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RV Travel Newsletter: August 10-August 16. Issue 598
Weekend of August 10, 2013
Issue 598 of RV Travel
Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 12th year of continuous publication, is funded through sales at RVbookstore.com, our advertisers and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
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Free Information Guide
Now during Pennsylvania RV & Camping month, visit an RV dealer or campground for a free information guide or request one at PARVing.com. There are almost 9 million households that own an RV, and now’s the time to buy an RV! Picture your RV parked in your driveway! Let yourself go…. Go RVing!
I'm back home after a few days in Cornwall, England, and then almost three weeks in Dublin and other parts of southern Ireland. It was a great trip, but it has left me pooped (and jet-lagged). Living out of a suitcase gets old fast. Three weeks in my RV, on the other hand, is just the opposite, when I am far more relaxed than even back home.
Still, traveling abroad, suitcases and all, always invigorates me. I love experiencing different cultures, seeing how the people live. I could fill the next few issues of this newletter with accounts of what I saw and experienced on this just-completed trip, but this newsletter is not about traveling abroad but about traveling with an RV in North America. Still, I will touch on a few things about Ireland, including its RVing community.
Ireland is a small country with only 4.8 million people. Before the potato famine in the mid-1800s which killed and/or displaced half its citizens, its population was as high as 10 million, some say even 14 million. As is, the population is shrinking by 75,000 people a year — a "brain drain," as some of the country's most talented citizens move away for better jobs and better lives. Ireland experienced the same economic bust as we did a few years back, but unlike here in the States, its recovery is still just a dream.
The unemployment rate is 13.5 percent with everyone scrambling for decent jobs. They do what they need to do to support their families, often just getting by. One man, a college graduate who works seasonally as a tour bus driver, told me he would "do five jobs" if that's what it took to support his family of five. "Here, if you have 10,000 Euros in the bank (about $15,000 in U.S. dollars) you're rich," he said. "I don't know anyone who has that much."
Looking around, however, you'd never notice evidence of hard times. Dublin is a bustling town — a beautiful place that's easy to negotiate on foot, with countless shops, restaurants (including many pubs), museums and other attractions.
I KEPT MY EYE OUT FOR RVs while in the country. In Dublin, you don't see any. But in the country, there are plenty — about half motorhomes and half caravans (travel trailers). Motorhomes are usually about 22-24 feet and caravans a bit shorter. All but the major "M" roads (like our interstates) are narrow, and big RVs like we have in the U.S. and Canada would have a tough time getting around. And just how narrow are some of those roads? The story goes that the oldest roads were built as wide as "the length of one cow and width of two."
There are no full-time RVers. Ireland is not a big place, and it rains year-round. From what I gathered from talking with Irish RVers, you wouldn't see many RVs on the road in the winter. Campgrounds are plentiful, however, virtually all of them on flat, grassy fields — some sites with concrete pads. But there is nothing in Ireland — or even in the U.K. or Europe — like our public campgrounds in National Forests and State Parks, where campsites are more private, often separated by trees or other vegetation. A campsite (called a "pitch") in a Leisure park (RV park to us) goes for about 30 Euros a night, which is about $45 in our money. Boondocking is called "Wild Camping." One RVer I talked with showed me a computer printout of "Wild Camps" where he could stay for about 10 Euros a night. They are generally on private property — maybe a farmer who is happy to furnish a bit o' land for a bit o' cash. From what I gathered, there is no overnighting in store parking lots.
And gasoline — "petrol" as it's known over there — is not cheap. The Irish would laugh to hear Americans whine about the price of fuel in the States. Over there, a gallon of unleaded gasoline is roughly 6 Euros a gallon — about $9.00 in U.S. dollars.
If you should ever decide to tour Ireland by RV, there are plenty of rental companies. Your biggest challenge, of course, would be driving on the left side of the road. That takes some getting used to.
That's all for now. See you here next week.
Photos: Left: The Temple Bar area of Dublin. Great place to listen to Irish music in pubs. Right: A typical Irish motorhome.
