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Issue 805 • Week of August 5–11, 2017
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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
What you are reading here is not a blog. We call it a newsletter, but it’s also a magazine, the efforts of many writers. A blog reflects the voice of one person or a couple. Many readers of this newsletter have blogs. In them, they tell where they’ve been and what they’ve done. Most often they do it for themselves and for friends and family.
RVtravel.com is the voice of many contributing writers including countless comments each issue from readers. We were already publishing when the first “blogs” debuted. Twelve of us work on the actual staff, some part-time and a few full-time. In addition, we have an IT person who keeps our website running smoothly and a bookkeeper who helps us stay solvent.
This issue, number 805, began last Sunday, when our managing editor Diane McGovern posted the shell of what would become, six days later, what you are now reading. The shell has space for my essay, news, ads and our other features. Throughout the week, various writers and editors post their articles. Russ and Tiña De Maris gather up most of the news, although we all pitch in. By about midday Friday, the gaps are filled and everything is in place. Diane and I then polish things up, trimming wordiness, and fixing grammar and typos.
An email goes out to more than 50,000 of you in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The first surge of readers begins on the East Coast. Between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m, about 100 readers check in each minute. A trickle of traffic begins earlier from readers in the UK and across Europe.
I wake up early Saturday morning, most often in the West, and say a little prayer that all is well — that our server didn’t go down overnight or that I didn’t make a major goof (when I do, a few dozen emails will await, telling me so).
HOW WE PAY OUR BILLS
We earn about a third of our income through the sale of advertising. Another third comes from commissions we receive on items you purchase at Amazon.com through our affiliate program. With rare exception, those Amazon ads are not paid for in the way an advertiser would pay for space. We only make money on the Amazon ads when a reader clicks to the website and purchases something. On average, we make about a dollar for each item sold. It’s not much, so we need to sell a lot of stuff. Hence, you normally see a dozen or more Amazon “ads” in each issue. We try our best to showcase items you will find useful.
The last third of our income comes from your “voluntary subscriptions,” which have become critical. About four percent of our subscribers have pitched in with one-time or ongoing contributions. We understand that most people won’t pay for something they can get for free. However, we feel strongly that we are worthy of support, whether $5 , $10 or $25 a year. Some readers pledge a few dollars a month. We are grateful to those generous readers, perhaps you, who choose to provide the support that frees us to spend more time writing stories than selling advertising.
We could earn significantly more money by accepting advertising from RV manufacturers. But do you know what happens when you do that? They expect you will only say nice things about their products. And that’s why advertising-supported RV magazines are too often less than honest with their reviews: They will tell you what’s good about a particular RV but conveniently avoid mentioning what’s bad and risk losing the advertiser.
BEFORE THE INTERNET CAME ALONG, I spent my working life editing and publishing periodicals in the physical world — those published on paper. Today, I try my best to abide by the rules and ethics I learned along the way, beginning in my college journalism classes. It’s always tempting to cross the line, for example to accept money to write glowing product reviews, which is epidemic on the Web. We receive such requests every day, and we always say no. It’s tempting, too, when someone offers us thousands of dollars to email their advertising message though our 50,000-strong (and growing) mailing list. I told readers when I started this newsletter 16 years ago that I would not do that and I have stuck to that promise.
As you read through this issue, pay attention to the names of the writers and their credentials. They are all experts. We know from letters that our columnists’ advice has not only helped our readers enjoy their RV travels more, but do so safely. Our columns on RV electricity by Mike Sokol have saved lives. We know because readers have told us.
RVtravel.com is not just a hobby. It’s a serious business. We will continue to address difficult issues that other RV media are afraid to touch. This country, for example, needs more campgrounds and RV parks to accommodate the nearly half million new RVs sold each year. And we need better ones: There are too many dumpy ones as is. We need better quality control by RV makers, and we need RV lemon laws, which the RV industry association fights whenever they’re proposed (the last thing a manufacturer wants is to allow a customer to return an RV that’s so badly made that it can’t be fixed). And buyers of new RVs need to be better educated before plopping down six figures on an RV only to discover it’s not right for them or riddled with defects.
