Thursday, September 28, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1004

rv travel logoWelcome to, an RV-themed newsletter from the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with more than 146,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe it is essential to a democracy. At, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. And we’ll explore where this wonderful lifestyle is heading in our ever more complex, crowded and sometimes angry world. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.

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Page Contents

June 12, 2021

Cover story

Is the death of mom-and-pop campgrounds really such a bad thing?

By Mike Gast

I‘ll just throw this question out there. Is the demise of “mom-and-pop” campgrounds really such a bad thing?

Now, before you bring out the tar and feathers, hear me out. I’m not sure yet myself if the loss of small, family-owned parks should be decried or celebrated. I’m just bringing the issue out of the dusty topic closet for a little discussion. I’d really like to hear what you think on the subject.

What got me thinking along these lines was the column last Sunday by Andy Zipser, the former owner of the Walnut Hills RV Park in Staunton, Virginia. Andy recently sold his park to an up-and-coming corporate group that owns or operates more than a dozen parks.

I’ve known Andy for all eight of his campground-owning years since, for most of them, his park was a KOA and I was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. We didn’t cross paths often (mostly I heard from Andy when he rightfully pointed out a typo in some of my content). Even though we didn’t always agree, I have always respected Andy. He’s a smart fellow – smart enough to purchase a great campground that he undoubtedly left better than he found it and was able to reap the rewards of his efforts.

Andy’s story of campground ownership actually reflects the outcome most park owners seek. First, you buy a campground. Then you pour in your sweat equity and the improvements you can afford for a few years. In the end, you successfully cash out … sometimes to another family, but now it’s more likely – like Andy – you sell to a group or corporation.

So, back to my original statement. How can the demise of small, family-owned (“mom-and-pop”) campgrounds be a good thing?

Continue reading.

Headline stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Thor is “sold out” of RVs for 2021; order backlog totals $14 billion
• Tony reviews a 2021 r•pod RP-196 travel trailer
• Watch a wild RV chase via sheriff’s dash cam
• Electric pickup trucks almost ready for charged competition
• RV Retailer adds third repair technician training center
• 2022 Ford Maverick: The cheapest of cheap pickup trucks

PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…

Your Host Scott Linden

Listen to last Sunday’s podcast

Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode 10) and listen. Available on SpotifyPodbeanAmazon/AudibleGoogle PodcastsPlayer FMListen Notes iHeartRadio and Apple Podcasts. • Click to listen on

Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters

Hidden storage in your RV? Yup, here’s where to find it
Ways to keep the cool air IN the RV and the hot air OUT!
This is the one thing RVers MUST do outdoors
Tips to clean a gunky gray water tank. Yes, yours is gunky too

Today’s RV review…

Today, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at this amazing COVID project, a DIY gypsy wagon named “Misty.” He writes, “Many folks have come out of the past year with a number of new things to show for the unusual state of affairs: added weight, beards, fancy new face masks. But Stefani Fisher came out of the pandemic with a brand-new trailer. This isn’t just something she picked up at an RV dealer. Oh, no. This enterprising woman built her own camping trailer – really, a gypsy wagon.” Check it out here – you’re going to want one!

Last week’s reviews:
Glampervan Class B RVPrime Time Crusader 395BHL Fifth WheelFeatherlite 7841 Living Quarters Horse TrailerWork and Play 27LT Toy HaulerCortes Campers fiberglass travel trailer

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

COPYRIGHT 2021, Clint Norrell

See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!

Featured Article

We tested WiFiRanger’s new Converge Everest and love it! Here’s everything you need to know

Nanci Dixon reviews WiFiRanger’s new Converge system, their highest-end, fastest Everest router pack. The overarching brand is called Converge because it literally converges both WiFi and cell data within one integrated unit, allowing connection to local WiFi or cell service within one roof top antenna/router. It has the ability to switch from 2.5 GHz or 5 GHz speeds when available.

Read what Nanci thinks of this system based on her real-world use tests.

We want this!

The staff of has voted. And the final tally showed that we all wanted to own this RV, which just so happens to be for sale! Is this about the cutest rig you have ever seen? It turns out there were fewer than 1,000 of them made, but that was a long time ago. Our staff decided we would pool our money to buy this as our staff vehicle, to take turns using on weekends! We know we’ll make a lot of friends at the campgrounds we’d visit who would want to know more about this pint-sized beauty! Read more.

Campground Crowding: A helpful tip to reserve spots: “Schedule backward”

More people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. This week we hear from more readers who haven’t had issues with making campground reservations, and several others who are very frustrated trying to find a campsite. And one reader found a solution by scheduling the destination first and then working backward. Real more here.

Camper’s death could have been prevented with a satellite messenger. Don’t let it happen to you!

