Thumbs up – December 2017

Positive comments about products, people and places.
Here are some recent “thumbs up” letters or comments we’ve received from readers of RVtravel.com.

Something worthwhile to do with your “free time”
How about joining us Care-A-Vanners through Habitat for Humanity and building houses for worthy persons who qualify for a house? That’s what we do and it keeps us very busy with something rewarding and beneficial. Neither experience nor tools are required and you will meet wonderful people. Just go to the Habitat for Humanity website for all the details and information —Terry
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A great adventure for stargazers
Another GREAT adventure is the giant Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank West Virginia. It’s dish is about 300 feet in diameter and the feed horn towers about 500 feet high. I was very excited to actually go to nearly the top twice. What a view. There’s also a visitor center with a free museum and a tour bus ($$) to the GBT. Also, every summer a week long star party called Star Quest. Search green bank star quest on Google for info. —Ralph
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Praise for new RV Electricity Newsletter
Thanks for all the great info. Those of us that have been RVing for a long time think we know or have heard everything but a refresher course is always welcome by those of us who are smart. Thanks again and keep them coming. —Jeff
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Another happy full-timer
We full time in our 5th wheel. My wife and I are gate guards with a frac crew. We follow them where ever they go. Sold the brix n stix 5 years ago. I doubt we’ll buy a house again. —Billy
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Surge protectors are necessary
Yep, been using a Progressive 30A portable for about a decade. Saved our rig several times – usually low voltage, but twice high voltages. Also a couple faulty grounds… Great product! —Scott
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Great way to spend the day
I stayed at Davis Mountains State Park 2 weeks ago, and visited the observatory. The state park is stunningly beautiful. For the observatory, I made reservations only 3 days before, for the solar viewing, telescope tours and star party. I was occupied from noon until 9 pm for the grand total of $22. If it had not been for a crowd on a bus tour, I would have been the only one on the telescope tours. —John
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A Quartzsite lover
Enjoy Quartzsite. We have been going there thirty years. Love the place. Everyone has a dusty look. —Ken
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Smart hubby equals happy campers
50 amp service for our 40 foot class A diesel pusher. Why? Because it keeps my wife happy. And that keeps me happy because otherwise I would not get to go “camping”. —Larry


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Advice to future generations
Paid cash for our 2016 5th wheel, which we live in full time. Sorry kids and grandkids, no inheritance, we spend your money on ourselves. Work 3 jobs like we did. —Steven
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A trip to remember
We visited the VLA (Very Large Array, NM) in the late 90s, so fascinating. I don’t think there was a visitor center then, but there were some signs. While we were standing near one of the units, suddenly it started rotating on its base. The door moved around to face us. I imagine now that it opened, but it did not. It was impressive. Another thing I liked about the visit was the open range land. There were cows on the road. —Elaine
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Start your day with a smile
THANK YOU for including Tammy’s article in your post this morning… she is a HOOT! What an artsy, gutsy, phenomenal woman she is! I have bookmarked her blog and will return to it often. So happy that you have daily posts that start my day with a smile. Happy Adventuring! —Ann
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Great campground owners equals return customers
Nice to hear so many positive comments about your readers RV experiences. Recently we were on our way home from visiting Prince Edward Island heading to Long Island NY. We stopped at Pond Parks Campground in Clifton, Maine located on Airline Road. Very nice and clean campground. During the morning of our departure, the power in the motorhome went out. We had full hook-ups. I checked the pedestal and it was good. I went to the camp office and explained my problem. Soon the owner came over to my campsite and began to check all the connections in my motorhome. Next he went outside and when he picked up the power cord, the power flashed on. Turns out the junction box where the power cord enters the motorhome had a loose connection. Needless to say, I will be stopping at this campground again when I travel north. What a great experience to get help from friendly and knowledgeable campground owners who care about their campground and campers! —Roy
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Another surge protector convert
This is my third trailer and we’ve been camping (with trailers) for about 20 years. We do lots of dry camping in forests or deserts or small campgrounds without power… but as we get older we do more and more camping with hookups. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never had any surge protector, never even heard of them before a few years ago when a fellow camper pulled one out. But your article has educated me (and scared me!). I’m shopping today and WILL NOT go out again without better protection. Thanks for possibly solving all the problems I might never know about. —Scotty
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Great advice
Great and insightful article! I think there is help to be had in simplifying life and REMOVING the things that don’t help or weigh you down, but there is no magic trick to lift you up for long if you can’t find your own joy already. Remove ballast, but you’ll kill yourself trying to change gravity. —Wolfe

