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Issue 738 • Week of April 16-22, 2016
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
We made it! We have moved to our new server and flipped the switch on our new, improved website. I hope you’ll poke around to see how everything looks. Remember, we’ve got a lot more to post in the coming weeks and months.
It’s now a lot easier to find the information you’re looking for, whether about buying a new RV, maintaining the one you have, setting up camp — or even how to keep rattlesnakes from invading your RV (that article is in response to an email we received recently from reader Tim Slack). If you can’t find something using the categories tab on the blue bar at the top of the page, use the search box in the right-hand column — it’s very effective at finding exactly what you’re looking for.
As of today, Saturday, April 16, we have imported about 1,000 articles from our vast archives — all updated, plus new stories we’ve been working on the past week. We have several thousand more articles to bring in plus new features to introduce. Return to our front page every day to scan the “Recent Articles” category to see what’s new.
Thanks to Russ De Maris, Diane McGovern, Greg Illes, Bob Difley and Jody Allcott for working long hours to help get this new website site launched. Special thanks go to our long-time friend and webmaster Zoey Platt, who is responsible for our new look and its new and improved functionality. It’s been a huge effort and I think most of us are a bit tired. But we’ll perk up fast and get back into action next week.
We still have work to do — resuming our reader surveys and starting up two new contests, one of which, Spin and Win, will be showcased on our YouTube channel — exposing RVtravel.com to countless thousands of RVers, and hopefully enticing many to become subscribers.
That’s for this week except to say I am gradually importing years of my Roadside Journal posts to this website — most are not timely, some going back to my days as an on-the-road reporter with my roving newspaper Out West. It’s in this journal where I truly feel myself, writing about whatever is on my mind, which just so happens often is related to RVing, the greatest way to travel in the World.
I hope you enjoy the new website. Please tell your friends!
P.S. As you move about our new website, you will likely notice some glitches. If you come across articles with missing photos or other problems, please let me know where they are so I can fix what’s broken. As always, I appreciate your emails. I’m at chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
Also: Some of our regular features are missing this week. They’ll be back. We got so busy getting the new website up and running that we ran out of time to include everything in this issue.
RVs & Electric Bikes – the perfect match!
An Electric Bike is the perfect, simplest and most affordable way of sorting all the ‘challenges’ of RV’ing. Get around camp effortlessly, visit the sites or town nearby without unhooking or simply enjoy a fun ride with fellow campers! Click here to discover our electric bikes and get $100 off, free shipping & returns, and 0% financing on any new EVELO using the code RVTRAVEL during checkout!
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Our staff works hard to bring you an entertaining and informative newsletter every Saturday. The readers of the newsletter help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year would be appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! If you care to chip in, please know we will be very appreciative. Just contribute what you think is fair. Learn more here.
NO CONTESTS OR SURVEYS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS
What RV do you drive or tow? Please send us a photo of your RV with a 150-200 word description of where and how you travel with it, and what you like (or don’t like) about it. (If you want, just send us your notes and we’ll put your story together for you.) If you have a photo of it in a scenic setting, that’s great. Be sure to include your name(s) and your hometown (unless you’re a full-timer). We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane(at)RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Tow Dolly or Utility Trailer?
The Tow-Mate aluminum flatbed attachment helps turn a tow dolly into a handy multi-use utility trailer. With the Tow-Mate, your tow dolly can do more than just tow your car; it can haul your golf cart, motorcycle, snowmobile or ATV. It’s lightweight and can be attached or detached in minutes. The patented bracketing system allows it to fit most all brands, models and ages of tow dollies. Click here to learn more about the Tow-Mate and get $100 off your purchase using the code RVTRAVEL during checkout!
Don’t forget: Throughout National Park Week, April 16-24, admission to every National Park is free!
Colorado campers may see fee increases at a couple of National Park venues. Campground fees at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Curecanti National Recreation Area will jump. At Black Canyon they’ll increase $4 a night at South Rim, North Rim and East Portal campgrounds. Ditto at Curecanti campgrounds.
RV park owner Gene Baker of Tupelo, Miss., was happy to get a check from Erica Flores Dunahoo for her family’s first month rent – until he learned that Erica, who is white, was married to an African-American. The next day Baker returned the check, and later explained to the media that having an interracial couple in his park would offend his neighbors. Asked what he’d do if another mixed-marriage couple wanted to stay at his park, Baker said he’d shut the park down. The matter is under investigation.