Satellite messenger and RVYou may think that a satellite messenger, which allows you to communicate from just about anywhere, is just for back county junkies that participate in risky activities like mountain climbing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, etc. But a satellite messenger is for campers and RVers, too. Dave Helgeson, veteran RVer and boondocker, as well as long-time search and rescue volunteer, lists 10 reasons, in addition to potentially saving their life, why RVers should carry a satellite messenger, here.

Not a motorcyclist? Then you must read this!

Nothing says freedom like RVing and motorcycling! “We love having our motorcycle with us as we travel to new places in our RV,” writes Gail Marsh. “If you’re not a motorcyclist, but you do enjoy traveling, camping, and seeing new places, you understand the excitement of discovery and the joy of the open road. What you might not understand is how you can help motorcyclists travel safely as you share that open road together.” Please read this important information.

2nd edition now available!
New free directory lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models
How many different makes and models of RVs are there in America? has the answer in a new, free, comprehensive 105-page directory that lists every U.S. manufacturer and every brand and model they make. We just added 32 pages of new information, including better ways to search quickly for details on particular models.“RVs: Who Makes What” is available free as a public service from in PDF form. Learn more and/or download a free copy.

Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles

Will the Pandemic ruin our RVing future?
How to make the most of your stay in full-service campgrounds
Take good care of that RV fridge!
Video: Scary! Tropical storm nearly sends RVs parked on beach out to sea!

Reader Poll

Did you meet your current spouse or partner online?

Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.

The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
What is your highest level of education? See how nearly 2,400 other RVers responded.

TRIVIA! Can you guess how many RVers own ATVs or other off-road vehicles?
A.) 10 percent B.) 40 percent C.) 70 percent. Find out here.

Brain Teaser

What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?

(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)

Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.

Are you planning to buy an RV or just getting started? Then you should be reading our Monday-Friday newsletter Beginner’s Guide to RVing. You will learn a lot! Check out yesterday’s edition.

No power? No hookups? You’d better be prepared!

By Nanci Dixon
No power? No hookups? Be prepared! We are anticipating a few days’ dry camping without any hookups in 97-degree heat. Yes, there really is campground crowding on the weekends in Minnesota with no hookup sites available within 100 miles. I am getting everything ready and realized that I should be prepared for a power outage at any time. Here’s what I’m doing to be prepared.’s Chuck Woodbury interviewed about future of RVing

The subject of this week’s episode of the YouTube news program Camper Report, with hosts Bob Zagami and John DiPietro, is the Future of Camping and RVing. And if anyone is qualified to comment about it, it’s founder and publisher Chuck Woodbury, a veteran journalist who has traveled with a motorhome for most of his adult life. Read more and watch the video.

“Improved” RV steps are too heavy and complicated!

By Gail Marsh
I’d like to issue a complaint. It’s about the “improved” RV entry steps. Our newer fifth wheel RV features a Lippert Solid Step system – entry steps that rest inside the RV’s door when in motion. I’ll admit that the steps seem a bit more stable than the ones we’ve experienced before. But in my opinion, the “cons” of the improved system outweigh the “pros.” Continue reading.

Add a stay at a Buddhist temple in Japan to your RVing plans

Mike Gast was recently surprised to read about camping at a 1,200-year-old Buddhist temple in Japan. Japan has more than 3,000 campgrounds, but at the Daitaiji Temple in Wakayama Prefecture, you’ll wake to the sound of morning temple prayers and “adopt the way of the monks.” How cool is that? Read more.

Is this stupid RVer behavior or not?

Okay, what is wrong with this photo? Reader Tom Speirs spotted it and sent it along. We’re in a minor state of shock, at least at first glance. We suppose whoever concocted this setup had his or her reasons, but wouldn’t you agree that this is an accident waiting to happen if it was used to tow something on a public road or highway? Read more and check it out, and then please comment.

You have never seen an RV like this. We mean never!

Okay, now we HAVE seen it all. Sure, there are a lot of wacky RVs out there, we know that. They look funny, or they were modified to do weird, wonderful or very unusual tasks. But this one … our whole staff was laughing like crazy today when we passed the photo around the newsroom (okay, we don’t have a real newsroom, but it sounds impressive to say that). Check out this RV! Do you know anything about it?

Is this your RV?

If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, June 12, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.

Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift cards: Carl Jones of Tacoma, Washington, and Carla Smith of Wichita, Kansas.

We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.

Popular articles from last week

RV park owner throws in the towel. The business has changed, even shockingly (more than 800,000 views!!! — That’s nine Rose Bowl crowds!)

