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Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1058


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Page Contents

June 25, 2022
Members edition


Cover story

My exhausting car/hotel trip

By Chuck Woodbury

Afew weeks ago my partner, Gail, and I spent about two weeks on the road, traveling by car from Seattle to central California south of Fresno. Mostly, we stayed in hotels (Comfort Inns, Best Westerns, etc.). In the old days these places would have been called motels or maybe motor inns. Our little adopted pal, Archie, a 24-pound part-Border Terrier, was along. He cost us an extra $15 to $30 a night.

The trip was exhausting! The daily routine: Get up, eat the free breakfast, drink coffee, pack up, hit the road, and do the same in reverse (sans breakfast), that afternoon.

To me, settling into a campsite with my motorhome and then leaving it later is easier.

I would rate our hotels’ free breakfasts at 1.5 stars out of 5. How can someone make such uninspired scrambled eggs? And, as I dined, being forced to watch the local or cable TV news made those scrambled eggs even harder to swallow. I’d say the quality of early morning TV (which I admit I almost never watch because I don’t like to waste my time) is amazingly similar to the quality of those scrambled eggs — uninspired! Talking heads, talking heads, talking heads — spouting the ideologies of their owners while claiming to be unbiased (some worse than others)!

THERE ARE GOOD THINGS about staying at a hotel vs. an RV. For example, we made no room reservations until an hour or two before we decided where to stop for the night. One call was usually all it took. We would never have found an RV park or campground on such short notice. In that case it would have been “Walmart, Here We Come.” But then I personally don’t “do Walmart” because I worked hard all my life and my dreams of travel in my old age did not include sleeping in parking lots while bargain hunters banged their car doors, rattled their shopping carts and, only footsteps away, herded their screaming 5-year-olds. “But, Mom, you promised you’d buy Cocoa Puffs!”

Not camping, for sure!

The hotel rooms where we stayed were pleasant — clean, big beds, microwaves, no bugs, with gushing showers despite the drought. And there was the free shampoo: I was able to make off with a few bottles for future hair emergencies. My father, who grew up during the Depression, would always stay in a Motel 6, where “they have great showers” and where he could hit up the housekeepers for a dozen (or more) free bars of mini-soap, which he later would carefully mold into one large bar, thereby chopping $1 off for a month’s worth of personal hygiene expense.

But, alas, the bad thing about the hotels (besides that they cost more than campground or RV parks), is we had to haul our suitcases in and out at each stop. And most often, our room was on the second or third floor, so there was the elevator, which freaked out Archie. If he could talk he would have screamed, “Get me outta here, the sky is falling!”

But, by staying in hotels, there was the significant benefit of traveling by car where our gas mileage was triple our motorhome’s. So in California, where a gallon of unleaded petrol went for about $6, that was very nice, indeed.

Overall, I would say that traveling by automobile and staying in hotels is no better or worse on a quick, impromptu trip like ours than traveling with an RV. There are many pluses and minuses, of course, much depending upon a traveler’s tastes.

But, in today’s crowded world, the really big PLUS of staying in hotels is you truly can “go where you want when you want,” and still easily find a place to stay on the fly without resorting to parking lots. But as those of us who own RVs know, traveling with our own little portable home, with all our stuff and our own comfortable bed, is really much more fun and comfortable than a car trip — but these days most often only if it is carefully planned in advance.


NEW!
Introducing the RVtravel.com Photo Contest

We have a new photo contest! Submit your photos for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Each Saturday, we’ll post five reader-submitted photos, and our readers will vote their favorite, which will earn their photographer the Amazon gift certificate. Read the rules and submit your photo here. Good luck!


Today’s RV review…

The Rockwood Tent HW296 makes a lot of sense

Tony writes, “I think, for the right type of buyer, this makes a lot of sense. As fuel prices continue to choke a lot of campers’ budgets, these are an even more logical decision.

