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Issue 797 • Week of June 10–16, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
There was a terrible head-on collision Tuesday near the small town of Grass Valley, Calif. Two motorhomes collided head on just outside town on state highway 49.
So far, there is no word on why 77-year-old Raymond Poquette, of Grass Valley, drove his Pace Arrow motorhome across the center of the road into the oncoming lane, directly into the path of the other motorhome with two people aboard. Despite the horrific scene, all three victims were expected to survive.
Why did he stray across the center line? Nobody knows, at least not yet. Did he have a heart attack? Fall asleep? Was he intoxicated? Was he tuning his radio or reaching for something that had fallen?
Or was he talking on the phone or, even worse, texting?
THE REASON I BRING UP “TEXTING” is that I am reading a book titled A Deadly Wandering, which is about one of the first criminal cases in the USA about texting while driving. In this instance, a young man, while texting or just after, drifted into the oncoming lane and sideswiped a car driven by two highly respected scientists. Their car went out of control and both died.
At a pretrial hearing, Dr. David Strayer, an expert in distracted driving, testified that his extensive studies showed that texting while driving increases the chance of an accident six times. He explained that even after a person stops texting, there’s a 10- to 15-second delay in normal driving as the driver gets reacquainted with the road. He said that a distracted driver might lose track of lanes, miss road hazards, or even when seeing hazards lack the focus to react. When texting, drivers lose “just about all characteristics associated with safe driving.”
How often to you talk on your phone or text (or read texts) while driving?
Answer our poll
He also noted that a driver talking on the phone faced a four-time increase in the likelihood of a crash, roughly the same as someone legally drunk. I think we all know that texting while driving, or even reading a text, is a dangerous practice. Yet many people do it, believing (too-often wrongly) that “nothing will happen to me!”
I strongly urge you to watch his 30-minute documentary about texting and driving by acclaimed director Werner Herzog. He interviews three victims of texting drivers, and three drivers who caused accidents while texting, and their terrible guilt. Please urge your teenage children and grandchildren to watch.
And watch this short interactive video that shows how you can easily get into an accident while texting.
• • •
My proposal in last week’s issue about a chain of inexpensive, overnight parking areas for RVs seemed popular with most readers. The essay was reprinted in two RV industry newsletters, where some commenters thought the idea had merit. But many others said it could not be done, which didn’t surprise me. It’s so easy to say why something cannot be done rather than to say “Yes it can” and then figure out a way to do it.
Ask yourself, “Why, in this country, where there are dozens of recognizable brands of hotels — where you know instantly by their logos the quality of the experience you’ll receive — is there only one chain of RV parks, KOA, with any significant brand recognition? Imagine that there was only one “known” motel along the highways, say Motel 6, and all others were Mom and Pop operations. Would you stay sight unseen at the “Slumber Inn,” or “Holiday Lodge,” or the “Rest A Bit” or “Clown” motels? That’s basically the same kind of choice we have with RV parks — known vs. unknown. Of course, there’s Walmart, which is far from a dream camping experience.
• • •
My daughter and I had a great road trip from New York City to Seattle in a 20-foot moving van (she’s moving back to Seattle). It was a fast trip, five days, but we took time for quick stops at the Badlands, Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore.
I’ll write more about the trip later. I will say now, however, that it was 50 times easier getting a room in a hotel than it would be finding a decent RV park on a such a quick trip. Free breakfast, too.
• • •
I have so much to write about that my head is spinning. But I’m still partially brain dead after driving nearly 600 miles a day and yakking with my daughter along the way. So stay tuned!
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
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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 managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just 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.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please.
Win this fabulous Cactus Pillow (it’s very comfy!). The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, wrote his daughter’s initials on its surface. What are the initials? Answer below in the Trivia section. 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: Tim Hart of Mims, Florida. He won the always-popular George Foreman Grill.
