Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 17th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Issue 816 • Week of October 21–27, 2017
SHOP AT AMAZON
and help support this newsletter!
If you shop at Amazon.com, would you please visit there through this link? We’ll get a small commission on your purchase(s), which helps support this newsletter. You’ll pay the exact same price as clicking directly to Amazon. Please consider bookmarking this page for your future Amazon.com purchases. Thank you!
An easy way to remember how to shop at Amazon through our link is to simply click to http://rvtravel.com/amazon .
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
When I bought my first motorhome 35 years ago I envisioned a life on the road as a roving reporter. My 18-foot RV would serve as my office, newsroom, darkroom and residence. Not much has changed through the years except my motorhome is now 14 feet longer and I no longer need a darkroom.
I never intended to become a consumer advocate for RVers. For about 25 years I assumed all RVs were well made (except my first one … long story). There was almost never an issue back then getting a last-minute campsite, even in popular National Parks. Reservations were rarely necessary.
Times have changed: The quality of new RVs today has declined dramatically. And finding an RV park to stay a night or two has gone from easy to incredibly challenging, in some cases next to impossible.
I find myself the lone voice in the industry talking about RV quality and crowded campgrounds. Read the letter I wrote this past week to the communications director at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, where I outlined my concerns.
The solutions are far from simple. One huge problem is RVers themselves. The RV industry has done a superb job of selling the romance of RVing — ah, “travel where you want, when you want … and, hey, it’s the cheapest way to travel” (all not true for most RVers!). Ninety percent (my estimate) of would-be RV buyers have no clue that the RV they see on a dealer’s lot or at an RV show could be junk, or at least built so cheaply or with such shoddy workmanship they could face ongoing repair bills to make it roadworthy or keep it that way.
RV manufacturers have perfected the “bling” by making even the least expensive coaches look dreamy. They cut corners and offer incentives to their workers to work fast, then rush the RVs out the door often without a final inspection. Way too many buyers are willing to plop down six figures on a 15- or 20-year payment plan without knowing what they’re buying.
Read the horror stories we received last week from our readers about RV quality. Another reader, who I will not identify to protect his livelihood, has spent more than a decade delivering trailers and motorhomes. He told us:
“Some of the motorhomes I deliver today, I just think to myself that some nice person who has saved all his working years to buy an RV to fulfill his dreams is going to buy a nightmare. And the RV manufacturers couldn’t care less and the dealerships are not much better. More than once I have thought about selling RVs but I could not bring myself to deceiving the public just to make money for myself.”
He added: “We are told by the transport company not to tell the dealerships about any of the problems we find in our inspection of the unit before we leave the factory. But I do just the opposite because I feel it only right for the dealership to know.” (Read more of what he wrote where he outlines some of the serious defects on the RVs he’s delivered.)
NOW, ABOUT YOU: You may have a wonderful RV that has never given you problems. And where or how you camp seldom, if ever, requires a reservation. The industry does, in fact, mostly turn out good products. The problem is they too often turn out crap. If you enjoy Russian Roulette, then buying an RV today is a fun game.
BLOWING SMOKE? Some of you think I’m blowing smoke, to which I say: Just wait a few years after 1.5 million new RVs are unleashed onto America’s roads and campgrounds, with barely any new campsites. RV parks — most mom-and-pop operations — are pleased as punch with their packed crowds. Many are bulldozing over RV pads to make room for cabins, which are more profitable to rent than campsites. And as demand for campsites increase so do prices. Lucky you and me!
THE WAY I SEE IT: There is no RV-specific media (other than RVtravel.com) with any influence writing about the problems in the industry. Bloggers and advertising-supported websites (that’s virtually all of them) write glowing stories. Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines are owned by Camping World, and you’ll seldom, if ever, read anything in either that would offend an advertiser or Marcus Lemonis, the CEO of Camping World and the Good Sam Club, who, by the way, has never even owned an RV.