New chain of RV parks coming, will offer “deluxe camping”
RV park owner discusses experience with electric vehicles at his park
Bird nest blues: It’s illegal to move a bird’s nest – even if it’s on your RV!
RV park owner Andy Zipser: My park’s open, but campers are angry! (from 2020)
Campground Crowding: “I empathize with those who didn’t get to camp the way we did”
New Ford Maverick? Yep, the reveal is set for June 8!
Ex-RV park owner’s story on goes viral; half-million views in one day
The future of RVing as many know it is doomed
Tips to clean a gunky gray water tank. Yes, yours is gunky too
Campground and RV Park News, June 5, 2021
A bright gadget review: Luci Core lights come in handy all around the RV

Saturday Giveaway!

How would you like to win a Remote Control RV?

How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (June 12, 2021) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.

Click here to enter or see last week’s winner!


UPDATED MAY 20 (2nd edition):RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a new free directory from which lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models. Learn more and/or download a free PDF copy.

AAA Map of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (U.S. and Canada)

Stolen RVs — Help us recover these stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See the stolen RVs.

Great websites. Check out our favorite websites of the day! We compiled a list of (almost) all the websites we’ve ever posted, and we update it weekly.

Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.

Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by

Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

What does financing an RV for 20 years REALLY mean?
In case you missed this article the first time around, here it is again. Important! Click here.

Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.

RV Repair and Maintenance

with Mark Polk, RV Education 101
This tip ran in our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter this past week, but for those of you who don’t subscribe (why not?), here it is again.

What types of screws, screwdrivers and driver bits are used in RV construction?

NEW! Phone Photography Tips

It’s all about the light

By Mike Gast

Welcome back to “Getting The Most From Your Smartphone Photos.” Each week, we look at an easy-to-use tip that will take your “unshareable” cell phone pictures and turn them into photos you’d be proud to hang on the wall of your RV. This week’s smartphone photo tip involves working with light. Without light, there is no photo. Learning to properly utilize your light sources will cut down on your bad pics, and give you some stunning results. Learn more.

A Vet’s View

Why young veterans do not integrate with older ones

By Louis J. Finkle
Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology
The number one problem of nearly all military-oriented groups is trying to determine how to attract younger veterans to participate in activities with older ones. For years I have been trying to determine its effects on the RV lifestyle we enjoy. No matter the age of people I question, the answers to my questions come down to “social” differences between older and younger-minded veterans. There are more factors expanding the chasm than connecting the parties. Continue reading.


By Mike Sokol

Do electric vehicles spell the end of internal combustion engines?

There’s certainly been a lot of hype in the last few months about all the new electric vehicles (EVs) hitting the market. And in many cases, both legislators and manufacturers are setting dates when ICE (internal combustion engine) technology won’t be sold or registered in certain states. These complex decisions are largely filled with politics and biased thinking on both sides of aisle, which I plan to avoid by sticking strictly to the science. And since I don’t believe most of what any marketing groups tell me, I’m going to test everything myself and write about this with as little bias as possible. Continue reading.

This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session

Can I run a 2-way fridge on battery power alone?

Dear Mike,
Since I’m doing a lot of 6-hour drives across the desert, is there any way I can add an inverter to the 2-way refrigerator in my trailer and power it from 120 volts instead of propane? How long would my 100 amp-hr battery last doing it? Can my truck alternator power this through the 7-pin trailer connector? —Toni

Read Mike’s answer and alternative suggestions.

RV Tire Safety

How are speed limits on ST trailer tires determined?

By Roger Marble
Let’s see if I can bring some Science and Engineering facts and history to this issue of speed limits on ST trailer tires. In the ’60s and ’70s, when ST-type tires were “invented” and started to be applied to travel trailers, the national speed limit was 55 mph and tires were bias. Trailers were considered “big” if they were 24 feet long. I doubt there were many, if any, 5th wheel tri-axle trailers on the road. Today we see speed limits across the country of 70+ mph. Continue reading.

Building an RV Park

We see the light! And update on bank loan

Machelle James reports on the hectic activities at their RV park in the past two weeks, including the picnic table debacle, a tree-trimming mission with an urgent deadline, the arrival of 200 fence panels, and how the reservation system worked on its first day of operation. Oh, yeah. And a long-awaited call from the bank! Even as exhausted as she is, she’s doing a happy dance! Read all of the exciting details here.

RV Fire Safety

Have a CO detector in your bedroom

Deadly, invisible, odorless carbon monoxide usually results from exhaust leaks or misuse of heating devices. Be sure to put your CO detector in the bedroom. The proper location is on the ceiling or on an inside wall at least eight inches from the ceiling and at least four feet from the floor.

Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Recipe of the Day

Crock Pot Pulled Pork
by Christine Schnepp from Sarasota, FL

This may be one of the best Crock Pot pulled pork recipes we’ve had. Cooking the pork shoulder in the Crock Pot makes it extremely tender. The meat is sweet, a bit smoky, and has a little kick to it. You can serve this in its own juices – no BBQ sauce needed. We tried it on a bun with slaw – so good. The leftover meat would be great mixed into macaroni and cheese or used for nachos and tacos.