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Blue Collar Country Entertainment
Complex is Coming to the Gulf Coast
At Bella Terra of Gulf Shores there is no shortage of great activities at the resort anf attractions in the area, but soon, the easy life in Foley is about to get even more fun! Blue Collar Country is an entertainment destination from renowned entertainers Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall. Located just down the road from the five star class A motor coach resort, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, Blue Collar Country promises to bring live music, comedy shows and other attractions. Visit the Bella Terra of Gulf Shores website to find out more about its new neighbor!
Winnebago Industries, capitalizing on its upcoming 45th anniversary, says its Winnebago Itasca Travelers 2014 Grand National Rally will be themed "Out of This World." Why so? The date also marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing. The rally will run July 16 through 20 in Forest City, Iowa. Check here for more information.
Fan-Tastic Vent, builder of RV dome ventilators, is readying to ship its 3 millionth vent. A special logo on the vent lid will indicate this milestone and will mean special prizes for whoever buys it.
Auction prices for used RVs retreated to seasonal levels in July, says Black Book, an industry statistics follower. Motorhome prices dropped four percent compared to June prices, averaging $39,212. Towable units decreased about one percent, to an average $11,247.
Camping is good for your sleep — if you leave artificial light at home. A study by the University of Colorado at Boulder had eight people keep normal routines for a week and then spend a week camping without artificial light. After camping the subjects went to bed earlier, got up earlier and were more in sync with nature.
A spokesman for a credit card processing firm that specializes in RV parks says that while the economy is up, this year's camping season is less than stellar. Art Lieberman, president of MCPS for Campgrounds, says he thinks erratic weather is to blame.
Weather conditions are so difficult throughout Washington state that the Parks Department has banned campfires and use of briquettes in any state, local or private campgrounds until further notice, following the lead of the Department of Natural Resources. Click here for more information.
Daredevil Robbie Knievel, son of daredevil Evel Knievel, was arrested last Tuesday on drunken driving charges in Lawrence County, S.D., after the motorhome he was driving crashed into two other motorhomes in a campground. Knievel told police he had three drinks during the day. His breath test told a different story: at .228, it was almost three times the legal limit.
Erwin Hymer, the founder of the giant Hymer motorhome and Caravan empire, has died at age 82. Hymer motorhomes are a common sight throughout Europe and the world, although they are seldom seen in North America. The Erwin Hymer Museum in Bad Waldsee, Germany, showcases more than 80 of the German company's RVs.
A new Iowa law may shake a few RV owners. Joining other states, Iowa is cracking down on Iowa residents who set up limited liability corporations in Montana for the purpose of evading sales and registration taxes. Officials say they've already collected $1 million in tax and registration funds previously unpaid. The state can also penalize "evaders" with a fine of 75 percent of an RV's purchase price in addition to back taxes and fees.
Prime Time RV, which bills itself as North America's "fastest growing RV maker," says it has rolled out its 10,000th travel trailer since opening its doors in 2009.
AVAILABLE ONLINE FACTORY DIRECT AT A REDUCED PRICE.
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.
A Canadian newspaper paints a grim picture of nature. The Chilliwack Progress reported an incident at the Cultus Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia whereby a “young cougar held a family of four, including two young girls, hostage on the Seven Sisters trail, about 60 feet up from the campground." The cougar was eventually shot and killed by park rangers.
RV builder Lifestyle Luxury RV started business a year-and-a-half ago, and based on vehicle registration data more than 40 percent of its rigs have sold at retail. Source: Luxury Lifestyle RV.
Allstar Coaches, a provider of luxury RV rentals, has partnered with Warner Bros. to provide RV rental assistance for its new movie “We’re the Millers“ starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis. More.
A camper from Dryden, Ontario, Canada, is alive today because of the life-saving actions of his schnauzer dog. The man was attacked by a black bear at Sandbar Lake Provincial Park near Ignace, Ontario. The dog fended off the bear, allowing the man to escape to a ranger station for help. Sadly, the canine rescuer was killed by the bear.