Flush away, but you’ll pay. That’s the word from some Northern California state parks. When the big drought hit the state, some state parks shut down flush toilets and other fresh water supplies – and dropped nightly campground rates by $10. Now that there’s been relief, parks which had shut down the water have cranked it back on, but cranked the nightly rates back up. One example is San Simeon State Park, where rates are now back up to $35 a night.
Parts of Montana’s Lake Alva Campground in the Seeley Lake Ranger District have been closed while hazard trees are being removed. Spruce budworms are accused of leading to tree defoliation, resulting in tree deaths. Forest Service officials say they’ll do the tree removal work in phases so that there will always be some portion of the campground available to visitors.
Ownership will soon change for the RV industry newsletter RV Daily Report, according to current publisher Greg Gerber. RV entrepreneurs Terry and Evada Cooper will take over beginning August 1. “I’m very sad to see Greg go,” said RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. “He showed a lot of guts standing up many times to the RV industry, asking tough questions nobody else was brave enough to ask. I’m not expecting the new publishers to challenge the status quo much, if at all.”
The new U.S. Department of Interior Secretary wowed RV and campground industry folks at a conference earlier this week. Ryan Zinke, President Trump’s appointee, told his audience he was a fan of “public-private partnerships,” and that his love of them would soon be seen in management of U.S. National Parks. “As a secretary, I don’t want to be in the business of running campgrounds,” Zinke said. “My folks will never be as good as you are on it.” He further hinted that money for deferred park maintenance could well come from public holdings, suggesting offshore drilling could be the ticket.
Room for camping in New York’s Adirondacks may get a bit tighter. The state’s park officials are floating a plan to shut down camping at Poplar Point Campground on Piseco Lake near Arietta – turning it into a day-use-only site. Officials say not enough folks stay there to justify the cost of operations.
Good news for fans of beautiful Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, Utah. The park is adding a new 21-site campground next door to its current one, also 21-sites, both with electric hookups only. No showers in the restrooms, and bring your own water. The new campground could open as soon as this October. Thanks to reader Gary Reed for bringing this to our attention.
British Columbia’s Okanogan Lake is feeling a bit too frisky. Todd’s RV & Camping near Peachland reports the campground is only about half-available, as an unusual lake rise has flooded 40 of the park’s sites. This is only the third time in 61 years the lake has flooded so high.
The ongoing battle on Cape Cod National Seashore involving privately owned Horton’s Campground just keeps getting deeper. Local township officials issued a stop-work order when Horton’s management began land clearing with an eye toward extending utilities to all of its 218 campsites. It turns out, Horton’s was only granted approval for 180 campsites to begin with, according to officials with Cape Cod National Seashore.
Twenty-seven National Monuments are facing a federal review period following an executive order by President Trump. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s review of the proposal could lead to a recommendation that the national monuments be rescinded, resized or otherwise modified. Conservation groups say the order endangers monuments that should be protected. Trump and others believe the federal lands could be better used for economic development. Click here for the notice from the Department of the Interior. Your comments are invited at that website through July 10.
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
An RVing couple in Brookston, Minn., was found dead in their rig, suspected of having been felled by carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities say when rescuers entered their trailer, they found the couple deceased, even as their carbon monoxide detector was alarming. A generator installed in a basement storage area without venting may have been the cause.
An RVer, forced to park his motorhome in his side yard, knew he’d take a hit from his neighbors. Hoping to calm the storm, he planted signs next to the rig, explaining that the city ordinance wouldn’t let him park it in the driveway, but only legally in the yard. Since he lives on a corner lot, his side yard “looks” like his front yard, and the neighbors are having a fit – taking their wrath to city officials. Don’t look for much sympathy: The local mayor of Ellisville, Mo., says, “If I could unilaterally make the decision myself, I would do a full, outright ban of RVs. I think if you have an RV, it’s only polite to park them at an RV park and store them there.”
Portland, Ore., officials are making advances on their “Zombie RV” problem. A Portland man, John P. Maher, was arrested and subsequently released pending a court appearance in May, for illegally parking “dead” RVs on city streets, and running an illegal dismantling business. Maher ran into trouble when authorities visited his rental property about stored RVs and, as a result, “his only solution was to park them on the streets,” say court records. When at least 11 “zombies” were found on Portland streets, and Maher told detectives he had no intention of moving them, he was arrested.