So who’s left to say anything? Just little ol’ us, I think. And, frankly, we couldn’t write honestly (I’ll explain what I mean by “honestly” another time) if not for the nearly 2,000 of you who support us as voluntary subscribers (roughly 3 to 4 percent of our readers) or by shopping through our Amazon affiliate program. If we lost all our advertisers we’d still plow ahead because I know more of you would step up with your support. I discussed this further in the special video I sent to our supporters on Thursday. If you have pledged a voluntary subscription or shop regularly though our Amazon program and did not get an email alert with the video link, please let me know at chuck (at) RVtravel.com to get future editions.
Oh, before I go, a reminder: Please sign up for our new RV electricity newsletter by Mike Sokol, the nation’s authority on electricity as it applies to RVs. The first issue is next month. Learn how to avoid electric-related damage to your RV or even to yourself or family. Read our story about four-year old Landyn Keener, who died by simply touching his family’s RV due to a hot-skin condition. (Mike and RVtravel.com are committed to educating all RVers about hot-skin conditions, and hopefully save some lives.)
U.S. hackers attacked big this week
Slimeballs in the USA tried 3,440 times this last week to hack RVtravel.com. Turkey came in second with 121 attempts. Hackers from China tried 109 times. The Russians were back after an absence of a few weeks with 94 attempts. Hah! Too bad for all of them: RVtravel.com is equipped with super protection to keep these creeps away. And even if they hacked in, they wouldn’t find any info about anybody. We don’t store emails, credit cards, names of readers — nothing of value except a lot of great info about RVing. And they don’t need to hack us to find that!!
Letters to the editor (your comments are welcome)
• Readers’ tales of woe about the quality of their RVs.
EARN EXCELLENT MONEY RENTING OUT YOUR RV
Is your RV just sitting around?
Rent it. You’ll be amazed at how much you can earn! The owner of a Class A motorhome, for example, could earn up to $4,520 a month. Own a popup trailer? It could bring you $1,780 a month in rental income. Join thousands of happy RV owners making real money! Learn more at Campanda.
Support Honest Journalism
The staff of RVtravel.com works hard to bring you an honest, unbiased, valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their “voluntary subscriptions.” Even a pledge of $5, $10 or $20 a year is appreciated — that’s for more than 50 weekly issues! Many readers set up an ongoing subscription, most $5 to $10 month. Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to please advertisers and RV industry big shots. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. The Answer: Necco Wafers. Win this Lasko Personal Heater. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question: In the 1930s Admiral Richard Byrd took 49,026 rolls of what candy to the South Pole? The answer is somewhere 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 Monday 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: Jerry Griffin of Thornton, Colo. He won the important book No Shock Zone RV Electrical Safety, by Mike Sokol.
Total registrations of new motorhomes for the period of January through August blasted ahead more than 12 percent compared to the same time last year, according to statistics from Statistical Surveys Inc. But keeping the race going were Class C sales, up nearly 24 percent. Class A units were virtual boat anchors, up a mere 0.2 percent.
Canada’s towable RV sales through August were going strong. Compared to the first eight months of 2016, sales were up more than 8 percent. Travel trailers showed a nearly 10 percent gain, while fifth wheels climbed nearly 4 percent. On the other hand, pop-ups fell off more than 7 percent, while park models were flat. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
The RV industry hopes to profit two ways from the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. The first way is obvious: Sell more RVs for displaced families to live in. The second, a little more subtle: Convince displaced workers to move to Indiana to fill open job slots on RV production lines. Elkhart County’s economic development officials are spending nearly $100,000 on an advertising campaign to try and entice folks from hurricane-ravaged states to move to Indiana and take jobs.
Portland, Ore., rolled out the welcome mat for people to live in RVs and tiny houses on private property. In a move that suspends enforcement of ordinances against it, up to three RVs or tiny houses can be accommodated in a business or church parking lot, and one at a residence. The move is to provide breathing space while Portland officials try to come up with solutions to the area housing crisis and homelessness problem.
Several of the campgrounds in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service have closed for the winter. They include: Bayview, Fallen Leaf, Kaspian, Meeks Bay, Nevada Beach and William Kent. Expect most roads to be closed in the unit by mid-November.