The RV lifestyle is wonderful. But there are problems in Paradise, and my staff and I will try our best to influence positive change. The more readers we have, the louder our voice. And that is why we periodically ask you to please tell your friends, club members, Facebook friends and any other RVers or wannabees you know to sign up for this weekly publication.
P.S. RVers are out and about a lot. We see beautiful scenery, but we also see a lot of people. It occurred to my staff and me recently that perhaps our readers could help in the search for missing children. And so, each week, beginning this issue, we will post photos and information about six kids who disappeared and have not been found. Please take a minute to study their faces. Perhaps with our 50,000 readers keeping their eyes out we can help reunite a lost child with his or her family. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
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.
Demand for National Park Senior Passes taxing supply
It still costs $10 for a lifetime Senior Pass to American National Parks. But not for long. On August 28, the fee jumps to $80. Publicity over the dramatic price hike has sent eligible citizens flocking to National Parks and other NPS sites to get one. The demand has been so high that some parks have run out of passes with only weeks to go before the price hike. Read more.
Comprehensive list of RV-related recalls for July
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Jayco, Keystone, Lance, Newmar, Thor and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries, please. The answer is: When Mama yelled for her son “Billy” both he and the goat came.
Win this Stanley 40-piece socket set. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What is the secret phrase listed far below? Email your answer to RVcontests (at) gmail.com. We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.
Last week’s winner: Donald Walsh, of Pensacola, Fla. He won the cool Rechargeable Portable Mini USB fan.
RVs continue to fly off the assembly lines, says the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. Wholesale shipments of RVs to dealers in June are on a high — overall, 47,416 out the door, up more than 18 percent compared to June 2016. Towables are tops — 42,240 units showing a 20 percent jump over 2016. Motorhome were much slower, at 5,176 coaches, but still showing an increase in shipments of 6 percent.
Grand Teton National Park (Wyo.) officials are gearing up for what they figure will be their busiest day in history: August 21. The park anticipates hordes of humans will storm the park in search of a glimpse of the solar eclipse. Rangers have set aside five special viewing areas, and all staff will be on hand to help direct traffic. Hoping visitors will have a “realistic expectation” of what the day will be like, a park spokesman used the term “gridlock traffic,” and recommended bringing a full gas tank, food, water, medications and, of course, suitable viewing glasses — even if you can only roll down your window to view the eclipse from your car.
Outdoor recreation is big money. In the United States, it directly accounts for 7.6 million jobs, $887 billion in consumer spending, and contributes $268 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in state and local tax revenue. Source: Outdoor Industry Association
An American couple RVing in British Columbia is getting partial credit for saving a cyclist from a grizzly bear. Donald Poster and Cassie Beyer were near Radium Hot Springs when they spotted the bruin chasing a man on a bicycle down the highway. Poster steered the coach in, honking at the bear. Two other drivers spotted the action, and one attempted to put his vehicle between the cyclist and the bear. Between horn-honking at what must have appeared to the bear to be weird human conduct, the bear stopped the chase long enough for the cyclist to make an escape.
Police in Utah’s Sanpete County are warning RVers about a rash of burglaries and potential arson cases involving rigs parked and left unattended in the county’s rural areas. One RVer reported his trailer was cleaned out, including “even a couple of bags of marshmallows.” Others have seen valuables taken and huge amounts of damage left behind. At least one RV was torched by arsonists, with another under investigation as a possible arson case.
You can camp for free at scenic Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in rural San Diego County if you’re willing to help clear vegetation and maintain trails on Saturday, Aug. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Teens 14 and older are welcome with a guardian. Pre-registration required. Learn more or register.
Drivers crossing the Golden Gate Bridge got an unusual view Wednesday morning when an RV crashed into an unmanned booth on the toll plaza. No one sustained serious injuries but the only door to the vehicle was ripped off in the impact and the vehicle was wedged into the toll booth, trapping the two occupants inside, according to the California Highway Patrol. Several agencies extracted the RV in less than an hour. The cost of damage to the toll plaza was not immediately available. Source: SFGate.com
Winnebago’s Middlebury, Indiana, plant has been fined $10,000 related to the death of a plant worker who was killed when run over by a forklift in April. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the RV builder for not operating the forklift at a safe speed, and for a windshield on the lift adversely affecting operation.
Eclipse campsites available!
Family and senior friendly!