The Hildreth Lighthouse Campground in Whiting, Iowa, is welcoming RVers and other campers back after a flood in 2011 washed away part of the park. Owners say they've repaired damages amounting to nearly $300,000.
Lightning struck hard at Sebring, Florida's Camper Corral. The RV dealership's office building burned down completely, but firefighters saved RVs on the lot. Watch the video.
Middleboro, Mass., campground owner Barbara Holton has spent three decades battling with town officials trying to obtain a permit to host 100 campsites. Holton says since she's out of money and a court order closed her gates this summer, she's through and wants to sell to a housing developer for $2.5 million. The town has first refusal rights and has put the matter up for discussion.
The plight of a stalled motorhome near Nimrod, Ore., took a turn for the worse when five of its 11 passengers decided to push it off the highway — with an allegedly intoxicated woman at the wheel. Push they did — right off an embankment, leaving the other six people stuck inside the overturned RV before being rescued 45 minutes later.
Keep up with RV Industry
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Watch helpful videos by America's best-known RVing experts, including RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, at the RVtravel.com YouTube Channel. The hundreds of entertaining videos have been viewed nearly three million times — more than any other YouTube channel devoted to RVing! Visit the channel to watch videos and/or to sign up to receive notices of each new one posted.
On this date in history:
Compiled by Dell Bert
1921: FDR is stricken with polio.
1934: Babe Ruth announces this is his final season as a full-time player.
1948: Allen Funt's "Candid Camera" TV program debuts on ABC.
1985: Michael Jackson buys ATV Music (every Beatle song) for $47 million.
We are THE RV Insurance Experts!
Explorer RV offers more than just standard RV insurance. As an independent insurance agent, we provide access to a wide range of RV coverages from leading insurance companies. Many aren’t available through typical agencies — such as total loss replacement, purchase price guarantee, personal effects, awning replacement, towing and more. Learn more or get a free quote.
Topics of last week's RV Daily Tips Newsletters
Enjoy your portable generator — safely.
How to install a Fan-Tastic Fan RV roof vent cover.
Use an engine monitor to drive safer and cheaper.
How to check your RV's 12-volt system.
Stretch your battery endurance with LED lighting.
How to adjust the flame on a water heater for maximum efficiency.
Tuck some drawers under your dinette for small-item organization.
How to refill a small, one-pound propane bottle from a 20-pound propane tank.
Golf cart batteries your solution?
How to use steel wool to start a campfire ... but beware of misusing it in your RV.
Important for safe RVing!
MONITOR YOUR TIRE PRESSURE!
Our commercial-grade TIRE MONITORING SYSTEM will help ensure you travel safely without tire failure-related peril. It's 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.
Do you level your RV before or after you put the slides out?
One thought says level first to prevent a cramp on the slide-out mechanism. The other says extend the slide first and then level to avoid a leaning rig. Which is correct?
Nearly three million RV door locks recalled
Fastec Industrial Corp. (FIC) is recalling certain RV door locks manufactured between January, 2006, and April, 2013. More than 2.8 million RVs are affected. It may be possible to remove the key from the lock in a way that potentially jams the deadbolt in locks with certain key codes. If the deadbolt jams, the interior side of the door lock may also jam, trapping occupants of the RV. Read more.
When one camping lantern becomes four lanterns
The Coleman Quad LED electric lantern is powerful with its 24 LED lights. But in this video, see what you can do with this lantern that you cannot do with any other lantern we know of. One minute it's one lantern, then the next minute it's four smaller lanterns. Sound impossible? It's not. RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has a demonstration. Watch the video.
Why do tires blow out?
You never hear about an engine "blowing out" because motorists know it is not wise to exceed the "Red-Line" "safe limit" of their engine. Then why do we run above the safe limit specs on our tires and risk a failure? Learn more.
What is a sliding hitch and do you need one?
This short "how-to" explains sliding fifth wheel hitches, their benefits, why you might need one, and how they operate. With this information you can talk hitches like an expert.
SAVE UP TO 85%
Huge markdowns on books
& DVDs at RVbookstore.com
Save up to 85% on more than 50 books and DVDs, many prices way below our own cost! But hurry! In some cases there are only one or two products remaining at these low, low prices. Check them out here.