Tip for plugging into a pedestal
I would suggest using a product that cleans and lubes the contacts…like De-Oxit, and even though Radio Shack is disappearing in many places, they actually sold a version of contact cleaner that works quite well…especially in old RV park pedestals that are corroded…with the breaker off of course. I use it every time I pull into an RV space before plugging anything into the pedestal. Along with a good quality EMS these should go a long way alleviating hot wire problems…assuming one uses the proper cord that is. —JB
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Recommendation from Mike Sokol regarding above comment
That’s a great idea. I’ve used De-Oxit to clean power and signal connectors for many years. It’s the best… —Mike Sokol
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Very happy Holiday Rambler customers
We rated the condition of our 2015 Holiday Rambler Ambassador Class A diesel pusher as excellent because Holiday Rambler has followed through with all warranty repairs and extended our warranty out to 3 years on the whole unit and 6 years on the electrical. Yes we have had some major problems, But each year we have taken our rig back to the factory for major repairs, the work has been completed and the factory has warrantied their work. If you have problems with a new unit or one that is still under warranty, take that extra step and contact your manufacturers Customer Relations and work out all the details to your satisfaction. We did and are very satisfied. —Dick and Sandy
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Respect Walmart’s generosity – don’t ruin it for others
We stay at Walmart’s whenever we travel. It is our overnight stop of choice. We always go in and announce ourselves and shop for whatever we may need. We also buy sandwiches or salads at the Subway’s inside the stores. We park well away from the store entrances. We NEVER leave any evidence that we were there. We have never stayed more than overnight. Please everyone respect the Walmart properties so that RVers can continue this practice. —Summrbrz


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A snowbird is pulling our leg
There are way too many solar panels being used around Quartzsite. They soak up so much of the sun’s energy I had to leave Canada because with the reduced amount of sun energy that’s left makes it cold up there. —George
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Remembering the good ol’ days with fried mush
Growing up in my parents’ home, for breakfast on special days we would have fried mush. My father was from SW Illinois, farm country, lots of corn. Mush and Polenta are the same, made with corn meal. Mush is sliced Polenta, that is fried and served with butter and syrup. With bacon and eggs, there is nothing better for breakfast. —Mike
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Happy KOA camper
I like the new direction for KOA. There were far too many parks in their system that had not kept up their facilities to at least meet a common standard. I like to GLAMP. I don’t want uneven sites, potholes in the road, dirty bathrooms, no TV reception and no cable, Wifi that is advertised but is neither Wi or Fi or swimming pools with scum lines. I’m willing to pay for well kept facilities and respect those that choose to camp differently. KOA’s are often the only campgrounds in a given area that provide the level of amenities I want, so I think the marketing dept. is on the right track … filling an under-served but growing niche. Of course, you have to deliver on the promise of differentiation, but if I pull into a Journey, I don’t expect a place suitable for a long term stay but one which delivers on quality for the transient traveler. That’s the other side of the branding … expectations. If I don’t expect every KOA to be the same, then I’m not disappointed in some and happy with others. I want a way to know what to expect. —Cam
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An “amazing RV park”
We have stayed at Rusty’s [RV Ranch, in southwest NM] several times. The staff is very friendly and the area is fun to explore. We highly recommend this amazing RV park. —Linda
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The Quartzsite phenomenon
Agreed! it’s an “at least once” must do. Very cool AND crazy! —Tartan
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Good results from AirTabs
I installed the AirTabs on my 2013 Koala 24 RBK. What I can tell you about MY experience [and only mine] is with the only change being the Air Tabs [same trailer, same tow vehicle] my 2006 GMC 1500 went from an average of 11 MPG to 12.5 MPG. I also notice a considerable difference in the sway induced by passing semi trucks. These are my experiences-as always, your mileage may vary. —Lee
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Another way to increase gas mileage 😉
A very good, low-priced device for increasing fuel mileage is a small balloon. Inflate it with helium and attach it to your right foot. —Gene
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More safety when boondocking
I have never understood why people are fearful in an isolated area. Two legged varmints (people) are our largest threat. The more people around, the risk is greater. Less people around equals less risk. —Tim
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A thought on boondocking safety
What I have found is that sometimes the fear comes from within me, not really the reality of where I am. Just lock the door when you sleep, the bad guys need the city to live life, they don’t head out to the wilderness —Gigi