Oregon Eclipse Camp is releasing a limited number of camping spots near Unity, Oregon, directly in the center of the totality path for the upcoming August 21 solar eclipse. Easily accessible by paved road, with spacious pull-thru and back-in RV sites, Oregon Eclipse Camp is offering families and seniors an eclipse viewing experience away from the commotion and bustle! Learn more at OregonEclipseCamp.com or by emailing info(at)oregoneclipsecamp.com .
Say farewell to the name “Onan.” The Cummins Onan brand genset has been a standby for RVers for decades, but parent company Cummins Inc. says it is retiring the Onan name and replacing it simply with “Cummins.”
Michigan state parks are under attack — by bugs. Invasive insect species are playing havoc with trees in the parks, from ash trees (emerald ash borer), to oaks (oak wilt), to evergreens (hemlock woolly adelgid). Now maples are in the insect crosshairs, with the Asian long-horned beetle looking to be the next Park Enemy Number One. Park officials are contemplating new rules that would outlaw firewood not certified as heat-treated. Trouble is, there are presently only three producers of the “safe” firewood in the entire state.
Since the city of Los Angeles (Calif.) is having a hard time getting decrepit RVs towed off the streets, a councilman has come up with an idea he hopes will resolve at least part of the problem: Make it easier for street-dwelling RVers to dump their holding tanks. The suggestion is that the city partner with dump station owners to take vouchers from RV dwellers who are on a waiting list for housing services.
A Gig Harbor, Wash., family escaped with minor injuries after their SUV pulling a trailer crashed on Interstate 90 in Eastern Washington Thursday night. According to the Washington State Patrol, the GMC Yukon was headed westbound on I-90 when the trailer began oscillating back and forth. The driver lost control, crossed over the freeway and crashed in the median, just west of the town of George. Troopers said the SUV and trailer detached from each other before the crash. Troopers said the driver was going too fast. He was cited for negligence. Source: KOMOnews.com.
Not only do grasshoppers jump in North Dakota state parks, so do the fees. As of August 1, the entry fee rose $2 to the new $7 price. Come November 1, the annual pass fee shoots up $10 to $35.
Ever seen a pink travel trailer? You might have if you were in Windsor, Calif., recently. Not only a pink trailer, but there were 13 other pink vehicles, sidewalks, bushes and streets. The color change was attributed to a firefighting tanker aircraft, which somehow dumped 100 gallons of fire retardant on the not-on-fire residential neighborhood while making an approach to a nearby airport. Local firefighters came out and washed down the colorful rigs. According to authorities, the retardant is harmless to humans.
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.
Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.) joins other public treasures reporting an increase in visitor-created vandalism. An archeological site was dug up, ancient charcoal removed from it, then used to post names on rocks. Other rocks in the park have been “painted” evidently as clues in a scavenger hunt. Park officials are quick to point out that those damaging resources are a small minority, but pleads with other visitors to immediately report vandalism.
A Texas family that earns its living by appearing at renaissance fairs pumped $80,000 into a new fifth wheel [brand unknown to RV Travel] to live in and travel about the circuit. Not long after the purchase, Bryan and Brittany Beard noticed water leaks from the walls. The manufacturer agreed to allow a local shop to fix the problem, but not long after that, more issues: Some of the rig’s flooring felt “soft.” This time, the selling dealer looked it over and found black mold and rotting flooring. The dealership couldn’t promise much — particularly since the family needed the rig for work. The dealer asked for “an open checkbook” to cover repair costs. The Beards asked a local TV station for help — and the dealer refused comment. Case closed? Nope. Shortly after the station attempted contact with the dealer, the Beards got an offer from the dealer to buy back the faulty rig, and sold them a new unit for a bit more than they paid for the bum rig.
The Royal Canadian Mounties always get their — bear? It would seem so, based on the story from Waterton, Alberta. Authorities were called when a young black bear came into the village, a place where bears are not welcomed by locals. A team of bear “hazers” was sent in to discourage the bear, and one of them, an RCMP officer in traditional red serge uniform, was spotted chasing the young bruin — a sight not soon to be forgotten by visitors.
Escapees RV Club is rolling out a new benefit for members. Escapees Healthcare Solutions includes an option of enrolling in a variety of wellness service insurance products, and one of them is Affordable Care Act-compliant.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
How would you describe the quality of workmanship on your RV?