Need a free site for you and the RV? Become a professional "Rent-a-Guest"
Providing on-site security, care-taking a vacant property, or feeding pets and watering plants while residential property owners are on vacation — there are many ways you can stay free while providing a necessary service to others. Learn more.
No icemaker? You can still have ice without the mess
Rich Miller, "The Wanderman," like most of you, enjoys ice in his cold drinks. Here's a way to have beautiful clear ice waiting for you on arrival — with no mess and even WITHOUT an icemaker! Learn how.
New to fifth wheeling?
Don't neglect the proper maintenance of your hitch
Follow this easy routine to prevent a stuck hitch release and other problems caused by improper — or missed — lubrication. Especially useful if you don't have a manual. Read more.
Easy solar panel maintenance
Is solar panel maintenance easier than taking care of a goldfish? It depends on whether your goldfish lived or died. But this panel maintenance routine may be even easier than caring for a goldfish. Learn how.
2013 Next Exit
and RVer's Friend
Here are two great guides to Interstate exits and Travel Centers — both best-sellers, packaged together to save you $4 over purchasing them separately. The 2013 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each, and the 2013 RVer's Friend lists every Travel Center in the U.S. and Canada — about 6,600 altogether — and what services each provides to RVers. Learn more or order.
Two Arizona State Parks now offer long-term winter stays of up to 84 nights
Want to spend your winter in a beautiful Arizona State Park? Two parks are now accepting reservations for continuous stays of up to 12 weeks. Many RVers have hoped for this and finally there is a pilot program, which may change if RVers don't support the program. Make your reservation now.
RVer sets new standard for towing "a set of doubles"
Are you considering towing "doubles," an extra trailer behind your fifth wheel? You might want to take a look at this "doubles" variation for how NOT to do it.
Free camping on Washington's Columbia River
West of Wishram on Washington Highway 14, Avery Park, a "Treaty Fishing Access Site," is closed during the Native American salmon harvest season, but any other time of the year everyone can take advantage of this free Columbia River campground.
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.
Do you believe federal and state governments should stop subsidizing public campgrounds? Answer here.
Last week's question
Does your taste in campgrounds lean toward a scenic campsite with no hookups or a not-so-scenic full-service RV park? Read the survey results.
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.
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 $12 in an RV.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $3.60 (on August 9)
Change from week before: Down 5 cents
Diesel: $3.92 (on August 5)
Change from week before: Down 1 cent
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.
Ask the Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
RV holding tank evacuations optimized
When you are at a campground that has a sewer hook up and you are only going to be there over the weekend, should you leave your tank closed and dump when you get ready to leave or can you leave it open and just clean up? —Pam S. (Waco, TX)
Planning an RV
trip this summer?
Here are some great guides to State and National Parks, Corp of Engineers campgrounds, and places to stay for a bargain or even for free. Use for research or pack along for finding campsites along your route.
Guide to Free Campgrounds
Corps RV Camping
National Park Service Camping Guide
RV Camping in State Parks
RVers Best Public Campgrounds
National Park Service Camping Guide and RV Camping in State Parks — Save!
The RV Shrink
How to handle domestic disputes in the campground
Dear R.V. Shrink:
I think you need to schedule campground office hours. We just spent a night in Rocky Mountain National Park next to a couple in a large tent. Their campfire circle was directly outside our motorhome bedroom window. They spent a few hours around the campfire discussing their relationship loud enough so that we could not help hearing the whole sordid mess very clearly.... —Soap Opera in the Rockies
Hosted by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury
Learn how to buy
an RV the right way!
from the Better Business Bureau
Learn to make the right choice when buying an RV in this 50-minute DVD from RVtravel.com and the Better Business Bureau. Host Chuck Woodbury, editor of RVtravel.com, and many of America’s other best-known RV experts show you everything you need to know to determine, then shop for the RV that’s best for you without making any costly mistakes. Learn more or order.
