RV Travel Newsletter: February 9-15. Issue 572

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Weekend of February 9, 2013

Issue 572 of RV Travel

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its twelfth year of continuous publication, is funded through sales at RVbookstore.com and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Important for safe RVing!

Our commercial grade TIRE MONITORING SYSTEM will help ensure you travel safely without tire failure related peril. Our system is inexpensive, simple to install and fun to use. The National Transportation Safety Board says commercial grade vehicles need tire monitoring systems even more than passenger cars and trucks. We will meet or beat any advertised price on our system! Visit Truck System Technologies (TST) to learn more. Or call 770-889-9102.

Editor's corner

With Chuck Woodbury
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Leaving home is very different from returning home. Leaving is exciting, with the promise of adventure. Coming home is about returning to things familiar — friends, family and neighbors. It's about sleeping in your spacious bedroom and taking long showers without worrying about filling up your holding tanks.

Today in Phoenix, at about 2 p.m., my trip ended — not physically, but in my mind. I had just said goodbye to a friend I met for lunch. Later, mentally fatigued from a month of over-stimulation, I thought mostly of the road ahead — about 1,400 miles of it — and about being "home."

There comes a time in every trip when it's over in your mind. John Steinbeck described the feeling in Travels With Charley. He was near the end of his loop around the country. He wrote: "I know exactly where and when it [my trip] was over. Near Abington, in the dog-leg of Virginia, at four o'clock of a windy afternoon, without warning. . . my journey went away and left me stranded far from home. I tried to call it back, to catch it up — a foolish and hopeless matter, because it was definitely and permanently over and finished. The road became an endless stone ribbon, the hills obstructions, the trees green blurs, the people simply moving figures with heads but no faces. . . ."

AND SO IT IS FOR MANY OF US that our trips effectively end when thoughts of home override thoughts of our trip and its adventures. Our journey has run its course. For me, for the next week, I will mostly drive, hundreds of miles some days. I will write when I can, whether in campgrounds or in rest areas along the way.

And then after 1,399.9 miles have elapsed, I will turn into the driveway of our office complex and pull up to our warehouse. I will open the oversized garage door, drive in, stop, turn off the ignition, stretch, take a deep breath and proclaim my journey over. I will unload a few essential items, put them in my car, and drive a mile to my home. I will open my door where everything will be as it was when I left.

I will be happy to be home. In a few hours, I will crawl into my bed, turn out the lights, close my eyes and be flooded with random images from the past 40 days.

A few months later, out of nowhere, I will feel a tug — a tug to go. I can't fight it. It will then be only a matter of time before I am back on the road. This has been going on for decades. My DNA is thus programmed, for better or worse.

P.S. I have been complaining lately about early checkout times at RV parks. I believe that 1 p.m. is much fairer than the present 11 a.m. that most parks observe. I am not alone in this belief if last week's reader survey is an indicator. See what more than 2,100 readers of this newsletter think.

Leaving Parker, Arizona on Thursday, I stopped alongside the road on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River. The day was warm, there was no breeze and the sky was deep blue. It was close to perfect. And I asked myself "Why am I leaving here?" Watch my short video.

If you have a comment about this essay or anything in this issue, please feel free to leave it at our forum.

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kgjFour 55+ RV parks in Yuma, Arizona and one to the east along I-8 in Tacna are offering a Spring Special — one month of full-hookup camping for $50. No strings are attached except you pay for your electricity. The offer is good within the March 1 to April 15 time frame. The parks are SunRidge RV Park, Adobe Village RV Park, SunSet Palm RV Park, Western Sands RV Park and Copper Mountain RV Park (in Tacna). Info: 928-750-6652.

The Bureau of Land Management needs volunteer hosts for California's Trinity County. Three campgrounds along the Trinity River need hosts May through November. Free camping, no salary, but living expense allowances provided. Phone (530) 224-2100 for details.

After 15 years of holding its Southeast Area annual rally at the Brooksville-Tampa, Florida Regional Airport, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) may move elsewhere due to high costs and declining attendance.

Florida's Silver Springs theme park near Ocala, Florida, will soon become an official state park. The state will lease the park from October 1 through 2029. Silver Springs showcases nature and is known for headline music acts and glass bottom boats.

Minnesota's Governor Mark Dayton has come under fire for his proposal of a so-called "snowbird tax." Opponents say the plan would penalize Minnesota residents who leave the state for more than six months by taxing their capital gains, dividends and income from stocks and bonds.