If you thought you’d seen all the “bling” possible in RVs, hang on. Get ready for the latest “wave” of high tech – in the bathroom. Dometic is rolling out its “Moderno” toilet and “HandWave” control panel. A ceramic throne with a “slow close seat with silent performance” promises you won’t wake up a sleeping spouse banging that lid down. And don’t worry about touching the thing to flush it, just wave your hand at the control panel. And which flush? That you’ll have to choose. Will it be Gravity, VacuFlush, MasterFlush, or the amazing RushFlush? We kid you not – high tech (and pretty likely high prices) coming soon to an RV bathroom near you.
A scenic stretch of California’s famed Highway 1 might just get a little more room for overnighting RVers. The state’s park service owns a stretch of coastline near Piedras Blancas and has plans in the works for a future five-acre campground with 29 campsites. The $40,000 tab for campground planning has already been paid for with a public grant. But, no timetable as to when the campground and other associated developments might happen. (Photo shows elephant seals on the beach at Piedras Blancas.)
The Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma County, Calif., played host to evacuees from the California wildfires that have been raising havoc throughout several counties. About 50 RVers and at least one tenter took up the raceway’s offer to put up evacuees near Marin, but the facility closed Monday. Evacuees are still being welcomed at Sonoma Coast and Salt Point State Parks.
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.
Devastating weather isn’t necessarily the kiss of death for a public campground. Witness Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama. In 2011, tornadoes wreaked havoc on the campground there and occupancy fell to just 8 percent. After upgrades to utilities and tree replanting, however, the park has turned the corner – with a likely profit of $150,000 or more this year.
Here’s a rarity: Fort Morgan, Colo., officials have opened a free RV dump station, available 24/7. You’ll find it at 710 E. Railroad Avenue near the Senior Center.
TV station KSWT in Yuma, Ariz., reported Tuesday that winter visitors are already filling up some Yuma RV and mobile home parks, well ahead of the normal snowbird season.
A Cal State Chico fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, has been ordered to put in 9,800 hours of community service work and pay more than $8,000 in restitution and court fees after cutting down trees in a Tehama County, Calif., campground in April. The group initially denied vandalizing the campground in the Lassen National Forest during an outing, but changed their story and pleaded guilty when they landed in a federal courtroom.
What if they opened the campground, but nobody came? That’s the question in Cattaraugus County, N.Y., after officials started a pilot program for fall camping for two weekends in October at the Onoville Marina on the Allegheny Reservoir. Ninety-two sites are available, and county officials are touting the beautiful fall leaves, but so far, of the 2,000 hits on the park’s Facebook page, none has turned into reservations.
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 buy at Amazon.com.
Five families of Florida law enforcement officers displaced by Hurricane Irma now have temporary places to live, thanks to a Davie, Fla., RV dealer. RV Sales of Broward donated new RVs to the five families, with the assistance of a law enforcement friends group that developed a list of families in need.
It wasn’t just those flying ships that were ballooning at the recent Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – so was one full-time RVer – for a while, at least. Clementine Baksteen was at the festival while very pregnant – so pregnant, in fact, that she delivered Cecilia with the help of hired midwives in the family fifth wheel, while Cecilia’s two older siblings watched the “special shapes balloon glow” with friends.
Effective November 9, it will be illegal to park an RV on the streets of Novato, Calif. Residents can obtain permits “for loading, unloading and cleaning purposes.” City councilors voted four-to-one in favor of the ordinance at the insistence of local residents.
Attention, would-be crooks: Think twice about stealing RVs from repair shops. Katy, Texas, police have a man in custody who didn’t take that advice. Instead, Craig Dwayne Johnson of Sealy, Texas, broke into a motorhome at a repair facility at a truck stop and made off with the rig. He didn’t get far: One of the rear wheels on the “getaway rig” fell off, bringing the getaway to a quick stop. His feet didn’t do him much better, with police scooping the hapless heister and delivering him to jail.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
How many slideouts does your RV have?
