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Issue 800 • Week of July 1–7, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Welcome to the 800th issue of this newsletter. That represents millions and millions of words, thousands of photos, years of hard work by our staff, and more quality information than any other RV newsletter, current or past. Yes, I’m biased!
Six years ago, when we reached the 500th issue, I questioned in this space whether I would make it to 1,000. I wrote: “So will I make it to issue 1,000? Don’t know. I never would have guessed ten years ago that I would make it to 500. So I will just proceed; I don’t know what else I could do that would bring me such pleasure.”
Now, here I am, six years older, less than four years away from that 1,000th issue. Time flies. I think I’ll make it. I’ve had more fun editing this newsletter than any person deserves — and after 16 years I still wake up each day eager to write and find ways to make what we do here better.
My only child, my daughter Emily, was 10 when issue #1 debuted in 2001. Which brings me to an announcement. That ex-little girl is now closing in on 26. With a cumulative year or more on the road with my motorhomes, she’s a veteran RVer. She can talk the talk with any RV veteran!
As you may know, I drove with Emily from New York to Seattle a few weeks ago in a small moving van. After seven years in the Big Apple, she was burned out. She missed the Northwest — the beautiful forests, the wonderful hiking trails, the clean air — and grocery shopping without having to carry what she bought, one bag at a time, on the subway.
A few months before, when she decided to move back, she called me. “I’m moving home,” she said. I was beyond happy, of course, and very surprised: I thought she’d remain on the East Coast forever. She also told me, “I’d love to work with you.” Wow! That was an even bigger surprise, a wonderful one!
And so I have put her to work. Up first, she’s gathering together all the names of readers who have generously “voluntarily subscribed” to this newsletter. Their generosity has been a game changer. I’ve used the money to hire freelance writers and bloggers that I could never have afforded otherwise.
I AM EMBARRASSED to admit that I have forgotten to thank many of our donors, maybe you. If I were my employee, I’d fire me for such inexcusable neglect. And so Emily’s first job is, along with me, to write thank you letters (not form letters) to all those generous people, and brainstorm with me ways to thank them in other ways — special newsletters, personal videos, informal webcasts, etc. Honestly, without their generosity I don’t know that I would choose to go on. And I certainly could not have afforded to hire my daughter or other writers!
Sure, we could hustle more advertising, but that creates pressure to avoid topics that might offend advertisers. In publishing you have to make one choice right out the gate: You must ask yourself, “Who comes first, my advertisers or my readers?” I bet that 80 percent of the time, publications put advertisers first.
With me, you are more important than advertisers. No contest. I could keep publishing without selling a single ad if I had to. I’d lean on readers more for their financial support and work harder to get them to shop more often through our Amazon link (where we get a small commission of what they buy), but I could still keep the business going. As is, we do accept advertising, but we choose those businesses that put no editorial demands on us.
If you have not entered a voluntary subscription, would you please consider doing so? Just click here. If you feel this newsletter is worth a dime an issue (that’s only a one-time $5 donation for a year), then we will put it to good use. A $25 pledge comes out to 50 cents an issue per year. If you want to set up a monthly autopay, that option is available and appreciated. If money is tight, then your readership alone is all we request, and we thank you for that.
Gail and I are still in the Seattle area, living in our motorhome, but we’ll be back on the road in three weeks on another long trip, probably staying west of the Mississippi this time.
P.S. Happy Independence Day, America!
America turns 241 years old on July 4!
Be safe out there if you’re on the road this holiday weekend!
And Happy 150th Birthday to our great friends in Canada!
Read a proclamation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on this special day!
Why do you travel? Please tell us
We recently received an email from Dave Laton, D.Min., who suggested a new topic of discussion: “Why we travel.” Good idea! Do you like to camp to experience nature? Do you combine business with travel (e.g., traveling nurses, work camping)? Do you travel seasonally, following the sun, staying in RV parks or places familiar? Or do you simply love a good old-fashioned road trip, where you travel from place to place, exploring as you go? Please read the short article and then leave your comments. We’ll publish the results in an upcoming issue.