GM announced Friday it is recalling more than 1 million model-year 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks for a seat belt flaw, including a stop-sale of new 2014 and 2015 pickups still on dealer lots. GM said the recall was prompted by warranty data that showed part of the seat belt can separate over time, but it is not aware of crashes or injuries linked to the defect. Repairs will be free to owners.
The U.S. military wants to expand its training footprint in Washington state. That’s trouble to residents who worry about noise and other impacts from increased takeoffs and landing of the Navy’s EA-18G Growlers at nearby Whidbey Island air station. The noise is already an issue at Deception Pass State Park. On a bad night, reports the Seattle Times, the park may refund $500 to $1,000 in camping fees from park guests who leave early. “If you are a camper with little children, it can just destroy the experience you are trying to have,” said Jack Hartt, manager at the park, the state’s most visited.
Dispersed camping in Colorado’s White River National Forest is going to get a bit more restricted. Officials with the Dillon Ranger District want to shut down overnight camping along portions of the road between Montezuma and Keystone. In a largely urban area, the camping has become too popular with folks who stay for long periods of time, often leaving trash, human waste, and even abandoned RVs behind.
With weaker sales of Class A motorhomes, Indiana rig builder Newmar Corporation has laid off an undisclosed number of employees. The company suggested a sales sag is “related to pre-election activity and the fluctuation of the stock market.”
Camping in Wisconsin? The state’s governor just signed a new law (AB174) that frees private campground owners, operators, and their employees in ways that might affect you. Here’s the fine print: Such individuals “are immune from civil liability for property damage or for the death of or injury to an individual that is caused by or occurred during use of the campground, unless the property damage, death, or injury is caused by a willful or wanton act or omission of the owner or operator of the campground or of an employee or agent of the campground or campground owner or operator.” How that plays out in practice will no doubt come up in some future court action.
Camp host needed – Silver City, N.M. This position shows an opening now through the end of March 2017. Bring your RV, hook up to full utilities including phone and propane. Open and close gates, smile, answer questions, maybe some litter and weed picking. Call Brian Martinez, Natural Resource Specialist at 575-388-8301.
In Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park the term “bug spray” applies to more than DEET. Tree-killing beetles are being given the unwelcome mat treatment from late this month through Memorial Day in the form of insecticide spraying in some park areas. Of particular interest: Aspenglen Campground, Moraine Park Campground, Hollowell Park and Upper Beaver Meadows picnic areas. All will be sprayed with carbaryl-based pesticides.
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 watch Wade clean everything with Beast Wash as it cuts through slime and grime. You’ll see the difference. SALE! 5% off – Use code: RVTravel16 when ordering.
Lady Lake, Fla., is home to a BIG RV park – Recreation Plantation has 850 sites. Now it wants to get even bigger – expanding by 232 sites and adding a swimming pool, clubhouse and pickleball courts. The local zoning board will decide if it can proceed.
Morro Bay, Calif., city officials are seeking input from residents on a local hot-button issue: RV parking. Currently city code prohibits parking RVs and boats on private property, but unless there are health and safety concerns officials aren’t enforcing it. Now the city is soliciting public opinion to seek a solution.
There’s good and bad news at Iowa’s Lake Manawa State Park. First, a move to dredge sand from the lake for improved clarity is progressing. The bad news – a proposal that would have replaced 73 existing sites with 51 full-hookup sites has stalled. The park closed the old sites in November, planning to move them. But that’s off due to wetlands concerns. No camping this year – and the future is uncertain.
There’s no peace in Palestine, Texas. Purple Peacock Resort owners Butch and Phyllis Manuel have ignited an uproar among locals after announcing that RVers may now go au naturel at their resort. The Peacock’s tanning and pool areas will be “clothing optional,” when the park opens around Memorial Day. Reaction to the news has led to plenty of “hot” commentary in the local media.
As we reported last week, wildfire broke out in Arizona’s Havasu National Wildlife Refuge on April 6 and quickly jumped over the Colorado River and into California. Along the way, some two square miles of brushland went up in smoke, and RVers at Pirate’s Cove Resort had to be evacuated. As of press time, the fire was reported to be nearly contained, with Pirates Cove back to normal.
IEDs – improvised explosive devices, the bane of soldiers serving in the Middle East — are getting closer to home. RV park guests in San Leon, Texas, discovered a “suspicious device” at the Bayshore RV Park. Authorities brought in appropriate removal experts and the IED was safely taken away. No suspects.