“They’ve done a good job with a camper that has a pretty robust set of features in a package that’s easy to tow and possible to garage. Not bad.”

Read more

Click here for more reviews.


OPINION: State park officials could teach the private sector a thing or two

By Andy Zipser
Last Sunday, RVtravel.com published a news story I had written about a Colorado audit of its state parks. The audit confirmed what many RVers already knew: that park RV sites were sitting empty despite growing demand, that the state was losing millions of dollars in lost campground fees, and that reservation software that could prevent some of these problems was being misused and even disabled. The causes of these problems, the audit concluded, included lack of training and lack of oversight, as well as inconsistent policy enforcement. Good news, right? Continue reading.

The campground was crowded, noisy, smoky… and wonderful

By Nanci Dixon
The campground was crowded, noisy, filled with campfire smoke… and just plain wonderful! We joined the ranks of the weekend warriors, at least for this one weekend. We camped with close and extended family this past weekend at a Jellystone Park in Warrens, Wisconsin. Read Nanci’s heartfelt and philosophical account of this weekend spent with family, building more warm and wonderful memories with her family at this park like most of the past 29 years.

Camping World’s “Design Centers”: Where you do the work

By Gail Marsh
A friend of mine is pretty excited. She recently discovered Camping World’s newest consumer offering: their very own “Design Center.” Camping World has been paying attention. They’ve noticed that many, many folks are redecorating their RVs. (You’ve probably noticed the trend, too.) From fifth wheels to travel trailers to motorhomes, lots of folks are redesigning the interior of their camping rigs to better reflect their personal styles. And Camping World does not intend to miss out on the potential boom in RV modifications. Learn more.

Know Your RV: 7 tips for a happy RV toilet

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
For many new to the RV lifestyle, the RV toilet is a mysterious dweller in a tiny closet. But if you plan on spending any time with your RV, you’ll soon need to get intimately acquainted. Here are important tips to get along with what can be a good friend on the road. Get all the down and dirty details here.


Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

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RV boo-boos: RVer wakes up to demolished motorhome

“A nightmare is only a dream, and when it is worst, you wake up.” So wrote Laura Ingalls Wilder. For RVtravel.com reader Kenneth P., the worst began when he woke up. His motorhome demolished, his wife, Patsy, seriously injured. What happened? … Then there’s a “fence line chat” story from John V. Read those accounts here.

RVer warns: Motorized toys can be hazardous. Be safe in campgrounds

By Gail Marsh
It used to be that kids fished or played baseball during campouts. Recently, a fellow RVer, R.J., lamented that those days are long gone. “Whatever happened to regular ol’ bicycles?” he wonders. “The new ride-on toys are just too fast for a campground. Too many kids don’t know how to safely ride them.” I understand R.J.’s concern. Motorized toys can be hazardous when not used properly. Especially in a crowded campground. Read important safety tips here.

Around the campfire: Jokes about high gas prices will make you laugh!

By Gail Marsh
The escalating cost of fuel is certainly no joke. It’s hardly funny when it comes time to pay at the pump. But a few nights ago, folks around the campfire started sharing jokes they’ve heard about the high price of gasoline and diesel fuels. Laughing at problems won’t make them go away, but for a little while we surely felt better! I’m hoping my experience at laughing off high gas prices helps you feel a little better, too. Get a (free) chuckle or two here.


NEW! RV “Gremlins”

RV ‘Gremlins’, Part 2: The mysteries of 12-volt wiring

By Dave Solberg
I don’t know if I can actually say what “Gremlin” frustrates me the most. However, 12-volt DC wiring has got to be up there with the worst of them! To start with, there is typically very poor, if any, documentation available from the manufacturer or dealer. However, I do have to commend Winnebago, as they have some very good documentation now available on their website in the owner section. Continue reading.


Reader Poll

As of right now, how far in advance have you reserved a campsite?