A lifestyle of simple luxury!
At Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs, return to a lifestyle of simple luxury. Park yourself on 66 acres of unspoiled wilderness along Central Florida’s Gulf Coast. Our fully equipped RV lots and coastal cottages designed exclusively for the resort come with boundless modern amenities for the watersport and outdoor adventure enthusiast, all professionally managed by Guy Harvey Outpost Collection. Learn more here.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Ziploc bag helps me remember my father.
• I like to visit cemeteries when I travel.
• When I fell in love with writing and journalism.
• My name is Chuck (and so is a cheap grade of steak)
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.
Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for June
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, Gulf Stream, Highland Ridge, Keystone, Newmar, Thor, and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Honest voice in RV media signs off. Loss for you and me
(From the editor): My friend Greg Gerber, the editor of RV Daily Report, is retiring from online publishing to devote his time to public speaking and writing faith-themed books. Greg has been the only voice in the RV industry media speaking honestly about the industry’s many problems, in particular poor quality RVs being manufactured today. He made a difference, but there is a long way to go. Without Greg, progress will simply come slower. Read Greg’s final column, written yesterday.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The correct answer is 241 years.
Win this 25-foot Camco TastePure Drinking Hose. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: The USA is celebrating another birthday on July 4. How old is it? 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: Marty Chambers, of Largo, Fla. He won the cool Waterproof LED headlamp.
Auto club AAA defines the 4th of July holiday as running from Friday, June 30, through Tuesday, July 4. If you’re on the roads during those days, you’ll probably be able to “reach out and touch someone” just by rolling down your window. New records are expected to be made with some 44 million folks traveling at least 50 miles from home, 37.5 million of those by road — that’s an uptick of 3 percent over last year’s “bumper crop” of roadway travelers.
Used auction values and volumes grew suddenly squishy in May, says market-watcher Black Book. Motorhome prices were down 2 percent from April to a $44,244 average, with the number of smoking-rollers across the block down 20 percent. Towables took it hard: prices off 13 percent to an average of $11,835. Black Book says this is a to-be-expected phenomenon, as RV dealers have basically filled up their inventories of used units for the year.
Friday night, the Washington state Legislature finally passed the state operating budget (in its third special session), averting a partial government shutdown at midnight which would have included, among many other things, closing all state parks on July 1. Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign the budget before midnight Friday. Update: Governor Inslee signed the budget at 11:15 p.m. Happy camping!
Planning on visiting Marin County, Calif.? You may want to leave your RV at home. County supervisors approved a new ordinance that can ban the parking of oversize vehicles at any time, day or night. Get busted, get a ticket for $100, or maybe even have your rig towed. The definition of “oversize vehicle” is a vehicle or combination that exceeds 22 feet in length.
Another “mom and pop” RV builder/converter has fallen into the clutches of Big RVdom. Battisti Customs, who built conversion RVs on a variety of van platforms, has sold “certain assets” out to Forest River, Inc. The giant Berkshire Hathaway child will soon take what Battisti built in 30,000 square feet of space and put it in 60,000 square feet in Elkhart, Indiana.
Just what U.S. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke really plans for America’s public lands still hasn’t been made clear. But according to what’s going on, both in Washington D.C. and parts of Colorado, it could definitely mean more private management of public lands. Zinke says he plans on whacking 1,200 National Park Service jobs, and 1,000 from the Bureau of Land Management — all by the end of the year. In Colorado, the Forest Service is looking for private outfits to manage more campsites in the White River National Forest — offering 10-year permits for the jobs starting next January 1.
Closed by fire last year, California’s Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is reopening July 1. Both the campground and all day-use areas will be open, and a new shuttle service will provide rides into the park from the Andrew Molera State Park.
A usnews.com survey asked Americans what their top activities were while away on vacation. Top of the list: Sightseeing (55 percent), checking out local culture and cuisine (51 percent), visiting family (46 percent), and getting away to nature (45 percent). Also on the list, but seriously separated by gender: shopping (women, 22 percent — men, 9 percent).
