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Issue 802 • Week of July 15–21, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Finding a campsite is harder than ever. With a half million new RVers on the road each year, and virtually no new campsites, it’s getting crowded, often difficult to find a space without a reservation months or even a year ahead. Here are a few resources that I use that may help you find a campsite, whether for a night or a season.
RVparkReviews.com is excellent. It lists virtually every campground and RV park in the USA with detailed info on each. Reviews from RVers who stayed are very helpful for determining what to expect if you choose to stay.
OvernightRVparking.com, a membership site ($25 a year), is the best source of places to stay for free or $20 or less. Some listings are out of date, but most are current with detailed information, updated by members. FreeCampsites.net is similar with free access, but the information is not as reliable.
Allstays.com is an excellent resource. Many RVers rely heavily on it. Its listings of parks is extensive. It also profiles freebie locations like Walmart. Get the app.
ForestCamping.com is THE source for camping on U.S. Forest Service Lands. Fred and Suzi Dow have completed research on 155 national forests, 20 national grasslands, one national tallgrass prairie and 2,383 developed campgrounds. Each campground listing includes up to 55 fields of information.
Campsite Photos: This website provides a photographic peek at public and private campgrounds. It includes only photos, no videos. Some listings have dozens of photos, often of individual campsites, but many locations have no photos yet. This is a work in progress.
Trailer Life Directory: This is the only print directory left these days. Now renamed the “RV Travel and Savings Guide,” it’s the size of a big telephone book and contains information and reviews of most commercial RV parks as well as some public ones. This is always useful to have along as a quick reference. I’m not convinced the information is always accurate: A big ad, I suspect, buys a better rating. Available at Amazon.com.
KOA Directory: This annual publication is free at any KOA campground. Just stop by and ask for it. It lists all KOAs in the U.S. and Canada and includes a road atlas of each state and province.
Passport America and Escapees publish directories of parks where their members get discounts. Most stand-alone GPS devices will also show RV parks along your route. My basic Garmin Nuvi GPS has come in handy many times.
And don’t forget to use Google Earth or Maps to observe parks from a bird’s-eye view. You’ll usually get a good idea of how spacious the sites are, the surrounding area, as well as if the park is by a busy highway, railroad tracks or airport runway.
NOTE: If you do a search on Google for RV parks, you’ll often see a sponsored ad for the Ultimate RV Camping, which claims to list 17,382 campgrounds. Do not get suckered into paying for this. It’s worthless.
HOT LED LIGHT!
Have you ever had an LED light go bad and get very hot? The light in this photo started blinking Wednesday night. When removing the cover I noticed that only a few of the yellow elements were lit. Then, when I grabbed the light to remove it, I nearly burned my fingers: it was too hot to hold! I thought, “This could be a fire hazard.” Have you had this experience? If so, would you please let me know at chuck (at) RVtravel.com? This may merit a story.
MORNING PERSONS: The verdict is in! Seventy percent of the readers of this newsletter consider themselves “morning persons.” Eleven percent say they’re night owls. See last week’s survey results here.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Is reading this newsletter
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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 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.
Hurry! Cost of National Park Senior Pass going up next month!
If you don’t already have your $10 Senior Pass from the National Park Service make sure to get it before the new price increase on August 28, when the price will jump from $10 to $80. Since 1994, the pass has been an incredible bargain for U.S. citizens and permanent residents 62 and older. Learn more.
Read about why we do
this contest, week after week! CLICK HERE
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner. No more entries, please. The answer is: “Mike’s pet hamster Harold the Great annoyed Pam.“
Win this swell Roy Rogers and Dale Evans CD. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What is the secret phrase found somewhere below in this issue? 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.
The governing board of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has agreed to let members vote on whether to open the motorhome owners club to towable owners, too. Members will receive ballots in the September, October and November issues of the club’s magazine. The voting deadline will be November 30. A simple majority is all that’s needed for the change. To learn more, watch this video with former president Charlie Adcock, recorded at the group’s January gathering in Arizona.
This might be time to rethink travel plans to British Columbia. A province-wide state of emergency was declared last weekend as at least 200 wildfires are blazing across the province, many deemed “out of control.” Evacuation orders have been declared for Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton, 105 Mile House, 108 Mile House, and 150 Mile House. If you’re planning to travel there, check in advance.