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:
How many RVs have you owned in your lifetime?
Click here for the results.
Alternative locations to view the August eclipse
With the August 21 eclipse getting closer, state and national parks in the path of the solar event’s totality are ramping up for huge crowds. Planning on watching the eclipse but unsure of where to go? Here’s a resource that you may not have thought of: U.S. National Wildlife Refuges. Learn more.
Yet another report of overcrowded campgrounds
Editor Chuck Woodbury has received yet another email about the current crowding in campgrounds and RV parks. He has experienced the same frustration as Brian and Sue Robertson express here.
RV parts catalogs and Internet can save cash
Go into nearly any RV parts store and ask for something other than a common part and you’ll be asked to come back to get it the next day. How come? Well, most mom-and-pop RV supply outfits can’t stock everything that could be needed, so a few major parts warehouses supply smaller retailers. And a lot of those retailers give away big, glossy catalogs filled with colorful photographs of RV stuff you never knew existed. But those catalogs can help you save money on the stuff you need. How so? Find out here.
RV through national parks and greet heroes of our past
National Parks celebrate our history as a country. The parks tell a story of our past, adventure and accomplishment. National Parks honor the place, as well as the people, that make our history so important. Here is a list of eight parks that honor a few of our heroes – the people that made our country so proud and strong. Read more.
Don’t get stuck — Have a “Plan B” when boondocking
If you’re a boondocker or thinking of boondocking, you could have a problem. Boondockers are generally adventurous, curious, bold and sometimes daring. Those characteristics can often get you in trouble when you discover a dirt road that just must be explored or a beach that is calling out your name. Boondock Bob Difley relates some of his adventures that made him realize it’s important for boondockers to have a “Plan B.” Read more.
Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintains clean sensors, eliminates odors and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.
What’s causing a sweating mattress?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question about a sweating mattress from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. The reader complained that when someone slept on the air mattress of the fold-out couch the mattress would sweat, so they had to dry it every morning with a hairdryer. They asked Chris for a solution. Read Chris’ response.
Seven brutally honest truths about full-time travel
Carson Vaughan and Melissa Dohmen are two full-timers formerly from Nebraska. After renovating their 18-foot travel trailer, they hit the road with their dog for adventures to come. Here is a set of reflections penned by Melissa about the realities of full-time RVing. Read more.
Three tips to survive a severe storm in an RV or tent
What do you do when a big storm is on the way? Or when you’re in a campground and in the distance the sky is black and menacing? Here’s some excellent advice including a tip about one electronic device you must have aboard to help ensure your safety. What you’ll learn here could save your life. Read more.
Feeding your dog table scraps? Be careful!
Recent surveys at RVtravel.com have shown that about half our readers travel with a pet, most with a dog. This advice might save those dogs a bad tummy ache or even death. Learn more.
RV Mods: Remove and replace rotted flooring
Those who love — and preserve — an older RV often find a painful reality in their treasure: soft spots in the flooring. The problem is usually traced back to a water leak that’s compromised the integrity of the floor. Replacing a bad spot in the floor is challenging, but not impossible for the do-it-yourselfer. Russ and Tiña De Maris will walk you through the process.
The Final Solution for RV Roof Problems?
Ask any RV owner and they’ll probably tell you that their roof is what worries them the most. Mother Nature will test your RV roof. Even the smallest crack may leak, and cause thousands of dollars in water damage. Then there are interior stains, mold and mildew, and sidewall lamination decay. Want protection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the life of your RV? Here’s how to get it.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Learn more about recent popular articles through what readers added with their comments
• National Parks to get millions for maintenance.
• How many RVs have you owned in your lifetime?
• Reader complains about foggy double-pane windows.
• Before driving RV, please engage brain.
Time to leave work behind — take the family and relax around a campfire this Labor Day weekend! Make lasting memories at your favorite RV Resorts. Book your Holiday weekend today, sites are filling fast! Click here to reserve your stay today!
Websites of the Week
Here are several we like:
Scenic summer road trip ideas for a small budget
Here are suggestions for 25 road trips to take this summer, no matter where you are in the country. From GoBankingRates and msn.com.