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Arizona) may soon change fees for some activities. Vehicle gate fees would jump from $12 to $20; campground fees will jump by $4 to $20 per night at Twin Peaks, and by $2 to $12 at Alamo Canyon. For those wanting to hop on the monument’s van for a guided tour, the now-free ride would cost $5 per person. You can comment through July 21 by visiting here.
Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
So don’t wash your RV with products designed for cars. Duratain’s Wade Maid products are RV Specific solutions specially formulated to clean and protect your RV’s fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum parts. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy or learn more about Beast Wash and other products at the Wade Maid website. Now available on Amazon!
A few weeks back we reported that the ever-popular Cultus Lake Campground in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest would be closed until next fall because of diseased trees needing to be removed. The holdup on the removal was said to be due to the possibility of northern spotted owls nesting in the area. The whole mess also messed with a nearby commercial RV park owner who would have to shut down her operation, too. She hooted to her Congressional representative — and miraculously, the Forest Service says that they’ll somehow be able to reopen the area by the end of July.
Two years ago, entrance fees at Florida’s Gulf Islands National Seashore were pushed up. Now officials there want to do it again — along with other fees that will hit RVers in the wallet. Gate fees now are $15 per rig — under a proposal, those would jump to $20. But the “good news” is, officials will set up a “tent only” area in Fort Pickens campground and leave fees for overnighting there at $26. Sadly, RVers who get a utility site would see their nightly charges jump from $26 to $40. Got comments? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org , by July 7.
What’s a shopping mall management team to do when Sears pulls the plug and leaves 41,000 square feet of storefront vacant? Bring the Great Outdoors — indoors. Auburn, New York’s Fingerlakes Mall will soon become “home” to The Great Outdoors RV Superstore, where at least 50 RVs will be in the huge “showroom” year-round.
While RV buyers continue to complain about quality control issues, at least one major player in the industry should be getting rave reviews — from its stockholders. Last year, Winnebago gobbled up Grand Design Recreational Vehicles. Winnie’s third-quarter revenues are up a whopping 75 percent, with the company saying much of the increase is due to their acquisition of Grand Design. The latter brought Winnebago nearly $200 million to the company profit margin for the last quarter of business.
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.
What do you get when you cross a 12-foot-high motorhome with a 10-foot 9-inch-high railroad bridge? Gerald Williams of Florida found out while traveling in his motorhome in Salina, N.Y. The answer — aside from a big mess — is a motorhome minus an air conditioning unit, awning, antenna and air horns. Because Williams never bothered to stop, he added traffic citations for leaving the scene of an accident and failure to obey traffic control signs.
When do you get a travel trailer in a Cadillac? Well, one red-faced RV owner can tell you: When it’s Cadillac Lake. The Cadillac, Mich., man parked his pickup truck with an older travel trailer in his driveway and, whoopsie — the combination rolled out of the driveway, down the street, across another street, and into the lake. Happily no other objects or vehicles got in the way of the wayward combination, and nothing — other than perhaps pride and the combination — was damaged.
A British Columbia RVer is crying foul at the B.C. Provincial Parks rule that allows motorhomes that have an attached towed car to park it for free. Jan Silverton brought her Class C motorhome to Kokanee Creek Park, followed behind by her partner driving their travel car. The two vehicles arrived “unhitched,” as Silverton’s rig doesn’t have the capacity to tow the car. On arrival, officials told Silverton she’d have to pay an additional $12 for the car. She asked if she rope-towed the toad in behind the motorhome, would she have to pay the $12? Nope. B.C. officials say allowing a car under its own power into the parks without the separate payment could allow too much abuse.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Did you buy your RV new or used?
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: Roughly how much of 2017 do you estimate you will occupy your RV? Click here for the results.
Verizon “dirty tricks” hit RV group below the belt
Imagine getting mobile Internet service for less than $50 a month — along with a free device to connect you to the network. And tack on a provider who has (reportedly) the best coverage in the U.S. That’s what members (and prospective members) of FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) got pretty excited about in mid-June when the news hit that FMCA and Verizon had banged out a deal to do just that. Now stop for a second, and go back to the opening word of this story: Imagine. Find out what happened next.