Battery thefts are a problem in Boise, Idaho. Police say stolen batteries are fetching as much as $25. In one week more than a dozen RVers reported thefts.

Officials overseeing Alaska's Izembek National Wildlife Refuge have turned down a proposal to build a road through refuge lands. The refuge, home to grizzly, caribou, salmon and waterfowl, lies on the northwest (Bering Sea) coastal side of central Aleutians East Borough.

The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens will host the third annual Athens Eggfest on April 13. Described as "the ultimate tailgate cookout" and a "tasting frenzy," participants whip up tasty foods in ceramic cookers.

Hot off the press!
2013 Good Sam
RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

This thick directory combines the Trailer Life and Woodall's campground directories of the past into one thick, comprehensive volume, with full descriptions & details for nearly 15,000 private & public campgrounds, information on over 900,000 RV sites, RV service centers, LP gas locations & tourist attractions. It includes military park listings & more than 2,000 Good Sam discount locations. Learn more or order at low discount price.

More News

New Orleans RV parks say the Super Bowl brought prosperity in the form of filled up sites this last weekend. Parks reported being packed to capacity with long waiting lists for a cancellation.

Five petroglyph panels stolen from federal lands near Bishop, California last fall have been recovered. An anonymous tipster told officials where to look for the panels, thought to have been cut away from the Volcanic Tableland with chisels and power saws. A $9,000 reward was unclaimed, leading police to think the tipster was one of the thieves.

Protect All, Inc., maker of RV cleaning products, has garnered two Readers' Choice awards. Trailer Life and Motorhome magazine readers voted the company tops in the cleaning and protection consumer product category.

While Punxsutawney Phil tells East Coasters when spring is coming, the West relies on Mojave Maxine, a desert tortoise who lives at the Living Desert center near Palm Springs, California. So far Maxine hasn't yet poked her head out of her burrow – spring has yet to arrive.

Two Illinois state parks have stopped taking reservations, at least for a time. Walnut Point State Park near Oakland, and Lincoln Trail State Park near Marshall are still open but officials say they don't have enough manpower to take reservations.

Indiana will celebrate its bicentennial in 2016. To really kick it off, state park officials are shopping for a "significant area of land" in the east-central section of the state to use for a new state park to be opened the same year.

On this date in history:
February 9
Compiled by Dell Bert

1863: The fire extinguisher is patented by Alanson Crane.
1895: Volleyball is invented by W. G. Morgan in Massachusetts.
1942: Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in the U.S.
1963: First flight of Boeing 727 jet.
1964: First appearance of the Beatles on the "Ed Sullivan Show" (73.7 million viewers).
1987: The New York Stock Exchange installs a ladies restroom in the Exchange Luncheon Club.
1997: Fox cartoon series the "Simpsons" airs its 167th episode — the longest-running animated series in cartoon history.

Keep up with RV Industry
news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.

Published this month!
Essential for owners of large RVs!
2013 Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory
If you drive a king-sized RV, this directory is for you. The authors provide details about RV parks in 49 states and eight Canadian provinces that welcome long RVs. All parks personally visited by the authors, who even recommend best sites in each one plus nearby attractions. A must for big rig owners. Learn more or order.

Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletter

Take care with your RV generator.
Handy devices for RV kitchen also saves weight and space.

How to prevent your LP gas valve from getting stuck.
A simple (and cheap) way to do laundry on the RV road.

How to keep the condensation out of your RV.
How to help your RV refrigerator work better.

How to repair a RV roof on the cheap.
Should you rotate your RV's tires?

Fire extinguisher alone is not always enough to prevent an RV fire disaster.
Two things to check out when buying an RV.

Bella Terra is the
Place to be this Season
Already known for being one of the top Class A motorcoach resorts in the country with five star service and top of the line lots, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores also has one of the most exciting activities schedules around! In addition to great events that we host daily, we also have a fantastic line up including Super Bowl tailgating, our popular Casino night, and an evening of standards by crooner Matt Barber! Make your reservations online today or call (866) 417-2416 and see what life at Bella Terra is all about!

Is your RV protected with a catastrophe fuse?
Most RVers are familiar with fuses. They have them in their tow vehicles or motorhomes to protect electrical circuits. But not all are familiar with catastrophe fuses. If you have a large bank of batteries in your RV, as is common for those using solar power, a catastrophe fuse could save your rig — maybe your life. Read more.