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Another happy KOA camper
We travel mainly up and down the eastern US. In summary KOA’s are no different than any other campground with a similar price point. We use several review systems and google earth to base our stays. Yes, it’s a pain but in today’s overcrowded demands it pays to plan ahead and reserve a site is a “must do”. FWIW we have spent three nights in Mr. Zipser’s KOA, Staunton VA. Beautiful grounds! We had a super large site with grill, full propane tank, great views and lovely swing set for two. We’ll be back the price was fair for value received.—Clay
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Canton, Texas, giant flea market (First Monday Trade Days)
Yep, it is very nice. No place like it. Been a few times and would love to go again when the weather is 70 degrees and no rain. —J.M.
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First Monday Trade DaysMore on Canton flea market
We’ve been a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed it. If flea markets are your thing this one will not disappoint. Camping there is not bad if you avoid the paved campground on site. There are others very close that much better. Don’t go for the camping go for the flea market and the camper will be an excellent base of operations. It takes a minimum of three days to see this place. As someone else said, make sure and pick your weather conditions. —Hank
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Woman feels safer boondocking
Yes, you are being silly. That is the short answer. How fortunate you are to have a guy around that has your back. I am a woman often traveling solo. The more isolated the better. I feel safer out there than next to god only knows who! And the beauty of nature in these places just can’t be beat. —Storm
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Camping World supporter
I think if someone wants to go that route [ordering RV online], Good for them. I purchased from Camoworld. Great experience. I have used service for Warranty work, Great experience. No issues with CW at all. Sick of the bashing I read and I ask people all the time, have you ever been to CD? Over 70 to 80% say no, I heard. Wow. Every dealer has issues mostly due to manufacturer,not people who sell them. You don’t have to own something that you sale. Stop bashing. —Lisa
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And now a little sarcasm
Fantastic idea!!! Now, here in New Mexico, I can go to two company’s websites — one to look at, preview, and order an RV (trailer) and another to look at, preview, and order a new truck. All from the comfort of my recliner that I ordered online from Amazon and was delivered by UPS. As Yakov Smirnoff said in his early days of stand-up comedy, “Wow! What a country!” And to think, some people will REALLY do this. —Wayne
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Regarding 2017 top RV dealers
I am super shocked that MHSRV is not on this list. I wish every business that sells anything could model how MHSRV in Alverado, Tx does it! We researched online for a year before we were able to buy anything, and never even heard of any of those other dealers, but MHSRV is super customer centric and their prices cannot be beat! —Troy
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Shout out for Diamond RV
We have had an excellent experience working with Diamond RV in Massachusetts. —Marc
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… and for Broadmoor RV
I will add Kudos for Broadmoor RV. I live just down the road from Broadmoor, and although they don’t sell my brand of RV, they have handled warranty and insurance work on my 5th wheel quickly and always quality work. —Jim
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Stick with mom-and-pop repair shops
Big business models will always ruin little business quality. ALWAYS! Stick with the little guys, they try harder! I’d rather hunt down a mom and pop shop and wait a day for parts rather than wait all day in a place with cheap parts and over inflated labor charges. The mobile RV repair business is booming these days and it’s almost always a better experience than dealerships. References speak louder than anything so do a little research. Also, don’t be afraid to fix some of these things yourself. Almost anything you can imagine is on the internet with regards to repairs or maintenance. YouTube is awesome for this stuff. At least you’ll know it’s done right if you do it! —Neil aka Neil [Editor: Silly guy!]
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Praise for KOA
We stay at KOA when we travel and have found very, very few bad ones. We have stayed at other campgrounds and have horror stories. We know KOA may be more expensive but sometimes it’s cheaper. It’s also a known product; we know what to expect at KOA . After a couple of stays at third world type RV parks, KOA is an oasis. —Peggy
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Positive comments for Camping World
I live near Myrtle Beach SC and CW sells a lot of units that are delivered to a CG that will never be towed. They have two service vans at the location. I purchased my last three units there. Service has been very good, prices also very good. I know the sales mgr well and 1 of the sales persons. Parts managers at both locations ~ we know each other by name. Recently I ordered a truck accessory at CW online and had it delivered to a parts mgr at CW. It was drop shipped from the mfg. When it arrived they took my truck into a bay and installed. CW at Myrtle techs only knew it arrived and to install. On my 1st trip weeks later it was noticed a smaller item was delivered than ordered. I figured the smaller one cost less than the $560 paid so sent a note on Tuesday and by the following Tuesday I had 2 great options. The accessory cost was refunded. No, they are not all bad. Actually I have had good luck in several locations but Myrtle Beach has been great. —Captn John
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Great spot for stargazing
Okay, this might sound strange but there is a very good place to get a great view of the night sky near Hooper, CO. The UFO Watchtower has camping space (I have seen smaller RVs, trailers, tenters, etc) in what I think is a boondocking situation. There is very minimal light pollution as it is in the middle of nowhere on 17 north out of Alamosa. We took a brief break there to add it to our “strange roadside stops” list and found the folks there very nice. In talking to others that were there they said that they were from a university in Denver on a trip to study the night sky, not for UFOs. They said that on a clear night the photography was spectacular. —Patti
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Positive report of buying an RV online (sort of)
We actually did this . And it worked out fine. We spent time on the internet and we were able to see a unit (live and in person) that was the same mfr. and year, different floor plan. Ordered what we wanted, searched pricing and told them what we wanted to pay etc. and we thought they were going to order it from the factory. Instead, the local CW found one in inventory out of state at another CW and had it delivered to our house by that dealership and we drove it to the local CW and completed all the paperwork and walk through. No isssues. Completely prepped. The driver drove another unit from this Cw back out of state to his CW , in, I would guess an inventory of like value swap. That was 2 years ago. The local CW has been completely supportive and we’ve only had little things go wrong. —Mary