Mice invading your RV? Lion poop to the rescue
Through the years, we’ve written about a dozen ways to keep mice, squirrels and other rodents out of your RV. Some work, some don’t. Nobody seems to agree on the absolutely best way. Well, maybe this is IT! There’s one way to keep these pests (and even bigger ones like possums and bears) away from your RV, according to an RVer named Jeff Schwartz. Check this out!
The readers write: Slowpokes and full-timers
Here, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, are some readers’ comments regarding a couple of recent stories in this newsletter, including “Camping in the left lane,” about Washington State Patrol cracking down on “slowpokes” tying up the passing lane, and an article on some basic advice if you’re considering full-timing. Read more.
Why filter perfectly good water?
The answer to that question is another question: How good is “perfectly good”? Many RVers use the water that the RV park supplies, straight from the tap. After all, that water comes from treated sources and should have no problems. Right? Well — maybe. Here are some great tips from long-time RVer and boondocker Greg Illes, for safe and good-tasting water in your RV. Read more.
FMCA convention coming right up
Family Motor Coach Association’s staff and volunteers are on final approach for the motorhome owners group’s 96th International Convention & RV Expo July 12 through 15 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center in Indianapolis. All owners of self-contained RVs and members of the public are invited. Major motorhome manufacturers and dealers showcase their latest offerings. Vendors of RV accessories, components, supplies, and services will be on hand. Registered attendees can attend seminars on more than 100 topics and will be treated to a host of other activities. Learn more.
Take your RV on the road less traveled
Many of America’s most scenic drives wind across and through remote public lands, such as our national forests and land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Though not receiving the same publicity as our National Parks and Monuments, the National Scenic Byways and the especially notable All-American Roads are mostly low-traveled, two-lane roads that showcase historic, scenic and cultural treasures that define America. Read more.
Full-time RVing: Compatible with partner?
At some point in many RVers’ lifetime, there comes a time when they consider going full-time. And when they do, it can be a long process as there’s much to think about: finances, communications, bill paying, getting rid of “stuff” — the list goes on. One little “item” that’s often forgotten, however, is whether they will find happiness together on the road. Here from Russ and Tiña De Maris are some things to consider on a personal level.
Camp Under The Stars And Stripes With 10% Off!
Camp under the stars and stripes this summer in some of the most desirable vacation destinations. Enjoy everything you love about the great outdoors and plan your next getaway on RVontheGo.com. You’ll find the best in cabin and RV camping in more than 180 locations across the country. Click here to receive 10% off of your stay today!
Want cold food & drinks? Keep your RV refrigerator happy!
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, wrote this article while serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. RVers are fortunate to enjoy a wonderful lifestyle — and the equipment that makes it possible. This includes the RV absorption refrigerator, which is completely different from the machines we have at “home.” Here are some things you can do to help keep the RV refrigerator running at peak efficiency for many years. Learn more.
“Not enough free time to go where I want — What to do?”
That’s the lament of Rich “The Wanderman.” He really enjoys traveling in his RV but just can’t seem to find the time to get away, due to his work and various people who currently count on him. He’s asking for your advice on maximizing his minimal RVing time and what he might expect in the years to come. Read more.
Stay in a Conestoga Wagon
Hey, pardner. How’d you like to pretend you’re a pioneer, traveling across the Prairie, dodging buffalo, and sweating in the brutal heat of the vast, hostile American West? Well, no need to pretend — just head over to Pennsylvania’s Delaware Water Gap-Pocono Mountain KOA, and there you will find a genuine Conestoga Wagon, the “RV” of choice back in the mid-1800s. Read more.
Dueling dual batteries? Here’s a fix for your tow vehicle
Many diesel tow vehicles have dual starting batteries — it takes a lot of muscle to turn over that starting motor and fire up the glow plugs. But how do you take care of dual batteries? Find out here.