How to find a good mechanic when full time RVing
Being a full time RVer means that living in a home on wheels is part paradise, part fretting that some day you'll turn the key and your house won't move. Here are some tips about how to keep your wheels turning and where to find a mechanic when necessary.

How to test and replace RV thermocouples
A thermocouple is a safety device designed to shut down the gas valve should the pilot light go out. Thermocouples eventually reach an end to their useful life — learn how to safely test and replace them. Read more.

Hybrid Furnace!
With this UL certified RVIA compliant system the RV owner has the option of simply flipping a switch to use either Electric, or Gas as a source to heat their coach along with the manufacturer installed central forced air heating system. Gas or Electric at the flip of a switch. Learn more.

Induction cooking: does it really work?
Rich Miller, the Wanderman, really likes to cook, and every good cook knows the secret to great dishes is to control the temperature and time. Read what really sold him on the idea of induction cooking. Read more.

Legitimate ways to make money while full time RVing
Workamper News has just released a new free ebook, "Live Your RV Dreams," that gives a great rundown on working and traveling by RV. Read more.

Germany unveils colossal motorhome
Since "behemoth" is a word that doesn't have its origins in German, perhaps the word we're looking for is überdimensional. In other words, huge, colossal, outsized. This überdimensional motorhome is a product of Germany's Concorde. Released early this year, the Centurion motorhome sits firmly fixed on a (what else?) Mercedes diesel platform. Read more and see photos.

The essential guide
to locating Wal-Mart stores

Learn where to find more than 4,100 U.S. Wal-Mart stores most of which allow free overnight stays in RVs. Get specific driving directions to each. Learn which stores sell gas and diesel. The Walmart Atlas is an RVbookstore.com best-seller. SAVE 20% off cover price. Learn more or order.

Selecting the right motorhome for you
For those shopping for their first RV, it helps to have an understanding of types. Last week we discussed two popular motorhome classes, Class A and Class C. Now we'll talk about two other kinds of motorhomes.

Remember Stew Oleson of the TV program RV Today?
Well, here's a 10-minute video he made of a motorhome trip he took recently with his sister and her husband to Quartzsite, Arizona and other nearby locations. It's typical, sometimes-goofy "Stew" — a very funny guy. If you liked Stew on RV Today, you'll enjoy this entertaining, home-spun video. And, by the way, in case you are wondering what Stew is doing these days, he's an Associate Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Biola University in La Mirada, California. Watch Stew's video (there may be a short commercial first).

Classic house car
Check out this house car from the roaring twenties. A prototype, this rig had maple flooring and looked swell rolling down the back roads of its day. Oh this is so cute.

Hot off the press!
2013 Next Exit
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2013 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including which brands and if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name) shopping malls, movie theaters, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas, and more. Learn more or order.

This Week's
Reader Survey

Do you shave with a blade or electric razor?
Answer here.

Last week's question
Approximately how often do you camp with an electrical hookup?

Read the survey results.

Past reader surveys and results.

Don't get burned with
the wrong RV insurance company!

Explorer RV Insurance offers you more than just standard RV insurance for your RV such as total loss replacement, purchase price guarantees, personal effects coverage, awning replacement coverage, towing and more. Explorer RV Insurance is a full-service agency that has established partnerships with leading carriers bringing you access to a wide range of specialty RV insurance products. Learn more.


Upcoming RV Shows
See the long list of upcoming RV shows for 2013.


More than 2,000 places to stay for free or less than $10 in an RV.

Latest RV Recalls
See them here, along with past recalls.

Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.53 (on February 8)

Change from week before: Up 9 cents
Diesel: U.S. $4.02 (on February 4)
Change from week before: Up 10 cents

Hot off the press!
2013 RVer's Friend
The 2013 RVer's Friend lists every Travel Center (truck stop) in the U.S. and Canada about 6,600 all together — and what services each provides to RVers. RVers can determine if a travel center welcomes them for an overnight stay, if it has a dump station, if it sells propane, and if it provides Internet access or utility hookups. It also includes an Exit Order section. And, also very important, the book lists which RV mechanical services are provided. Learn more or order.

RV DoctorAsk the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.