Political wrangling in New Jersey that killed off July 4 holiday state park vacations left a lot of unhappy campers. Now the state says they’ll get their money back — after a bit of foot-dragging. Those who reserved with credit cards will see their fees come back after a two- to three-week delay. Those who paid with cash or check will need to call the office of the park where their reservation was made for. No word on how long it will take for the dough to come back for those folks.
As the RV industry continues to churn out rigs by the score, already-scarce places to use them are getting scarcer. Now Connecticut is wiping out three campgrounds in its state park system to keep up with budget woes. Green Falls (Voluntown), Salt Rock (Baltic), and Devil’s Hopyard (East Haddam) are now shuttered. All other state park campgrounds will bang the gates shut right after Labor Day, with the exception of Rocky Neck and Hammonasset — which will remain open until some time in October. Source: wfsb.com.
A 500-site RV resort in Corinth, N.Y., is under a “boil water” advisory as health officials have found E. coli in the park’s drinking water system. Alpine Lake RV Resort’s water had E. coli but no chlorine — a violation of health codes. The order stays in place until chlorine is back in the water. Additionally, officials have ordered resort managers to get a certified water operator, since there have been water issues at the resort, including four bouts of “boil water” advisories, since 2012.
Alaska’s Walker Fork Campground, 10 miles east of Chicken, has been temporarily shut down. Since early July, a young black bear has been raising a ruckus in the campground by tearing up tents and attempting entry into RVs. The campground will reopen once officials deem it safe.
Tank Sensors Reading Full?
Restore them overnight with Caravan Sensor Cleaner
Caravan’s highly concentrated, bio-enzymatic formula is guaranteed to remove the debris causing your tanks to misread. No driving necessary. No dangerous chemicals. No strong odors. Perfect for full-timers and permanently parked RVs. Learn more or or buy at Amazon.com.
Lose a few, gain a few — at least at Montana’s Finley Point State Park. An upgrade project worth $1 million that calls for tree removal and toilet replacement means that six of 16 existing RV spots will have to be removed. Still, the state says it will add 12 new RV sites in a new camping loop — and the new ones will have electrical hookups.
A new campground is coming to a former Fort Ord firing range in present-day Fort Ord Dunes State Park near Monterey, Calif. The park has four miles of shoreline and is dotted with sand dunes covered in green vegetation and old Army bunkers. The plans include 45 RV sites, 43 tent sites and 10 hike-in/bike-in sites. This is the state park’s largest coastal campground of its size built since the 1980s.
Rockland, Maine’s city council has voted: Effective August 10, local homeowners may live in an RV (or permit immediate family members to do so) only from May 1 to October 31. The catch: There must be a residence on the lot. Not included in the new ordinance: A request from the local Elk’s Lodge that would have allowed RVs to be parked at the lodge facility with proper hookups. Since the local lodge is not a “residence,” it’s not clear just what will happen to members who might want to park there.
A Winnipeg, Manitoba, city councilor’s proposal to allow RVers to park in front of their homes for up to 48 hours to allow packing or unpacking has been shot down by his fellow councilors. Shawn Dobson said the current one-hour parking limit wasn’t enough for RVers to get the job done. But a counterargument was made that if RVers could park for 48 hours, then “graders and dump trucks” could also park for up to two days. RVs can be parked for up to three days on the street — provided they don’t do it more than three times a year, and spend $50 for an annual permit.
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.
Wheelen RV Center in Joplin, Mo., just can’t get a break from folks driving in and starting fires. Last month, an RVer on the nearby Interstate discovered his rig was afire, so he pulled off the freeway and into the dealer’s lot — maybe he thought he could get quick service. The RVer got out okay, and no damages other than the loss of his rig. Last week, a woman driving a sedan swerved and drove into Wheelen’s lot, clobbering an LP tank — filled with 800 gallons of gas the day before. The tank immediately exploded, wiping out the woman’s car and four RVs. The driver was able to get out of the car and is hospitalized with serious injuries.