Proposed NM campground to aid overcrowding
With the successful addition of a swimming area in Farmington Lake in Farmington, N.M., the town is now considering adding a dry campground, according to a report by the Daily Times. A new campground means more sites to help with existing overcrowded parks. Read more.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. 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.
Thor recalls some 2018 motorhomes
Thor Motor Coach is recalling 148 model year Outlaw 29H motorhomes. Instead of a 2 amp fuse, the affected vehicles were built incorrectly with a 15 amp fuse for the awning light. If the awning light circuit short circuits, the incorrect fuse may increase the risk of a fire. Learn more.
Entegra recalls some Cornerstone motorhomes
Entegra Coach is recalling 174 model year 2012-2015 Cornerstone motorhomes built on a Spartan Motors chassis. A component within the starter motor may break, potentially resulting in the starter motor overheating or drawing excessive current. A starter motor that overheats may increase the risk of a fire. Learn more.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at more than 570 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 a video interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The prettiest town in every state
The United States is still one of the greatest places to live and travel, with more beautiful cities and towns than anyone can imagine. Here is one town from each state which offers something enchanting and unique, and some suggestions for activities and local attractions to enjoy while visiting these beautiful locations. From The Daily Meal and msn.com.
Recipes from the RV Goddess. Along with great-sounding recipes, get tips and recommendations for cooking in an RV and organizing an RV kitchen, free downloadable checklists for meal planning, shopping and more, as well as some RVing and grandmotherly advice along the way.
Summer travel destinations in all 50 states
Have you planned your summer travel yet? “From majestic national parks and awe-inspiring natural wonders, to vivacious metropolitan cities or serene seaside towns, America is packed with options that will satisfy your craving. All you have to do is decide where to go and how to get there.” Oh, wait! You already know how to get there! From PopSugar and msn.com.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
RV Parts and Accessories
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.
Ask the RV Shrink
How common is RV drivers’ road rage, and what can be done?
Dear RV Shrink:
I have an ongoing problem with road rage. He sits right next to me in the motorhome and swears a blue streak at the outside world as we drive down the road. If we are in rural areas he seems like a perfectly normal, compassionate human being. When we get into heavy traffic congestion, construction zones, or have to turn around because of a missed turn, he goes nutso! … Can you help us? Is this a normal RV symptom? —Blue Streak in Biloxi
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.
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.29 (on June 26). Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 4 cents.
Diesel: $$2.47 (on June 26). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 4 cents.
Secrets of RVing on Social Security
Author Jerry Minchey takes you on a journey that lets you discover how you can travel around the country and live the fascinating RV lifestyle for far less than it costs to live in your sticks-and-bricks home. Among other things, he shows you step-by-step how to enjoy the RVing lifestyle while traveling and living on just your Social Security income. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Make towels stay where they belong
Towels fall off towel bars in transit? Get some sticky-back Velcro tape and stick the prickly side up on the towel bar. Towels don’t run away!
Easily reach otherwise out-of-reach controls
Some motorhomes and fifth wheels have high ceilings. For those of us who are “altitude challenged,” reaching the switch on the bathroom fan can be like reaching the unreachable star. Get a 4-foot section of one-half-inch dowel rod, stick a rubber furniture glide on it, and use it to hit the switch. Bore a one-fourth-inch hole in the other end to turn the vent crank.