50 foods, 50 states: The must-eat roadfoods across America
After four decades traversing the country in search of America’s best food, Jane and Michael Stern know a thing or two about eating well on the road. They’ve written the award-winning Roadfood books — the go-to, indispensable guides to the best bites along America’s freeways and backroads alike. Check out the Sterns’ picks for can’t-miss food in every state and learn some tricks to picking out the best place to stop for a meal and what to order. From PopSugar and msn.com.
The best lakes in all 50 states
Looking to spend summer days on or in the water? Even in land-locked states there are plenty of sites for swimming, boating and other aquatic adventures. Here are some of the top lakes in each state. (Be sure to check for beach and park closings before making plans.) From Cheapism 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. (There are 150 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday, August 4 — 16 more than last Friday.)
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
RV buying dilemma — Couple can’t agree on type to purchase
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I are on the verge of becoming RV owners. The biggest roadblock turns out we cannot agree on which type of RV to buy. I want a 5th wheel and she wants a motorhome. I tell her we get a lot more living space in a 5th wheel for half the money. She wants to be able to get up and move around while I drive. How do others work this out and agree on a rig that makes everyone happy? Please let me hear from you soon as I have a tight wad of money burning a whole in my pants pocket. —Anxious in Austin
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.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.35 (on July 31). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 19 cents.
Diesel: $2.53 (on July 31). Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 18 cents.
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 an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 3 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
The more “automatic” your response is to a fire alarm in your coach, the better. To help make your response more automatic, establish a fire escape plan and have fire drills regularly. The first step to developing an effective fire plan is to make sure everyone is familiar with at least two escape routes — one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children to open hatches and emergency exits. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors.
America’s Largest RV Show coming September 13–17, 2017
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.
RV Quick Tips
It’s important to know your location
Always know the name and location of your campground including your site number (and GPS coordinates if possible). If it’s a public campground with no street address, then know which highway it’s along and the direction of the closest city. In an emergency you may have to call for help. If you don’t know where you are, you may have a serious problem.
Carry spare cable connectors
RVer Jim Long depends on RV park-provided TV cable. Arriving in a park he expected to find the female connector at his site box, but nope. Somebody had wandered off with the connector — leaving him looking silly with no way to hook up. Jim recommends carrying spare connectors in your tool box to cover such a contingency. Good suggestion, Jim!
Important, easy, electric safety tip
Switch off the circuit breaker at the shore power before plugging in! When leaving, switch the circuit breaker off before unplugging. Just for fun, note the times that you pull into a campsite and the breaker is still on. That tells you that the previous occupant really didn’t know what they were doing, was living dangerously, and had not read this tip! Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
How to Save LP Gas While Dry Camping
Dry-camping RVers tend to get paranoid about LP gas usage, so being efficient is important. The Truma AquaGo® instant water heater provides such efficiency. With it, a 20 lb. LP bottle can provide 20-minute showers for 30 days, so dry campers need not worry about using hot water when they need it. Learn more here.
A quiz just for fun
WHO MADE IT?
This futuristic motorhome was built for the model years 1973 through 1978 by a major automobile manufacturer. It was not designed to be simply a “camper,” but a vehicle for comfortable travel as well. In all, nearly 13,000 of the vehicles were produced. But which company made it — Chrysler, Ford or GMC? Click here to respond and learn the answer.
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!
Gizmos and Gadgets
Build an instant campfire with Pull Start Fire
This may be one of the easiest ways yet to build a campfire, assuming you don’t have the ability to shoot flames out of your hand like Iron Man. And there are times – when it’s cold, windy, maybe raining, or the kids are clamoring to toast marshmallows – when it is not fun, efficient or expedient to follow the usual fire-building rituals. Keeping a few Pull Start Fires in your emergency kit could make fire building much easier – and more fun. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Keep critters out of your RV!
The best rodent and insect control is keep them out of your RV to begin with! A mouse that gets in through an opening the size of a dime can chew on wiring and cause major damage! Great Stuff foam sealant forms a long-lasting, airtight and water-resistant barrier to keep out what you don’t want in! Learn more or order.
SECRET PHRASE: When Mama yelled for her son “Billy” both he and the goat came.
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.