Bent or mis-positioned trailer axle

Dear Gary,
I have a 2009 Montana 2980. I keep wearing out the left rear tire. The other tires look like new. I had it in the dealer where I bought it in Wisconsin just before my warranty was over and they couldn't find anything wrong with it but Keystone did give me a new tire and sent me on my way. I keep checking on my air so I know that's not it. I wore another tire out in about the same amount of miles and I am starting on my third one while the rest still look like new. —Ervin P., (Seattle, WA)

Read the remainder of the question and the RV Doctor's response.



https://rvbookstore.com/shop/images/2/t/1483.jpgPublished in 2012!
Guide to Free Campgrounds
The 2012 edition of Guide to Free Campgrounds contains more than 12,000 public campgrounds across the USA, including those in national forests & national parks, & on lands of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) & at Corps of Engineers lakes — all with camping fees of $12 or less per night! This is one of RVbookstore.com's all time best sellers. Learn more or order.

The RV Shrink

Tiny flies getting into new RV. RV makers should do better.

Dear R.V. Shrink:
We bought a very expensive fifth wheel and it won't even keep the bugs out. We recently were camped in Florida and little no-see-ums were invading. It seems like they would design these rolling mansions to keep nature at bay. We had to shut all of our windows and run only the fan. Should I expect more for my money or is this as good as it gets? —Finding bugs in our new RV

Read the Shrink's response.

RVers Best Public Campgrounds
This is a terrific guide for RVers who like to stay in public campgrounds not too far off the beaten path. It lists hundreds of such campgrounds within a 30-minute drive from an Interstate highway. They include those managed by the feds, state, county or cities. Overnight fees for most campgrounds are $19 or less. The campgrounds will accommodate most RVs. Learn more or order for only $17.95

This issue's Knowledge Quiz

One quiz on Saturday, February 9, 2013 with a swell prize.

TODAY'S PRIZE: The classic cookbook "Easy RV Recipes." Yum!

QUIZ QUESTION WILL NOT APPEAR until the exact start time as noted below (before the actual start time you will only see previous contests).

Answer the quiz here on Saturday, February 9 beginning at exactly 8:45 a.m., Pacific Time (11:45 a.m. in the East).

Official Knowledge Quiz Rules.

Internet Specials!

RV Short Stops

Texas Ranger Museum
Fort Fisher Park, Waco, Texas
Learn about the Texas Rangers and their role in the settlement of Texas. The museum includes an extensive collection of weapons and a replica of an 1837 Texas Ranger fort, plus a James Michener exhibit about the writing of his book about Texas. Baby Boomer visitors will enjoy the Lone Ranger (and Tonto) collection. See Western art and Native American artifacts. Enjoy a picnic at Fort Fisher Park on the Brazos River.
Admission to the museum is $7 for adults, less for children, seniors and military.

Just released!
RVing Route 66
Join RVer and filmmaker John Holod as he cruises the Mother Road from Chicago to L.A. by motorhome, with stops along the way at all the classic attractions. Even though the road was bypassed by Interstates, much of it is still there, and easy to drive with an RV. If you plan to travel this historic highway or have already done so, RV Adventure: Route 66 is for you. Learn more or order at a discounted price.

Odds and ends

RVing the East
Guide to Pennsylvania RV travel and camping published for 2013.

RV News Service
Route 66 RV dealer network expands into Canada.

RVing Route 66
Grand Canyon Caverns pulls in Route 66 tourists.

Northwest RVer
Making the best of winter at Mt. Angel’s WurstFest.

TODAY'S SECRET PHRASE: Mary had a goat named Edward M. Spotsheimer III who enjoyed quiet walks on the beach.

Dr. Rock
Roadside geology for RVers

Why do these two mountain ranges have different names?

Dear Dr. Rock,
Why do we call the mountain range in California "The Sierra Nevada" and the ones in Oregon and Washington "The Cascades"? What is the difference? —Rita Bjornstein, Topeka, Kansas

Read Dr. Rock's response.

Just published.
Guide To The Firearm Laws of the 50 States
RVers who travel with a firearm may not know that what's legal in their home state may be a felony in another. This 2013 book explains current, specific gun laws for every state. Don't cross a state line with a gun without knowing the laws. Learn more or order.

Joke of the week
What did the Judge say to the dentist?
“Pull my tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.”

Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs

2012 Milepost Directory
DVD: RVing Alaska with Joe and Vicki Kieva
Traveler's Guide to Alaska Camping
Guide to the Alaska Highway
The World Famous Alaska Highway
DVD: Alaska By RV
More Alaska Books

Send for your FREE Alaska travel guide.