Boondocking RVers who rely on solar panels curse the rain – but that may soon end. A Chinese research group is experimenting with solar cells that utilize graphene – a form of carbon – to produce power from raindrops. Since rain is not pure water but contains salts, when in contact with graphene, positively charged ions pair with negatively charged ones from the salts, creating a “pseudo-capacitor.” Evidently the potential difference is sufficient to produce a flow of electrons.
A new twist on an old scam fooled a Lawrence, Kan., woman, who spotted a 2006 RV for sale on Craigslist for $2,500. The woman answering the phone gave a sob story involving a dead husband and an RV full of happy memories. Just pay me — not with a Western Union transfer — but with Apple iTunes gift cards. The “customer” forked over a total of $3,500 in gift cards (“seller” needed more for “insurance”) only to, of course, never get the rig. A “reverse image” search showed the photo of the rig was ripped off from a legitimate RV dealer website and posted as bait on the Craigslist ad.
More “brilliant” crooks surfaced in Pflugerville, Texas: Four teenagers broke into a home, and after they failed to open a safe they settled for stealing pocket change off a dresser. Once outside the home, they decided to “chill” inside the owner’s RV – and help themselves to some cereal. A suspicious neighbor confronted them — they ran but were caught right away by police. One of the charges? Engaging in organized crime. Probably should be “dis-organized.”
The last roof your RV
will ever need. Guaranteed!
“RV Armor took care of our problems and did our roof replacement while we stayed in our RV. Their service gave us great value savings and came with a lifetime, unconditional, parts and labor warranty, which is also transferable.” —Happy customer Don Fredericks. Financing available! RV Armor: The Ultimate RV Roof.
RV Quick Tips
Try “call forwarding” to make your life simpler
Here’s a handy tip from reader Steve Willey: Get “call forwarding” on your home (or office) phone, for about $2.50 a month. Then, before you leave on a trip, just dial three digits on your cell phone and all calls to your home or to the cell will ring on the cell phone. You’ll discover many more advantages to this system as you use it. Thanks, Steve!
Navigating parking lots with a big RV
It can be no small chore driving in, around and out of a parking lot with a big RV, as Jim Twamley observes in this article. If you drive or tow a king-sized RV, Jim’s advice may come in handy. Read more.
An additional type of fire extinguisher may be worthwhile
Consider fire extinguisher “aerosol spray” systems for your tow vehicle, and extras for inside your RV. Less expensive and lighter than conventional blasters, they’re said to discharge much longer, too. These won’t substitute for a good powder-type extinguisher, but may be the backup that saves your bacon.
Enjoy the Freedom
of Camping with a
Thousand Trails Camping Pass
Chuck Woodbury has one! So should you!
RVtravel.com readers click here to learn more
& SAVE $100.
Are AGM or lithium in your RV battery’s future?
If you thought you knew a lot about batteries, be prepared to go back to school in the near future: Batteries are getting better, some lasting far longer than of those most of have used for years. See what’s happening in the world of RV batteries by clicking here.
How to keep rattlesnakes out of your RV
RVer Tim Slack emailed us recently from Arizona with a question we hadn’t heard before: “Are there any reasonable ways to keep snakes away from the vicinity of an RV? We’re in rattlesnake territory and yesterday had a 3-foot diamondback heading for our cat in her outdoor playpen.” Read more.
It’s very important to keep your RV sealants fresh
The most frequent cause of damaging RV water leaks isn’t the roof itself – rather, it’s the sealants around vents, trim, windows, etc. Sealant doesn’t last forever, and your RV warranty requires you to keep sealants fresh. Read more.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.
For your safety — battery/crank-powered radios
Rich “The Wanderman” has been giving some thought lately to failures, as in equipment when traveling in his RV. Like what to do if there is a weather emergency and you have no power — battery or otherwise — and you need a weather update. Why, just crank up your emergency radio. Read more.
Travel trailer tire “blowout” — but not quite
RV tire expert Roger Marble recently received a letter from a reader describing a travel tire failure. The reader wondered what caused the “blowout” and why his tire pressure monitoring system didn’t alert him until a few seconds after the “blowout.” Read Roger’s response here.
This week in history
1838 — Naturalist John Muir is born.
1897 — First Boston Marathon held.
1945 — WWII journalist Ernie Pyle killed at Okinawa.
1956 — Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier marry.
1964 — Ford Mustang debuts at World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
2008 — Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win Indy race.
2012 — Dick Clark, host of “American Bandstand” and “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” dies.
Here are a couple of RV clubs from our extensive directory which you may be interested in:
GMC Motorhome Clubs.
A long list of GMC motorhome clubs, as well as GMC specialty clubs.