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:
What model year is your RV? Click here for the results.
Thor recruits 5th graders to work on RVs
Is that true? Is finding RV workers in Elkhart so difficult that child labor is being considered? Well, don’t fear, it’s not going to happen any time soon (probably never). Still, why were reps from Thor at a grammar school trying to talk kids into joining their ranks? Read more and watch a TV news report.
The readers write – Do RVers need a saint?
This week’s compilation by Russ and Tiña De Maris of recent readers’ comments covers the subjects of poor RV quality, RV repair shops, composting toilets, and some concern about the negativity (i.e., honesty) of some of RVtravel.com’s articles regarding (have we mentioned this?) poor RV quality, plus some thoughts on how to bring about change in the RV industry (“Saint Chuck”?). Learn more.
Get more from your RV trip – Sit a little longer
Russ and Tiña De Maris reflect on their recently completed two-month, almost-5,000-mile road trip. Things didn’t always go according to plan (sometimes, far from it), but did it spoil their trip? No way! And what did they learn for next time? Maybe you have already come to this realization when traveling. Read more, and please leave your comments.
Truck camper owners: Check those rims!
Truck camper owners, you pack a lot of weight in the bed of that pickup truck. With that in mind, there’s plenty written about the need for checking tires, knowing your load weight, and never, ever exceeding the load capacity of your tires. But there may be another area of concern that comes from this reported tale. Important safety information!
Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. 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 at the Wade Maid website.
Is a pure sine wave inverter really needed?
Rich “The Wanderman” discusses uses in the RV for small pure sine wave inverters. The 12-volt system in any RV takes care of most of our camping electrical needs, but having 120-volt house-style electrical power is very useful. Rich has used a modified sine wave inverter, but he recently picked up a 300-watt pure sine wave inverter and wired it directly to the main 12-volt fuse panel in the RV. Does he recommend it? Find out here.
It pays to stop at tourist bureaus and visitor centers
All area attractions at one time or another offer either discounts, free days, two-for-ones, or other incentives. Always check at every tourist bureau and visitor information location you find and ask about your specific interests – as well as some things you may not have an interest in at present yet you may find interesting and entertaining. Learn more.
Do you use an EMS surge protector on your RV?
Many RVers use an EMS surge protector when they hook up their RV to shore power. EMS means Electrical Management System. Some units are built right into an RV, others are portable and are plugged into a power pedestal and then the RV’s electrical cord is plugged into that. Do you have one of these devices on your RV (you should!)? Take our quick survey and learn how other readers respond.
How well do you know your putty tape?
If you do much RV maintenance or repair, chances are good you’ve encountered “putty tape.” This sticky material is a regular performer between windows and walls, roof vents and roofs, and a host of other places where a gasket-like substance is needed to help seal out moisture. For our purposes, there are two types of “putty tape” in play: regular and butyl. How do you decide which to use? Find out here.
Waterless trap for your RV plumbing system
Make foul smelling odors a thing of the past!
Already used by major RV manufacturers, the revolutionary HepvO waterless trap is a fantastic alternative to a conventional ‘P’ trap and it won’t fail due to evaporation, movement, freezing or leakage. Its unique membrane prevents foul air from the gray water tank entering your RV and its in-line design helps create extra storage space! Save 10% off all purchases before 11/30/2017 using code RVTRAVEL10. Learn more.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments
• RVs without slideout toppers: Do they leak?
• What model year is your RV?
• Reader letter: “Stick to basics or lose me as a reader“
• RV Electricity Newsletter by Mike Sokol – What’s new, you?
• Reader opinion: Want better quality RVs? Then pay up!
• Solar Basics – Know how to determine your solar system.
More popular articles from last week’s issue
• Couple disagree on what’s important to haul in RV.
•Campground bathroom warns: Don’t drink from the toilet!
• Can black tire “covers” be used without causing damage?
• Are tribal fuel stops a bargain?
• Losing water from fresh tank vent on steep grades?
• Explaining converters, inverters and generators – Part 3.
Need an RV Home Base?