Pet microchip registry information
Remember to keep your address and other information up to date with the registry for your pets’ microchips. Otherwise, how will your lost pets be able to find their way back to you? Thank you to Bob and Brenda R. for this important reminder!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Easy way to carry, install your hitch
HitchGrip is the clean & easy way to safely carry & install your trailer hitch. It’s ergonomically designed, making moving & attaching the ball mount easier than ever! What was once a greasy job is now a neat, clean & simple task. HitchGrip makes it easy on your back, too. Watch the video or click here to learn more.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Want to find me? Look for my flag
If you’ve been to Quartzsite or an RV rally you’ve seen lots of RVs flying flags of all types from long poles extending way above their rig. They are more than just decorative — they also enable you to identify and find your rig from among the many parked helter-skelter across the desert floor or in a crowded rally parking area. The San Diego-based FlagPole Buddy people have now solved the puzzle of how to mount a flag anywhere on your RV. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
How to remove in-dash TV
We’re new to RVing. We haven’t even taken it out yet as we are learning about our unit. Love the newsletter and have learned a lot, BTW. We have a 2005 Fleetwood Terra 26Q. We want to remove the in-dash TV. We got it loose but can’t figure out if it is wired in or plugged in somewhere under the dash. It is in an awkward spot under the dash. We had thought of just cutting the wire from the TV and putting an outlet on it so we could plug something in that big hole in the dash. Hubby is a retired contractor and can do anything, but we are stumped. Don’t want to wreck our new baby. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. —Joan
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.
with Bob Difley
Fisherman Bill asks where to fish and boondock
Hi Bob — I like to fish and I like to boondock. But I don’t know how to find quiet places where I can do both. If I do find a spot I have no idea whether I am permitted to camp there or whether I’ll be thrown in the hoosegow, and usually there is no one around (I like that part) to ask. Any suggestions? —Fisherman Bill
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Fire Tower reward for hiking the Escudilla Mountain Trail.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Propane running low? This will tell you!
With this Dometic LPGC10 LP Gas Checker you can instantly monitor your LP tank’s level. It uses ultrasonic technology to tell you in just a few seconds how full – or empty – a propane tank is. It’s about the size of a writing pen and weighs less than ounce, so it’s easy to store. For use on steel and aluminum liquid propane tanks. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
What is polarity?
I hear the word “polarity” a lot, but what exactly is it? Doesn’t the AC power line reverse its own polarity 60 times a second? If so, how does Reversed Polarity cause a Hot-Skin condition? And why do they call it a Hot-Skin condition? Does it electrify anything else other than the RV skin? —Bobbie
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.
Be a hero at the grill with amazing burger maker
You want to be a star at the grill? Then you need this — the Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press. It’s awesome! Watch the short video — you will be impressed! Or click here to learn more or order.
Your RVer Horoscope for July
RV Travel is honored to present to you the RVers’ horoscope for July 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.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Should you “plug” your tire?
Roger was recently asked about plugging tires. He had previously seen a post where the writer said that “plugging a tire can work well.” He says this is just as true as making a statement that you can play Russian roulette and survive. Improper repair can lead to a false sense of security and even to a tire failure which can cause damage or even injury. In this article are guidelines for proper repair of a tire for highway use from a number of knowledgeable sources. Learn more.
Change your own RV tire? Here are tips from Roger if you need to do so.
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.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Always use a water pressure regulator when connecting to a water supply at the campground, and always connect the regulator directly to the campground water source, not at the city water connector on the RV. If you make the connection at the city water connection on the RV, high campground water pressure can build up where it connects to the regulator, causing the hose to swell and burst.
Learn more with Mark’s best selling e-books (instant delivery): Titles include Deep Cycle Care and Maintenance • RV Buyer’s Survival Guide • Complete Guide to Trailer Towing • Dinghy Towing • RV Care and Maintenance • The Three Primary Systems of an RV — LP gas system, water system and electrical system • 101 Tips for RVers • and many more. Click here to learn more or order for instant reading.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Good-as-Gold Pork Chops
Campfire memories make a meaty recipe.
Cook these individual meals in foil on the campfire or grate. Then eat them right out of the foil, just as you did in your early camping days. Juices of the chops mix with the flavors of mustard and creamy mushroom soup to form a delectable gravy. Get the recipe.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Readers need help
Reader complains about foggy double-pane windows
Editor Chuck Woodbury received an email from reader Norman Powers about foggy double-pane windows in his RV. We’re sharing it with you to see how many others have had the same experience. Please leave a comment if you have encountered this problem, and tell us what you did about it. Read more.
Do you have an RV-related problem that you’d like to share with other readers for their advice to help solve? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and it could be featured here.
Two hilarious RV movies!