“The best resource for your family’s full time RV adventures and aspirations.” Benefits include discounts on services and products, a family-friendly campground directory, and year-round activities across the country.
Light up your RV with Boogey Lights!
RV accent lighting is all the rage! Just look around the RV park! Enter Boogey Lights®! These robust, super-bright, state-of-the-art LED lights with hi-tech controller technology represent the next generation in LED lighting for RVs. The AWNING & UNDER-GLOW LIGHT KITS are specifically designed to withstand harsh operating environments. Don’t waste your money on junk! Get Boogey Lights! You can even control them with your Smart Phone! Learn more or click the video for a demonstration.
Bumper sticker of the week
Be nice to your kids — They’ll choose your nursing home.
Funny/clever business slogan
“We just keep rolling a lawn,” — JB Instant Lawn, Portland, Oregon
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi ! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the recently updated, long list of upcoming RV shows for 2016.
Websites of the Week
We like these websites. Check ’em out. More next week.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Ask the RV Shrink
Dear RV Shrink:
I want to cross the border into Mexico to have an eye exam and maybe see a dentist. My wife thinks I should also get my head examined. She thinks everyone who goes to Mexico is never heard from again. I have heard that many people cross the border for dental, eye and prescriptions. Am I missing something? We are in an RV park right near the border. Do you think it is worth a trip to save a few bucks? How do I convince my wife it’s safe? —Borderline yahoo in Yuma
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Cleaning roof vent screens
Roof vent screens can be cleaned from the top of the RV. Some roof vent screens can be easily removed for cleaning. You can vacuum the screen with a small hand-held vacuum cleaner, or lightly brush the screen using a soft bristle brush. Lubricate the roof vent gears annually with light, water-resistant grease.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.07 (on Apr. 11)
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 34 cents
Diesel: $2.13 (on Apr. 11)
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 63 cents
2016 The Milepost
This is THE mile-by-mile guidebook for RV or auto travelers headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. First published in 1949 as a guide about traveling along the Alaska Highway, today’s Milepost includes more than 600 pictures and more than 100 maps, and details every place travelers might eat, sleep or pull off the road for scenic viewing. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Kitchener RV Show & Sale, April 15–17, Kitchener, ON, Canada
• Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show, April 21-24, Elkhart, IN
• BC Interior RV Show, April 22-24, Penticton, B.C. Canada
• Puyallup RV Show, April 28-May 1, Puyallup, WA
Complete list of upcoming shows in the USA and Canada. Click here.
Essential equipment for many RVers!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100-micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.
Random RV Thought
When camping in the desert or forest, do not leave your poodle or other small pet leashed and alone outside. This is especially true at night. Coyotes love to dine on poodles and other small critters. If you leave Spot or Fifi outside overnight, you may end up with only a leash and collar in the morning.
Easily brew a cup of coffee
This is great for RVers! Brew a single cup of coffee without the high cost of an expensive coffee maker with the MyJo Single Cup Coffee Maker! Just fill reservoir with hot water from tea kettle, or heat water in a microwave. Assemble, place K-Cup pack in base, attach the water reservoir and pump. Watch the video for a short demonstration or learn more or order at a big discount.
In 1949, dockworkers unloaded two tiny German cars at the port of New York. They looked like bugs, and their engines were in the wrong end. But they were well built, thrifty and fun. Volkswagens were different from American cars, and that was part of their appeal — especially for young people. Ten years later, America imported 120,000 “Bugs” a year. A small but growing number of people wanted something different.
Just published for 2016
Locate services at Interstate exits
The 2016 Next Exit is the most complete USA Interstate highway exit directory ever published for every exit of major and most minor routes. Find what’s located at upcoming exits on your route — gas, food, lodging, camping, shopping, hospitals, Wal-Marts and much more. A best-seller year after year. Learn more or order.
“If you say there are elephants flying in the sky, people are not going to believe you. But if you say that there are 425 elephants in the sky people will probably believe you.”— Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Writer
Keep your fridge in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV fridge after a day of driving? Maybe a carton of milk has fallen out on the floor one too many times? Here’s the solution. Camco’s RV Double Refrigerator Bar is designed to keep order in your RV fridge during travel. It’s spring loaded to keep items in place. The bar extends from 16″ to 28″. And the good part is the price tag: about $5! (the RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
Joke of the week
Wife: “The two things I cook best are meat loaf and apple pie.” Husband: “Which is this?”
Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Janet Groene, Roger Marble and Julianne Crane. Office manager: Jody Allcott.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
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 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. 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.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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This newsletter is copyright 2016 by RVtravel.com