Multipurpose Microfiber Duster
No more car wipes to dry up — this duster replaces all interior car products. The 10-inch dusting head is big enough to get your dash dust-free quickly, but small enough to leave in your glove box. The back of the duster doubles as a scrubbing sponge. Great for interior or exterior use on cars, RVs, motorcycles or in the home! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Locating 12-Volt DC shorts in an RV
Can my 1986 Yellowstone travel trailer have a positive grounded electrical system? When I wire it as a negative ground, I keep blowing 40-amp fuses. Also, would I be better off to use a standard battery charger than the converter? —Hank H.
Every RVer with 30-amp service should have this on board
Don’t use a wimpy extension cord! Get this!
Don’t be caught short when you hook up to power. And don’t use a wimpy extension cord that could get overloaded and damage your appliances or, worse yet, cause a fire. Camco’s RV 25-foot, 10-gauge, STW 30 AMP PowerGrip Electrical Powercord with handle is perfect for RV use. If your coach is wired for 30 amps, you need this. Learn more or order at a big discount.
Is your coach wired for 50 amps? Then here’s your cord.
with Bob Difley
“Older woman” considers “fantasy” of solo RVing
Following my husband’s unexpected death last year I decided to retire, sell everything, and travel full-time in an RV doing all the things and seeing all the places we planned to do before our plans were cut short. My question is, is it just a foolish fantasy for a single older woman (I’m 61) to set out traveling around the country in an RV by myself? —Sarah
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob’s Blog post: This land is our land.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Need a Mail Forwarding Service?
Then you need America’s Mailbox! You’ll enjoy great tax advantages with your South Dakota “residency” like no state income tax and low insurance rates (second lowest in the USA says the Insurance Information Institute). Many plans are available. Click the video where RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury talks with America’s Mailbox owner Don Hume. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
with Mike Sokol
Campsite power pedestal safety: “open ground” danger
Yesterday we arrived at a Corps of Engineers campground in Florida and after connecting our 50-amp power cable with a Progressive Industries Surge Protector, we had the power to the coach shut off. I checked the Progressive unit and it was indicating an error code PE2 — Open Ground. I immediately informed the office at the campground, by phone, of the problem. A short while later I walked to the office and spoke with the desk personnel there about the problem and briefly described the potential for RV hot skin, fire and/or electrocution that can be a result of an open ground. The individual seemed to have knowledge of these issues but told me that an electrician would not be coming to troubleshoot the pedestal until the next day. … —Max
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.
Guide to RV Camping in State Parks
Learn about more than 1,730 state parks, forests & recreation areas for RVers. Book includes maps, locator charts, reservation & fee info, plus contact details & website. Plus park location, directions, GPS coordinates, contact info, type of hookups, season, RV length limit & availability of showers, dump station, Wi-Fi, etc. Learn more or order.
Your RVer Horoscopes for August
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for June in last week’s newsletter? No problem. He anticipated that (he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Tips on setting your Tire Pressure Monitor System
Roger is a strong supporter of having all RVs equipped with Tire Pressure Monitor Systems. Since 2004, cars and many pickups with ratings less than 10,000 lbs. GVWR have come with TPMS installed by the factory. But RV companies have not been providing TPMS even as optional equipment from the factory, so RV owners have had to make the purchase and install the warning systems themselves while ensuring the warning levels are appropriate for their RV. Roger carefully explains how he set his TireTraker TPMS and hopes it helps you to understand how to correctly set your TPMS. Learn more.
Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Never use oil-based or abrasive cleaners on awning fabrics. Clean and thoroughly rinse both sides of the awning fabric. Carefully follow all awning and cleaner manufacturer directions for the type of fabric you have.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
An inspirational book about RVing
“Travels with Charley in Search of America”
When you ask most RVers if there was one book that inspired them to take up RVing, it’s John Steinbeck’s classic road tale, “Travels with Charley.” The famous author set off in the early 1960s in a home-built camper with his poodle, Charley, to “find America.” And what he found makes for a delightful read. Get this for yourself or as a gift. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Buttery Crab Bog
Imitation crab makes a budget meal.
Inexpensive imitation crab takes on a gourmet disguise with the addition of white wine. As an alternative, make up a cup of liquid starting with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Then fill the cup with water. The crab and crackers are already salted, so don’t over-salt this dish. Complete the plate with a hot, green vegetable and sliced tomatoes. Get the recipe.