A sad story out of Arizona’s Saguaro National Park underscores the need to be weather-wise. Park rangers found the body of a 34-year-old male hiker outside of the park’s boundaries. While the hiker had carried a hydration bladder, it was empty, and it’s believed heat or dehydration may have factored into his death. Rangers remind visitors to carry water, and urge hikers to start their hikes early with plans to be back at camp by 10:00 a.m. when doing desert hikes.
Overnight RV Parking Alternative
For a low annual membership fee, join RV Golf Club today and park FREE every night of the year at 400+ beautiful, safe, private golf courses, resort hotels and RV resorts across the U.S. and Canada. Plus, receive discounts on golf, restaurants and shops at most properties. Click here for more info and to purchase a membership
.A campground caretaker in Newton County, Ga., has proved to be so important that his retirement has forced a one-year closure of the campground he looked after. For years, Mike Beyer has lived at the Factory Shoals Recreation Park but he decided to retire last fall, forcing an early winter shutdown of the facility. Now county commissioners say they’re hard-pressed to have the 400-acre park looked after, and so will keep the place closed this season while they do maintenance – and come up with a new management plan.
An RVer in Gearhart, Ore., gets the credit for law changes that make it possible for residents to host guest RVers. Jim Schultz has spent the better part of two years lobbying the city’s council to allow property owners to do just that. Finally, the city ordinances now permit RV occupancy on private property for up to four days, twice in a year. It all started when Schultz was told by local police that overnighting with his grandchildren in his RV out in the yard was illegal, and could net him a $500 fine. Now Schultz and the family can camp out without fear.
Cruise Inn RV Parks — one of the fastest growing names in private RV parks — abruptly shut down its operations last week, 3 1/2 years after it began. The brand was launched in November, 2013, by a group of hotel professionals who wanted to bring hotel practices to the outdoor-hospitality space. The company is working with the 42-member parks to transition them out of Cruise Inn branding and software.
An RVer with a nasty attitude is being attributed with injuring at least five people when she used her Class A rig as a getaway vehicle. Police in Roseville, Calif., spotted a spat between two drivers, one of them the Class A driver, after an accident involving their two rigs. The RVer took off from the scene, police in pursuit at “high speeds.” Within minutes, after blasting through several red lights, the Class A unit driver was involved in yet another accident, this time whacking at least four other rigs, rolling the motorhome over, and having to be pulled from the then-burning RV.
Police got a phone call from a concerned party in Medford, Ore., who reported a man was atop the neighbor’s travel trailer, taking the air conditioner apart. Responding officers inquired of the man why he was doing it, and his explanation was that the RV’s owners wanted him to help make the rig lighter. The owners disagreed – they didn’t even know the man was there. Brandon Robinson is now in the city’s cooler.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
How often to you talk on your phone or text (or read texts) while driving?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll: Where do you store your RV when not using it? Click here for the results.
Bureau of Reclamation camping — an RVing win-win
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s mission is to “manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American Public.” This mission encompasses 289 developed recreation areas on 6.5 million acres of land and water in 17 western states. Some Reclamation projects have campgrounds and some have dispersed camping (boondocking) as well. Here are some tips to help you find these sites, which will probably be uncrowded and inexpensive. Read more.
RV industry hires actress to promote RVing
Go RVing, a joint initiative of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association, has announced a new partnership with actress Jennie Garth. An RVer since childhood, Garth will be a Go RVing spokesperson, sharing her personal experiences with the RV lifestyle and working to inspire a new generation of RVers. Read more.
Propane leak tests — Here’s one from the Darwin Awards!
Here’s another reminder from the Darwin Award files. A 79-year old RVer in St. Amant, La., had a problem with his motorhome. Somewhere there was a gas leak, and he just needed to find it. You know the rest of the story — take out a cigarette lighter, strike off a flame, and KABOOM! Amazingly, the unnamed man wasn’t seriously injured, even though a fireman estimated the blast strength as equivalent to a half-dozen pipe bombs. So, how should we check for gas leaks? Find out three safe ways here.