Then you need Americas 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 Americas Mailbox owner Don Humes. Or click here to learn more or enroll.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Click here to see many submissions from our readers about their RVs.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Crashing in the Walmart parking lot
Dear RV Shrink:
We are rather new at RVing. I know many people stay overnight in Walmart parking lots but it makes my husband nervous to spend a night in Walmart or any parking area. It’s not crime or security issues with him, it’s runaway shopping carts. …
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 best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. He covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. This should be essential reading for all RVers. Learn more or order
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.49 (on Oct. 16). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 23 cents.
Diesel: $2.79 (on Oct. 16). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 31 cents.
TODAY’S DEALS ON RV PARTS & ACCESSORIES AT AMAZON.COM. Click.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Quick-disconnect fitting on your water hookup
If you have a quick-disconnect fitting on your water hookup, these hoses can be unhooked instantly to fight a fire. If a nearby coach is burning and you cannot move your coach but can safely stay close enough to keep it hosed down, you may be able to save it. 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.
The Most Scenic Drives in America
The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic road every time. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured road trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Get water off your slideout easily
In wet conditions, before retracting your slides, raise or lower the front end of your trailer and almost all the water will run off the slide before it comes in. —Thanks to George B., Casey P., and others who mentioned they do this when their slide doesn’t automatically tilt when being retracted.
Easy way to check electrolyte level in “house” batteries
Are your “house” batteries located in such a way that it’s hard to see the electrolyte level when it comes time to check them? Fred C. knows your pain, and has one commercial solution. “I found a product that is relatively inexpensive, readily available, and very easy to install. It is the Qwik-fill by Flow-rite. This device comes in various configurations for different size batteries and is expandable if you add more batteries. It is available from Amazon.com, Camping World and a host of local RV parts dealers. After using this device for two years, I wouldn’t be without it!” Thanks, Fred!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Solar flashlight and multi-function safety tool from Renogy
With the spate of emergencies that are plaguing communities this year, putting together an emergency kit for your RV or home would seem like a good idea. One of the items to include is a reliable flashlight. Renogy manufactures the E.Lumen multi-functional solar-powered flashlight. It also has side LED lights to provide lantern light for reading or performing tasks, as well as being a multi-functional safety tool for your vehicles, with a magnetic mount, seat belt cutter, glass-breaking hammer, flashing red lights and compass. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Keep insects and bird nests out of your RV furnace
Wasps, mud daubers, birds and rodents pose a serious threat to the furnace on your RV. They can enter through the furnace vents. Their nests can interfere with air flow and cause serious damage. Camco 42141 (Model FUR 200) Flying Insect RV Furnace Screen fits Duo-therm and Suburban furnace vents. Camco offers several furnace screens so check that this screen will fit your vent. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
How to safely jack up a travel trailer
I have a 24-foot Keystone Zeppelin travel trailer with tandem axles. I would like to know the best way to get all four wheels off the ground at the same time to service wheels, besides rolling onto blocks to get one axle at a time. The axle owner’s manual says not to jack on the axles. Where is the best place to jack and block for wheel service? —David L.
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
Fill your free time with an interesting hobby
My husband and I have been full-timing for several months. When we first started we rushed to see as much of the country as we could cram into our days. But we’ve settled down now and find ourselves with an abundance of free time. It occurred to us that we now have time to pursue activities and interests that we never had time for before. What do other RVers do with this suddenly realized free time? —Vicki
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
WINTER IS COMING SOON:
Check out this huge selection of RV covers.
with Mike Sokol
Power pedestal testing (including at COE campgrounds), Part 3
Here’s Part 3 of Mike’s article about testing power pedestals, which includes at U.S Army Corps of Engineers (COE) campgrounds that won’t allow you to use your own meter probes. They insist that since these campground pedestals are checked for proper operation yearly there’s nothing to worry about. This trend of not allowing you to use meter probes on a pedestal is for another discussion, but Mike has found a pretty slick way to get around the measurement issue that’s better in the long run. Learn more.