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Tip on visiting Death Valley castle
I was in DV a couple of weeks ago (12/17) and they were starting to give limited tours again but just of the outside and only during certain days. Not worth it as far as I was concerned. Ive been a bunch of times and taken all the tours. I would wait until it’s fully open to go. It is a fascinating place with a wonderful story. The Music Room is a “must see” with a huge Pipe Organ that plays itself. —Robbie
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Praise for Progressive Industries
Yes, and I can also say that Progressive Industries makes using the lifetime warranty very easy. They are truly customer oriented. —Marmot
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More on the giant Texas flea market
This is the big daddy of them all. When we go we usually stay across the main highway at Mill Creek RV Resort. They have a free shuttle from there to the trade days every hour, all day. And Mill Creek is a top rated park! If you are in North Texas it’s a must see. —Jay
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Happy new snowbirds
This is our first year as snowbirds and we love it. Husband and i retired early (mid 50’s) and our goal was to buy an rv and head south from Ohio winters. We have been on the road since September and finally settled in Phoenix for the winter. In the spring we will head up the east coast to Nova Scotia and then through Canada, and back to Phoenix. We are loving this life. —Peggy
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Surge protectors
SurgeGuard now has a lifetime warranty and slightly better surge protection. Progressive is still a good choice. —Jim
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High praise for Lichtsinn RV
We cannot believe that Lichtsinn RV in Forest City, Iowa is NOT on the list [Top RV dealers of 2017]! They were very professional to deal with and had great customer service after the sale. Also had the best price on the RV we were looking for. We have bought a few RVs over the years and none has compared with the service we had at Lichtsinn. —Vickie
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Important reminder
I can not emphasize enough the importance of a quality EMS in any RV plugged into strange Joe’s pedestal. I actually had a 30 amp cord melt the end when plugged into an RV pedestal at an RV park in Wallowa,Oregon.Of course the owner denied any problems with the park’s wiring.It is not if,but when,a big costly surprise will meet you head on. —booneyrat
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Propane prices
We’ve found Tractor Supply or Atwoods usually fill for the lowest price in any given area. It pays to check around. —PennyPA
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RVing vicariously
Your newsletter makes RVing come true for me. I’m a senior on fixed income and can’t afford the RV, but I travel through you and Gail. I do miss the pet section and other’s RVs, but I look forward each Saturday to your newsletter. Have a wonderful 2018. —Linda
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RVing is (usually) stress-free
Merry Christmas to you and Gail. Your words are so very true. That’s why we love RV’ing too. Just talking about where you’ve been and where you are going, your rigs, places to eat. No stress. Safe travels. —Diane
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Thank you
Dear Chuck, RV Travel staff, and all the contributing writers: Thank you for another great year of interesting and usable information. —Loneoutdoorsman
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Christmas greetings
Merry Christmas from Abu Dhabi, UAE —Jean
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Thank you to our readers for all the wonderful Christmas and New Year’s wishes. We appreciate you more than we can say! We wish all of you health, happiness and safe RVing in 2018. —Chuck and crew at RVtravel.com


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One Thought to “Thumbs up – December 2017”

  1. Karl Plitt

    Great newsletter for a guy like me who doesn’t own an RV but likes to travel.

Comments are closed.