The RV toolbox — pliers!
While he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor, Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, reminded readers that an essential part of the RV toolbox is a good set of pliers. Find out why here.
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.com. Learn more or watch a two-minute video about the event.
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.
An amazing rechargeable LED tube light
Rich “The Wanderman” admits he’s addicted to flashlights. How many lights does one person need? He’ll let you know when he gets to that number. He has found yet another way-cool flashlight he couldn’t resist. It’s small, lightweight and unbelievably bright. He’s going to keep this one on his work key chain so it will always be handy. If you are a flashlight fan, he says this is a keeper. Read more.
RV Mods — Got a spare, there?
Here’s an RV modification for the travel trailer and smaller motorhome set. It’s an “If you ain’t got it, you need it” mod. Do you have a spare tire carrier on your rig? If your rig uses 15- or 16-inch tires and is equipped with the typical 4-inch square tube rear bumper, then acquiring and installing this important mod is quick, inexpensive and relatively easy. Russ and Tiña De Maris explain how here.
Editor finds Adventure Park insulting to military, veterans
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury was taken aback last week on his quick coast-to-coast trip when he came across an attraction in Wisconsin named the “D-Day Invasion Adventure Park.” He thought, “How could anyone name a place of amusement after a brutal World War II battle where 9,000 Allies were killed or wounded?” Read his commentary.
RV maker celebrates 50 years with beautiful video
This is one of the best promotional videos we’ve come across from an RV manufacturer. It celebrates 50 years of building RVs from Triple E Recreational Vehicles, maker of Leisure Travel Van motorhomes. Watching this is a wonderful way to spend four minutes, and maybe learn a bit about the company as well. Watch the video.
Highland Ridge recalling 3,379 trailers for fire risk
Highland Ridge RV is recalling 3,379 model year 2017 Open Range, Highlander, Light, Roamer and Mesa Ridge fifth wheels, and Mesa Ridge, Light, Roamer and Ultra Lite travel trailers. The low profile surface mount LED lights may produce extreme temperatures during normal use. The extreme temperatures increase the risk of a fire resulting in personal injury and property damage. For owners’ safety, some cautionary steps are advised until the remedy is completed. Learn more.
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RV RECALLS NEWSLETTER
Once a month our editors recap RV and RV-related recalls from the previous month. We invite you to sign up for one or more of the other great free online newsletters from RVtravel.com, too.
Forest River recalling some Hyperlite toy haulers
Forest River is recalling certain 2014 XLR Hyperlite toy haulers. The vehicles have an axle equalizer knurled bolt (axle shackle locating bolt) that may not be properly seated in the chassis axle hanger. If the equalizer knurled bolt and nut are not installed properly or are missing from a triple-axle configuration, the center axle can rotate to the rear and could lead to tire degradation or loss of vehicle control resulting in a crash. Read more.
In Winnebago test, motorhome crashes top down on pavement
For decades Winnebago has tested its products beyond what is required by the RV industry. Perhaps nothing is more dramatic than the drop test, where a coach is hoisted three feet into the air and then dropped on its roof. After the test, engineers examine structural integrity, appliances and cabinet attachment as well as impact absorption. Watch the video.
Keystone recalls certain Springdale travel trailers
Keystone RV Company is recalling certain 2012-2018 Springdale travel trailers, model 303BH. The Federal Identification Tag on these vehicles overstate the Gross Axle Weight Rating capacity (GAWR) by 800 pounds for each axle. The incorrect GAWR makes the Cargo Carrying Capacity (CCC) label incorrect and may result in the vehicle being overloaded, affecting the vehicle control and increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
JUST PUBLISHED! Essential for big RVs!
2018 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.
This week in history
Week of June 10–16
Compiled by Dell Bert
1846 — U.S.–Canadian border established.