A sandwich, nachos AND mac ‘n’ cheese? Count us in! Get the recipe here.

Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
Baja Style Fish TacosThe Smack My @$$ and Call Me Sally Burger!Award-Winning Strawberry Rhubarb PieLoaded Buffalo Chicken Baked Potato SaladRoasted Garlic Mushrooms

Museum of the Week

Photo by an Atlas Obscura User

Pink Elephant Mall: Outdoor Retro

Livingston, Illinois

This isn’t so much a museum as it is an outdoor roadside-attraction paradise. Dave Hammond and his wife run the antique mall. What began as a two-statue collection in 2005 has grown into a large outdoor area filled with roadside attractions and large, funky statues – there’s the famous large pink elephant, a UFO, a 14-foot-tall Muffler Man, a Uniroyal waitress gal, a large ice cream cone… You get the point. And, if you’re into antiques, the indoor antique store is quite impressive. Learn more about this “major fun” place on Roadside America.

Readers’ Pets of the Day

“Juno and Jose are brother and sister Bengals born Jan 21. They are a joy! We have a passage way to their cat box in the front storage area of our Imagine 2600RB. They play like crazy and then crash for naps.” —Patti Parker

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
ShermanTobyCami & WalterPepperKlopper

Vintage Postcard of the Week

Postcards owned by Colleen and Ed Weum, Pacific Northwest Postcard Club. Read more about their 90,000 postcard collection here.


Adirondack Park in Upstate New York is the largest state park in the U.S. It is also the largest protected area of any kind in the lower 48 states at six million acres. It attracts 10 million visitors each year.

Word and Phrase Origins

From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:

bark up the wrong tree. Coon dogs, which could be almost any breed of dog or even mongrels in Colonial days, commonly chased raccoons through the underbrush and treed them, barking furiously at the base of the tree until their masters came to shoot the ‘gone coon.’ But the crafty nocturnal animal, called a rahaugum by John Smith, often escaped in the dark through the branches, leaving the dogs “barking up the wrong tree,” which is the origin of the American phrase.

Laugh of the Week

Thanks for the laugh, Gary Willey!

Leave with a song from the past

Here from 1970 is Mama Cass (Cass Elliot) singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Elliot was a member of the Mamas and Papas. Sadly, she died four years later after this performance, in 1974, at the age of 32. An oft-repeated urban legend is that Elliot choked to death on a ham sandwich. But, in fact, she died in her sleep of a heart attack.

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

If you have not contributed to for some time and would like to do so again, you may do so here. Thank you.

RV Travel staff

Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. News editor: Mike Gast. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, Gail Marsh, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Scott Linden, Randall Brink, Chris Epting and Andrew Robinson. Social media and special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES — OUR STAFF MEMBER IN HEAVEN, Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, who was taken from us by the coronavirus.

Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
• Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Tom and Lois Speirs • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.


Thanks to our partners and advertisers for helping support this website and its many newsletters. This support, while important to us and much appreciated, has no influence on editorial content.

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 or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

Need help? Contact us.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2021 by


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2 years ago

Not sure about Adirondack St Park being the largest St Park in the US. I’ve always heard Anza Borrego in California is the largest St Park in the US.

2 years ago

The article said the CO detector should be on the ceiling or on an inside wall at least eight inches from the ceiling and at least four feet from the floor. Forest River installed mine 1 foot off the floor……….?

2 years ago
Reply to  cee

Our propane detector is just off the floor in the bedroom…

Retired Firefighter Tom
2 years ago
Reply to  cee

While natural gas [typical in our stick0built homes] is lighter than air, propane is HEAVIER than air and settles a little above the floor. Your home “gas detector” should be near the ceiling.

2 years ago

I don’t recall ever seeing that breed of cat before. Beautiful kitties!

Joe Allen
2 years ago

As a full time RV’er for well over 8 years, I shudder at the thought of losing the Mom & Pop RV parks! We don’t stop at the corporate sites, as first off, they are overpriced and offer items we don’t use when we travel. Give us simple clean, well managed RV parks that we will support! No, we don’t have a cheap ragged out RV either, but certainly understand the costs of camping and don’t feel like just giving our money away for things we don’t use! I hope that Mom & Pop RV parks are going to survive in this corporate world!

2 years ago

Carbon monoxide pretty much diffuses throughout the air in a room. It’s been my understanding that placement of a CO detector is not as critical as for a smoke detector. I was wondering what the basis was for the placement guidance listed above?

Sharon L Boehmer
2 years ago
Reply to  GARY SAIN

We pull a 5th wheel and carry a generator in the back of our truck. one very warm night we pulled over to rest and thought “just run the genny, plug in trailer and use ac to cool off bedroom. Guess what, our bedroom CO detector went off in about 15 min. I will leave it in the bedroom and the smoke detector in the living space closer to where the smoke is more likely.