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

Tell us here

DID YOU SEE THE RESULTS OF YESTERDAY’S POLL: “Walmart ‘campers,’ do you ask the store for permission to stay, or just stay?” The results are interesting.


Ghost Town Trails – Elkhorn, Montana: The cover photo of popular “Ghost Towns of the West” book

By Dave Helgeson
Elkhorn, Montana, is the featured ghosted place in this month’s installment of Ghost Town Trails. I chose Elkhorn for this month’s entry as it is easily explored during a summer RV trip. It also holds a special place in my becoming an enthusiast of forgotten and abandoned places. I suspect many of you reading this have seen a picture of Elkhorn without knowing its name. It was featured on the cover of the book “Ghost Towns of the West,” which was first published by Sunset Magazine in 1971. Continue reading how this book, received by Dave when he was 11, inspired him to visit ghost towns every chance he gets.

The Long, Long RV Trip, Week 4 : Having fun on more Colorado explorations

By Cheri Sicard
As week 4 of my LONG, LONG RV trip began, I was still waiting for one credit card to catch up with me after the losing-my-wallet debacle. Likewise, I decided to spend another week in the Colorado Springs area. Luckily, the snow from Week 3 had melted. My friend did not mind if I continued “moochdocking” in her yard. There was still plenty to see and do. Read all about Cheri’s latest adventures here.


CONTEST

Is this your RV?

Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Every day we post a photo of an RV either submitted by its owner or by our editors as they move about the country.

Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.


Saturday Giveaway!

How would you like to win this Mini Air Fryer?

How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (June 25, 2022) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com 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!


Ask Dave

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.

This past week’s questions that Dave answered:

Click here to see more questions for Dave.


“RVing” without your own RV

There are many “glamping” opportunities these days that involve staying in RVs that are not your own, some of them very beautiful or funky, and often in incredible settings. Considering the current price of gas and diesel, maybe you’d like to do some RVing without the cost of traveling to and from your destination in your own RV. Here are two very special RVs where you can stay without even needing your own RV to do it! We’ll show you more in future issues.


RV Gadgets and Gizmos

with Nanci Dixon

Updated gadget review: 100 miles with my Lectric eBike. Do I still love it?

Nanci Dixon just hit the 100-mile mark on her Lectric Step Thru eBike. As some of you may remember, Nanci reviewed the Lectric eBike last fall and finally got to the first 100 miles this summer. She wanted to be able to thoroughly test it before she reviewed it again. Nanci loved it before, but does she still love it? Find out here.

RV Rider bike rack is made just for RVers

Now that we are traveling more and taking both our bikes with us, we needed a heavy-duty rack to handle my eBike along with my husband’s “old-fashioned” one. My Lectric eBike spent the trip from Arizona to Minnesota folded up in the back of the car, but I wanted the seats back! I called Lectric eBikes to get a recommendation on a rack for their bikes. They suggested the RV Rider bike rack by Hollywood Racks. Was this pricey bike rack worth it? Find out here.


RVelectricity

with Mike Sokol

Charging batteries in parallel

Dear Mike,
I really like your articles, but now have questions of my own. I want to hook up two 12v lead acid batteries in parallel to double my amp hours. Will my tow vehicle still charge these properly? Will the trailer charger still charge these properly when plugged into shore power? Can I hook up a single remote battery charger to charge these? Thank you. —Robert

Read Mike’s answer(s)

Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Solar power backup while boondocking


RV Tire Safety

Correcting misinformation about tire inflation and load limits

By Roger Marble
Do you run your vehicle at or above engine redline? Why not? OK. As a tire design engineer and someone with RV tire experience, let’s see if I can clear up some of the partially correct and partially misunderstood information we see posted almost daily on one or more of the internet RV forums about tire inflation and load limits.

Continue reading.