Here are two of the funniest RV movies ever! “Lost in America” is about a middle-aged couple who sell everything and hit the road in a motorhome. What happens next is hilarious. “RV,” with Robin Williams and Jeff Daniels, is equally funny — an RV movie classic! Order, rent or watch the trailer of “RV.” • Order, rent or watch the trailer of “Lost in America.“
Your smartphone can count your steps
Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, were in Europe for a month recently and did a lot of walking. Their phones counted their steps, and they didn’t have to do anything special — both of their phones came with preinstalled apps that count steps. You don’t need to get a separate app (or a pedometer), either. Learn how to use your smartphone to keep track of your steps.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here are two recent webcasts: Facebook on Mobile Devices – tips and tricks and Smartphones and Travel in Europe. Watch live or archives of past programs.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
RV Travel readers get a 20% discount on Geeks on Tour membership and anything in their store. Just visit the Geeks on Tour store and use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount on anything. For example, an annual subscription to all the Geek’s premium content will be just $46.40/year!
Upcoming RV Shows
• Green Country RV Show, July 21-23, Tulsa, OK
• Midwest RV Super Show, August 10-13, Elkhart, IN
“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.
Good reading from RV123.com
• The popular sporting goods chain Gander Mountain has announced plans to close 32 stores.
• A protein packed update to breakfast hash, this chickpea and vegetable breakfast skillet is a healthy way to jumpstart your morning.
• Named after the explorer who named Florida, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is a perfect destination for your next RV trip.
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.
Free and bargain camping
Wall, South Dakota
FREE: Free parking is allowed in the large gravel parking lot on the west side of Floyd Street between 6th and 7th, a block away from tourist attraction Wall Drug (where the coffee is still 5 cents). Turn off I-90 at exit 110. Located 510 Main Street. GPS: 43.993877, -102.242841
Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel
FREE. Park where directed by Security. Lot is level and well-lit. Reports say only one night, other reports say no limit. Located 7741 State Hwy 72 East (east of Acme). GPS: 44.774836, -85.425869
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.
Half Price RV Camping
RVers who travel more than a few weeks a year will SAVE BIG with a membership in Passport America (the RV Travel staff saved four times the cost of an annual membership on our last trip). Learn more.
Videos you’ll like
• Groovy Winnebago commercial from 1973
See Winnebago’s new lineup including the Minnie Winnie (the first mini-motorhome good enough to wear the Flying W.) Watch the video.
• How to take an RV shower using very little water
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury shows beginning RVers how to take an RV shower using only a gallon of water or less. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
This week in history
Week of July 1–7
Compiled by Dell Bert
1776 — U.S. declares independence.
1890 — Idaho becomes 43rd state.
1930 — Building of Hoover Dam begins.
1937 — Amelia Earhart disappears.
1971 — Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong dies at age 69.
1979 — The first Sony Walkman goes on sale.
1994 — “Forrest Gump” opens.
1997 — Pathfinder lands on Mars.
The oldest known tree in America is a Great Basin bristlecone pine, unnamed, in the White Mountains in eastern California. It is more than 5,000 years old. The next-oldest known tree in America, another Great Basin bristlecone pine, is known as Methuselah. It also lives high in the White Mountains in California. Its age is estimated at about 4,800 years.
Bumper sticker of the week
“Okay, who put a ‘stop payment’ on my reality check?”
Funny/clever business slogan
“Let us lighten your load” —Hey Diddle Diddle Diaper Service (years ago — before disposable diapers)
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Arriving at the scene of a car crash, a paramedic asks the driver, “Are you badly hurt?” “I don’t know,” says the driver. “I haven’t spoken to my lawyer yet.”
Random RV Thought
When you are driving an RV or pulling one and you want to move from the left lane to the right lane, it is a good idea to confirm with your copilot if the lane is clear. But only accept an answer of yes or no. An answer of “I think so” is not good enough and can get your vehicle smacked.
“Just be what you are and speak from your guts and heart — it’s all a man has.” —Hubert Humphrey
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. Administrative Assistant: Emily Woodbury. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(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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