Here’s a novel legal approach: A Wheeling, W.Va., mother has filed suit on behalf of her minor children after the car they were all riding in was rear-ended by a motorhome. Amanda Weekly says in her suit that Heather Berry is responsible for injuries that her children suffered. What makes the suit interesting is that Weekly doesn’t limit the claim to the motorhome driver — she’s also suing a Montana RV dealer alleging that he “negligently entrusted a vehicle to an incompetent driver.”
A former RV industry honcho, convicted of embezzling $100,000 from an RV dealership, is now on the wanted list and has changed-up his victim profile. James J. LeBelle (44), was put on five years’ probation back in 2014 after he ripped off BR Wholesale RV & Marine in Michigan, where he was company president. Now bicycle dealers across the country are crying out, alleging that LeBelle has been buying bicycles and leaving bogus checks behind. Multiple arrest warrants have been issued for LeBelle, a former cycling sport competitor. If you spot him, inform the local police. Source: rv-pro.com.
A new camping area has opened near Akron, Iowa. River’s Bend Wildlife Area, on Highway 12 west of town, now sports a 10-site campground with electric and water hookups. Fish (but don’t swim) in the nearby lake. Camping is $20 per night.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Do you wear gloves when emptying your holding tanks?
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:
Are you a morning, afternoon, evening or night person?
Click here for the results.
Roadside assistance programs: Which is best?
A reader posted a comment on a recent article asking for help choosing a roadside assistance program. It got us thinking: With so many programs available, which is the best? Choosing one is not a simple decision. Read this article by editor Chuck Woodbury about some options, and then please add your comments. Read more.
The readers write: You may not want to hear all of this
Here are a few of your comments, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, to some of our recent posts, including: request for help with ugly fiberglass “paint” problems, motoring with the mother-in-law, ongoing problems on the RV assembly line, and insurance claims and your RV. Read more.
Preview the solar eclipse from where you’ll be Aug. 21
Have you wondered what the August 21 solar eclipse will look like from where you are now or will be August 21? A unique simulator produced by the Eclipse Megamovie Project – a collaboration between the University of California, Berkeley and Google – has just what you need. You can enter the ZIP code or name of your city or town and see an animation of how the sun will move across the sky over a three-hour period – sped up 1,000 or 4,000 times – and how much of a bite will be taken out of the sun by the eclipsing moon. This is cool! Read more.
RV generator blues: High temps and altitudes
Traveling anywhere at high altitude, in high temps, if you’re depending on a generator to run your air conditioner, can lead to disappointment. Here are some interesting facts about “simple” generators versus heat and altitude, and how to figure out how much generator you need. Learn more.
A Waterless RV Wash & Wax!
Spit Shine has more emulsifiers than other waterless washes. It traps and lifts dirt to leave a clean, scratch-free, glossy surface. Great for when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a water hose. Requires just a damp, and a dry, towel. Watch Wade clean all RV surfaces. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Spit Shine at the Wade Maid website.
Club provides support for women RVers
Twenty-five years ago, while traveling cross-country by RV, Zoe Swanagon and Lovern King rarely saw other women traveling alone with recreational vehicles. They also found that RV parks and camp activities were usually aimed at couples. Read how the now-popular group, RVing Women, the only international support network solely for the woman RV enthusiast, was begun in 1991.
RVing with dogs in summer: Avoid pet heat stroke
Our surveys at RVtravel.com reveal that half our readers travel with a pet, most often a dog. Now that summer is upon us, it’s time to pay special attention to hot weather and how it can hurt, even kill, our furry best friends. Here are tips to keep your pet(s) healthy and happy in the heat.
Which big box stores allow overnight RV ‘camping’?
Jim O’Briant, of Overnight RV Parking, runs down the list of popular big box stores (and a restaurant chain) that do or don’t allow overnight stays. Most RVers know that Walmart is usually accommodating, but what about the other big chain stores? In this short video, learn which ones are RV friendly.
Own a pickup? Want to RV? Get a truck camper
Editor Chuck Woodbury reminisces about his first trip as an RVer in a borrowed truck camper. It was nothing fancy —no bathroom, no shower, no heater. But it had a double bed over the cab and a tiny kitchen with icebox. And, very important, it kept out the cold, the critters and protected him from the rain. He loved it. Read more.
Trouble getting into the driver or passenger seats? Here’s an excellent fix!