Keep your fridge in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution. Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And the good part is the price tag: about $5! (the RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Cottage Grove historic district’s public murals
Near I-5 in western Oregon
Large-scale public paintings are “the people’s art works.” Many smaller communities across America are enhancing their downtowns with huge murals that reflect the historic events of their region. Cottage Grove, just south of Eugene in western Oregon, is one such community. With a population of around 10,000, it is home to 20 murals that tell the town’s stories and “colorfully illustrate” the community’s character. Read more in Julianne G. Crane’s article.
Compact Crock Pot is great for RVs
If you’ve ever cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker you know how handy they are for preparing stews, soups, dips, pulled pork, etc. Well, this compact, 1.5 quart cooker is perfect for RVs, where space is often limited. And the price is right, too — less than $14 the last we looked. Read more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Sadler Travel Plaza
Dunn, North Carolina
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. Park among trucks at northeast end of property rather than in larger truck lot in back. Dump station, free. Level, well lighted, appears safe, with noise level of a fairly busy truck stop. Located: Exit 75 off I-95. GPS: 35.319200°, -78.576000
Camden U.S. 79 Rest Area
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Rest area is a closed loop, off and well separated from the highway. Park along edge of oval drive. Located on SE side of US 79, 1 mi southwest of junction with SR 376, or 12.7 mi northeast of center of Stephens, AR, serving traffic from both directions. GPS: 33.530600°, -92.922370
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
• Ten tips for hot weather RVing
Mark Polk has tips about keeping cool when things get hot. Watch the video.
• How to set your RV mirrors for safety
Walter Cannon of the RV Safety and Education Foundation has advice. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Upcoming RV Shows
• Midwest RV Super Show, Aug. 10-13, Elkhart, IN
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
• Portland Fall RV Show, Sept. 14-17, Portland, OR
• Fall Maryland RV Show, Sept. 14-17, Timonium, MD
• Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, Sept. 22-24, Indianapolis, IN
Be safe along a busy highway
It will happen one day. Your RV will blow a tire or you’ll have a mechanical problem that will force you to stop alongside a busy highway. It’s dangerous out there, and that’s why highway workers wear a reflective safety vest to be extra sure they’re seen! Amazon has a large selection of safety vests for as little as about $5. Keep one of these in your RV and one in your car or truck. Be seen, not smashed. Learn more.
This week in history
Week of August 5–11
Compiled by Dell Bert
1782 — Washington creates the Purple Heart.
1821 — Missouri enters the Union – the first state located entirely west of the Mississippi River.
1861 — Lincoln imposes first federal income tax.
1914 — First electric traffic signal installed (Cleveland, Ohio).
1957 — American Bandstand goes national.
1962 — Marilyn Monroe is found dead.
1974 — Nixon resigns.
1995 — Jerry Garcia dies.
2000 — Bridgestone/Firestone recalls 6.5 million tires.
Australia’s 31,000-mile-long coastline is connected by more than 10,000 beaches. That means you can go to a new beach every day for more than 27 years!
Bumper sticker of the week
I don’t need Google. My husband knows everything.
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen at a couple of air conditioner companies: “Your wife is HOT — Better get your A/C fixed.” Thanks to Kevin P. and Steve H.!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A Texan farmer travels to Australia on vacation and meets a local farmer. They get to talking. The Aussie shows off his huge wheat field and the Texan says, “Oh! We have wheat fields twice as large.” Then the farmer shows off his cattle. “We have longhorns twice as large as those,” boasts the Texan. A few minutes later the Texan spots some kangaroos hopping through the field. “And what are those?” he asks.” “Don’t you have any grasshoppers in Texas?” asks the Aussie.
Random RV Thought
There is no such thing as the perfect RV. There is always something you wish was a little different. Maybe it’s a bigger bathroom, or a softer chair, or more cupboards. Maybe you’d prefer a different color on the exterior or a wood floor instead of carpet. Maybe it’s a motorhome that needs a bigger engine. Maybe the bed is positioned so it’s hard to make. About the best you can hope for in an RV is about 90 percent of what you would consider “perfect.” If you do better than that, you’re fortunate.
“No man can, for any considerable time, wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
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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