RV Short Stop

A magical ride along North Dakota’s Enchanted Highway

By Julianne G. Crane
If you find yourself in western North Dakota near the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, take a magical detour along the Enchanted Highway off I-94. Back in the late 1980s, retired teacher Gary Greff was looking for ways to entice travelers off Interstate 94 to his tiny hometown of Regent, population 160. Inspired by the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” and its catchphrase “Build it, and they will come,” Greff figured he could create giant whimsical sculptures that celebrate North Dakota and maybe lure tourists 32 miles south of I-94. This is amazing.


Johnny Robot

Our resident non-human staff writer answers your questions

Johnny answers these questions:
• Meatloaf jeopardizes marriage. What to do?
• Bird lands on single woman’s roof. Should she be concerned?
• Wristwatch drops into toilet holding tank. Okay to fetch it out?


RV Fire Safety

Fire extinguisher classifications explained

Fires extinguishers are divided into classifications based on what type of materials are burning. The most common classes are A, B and C. Following is what each class includes:

Class A: Ordinary Combustibles — wood, cloth, rubber, paper, many plastics and fiberglass — basically anything that leaves an ash.

Class B: Flammable Liquids — gasoline, oil and oil-based paint.

Class C: Energized Electrical Equipment — wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery and appliances. Class C does not include fires involving the 12-volt equipment found in all coaches. Once you de-energize or unhook from shore power and turn off your inverter or generator, a fire that occurs is a Class A fire rather than a Class C fire.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy


Recipe of the Day

Chicken Cordon Bleu w/Swiss Dijon Alfredo Sauce
by Lisa Myrick from Wilmington, NC

Lisa’s slightly lightened-up version of chicken cordon bleu is fantastic! It’s much easier to make, too. Placing the Swiss cheese in the Alfredo sauce is a brilliant idea. Not only does it solve the oozing cheese problem, but it allows you to add as much of the sauce your heart desires on top of the chicken. The chicken itself is tender and juicy with a smoky flavor from the ham.

Get the recipe here


Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Jitterbug is the consummate camper. She did her first cross-country trip at 14 weeks—Michigan to the Pacific Northwest. She’s made five trips in her six years. She LOVES everyone she meets and is always up for a new adventure!” —Sarah Pregitzer


Brain Teaser

You are standing on the top one of two solid metal pillars. They are both exactly one kilometer apart from each other and they both stand one kilometer high. There is absolutely nothing around these pillars, but you have one small twig, one small rock and an unlimited supply of rope. Using only the materials named, how can you get from the top of the pillar that you are on to the top of the other pillar?

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


Trivia

According to most historians, the first newspaper comic strip was “Hogan’s Alley,” drawn by Richard F. Outcault in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World in 1895. The strip featured a popular character known as the Yellow Kid, and eventually, Outcault was hired away to draw “Yellow Kid” for William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. This Yellow Kid character inspired the term “yellow journalism.”

Laugh of the Week

If birds had arms…


Resources

RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a new free directory from RVtravel.com which lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models. Learn more and/or download a free PDF copy.

Wildfire conditions around the USA
Current wildfire report.

RV Show Directory: See if a show is coming soon to your area.

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 RVtravel.com.

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.

The Best RV Trip Planner Apps and Tools. Everything you need to help plan your trip is here.


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Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues


RVtravel.com All-Star Team

rv travel logoPublisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast, Gail Marsh. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Julianne Crane, Machelle James, James Raia, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and non-human Johnny Robot. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady, Mark Gorrie. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

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.

RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com. 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.

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Mac G
1 month ago

Jitterbug, pet of the week, such a funny cool dog!

Vanessa
1 month ago

I just made a trip from Las Vegas to MT and back by car with my two dogs. It was so relaxing (except for the two months in between I spent taking care of my grandchildren). Not having to worry about towing a 26′ box and finding a place to park it was great. I just googled hotels that take dogs and came up with points all along I-15. There was no extra charge for the dogs. It took me only two days (each way) vs the 3 to 4 it would take with the RV and including the hotels for two nights (one each way) it was less than 25% the cost.