As we get older, if we’re lucky our bodies will cooperate with us and keep on going strong, but sometimes this simply isn’t the case. Many RVs, especially Class A’s without driver and passenger doors, are a bit difficult to get down into the front seats — especially with a large engine cover blocking your feet! How can you make it easier to do without too much trouble? Rich “The Wanderman” explains how.
Make your RV life better — with a scissor jack adapter tool!
Here’s an article from Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, which he wrote while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. This handy tool will simplify and speed up setting the scissor jacks. You’ll appreciate this especially in the rain, or when you are putting them back up when it’s raining and muddy with pine needles sticking to everything. 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.
RV product “vanished” from store shelf? Here’s help
You can call Russ and Tiña De Maris old-fashioned. While it seems every product has to undergo at least one “upgrade” every year, they tend to stick with what they know. If you have a product that truly works for you and you can’t find it elsewhere — try the manufacturer directly. Read about how they came to this conclusion after a long, involved search. Read more.
Airstream debuts new heating system
It only takes a quick glimpse of the aluminum to recognize an Airstream trailer. New for 2018, the iconic company is installing Alde Compact 3010 hydronic heating systems with a ready supply of hot water in its luxurious 30-foot and 33-foot Classic models. The new heating system provides soft currents of heat that evenly warms the entire trailer … and delivers immediate hot water for bathing and washing, limited only by the fresh water and fuel supply. Learn more.
Save money when buying LED lighting for your RV
Conserving 12-volt power is one of the many fundamentals of becoming a seasoned boondocker. Replacing the incandescent lights in your RV with LED lights is a great start. It’s as easy as changing a light bulb, literally! Learn more in this article from veteran boondocker Dave Helgeson.
The Digital RVer: Cell phone needs no battery
One thing most RVers rely on more than anything else (but their RVs) is a cell phone to stay in touch with friends, family and the outside world. One problem with cell phones, however, is their batteries can easily go dead. And that can be a huge inconvenience at critical times. So here’s some exciting news. Researchers at the University of Washington have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries. Learn more.
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RVers detail harrowing experience with tornado
We received an email several years ago in mid-June from RVtravel.com reader Coralee Kulman, who reported on her experience during a North Carolina tornado the day before. Luckily, she and her husband were not hurt. We told you about their harrowing experience then, but it’s worth repeating.
Funky, one-of-a-kind RV could be yours
You’ll turn a lot of heads when you pull into the RV park (provided they let you in!) with this beauty — a one-of-a-kind 1959 Plymouth Fury converted into a camper. Now, we ask you, how many 1959 Plymouth Furys do you know of that have a queen size bed, two burner stove — and even the proverbial kitchen sink? Read more.
Forest River recalls 1,400 Coachmen RVs
Forest River is recalling more than 1,400 model year 2014-2015 Coachmen Cross Country and Encounter recreational vehicles, and 2014-2018 Coachmen Mirada and Mirada Select recreational vehicles equipped with the residential refrigerator option instead of the standard refrigerator. The unused, but powered, wiring for the standard refrigerator was left with exposed wire ends. If the energized positive and negative wires make contact, they may short circuit and possibly melt, increasing the risk of fire. Learn more.
Lance recalls travel trailers with welding issue
Lance Camper Manufacturing is recalling some Lance Travel Trailers, model year 2018, equipped with adjustable utility receivers sold as optional or aftermarket equipment. The receivers may have insufficient welds and, as a result, things connected to the receiver such as a bicycle rack may not be properly positioned. If components such as a bicycle rack are not properly supported, they may contact the road, possibly resulting in road debris, increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
Keystone recalling some 2018 trailers for fire hazard
Keystone is recalling certain model year 2018 Dutchmen Coleman trailers. The affected trailers may have been built with incorrect wiring connectors at the air conditioner junction box. The incorrect connectors may result in the wires coming loose and shorting together, increasing the risk of fire. Learn more.
Coolest way to
cook hot dogs!