This issue's Knowledge Quiz
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, August 10, beginning at exactly 9:00 a.m. Pacific time (noon in the East).
Joke of the week
Husband to wife: "Hey, honey, do you have anything you want to say before the football season starts?"
Headed to Alaska?
Check out these books and DVDs
2013 Milepost Directory
DVD: RVing Alaska with Joe and Vicki Kieva
Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping
Guide to the Alaska Highway
The World-Famous Alaska Highway
DVD: Alaska By RV
More Alaska Books
Watch the temperature of your transmission fluid
“If your automatic transmission fluid ever reaches 300 degrees Fahrenheit, it must be changed as soon as possible to prevent further transmission damage.” —From Trailers & Fifth Wheels Made Easy
INSTANT READING ABOUT RVing!
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.
From our newsletter
Great RV Accessories
Brew barista-quality European-style coffee in your campsite
You don't have to abandon your favorite eye-opening morning coffee or elegant afternoon pick-me-up just because you are camping. You can brew superior coffee — in your campsite or out in the boonies — with panache and style. See how.
National Park Service Camping Guide
and RV Camping in State Parks — Save!
Here are two great guides to RV Camping in State and National Parks packaged together to save you $4.93 over purchasing them separately. Both were expanded and updated in 2013 and are a wonderful resource for anyone who enjoys camping in a National Park or State Park. Learn more or order.
Tech Tips from Mark Polk
When you are packing items in your RV it is much easier if you use various sizes of see-through plastic containers. It is more organized and will prevent items from moving and falling while you travel. You can also look and see what is in each container without removing everything from the cabinet.
Learn more about RV repair and maintenance from Mark's books, eBooks and DVDs, available — most at a discount — at RVbookstore.com.
Two great resources about RV repair and maintenance!
These repair and maintenance guides by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, are packaged together to save you $11.24 over their cover prices. The Do it Yourself RV Care DVD shows those systems and components that need regular attention and how to do it. Woodall's RV Owner's Handbook is a complete, illustrated guide to preventive maintenance and repairs. The book offers great reviews of basic and generic RV systems and provides readers with a better understanding of propane, electrical, and water systems, etc. It offers all the basic information with only minimal mechanical knowledge required. Regularly $44.90, now only $29.81. Learn more or order.
Bumper Sticker of the Week
Dogs think they're human. Cats think they're gods.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to chuck(at)rvtravel.com
The RV Kitchen
With Janet Groene
—Carnivores love this meatless dish.
Beans provide the protein and smoked provolone provides the meaty taste in this hearty vegetarian soup. 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
Towing Behind Your Motorhome
Guide to Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels
Guide to Trailer Towing, Weights, Hitch Work and Backing
Guide to Winterizing Your RV
Tow Your 5th Wheel Trailer Like a Pro
Choosing an RV: A Logical Approach (with Joe and 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
Better Business Bureau Guide to Buying an RV
Did You Know?
Buckminster Fuller, who is best known for the geodesic dome, designed an 11-passenger aluminum vehicle in 1933 that got 30 miles per gallon and could travel up to 120 miles per hour. His 20-foot-long, teardrop-shaped Dymaxion car, the precursor of today’s minivan, was intended to be capable of flight when the appropriate alloys and engines became available.
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
Run your generator as little as possible in public campgrounds, and only when absolutely necessary. If you must run it, do so only after 10 a.m. and before 7 p.m. and only for very short times. Our world is too noisy — help keep our public lands peaceful and quiet.
SPECIALS and CLOSEOUTS!
Save more than 85%
On Books and DVDs at RVbookstore.com
If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone. —Maxwell Maltz
The cash prize is now $400. 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: 13354, 17112, 84147, 90034, 44850. 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. Assistant publisher: Jody Allcott. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Bob Difley, Mark Polk, Janet Groene, Richard Mallery and Richard Miller. Cartoonists: Jerry King, Joe Schmidt. Copy editor: Diane McGovern. Warehouse operations: Eric Brotman. New York City correspondent: Emily Woodbury. ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Contact Chuck Woodbury at email@example.com
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