1884 — First roller coaster in America opens (Coney Island).
1965 — Bob Dylan records “Like a Rolling Stone.”
1968 — Lee Trevino wins his first U.S. Open.
1979 — John Wayne dies (at age 72).
1982 — “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” is released.
1986 — Richard Petty makes 1,000th start of his NASCAR career.
2003 — Gregory Peck dies.
2007 — Last episode of “The Sopranos” airs.
Diagnose engine problems in a snap!
This Auto Link Code Reader features the unique patented One-Click I/M readiness key, color display & built-in speaker. It easily enables users to verify repairs, road test, check State Emission Monitor Status and solve basic engine & drivability problems. It works on all 1996 and newer vehicles (OBD II & CAN)-domestic and import. It easily determines the cause of the Malfunction Indicator Light ( MIL). Learn more or order.
Bumper sticker of the week
“I’m lost but making good time.”
Funny/clever business slogan
Ron Henry saw this recently at Boston’s Brew, a drive-thru coffee kiosk in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: “I don’t need an inspirational quote — I need coffee.” Thanks, Ron!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
No lighter fluid necessary
Easy way to start a charcoal grill
With this Rapidfire Chimney charcoal starter from Weber you can forget about using lighter fluid. This is so much easier and cheaper! And it’s fast. Click the 15-second video to see how it works. This vastly simplifies starting a grill. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
All 59 National Parks ranked
National Parks bring a unique variety of gorgeous landscapes, various wildlife, adventure sports and incredible scenery. To rank the parks, The Active Times did extensive research into what each of the parks had to offer. Do you enjoy action-packed adventures? Maybe you would rather go sightseeing. Whatever your heart desires, America’s national treasures will provide them to you. From The Active Times and msn.com.
The best scenic getaways in every state
Jaw-dropping scenery and legendary photo ops. That’s what you’ll find in this list that includes one-of-a-kind scenes in iconic and lesser-known destinations across the country — all well worth the trip. U.S. News & World Report – Travel and msn.com.
Free travel guides from Oregon
Planning a trip to Oregon? Or do you live there and want to find out what you’ve been missing? Here are some free travel guides from Oregon that you can have mailed to you, and some can also be viewed online. These include the Travel Oregon Visitor Guide, as well as a resource guide to the total solar eclipse happening on August 21, the Scenic Byways Driving Guide, and more. From traveloregon.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.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
RVer “only” drove 750 miles with
companion dual tire low on air — uh-oh!
This was recently posted on an RVing forum: “What should I do? I had checked tire pressure the day before and only drove about 750 miles when the right rear inside dual blew, resulting in damage to the MH and the tow. Only the side wall blew and the tire stayed on the rim. This is the first time in over 25 years of RVing that I have ever had tire trouble. I only had about 14,000 miles on these tires that are less than 2 years old. I bought the best tires they recommended. I will not say the brand but it begins with M. I had pressure set at 120 psi and they were filled when the tires were cold and had not been driven for over a month. Should I be concerned about the other tires?”
Graphite keeps your locks working
Keep your RV’s locks (and other locks, too) working the way they should. This product from AGS will keep them lubricated and working smoothly and will guard against sticking and dirt buildup. Also reduces wear and corrosion. This should be essential equipment on all RVs. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Good reading from RV123.com
• This portable butane stove is perfect for a camping adventure.
• This beautifully restored vintage truck has been converted into a one-of-a-kind RV.
• Durango RV Resort offers a relaxing base camp for exploring beautiful Northern California.
Windshield washer fluid removes bugs & grime
Prestone Bug Wash is a new, advanced windshield washer fluid formulated to remove up to 99.99 percent of bug residue, road grime, bird droppings & tree sap from windshields. The patented formula cleans to a streak-free shine. It forms a barrier to help stop bugs, road grime & other residues from sticking to your windshield. Water Repellent Advanced Beading technology repels rain for streak-free driving visibility. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Young full-time RVers experiencing age bias in RV parks
Dear RV Shrink:
We are not your average RVing couple. We are in our late 20s and traveling full-time. We are not rich. We are working our way around the country. We live in a vintage 28-ft. Avion. We didn’t want to wait until retirement to do this. We have no children yet and decided to travel for a year. Five years later we are still at it. Our problem is age bias. … —The Young and the Restless in Apache Jct.