BONUS: No fear. An inspiring story
Mike Sokol is our expert on RV electricity and the editor of our new newsletter on the topic. He’s not well known in the RV world outside RVtravel.com, but he’s a superstar in the professional audio industry. He’s an engineer by trade … and he’s even run the sound for Oprah and three U.S. Presidents. He wrote an essay several years ago that is so uplifting and inspirational we asked Mike if we could share it with you. Read this amazing story.
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.
Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Will the “correct” tire pressure issue ever be resolved?
Roger, do you think the tire pressure issue will ever be resolved to people accepting the values recommended by the tire manufacturers based on actual loading? Or will some always be confused between the tables, the placard and quotes of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards from some on the forum? It seems so simple and logical, but some just don’t get it. …
Clear Gorilla Tape to the rescue
This works, and it’s half the price of most other awning repair tapes. It’s not just great for awnings, but tons of other surfaces. Watch the video or click here to learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Miser’s Minced Meat Curry
Curry favor with easy elegance. Stretch your budget with affordable ground beef, pork or turkey to make an exotic and elegant curry. It’s one of the most versatile one-dish meals to serve in RV travel. Spoon curry over steamed rice, noodles, pasta, mashed or baked potatoes or toast. Get the recipe.
RVtravel.com Readers’ Favorite Recipes
with Emily Woodbury
Ray’s Easy Homemade Bread
A few years ago I spent the summer in Vermont participating in a farming and sustainable food systems program. It was such an eye-opening experience: living off the land and farming precisely what we needed to survive. When we wanted bread, we made it, and when we wanted butter for that bread, we made it from buttermilk from the cows in the back.
Read more and get the recipe here.
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.
with Geeks on Tour
Google Voice breaks the shackles of your phone number
Would you like to: (1) Have one phone number that rings on multiple phones? (2) Have a phone number that spells something meaningful to you? (3) Receive a written transcript of your voice mails? (4) Use your computer to make phone calls? (5) Get a phone number with a different area code from where you bought your phone? You can do these and more with Google’s Voice service. It’s especially useful for RVers who are constantly traveling and don’t want to be tied down. Learn more in Chris Guld’s article.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
Astronomy for RVers
with Chris Fellows, Serenity Mobile Observatory
Let the stars be your road map – Part 3
This week Chris takes us in the opposite direction from Polaris, which was last week’s topic, to find a new constellation, one new guide star, and a fantastic object for small telescopes or binoculars, Messier 3. That is the object that sent Chris to the road of the night sky in 2003, when he had just bought his first “real” telescope, and made him the amateur astronomer he is today. Maybe you’ll end up hooked on astronomy like he did. Read more.
[Editor: The photo is not of this week’s topic. It’s just a magnificent shot which Chris captured recently and posted on his Facebook page.]
Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000-square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order
“See where you’re going to stay. . .”
RV Park at Circus Circus, on the Las Vegas Strip, NV
“Formerly a KOA location, the RV park at Circus Circus changed names a couple years ago. However, what did not change is its great location right on the Las Vegas strip. Take a look at this urban RV park by clicking here.“
Bryce View Campground, Kodachrome Basin State Park, UT
“This is the primitive fallback if the other campground in the park is full. It has more expansive views looking towards Bryce Canyon. Huge sites with lots of room. If you have an onboard generator and don’t want hookups this is a more interesting option. See it by clicking here.”
The motto of CampgroundViews.com is “Look Where You’re Going.” See videos or photos of nearly 16,000 campgrounds and RV parks “as they are,” not as shown in fancy, often misleading brochures. Learn, too, about amenities (water, sewer, pool, pets, cable, Wi-Fi, etc.). Do you own an RV park you’d like spotlighted on CampgroundViews.com? Contact Mark (at) campgroundviews.com
Extend the life of
your wiper blades!
Over time, pressure on your wiper blades during storage can cause them to break down and crack. Camco’s Wiper Stand-off Wedges lift the wipers and remove the pressure, helping to extend the life of your blades. Perfect for RVs in storage. Simple to use. Learn more or order at a great low price.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Video of the Week: How to Get Unstuck from the Mud
• RV Dealer Donates Campers to Displaced Police Officers
• Featured App: iN-Command Lite
Essential for big RVs!