Is this just about the neatest kitchen appliance you have ever seen? Simply insert two hot dogs and two buns. Then pop ’em down just like with a toaster. Soon, you’ll have a perfectly cooked wiener and toasted bun to eat it with! Watch the video or learn more or order.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The 40 best places in the U.S. to travel back in time
You can learn about history by immersing yourself in a different era by heading to some of the best living-history exhibits, festivals and events across the country. Whether you want to experience traditional colonial crafts or a Wild West gunfight, here are the 40 best places in the U.S. to travel back in time. From Cheapism and msn.com.
The weirdest laws in every state
Over time old laws tend to be ignored (or not as strictly enforced) for whatever reason. So there are some weird laws still on the books in many states, such as: don’t wear cowboy boots in Blythe, Calif., unless you own at least two cows; in Louisiana if you bite someone with your natural teeth it is simple assault, if with false teeth it is aggravated assault; in Washington state, any “motorist with criminal intentions [must] stop at the city limits and telephone the police as he is entering the town” (not sure which town that is); and the list goes on. So as you’re traveling around the country, don’t say we didn’t warn you. From The Daily Meal and msn.com.
Current wildfire information
Complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. (92 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday night.)
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
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!
Ask the RV Shrink
How to deal with noisy neighbors
during campground quiet time
Dear RV Shrink:
We have been RVing for a long time but recently we had an event that was a new experience for us. I thought we had seen it all, but I was wrong. We were in Silver Springs State Park in Florida and about 10 o’clock at night a group showed up to claim the site next to us. They were camping in a horse trailer with a loud diesel truck as a tow vehicle. Without exaggeration, it took them over an hour to back it into a wide, straight site, with little to hit except bushes. For awhile I thought it must be the Candid Camera crew trying to get a stir out of us. … —Coiled Spring in Silver Springs
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.
Truma AquaGo®: Instant, Constant and Endless Hot Water
The revolutionary Truma AquaGo® hybrid instant water heater provides instant, constant and endless hot water. The Truma AquaGo® is the only RV water heater that can be decalcified to extend product life and maintain performance. And its “Easy Drain Lever” makes winterization simple. Use the Truma AquaGo® to replace any 6 to 16 gallon water heater. Find a dealer at www.truma.net
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.30 (on July 10). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 4 cents.
Diesel: $2.48 (on July 10). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 7 cents.
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.
RV Quick Tips
Keep your “lazy Susan’s” contents corralled
Wayne Girard says his wife has found a way to keep the spices and bottles from falling off her galley’s “lazy Susan.” The cagey woman stretches a shower cap over the round table and keeps them from jumping off. Wayne says the cheap hotel giveaway shower caps work best, and they’re clear so you can see through them, too. Thanks,Wayne!
Another great pet safety tip
“In addition to keeping a permanent tag with our cell phone numbers on it for our Shih Tzu, Tiki, we take one additional step to ensure his safety. Whenever we stop at a campground, be it for one night or an extended period of time, we attach a paper tag with the name of the campground and what site number we are in. This is an added level of safety for him in case he wanders off or we are away from our cell phones. Fortunately, we haven’t had Tiki wander off in 10 years but the tags give us that extra peace of mind. —Respectfully submitted by new subscribers to your newsletter. We love it!! Cheryl and Dennis DeNoi” (Thanks, Cheryl and Dennis, and welcome!)
Forward your calls at home to your cell phone
If you have a cell phone and no one is home when you travel, forward all your home calls to your cell phone when you are away from home for long periods. Thanks to Bobbie Verstraete!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Gizmos and Gadgets
Awning De-Flapper reduces stress on you and your awning
When the wind comes up — and it will — in the mountains during a summer camping trip, it will not only be annoying to listen to the flap-flapping of the awning whipping in the wind, but it can also cause the awning to tear. It won’t be necessary to take the awning down to avoid the noise and the rips, only to put it back up again when the wind eases, if you have a Camco RV Awning De-Flapper. 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.
How towns say hello!
You know when you see this “welcome to town” sign that Upton, population 1,100, is proud of itself. Perhaps the town’s most famous claim to fame occurred on an evening in 1892. An always accommodating local resident, Mrs. Nolan, took in a hungry, tired stranger, feeding him and providing a bed. Later, U.S. Marshall Joe LaFors arrived, also looking for food and shelter. Mrs. Nolan offered him the same bed (sharing was a common practice then). It just so happened that the Marshall was tracking the same man, an outlaw, whose bed he now shared. Because neither man wanted to embarrass Mrs. Nolan, they agreed that the Marshall would give his bed partner a one hour head start in the morning.