Bill's Hints

Trailer handling
“An unused portion of a large parking lot makes an excellent place to get acquainted with your travel trailer or fifth wheel.” —From Trailers and Fifth Wheels Made Easy


With eBooks you don't have to wait to read your book. Just place your order and your eBook will be delivered almost instantly to your email inbox. There's no shipping or handling and no tax to pay, making these a bargain over printed books. These eBooks are written by RV experts and delivered in PDF format. Check out the big selection of eBooks at RVbookstore.com. Browse the RVbookstore.com eBook department.

Tech Tips from Mark Polk

How to keep your generator running longer and better
If a generator is properly maintained and cared for it is quite possible it will last longer than the RV itself. Here are a few things to keep in mind to maintain your generator.

Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's books, eBooks and DVDs, available — most at a discount — at RVbookstore.com.

Save on Mountain Directories
East & West

Driving into the mountains with your RV? Be careful, there are some nasty grades. Here, in two volumes, are the premier guides to the mountain passes and steep grades of the American East and West — more than 700 passes all together. You save $5 when buying both these guides together. Learn more or order for only $26.90 for both volumes.

Bumper Sticker of the week
"Women Want Me. Fish Fear Me."
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com

"Like" RV Travel on Facebook
Don't wait until Saturday for your next dose of RV Travel. Join us on Facebook for breaking news, valuable RVing information and advice — most of which never appears in this newsletter. "Like Us."

The RV Kitchen

Sweet Tart Rice Pudding
You never made such an easy dessert. It’s good for you, low in sugar and is easily doubled or quadrupled to serve at a campground potluck too. This recipe serves six. Get the recipe.

Cookbooks for RVers: Big selection at RVbookstore.com.

These DVDs will make you a better RVer
Get these popular DVDs and others at RVbookstore.com

Better Business Bureau Guide to Buying an RV
Choosing an RV: A Logical Approach (with Joe & Vicki Kieva)
Do It Yourself RV Care (with the RV Doctor)
Drive Your Motorhome Like a Pro
Guide to Class A Motorhomes
Guide to Class C Motorhomes
Towing Behind Your Motorhome
Guide to Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels
Guide to Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitch Work & Backing
Guide to Winterizing Your RV
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro

In 1827 an English pharmacist named John Walker was trying to create a new explosive. He was mixing chemicals with a wooden stick and noticed that a tear-shaped glob had dried on the end of the stick. Trying to clean it off, he scraped the stick across the stone floor and all of a sudden, the tip burst into flame. Walker had accidentally invented the world's first friction match.

Daily Log

Keep track of 45 different daily activities including fuel, mileage, expenses, weather and activities with this compact, 7" x 4 1/2" vinyl loose leaf journal. This is a favorite record-keeping journal for RVers year in and year out. Learn more or order.

Random RV Thought
If you are having a bad day at home and your RV is nearby, escape to it for awhile. Close the door and just sit quietly. The change of scenery plus the "good feeling" of the RV might improve your spirits.

Save more than 80%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com

Worth Pondering
"To dream too much of the person you would like to be is to waste the person you are." — Anon.

potogoldWin cash with our Pot of Gold Contest
To participate, click here Monday through Friday.

The cash prize is now $270.00. Each weekday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific time) we publish a randomly selected U.S. Zip Code. If you live there and are the first to tell us, you win the money which increases every day there's no winner. Certain rules apply.

Last week's Zip Codes
: 28694, 81520, 27351, 54729, 58202
. Remember, these Zip Codes can appear again at any time.

About the RVtravel.com editor
Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for nearly three decades. In the '90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and he was an "on the road" writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC's Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD "Buying a Recreational Vehicle," the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Julianne Crane, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, and Richard Miller. Cartoonist:
Jerry King. Office Manager: Jody Allcott. Warehouse operations: Eric Brotman. New York City correspondent: Emily Woodbury.

If you enjoy and appreciate this newsletter and would like to help it continue by making a voluntary subscription contribution, we invite you to do so here. It will be appreciated very much.     

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. So be sure to check things out. At RVbookstore.com we strive for excellence in all we do. Our customers receive super fast service. Our motto is "You need it so we speed it™," and no truer words were ever spoken!

All information on this website is copyrighted by RVtravel.com. Our offices are located at 170 W. Dayton Street, Suite 103-B, Edmonds WA 98020. Write editor Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com. Information about advertising in this newsletter and on our other websites and blogs is available at RVtravelAdvertising.com or by calling 425-744-0415 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays (Pacific time).

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.

This newsletter is copyright 2013 by RVtravel.com.