see them. Learn more here and check out their gorgeous photos of Italy (linked at the bottom of the article).
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
PUBLISHED THIS YEAR!
Your 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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
What to do about drippy RV faucets
How do you repair the bathroom faucets? I have a two-handle faucet in the bathroom that looks to be all metal and it constantly drips. How and what do I replace? —Mike R.
Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push & 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.
with Bob Difley
Boondocking rules and permits on U.S. public lands explained
As a new member and boondocker we are planning a long trip next summer in Utah and other states starting from Canada. I am wondering if we need to have a permit from the BLM office and if we need it from each state, to boondock on their land. Is it the same with National Forest and other administrations? Thanks for the answers and for your blog!! —Gaetan Allard, Proud Boondocker
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Learning efficient water usage key to boondocking success
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
2017 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
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.
with Mike Sokol
Choosing the right extension cord for RV’s shore power cord
I need to add a 25-foot extension cord to my shore power cord to reach the outlet in my garage while my RV is parked in the driveway. I don’t need 50 amps since this is just for charging the batteries and running the air conditioner when the kids want to hang out in the RV. I was going to get a 20-amp to 50-amp adapter and an extension cord, but there’s a lot of price difference between the orange cords I can get at Home Depot and the heavy black cords from the RV stores. Why is there such a price difference, and just how do I pick the right extension cord? I love your articles, and keep up the good work. —Steve
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.
50 States, 5,000 Ideas:
Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
This richly illustrated book from National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Includes national parks, beaches, Civil War battlefields, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. PUBLISHED IN 2017. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Monitor/control RV functions with iN-Command Control Systems
iN-Command® Control Systems is a multi-function RV controller that puts the user at the helm of their RV. With app control technology, a user can monitor and control many of their RV functions from their smart device in or around their vehicle. These include electric slides, interior and exterior lights, awnings and electric jacks. The system will also monitor your fresh, black, and gray water tanks, as well as battery levels. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
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.
Joke of the Week
Did you hear about the guy they found dead with his head in his cornflakes? The police thought it was a cereal killer.
Bet you didn’t know!
• The longest canyon in the world is 50 percent longer than the Grand Canyon and buried in the ice under Greenland.
• Counting money makes you feel less pain.
• In April and May, sparrows’ testicles increase a thousandfold in size.
From 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.
Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go
Whether you’re downsizing to go full-time or for other reasons, this best-selling AARP book will guide you through the process, from opening that first closet, to sorting through a lifetime of possessions, to selling your home. The author helps you create a strategy and mindset to accomplish the task quickly and rewardingly, both practically and emotionally. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Cracker Barrel #65
Princeton, West Virginia
FREE: Obtain permission from the store. No marked RV sites. Park as directed by store. Garbage truck noise around 6 a.m. Located at 294 Meadowfield Lane. GPS: 37.361890°, -81.052470°
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort
FREE. Permission not required. Park in one of seven marked pull-through spaces in section of lot in SE corner of property. Located at 3184 SR 22. GPS: 41.497820°, -91.527070°
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,500 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 subscription fee is required (special bonus of 3 free months for new subscriptions from RVtravel.com readers), but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
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.
Videos you’ll like
Flushable toilet wipes are bad news for RVs
Moist toilet wipes are popular these days. But never, ever put them into your RV’s toilet. Here’s why.
Simple way to do laundry on the road
RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury shows you a cool way to do your laundry as you’re rolling down the highway. Watch the video.
Random RV Thought
If smoke bothers you, when you make a reservation at an RV park request a campsite as far away from campfire rings as possible. Some campers don’t care if their fire’s smoke blows right into your window.
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.
Movie trailers are so named because they once came after, or “trailed,” the end of a movie.
Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.
“If a man doesn’t know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.” —Seneca
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Advertising: Eric Brotman.
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 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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