Motorhome and RV Retirement Living
This highly related book by Jerry Minchey reveals how full-time RVers make their lifestyle work in retirement. Minchey lives full-time in his motorhome. His honest descriptions of the RV lifestyle will answer your most pressing questions as well as those you probably never even thought to ask. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV sealants prevent water leaks
I sure wish I had the ability to attend more of your workshops. Do most RV manufacturers use butyl tape under the items they attach to the exterior of the RV? Is using multiple 1-inch strips under all of the area of the accessory necessary or can I just go around the edges of, say, a 4″ x 4″ item? —Robert W.
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.
with Bob Difley
More on the gray (legal) area of dumping the gray tank
In last Saturday’s Ask BoondockBob column, a reader asked about dumping gray water onto or into the ground rather than driving to a dump station when boondocking. Judging from the response to the question and having written about this practice before, it appears that the question (and lack of good answers) is still paramount in many RVers’ minds, especially boondockers. Here’s further explanation including a letter of explanation from the Bureau of Land Management. Learn more.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob’s Blog post: Do you have your lifetime National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass?
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Keep your RV level
These modular designed Lynx levelers will withstand tremendous weight. Group them into a pyramid shape to the desired height and then drive on. They can also be used as a base for other stabilizing equipment. Use under single and dual wheels, under tandem axles and under jacks. 8-1/2 inch x 8-1/2 inch with 1-1/2 inch thickness to give 1-inch lift. The 10-pack comes in a nylon storage bag. Learn more or order at a big discount.
with Mike Sokol
Using a generator to power a trailer with GFCI outlets
I have a new mobile food trailer with GFCI outlets that is powered by a new Honda EU7000is generator. The last part of my permit process was passing electrical inspection, which I failed. The inspector said the electric problem is the outlets in the trailer having reverse polarity. He used [a light tester] to test the outlets. I had an electrician inspect the wiring and he says it’s the generator not being properly grounded. The place that sold me the generator is saying the generator works fine and has a floating ground/neutral. I am just trying to have my new generator and new trailer work together safely so I can pass inspection. Since everyone is on a different page on this issue, I figured I’d reach out to you. Any advice? —Thanks! Libby
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.
SECRET PHRASE: Mike’s pet hamster Harold the Great annoyed Pam.
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 two ounces, so it’s easy to store. For use on steel and aluminum liquid propane tanks. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
How are RV tires developed?
Roger explains how tires are developed for RVs and some of the various trade-offs the engineer is faced with when trying to meet conflicting goals and customer wants, including how most, if not all, desired performance characteristics are a compromise. Very informative/interesting article. Learn more.
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
As much as we would like to believe that campgrounds are 100 percent safe and secure, don’t let your guard down. You don’t need to be paranoid, just use some common sense. Don’t leave expensive equipment lying around unsecured. Vehicle tow bars, hitches, bicycles and other items need to be under lock and key.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Some like it hot!
We aren’t talking tomatoes from a greenhouse. We are talking hot! Caliente! Scorching! Tongue-tingling heat! This one is for cooks who like to kick it over the goalpost. Now that gardens and farm markets are spilling over with tomatoes we are finally getting our fill of these juicy, healthful red gems. Get the recipe.
Cordless vac gets sky-high rating
More than 12,000 Amazon customers have given this Black and Decker CHV1410L cordless hand vacuum an excellent rating. It boasts lithium technology, strong suction and fade-free power. With a translucent bagless dirt bowl, the dirt is easy to see and empty. Ever-ready, the hand vac can hold a charge for up to 18 months. Perfect for the RV! Learn more or order.
Readers need help
Turbo diesel engine overheats. RVer wonders why
Editor Chuck Woodbury received an email from reader Don Self about overheating problems with his turbo diesel engine. If you would like to offer Don a tip, please leave a comment. Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. 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.
Kill the noise in the RV park
When the noise outside gets too loud for you, just put on these highly rated Sony noise-isolating headphones. They won’t cut out all the sound, but they’ll cut out a lot. Wear them anytime you want some extra peace and quiet. Great on airplanes! Learn more or order.