2018 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this is for you. The truck driver’s road atlas shows all the highways you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Walmart Supercenter # 1241, Davenport, IA
FREE: Overnight RV Parking is allowed; obtain permission from the store. Park in W or NW part of the lot, away from the store; don’t park in Walmart truck route on N end of lot & don’t obstruct traffic lanes in any way. Well-lit, with level areas near W edge. Quiet and appears safe. Burger King within a short walk. Address: 5811 Elmore Ave. GPS: 41.58147, -90.52653
Husky Travel Centre, Osoyoos, B.C., Canada
FREE: Overnight RV Parking is allowed. Permission from the manager on duty required. Signage indicates 8-hour parking limit, but the manager will grant permission for longer, provided you depart by 8 a.m. Park in SW corner of the lot behind Travel Centre. The lot is level, well-lit, quiet, and appears safe. Dump station is free. Address: 9206 – 97 Street. GPS: 49.036159. -119.478733
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.
Get ready for winter
Keep your water flowing in freezing temps with heated hose
Camco’s Heated Water Hose provides safe drinking water in freezing temperatures by combining a drinking-water-safe hose with a self-regulating heat source encapsulated in an all-weather, PVC coating. Operates on 120VAC/1.3 AMPs. Made in the USA. Learn more or order at Amazon.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Panhandle RV Show, Oct. 19-22, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
• Tampa Bay Fall RV Show,Nov. 9-12, Tampa, FL
• West Palm Beach Fall RV Show,Nov. 9-12, West Palm Beach, FL
• Palm Springs Area RV Show & Sale, Dec. 7-10, Indio, CA
ANSWER TO CONTEST QUESTION:
Admiral Byrd brought along 49,026 rolls of Necco Wafers (2.5 tons worth!). That worked out to about a pound a week for each of his men (and dogs) for their two-year stay in the Antarctic.
Easy way to add water to your batteries!
Never, ever, let your automotive or RV deep cycle batteries run out of water. Here’s a simple way to keep them topped off for maximum performance and long life. Just use this syringe with distilled water. So easy. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
This week in history
Week of October 21–27
Compiled by Dell Bert
1861 – Western Union completes first transcontinental telegraph line.
1904 – New York City subway opens.
1931 – George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River is dedicated.
1945 – The United Nations is born.
1946 – “Wheel of Fortune’s” Pat Sajak is born.
1962 – President Kennedy announces blockade of Cuba during Cuban Missile Crisis.
1969 – “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” opens.
2003 – The Concorde makes its final flight.
The tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant, and its heart is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and can weigh up to 992 lbs. Its aorta, the major blood vessel of the heart, is big enough for a human child to crawl through.
Bumper sticker of the week
RVers rock & roll, swing, sway, jerk, shimmy, shake, twist, jitter …
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen at a ranch supply store awhile ago in Cedar City, Utah: “C-A-L Ranch Stores – Great place to pick up chicks.” Thanks, “Full-time Tourist”!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
A doctor left his stethoscope on the car seat, and on the way to preschool his little girl picked it up and began playing with it. “Wonderful!” thought the doctor. “My daughter wants to follow in my footsteps!” Then the child spoke into the instrument: “Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?”
Random RV Thought
Now might be your last chance this year to camp in many public campgrounds. Many are still open, with no crowds. But any day now, after winter storms arrive, most will close. So enjoy them now while you can.
“Adventure is worthwhile.” —Aesop
Missing Children Report, October 19, 2017
RVers get around. They not only see a lot of beautiful scenery, but a lot of people too. With 50,000 of us keeping our eyes open, maybe we can help find a missing child. Click here to see six of the currently missing children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help bring them home?
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Chris Guld, Julianne Crane, Chris Fellows, Wolfe Rose and Andrew Robinson. 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.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
This newsletter is copyright 2017 by RVtravel.com