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.
What you need to know about Fifth Wheel RVs
Learn all about fifth wheel RVs in the “Fifth Wheel Bible.” Topics include shopping for Fifth Wheels, understanding weights and tow vehicles, selecting and operating the fifth wheel hitch, options and accessories, and instructions on towing, maneuvering, parking and hookups. It then explores self-contained camping in the boondocks. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Common RV repairs
Do you know what two of the most common repairs made on RVs are? They are repairs to the steps and the TV antenna. Damage to RV steps and TV antennas occur frequently and can be costly to repair. The main reason for these frequent repairs is because you forget to do a walk-around of the unit before leaving on a trip or leaving the campground.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.41 (on June 5). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 3 cents.
Diesel: $2.56 (on June 5). Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 16 cents.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
New take on comfort food classic.
This yummy, meatless, overnight casserole has all the comfort food taste of the creamiest macaroni and cheese but it’s thrown together in one dish. Veggies add color, texture and vitamins. Get the recipe.
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.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Keep the fire extinguisher’s powder loose or it may not work
Invert and shake your dry powder or dry chemical extinguisher monthly to loosen the powder. The jarring of the coach while you travel down the road does not keep the powder loose; in fact, it packs the powder, which may make your extinguisher useless in fighting a fire. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
GET READY FOR YOUR SUMMER TRAVELS
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100 micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.
RV Quick Tips
RV boot camps are highly recommended
For “newbies” and those just thinking about the RV lifestyle, find and attend an RV Boot Camp! The Escapees RV Club runs an excellent RVBC, often over a weekend. The Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF) and other groups offer RVBCs too. Mistakes made with RVs are often expensive and sometimes dangerous. The time and money spent attending an RVBC will be a wise investment! RVBC graduates are also smarter RV buyers. Thanks to John Koenig for this great tip!
Frozen food safety tip in case of a power outage
If you’ve been away for an extended period of time and come home and realize there’s been a power outage, how do you know how long the outage lasted and if the food in your freezer is still good? Sheila Pulanco Russell shared a clever trick on her Facebook wall with anyone who was forced to evacuate their home during Hurricane Matthew. Sheila wrote: “For those of you that are evacuating from the coast, I just heard the one cup tip. Put a cup of water in your freezer, freeze it solid, then put a quarter on top of it and leave it in your freezer. … If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup, that means all the food defrosted and you should throw it out.” Thank you, Mel Goddard, for passing this along for our readers!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
“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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Older RV toilet leaks — possible fixes
I have an older Tioga motorhome. The hoses connecting to the toilet are leaking. I cannot reach the connections because of the tight space, but I can see the leak with a mirror. My question is, can I access the connections another way without removing the toilet completely? It looks like the toilet might be able to be separated top and bottom. There is a seam there. If I do need to remove the toilet do you have any advice? —Todd H.
Easy way to level your RV!
The RVtravel.com motorhome packs along two of these and, boy, are they handy! Camco’s RV Yellow Tri-Levelers are designed to raise the RV up to 3-7/8″ on any tire for a more level position. The lightweight levelers are durable and have a resin non-slip surface with a load capacity of 3,500 pounds. Learn more or order for a great price!