Taking panorama pictures with your smartphone
When you travel, you get so many opportunities for beautiful photos and, if you have a smartphone, you have one of the best cameras ever made. Taking panoramas is just a simple setting. Find out how to do it in this article from Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here are two recent webcasts: #90 How do I sync my contacts?, and #119 Photo albums with Google Photos. Watch live or archives of past programs.
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.
Good reading from RV123.com
• The Kelty Folding Cooler is a great way to keep your favorite beverages cold without having to haul around a cumbersome hard cooler.
• Chicken and fruit might be an unlikely combination, but this recipe is delicious!
• Parker Dam State Park in west-central Pennsylvania is a great family vacation destination.
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.
Free and bargain camping
Concho County Rest Area
FREE: Overnight stays in RVs okay for up to 24 hours. Parking area is level, quiet and not brightly lit and appears safe. Located along U.S. 87, 6.8 miles west of Eden. GPS: 31.217717, -99.962575
Shelby County Welcome Area (east bound)
FREE. No set maximum time, but authorities may question you over 12-24 hours. Picnic area, dog walking area, restrooms. Located at east bound I-64, Milepost 28.3. GPS: 38.203100, -85.329570
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.
Videos you’ll like
• An alternative to towing a boat
Learn about Porta-Bote. Very cool! Watch the video.
• Cheap device prevents accidental RV sewer overflow
Doug Swarts of Drainmaster.com illustrates how a simple, inexpensive device can save the day (as well as a lot of money on repairs) when cleaning out an RV’s black (sewer) tank. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Upcoming RV Shows
• Green Country RV Show, July 21-23, Tulsa, OK
• Midwest RV Super Show, August 10-13, Elkhart, IN
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
Save valuable space in your
RV with Camco’s Pop-A-Towel
Camco’s Pop-A-Towel is great at keeping paper towels clean and conveniently located. This can be permanently mounted on a cabinet door, wall or under a cabinet. It slides off the mounting bracket to stand alone or carry as needed for your convenience. Great for your RV, home or boat. Learn more or order.
Amazing log RV!
RV Travel reader Richard Hughes sent us this photo of a 1924 Redwood Log Motor Coach. “An uncle, on my father’s side, was an agent at one of the reservations in Washington State and I think that is where this was taken,” he wrote. “The information I have is the tree, at the time it was cut, was 2,100 years old. That would have meant it started growing about 176 B.C.
“The height of the tree from which this log was taken was 287 feet and its base 16 feet in diameter. The front of the log, where it was cut to make the coach, was the part 64 feet from the ground and measured 7 feet 7 inches in diameter. The log portion used for the coach was 22 feet long.” Editor’s note: Do you have a historic RV photo from your family’s album that you’d like to share? Please send to chuck (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.
This week in history
Week of July 15–21
Compiled by Dell Bert
1935 — World’s first parking meter is installed (in Oklahoma City, Okla.).
1955 — Disneyland opens in Anaheim, Calif.
1963 — Jan and Dean’s “Surf City” hits #1 on the pop charts.
1969 — Neil Armstrong becomes first Earthling to walk on the moon.
1973 — Actor and martial arts expert Bruce Lee dies.
1988 — “Die Hard” debuts, makes Bruce Willis a movie star.
1995 — Amazon opens for business.
1999 — John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and her sister killed in plane crash.
Cars have two headlights because horse-drawn carriages had two lanterns. Of course you couldn’t put a lantern in the middle — that’s where the horse goes.
Bumper sticker of the week
Sorry for driving so close in front of you.
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen in Oshkosh, Wis.: On a septic pump truck from Winnebago Liquid Waste company: “Used Food Hauler.” Their business motto: “Used Food Dealer.” —Thanks to Al A. (from awhile ago)
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Two skunks were being chased by a bear. As the bear got closer one of the skunks said, “Whatever shall we do?” The other skunk said, “Let us spray.”
Random RV Thought
The times you wish you had less wood paneling in your RV are when a mosquito is loose at night. It can drive you crazy trying to find the tiny creature on a dark surface. This is the time when you wish all your walls were white.
“In the long run, we only hit what we aim at.” —Henry David Thoreau
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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