with Bob Difley
Beyond Forest Service and BLM public lands for boondocking
I’ve just begun boondocking on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands and enjoy it very much. But I’m wondering if there are other public or private lands where boondocking is permitted. —Oscar G.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Could this be a panacea for the stresses of today’s world
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for about $10! Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
240-volt generator RV hookup
I have a 50-amp shore power plug on my fifth wheel camper and was told by the camping store that I needed to buy a 6300-watt Yamaha inverter generator. The generator has a 120/240 30-amp twist-lock plug as well as a 120-volt/30-amp twist-lock plug. I have 2 AC units that I need to run in the summer when operating off the generator but I’m not sure how to do it, and the camping store is now giving me the runaround. Attached is a picture of the outlets I have on my generator as well as an adapter plug I already own. I’m pretty good with 12-volt systems but not 120/240 volts. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. —Jimmy
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.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
Gizmos and Gadgets
NuCam WR wireless backup camera assists backing into campsites
When you’re trying to back into a tight campsite, with a new trailer and an unfamiliar truck, and it’s raining, not to mention it’s getting dark … how do you park safely and stress-free? The NuVending NuCam WR will make it a cinch. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, has a magnetic mount, and has wireless transmission to your phone or tablet. It even has a built-in microphone. According to this reviewer, it works “Awesome!” NuVending has a special offer on the NuCam WR just for RV Travel readers. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Plug your 30 or 50 amp RV into 15 amp service
The time will come when you’ll end up with only a standard household outlet as a hookup. If your rig is 30 amp, then simply use this adapter. If you have a 50 amp RV, then use this adapter. Some electricity is better than no electricity so be sure to keep one of these adapters on hand.
RV Short Stop
Camp Verde, Arizona
Montezuma Castle National Monument showcases one of the best-preserved and accessible ancient dwellings in North America. The 1,000-year-old ruins were once home to ancient farmers known as the Sinagua Indians. Although the monument has adopted the title “castle” due to its majestic appearance, the ruins were actually a multi-family cliff dwelling (similar to a modern-day high-rise apartment complex). An easy, paved, handicapped accessible path meanders through the park with the “castle” high above. The monument is along I-17 at exit 289, about a 90-minute drive north of Phoenix and close to Sedona. There is no campground in the park, but the pleasant Verde River RV Resort is close by. The ghost/tourist town of Jerome a short drive away, not to be missed.
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.
Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” —1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work. Goddard created and built the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket.
Bet you didn’t know!
• Nine out of ten artificial Christmas trees are made in China.
• The face of the average man has 30,000 whiskers.
• Wearing a Superman T-shirt significantly boosts your self-confidence.
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 or order.
Free and bargain camping
Elm Park Rest Area
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Rest area is off, parallel to and separated from highway, with entrances at both ends. Park along curb of area closest to US 71. One RVer recommends loop at north end. Do not park on shoulders of entrance or exit driveways, a ticketable offense. Restrooms, vending machines, water spigots. GPS: 35.026900, -94.120800
Love’s Travel Stop #285
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Obtain permission from staff on duty. Park in back with trucks, or in front (auto) area without obstructing traffic flow. Level, well lighted, appears safe. Expect truck stop noise. Dump station, $5. Carl’s Jr. on site. GPS: 34.947170, -104.638223
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 demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Headed to Alaska? Let this be your guide!
This 2017 guidebook, published in March, is THE mile-by-mile guide for RV or auto travelers headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. First published in 1949 as a guide about traveling along the Alaska Highway, today’s Milepost includes more than 600 pictures and more than 100 maps, and details every place travelers might eat, sleep including campgrounds, or pull off the road for scenic viewing. Learn more or order.
Videos you’ll like
•Don’t buy an RV before doing this
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has advice about buying an RV that you do not want to ignore. Watch the video.
•Save your RV battery! How to install a battery disconnect switch
Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates how to install a battery disconnect switch directly on the deep cycle RV battery to prevent the battery from discharging due to parasitic loads. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Random RV Thought
In our society where virtually everything we eat is purchased from a supermarket, a campsite by a stream or lake may help teach a child that what we eat needn’t always come from a store. It can be a thrill for a child to land a small trout, clean it, and then eat it for dinner. The experience can be an eye opener that the food that nourishes us once was alive, and wasn’t not just manufactured to be sold at the supermarket.
Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, wrote his daughter’s initials (TDC) on its surface where it will likely remain for a long, long time. (Space graffiti?)
Improve performance of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” —John Wayne
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. 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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