Virginia
1 month ago

We recently used hotels on a 2-week trip because our AC is still not shipped.

We don’t haul suitcases. We have all of our hanging clothes on a rack; take in only the outfit for the next day. We have a “go bag” with overnight essentials and a clean set of underthings which we pull from a larger bag. Hubby has his own pillow. Non-essentials come in as needed. Even if we load everything on the cart and make one trip to the car it is easier than hooking up and dumping the RV!

I wouldn’t do it for a 6-month cross-country trip, but actually enjoyed not having to make breakfast; having a good shower (vs. bath houses and drippy pressure); and we had both cable and Wifi without hassle!

We are considering no more long-distance RV trips. Fly, rent a car, and find a VRBO. Bet I can get those reservations in 24 hours!

Denny L’Etoile
1 month ago

If Chuck is hearing kids complain about choice of cereal, then he is NOT parking in the right place at Walmart. Every Walmart manager insists parking far away from front doors, usually on the edges of their lot. During one five day trip three weeks ago, we stayed at four different Walmarts while traveling to Wyoming. Car noise, maybe until closing. We are also retired but don’t feel a loss of pride by using Walmart, especially during high fuel cost days.

bill
1 month ago

I’m with you .. The only noise we hear at our very occasional stays at Wal-Mart are the parking lot sweepers.

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Dropped off RV for new paint/upgrades at factory (IN) after trip to Fl from CA. We weren’t looking forward to hotel stays & driving the toad home & back. We minimized what we brought w/us to Fl. (Never returned much of it back to the MH!) Signed up w/Holiday Inn & got a credit card for IHG (company under which HIE falls). CC earned us lots of points for stays as did the stays each night. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice the hotels/rooms were. Beds very comfortable. Good “free” breakfast, so didn’t have to stop somewhere. Had big suitcases for clothes we needed to bring back. We had one smaller one we shared & just put in what we needed for a night, replenishing from larger ones. We each had a small overnight bag with toiletries & iPads/chargers, etc. No lugging big suitcases. Earned enough pts that paid for a number of nights for a later trip to WA to see family. We can see ourselves traveling like this after we hang up RV’ing. Never saw that happening.

Bill H.
1 month ago

I am considering downsizing to a Class B, preferably an older gas model with a built in generator that will power the overhead A/C. My thinking is to use the RV for travel and sightseeing, and a place for my limited mobility wife to stay when she gets tired and needs to rest, and with her own toilet available. We’ll stay in a motel every night. Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn where pets stay for free and I can park in front of my room, thus limiting my wife’s walk. I don’t care about a “free” breakfast, because nothing is free. There are usually any number of places nearby where a good breakfast or dinner can be had, but my plan is to fix my own breakfast, lunch, and dinner using the RV kitchen, or even bringing an electric skillet inside the room. I don’t need to run my RV fridge at night because the room comes with a fridge and microwave. As Chuck said, the room has a more comfortable bed and all the hot shower I can stand. The big plus is the price, usually comparable to an RV park.

Jeff Craig
1 month ago

I can relate Chuck – my wife is a Hotel Manager! A few years ago, she took our RV to Idaho to help work in a hotel there, and while she COULD have stayed for free on the property, she convinced the bosses to pay for her space at a nearby RV resort, and they actually let her stay for three whole months instead of just one month. Holiday Inn Express has some of the best breakfasts of any hotel we’ve stayed at, including those ‘Carbons Belgian Waffle’ makers and even the robotic pancake machines. I stay away from the scrambled eggs, but the prefab omelets are decent with the cheap salsa packets they offer. The only issue with us staying in hotels is my wife spending a few hours talking shop with the staff! Luckily, she’s able to use her employee discount, bringing those often astronomical nightly rates down to earth.

Ellie
1 month ago

I have to wonder where Chuck and Gail went. We live in the Central Valley south of Fresno. 107 this weekend. Good thing they already returned to Seattle!

Fred
1 month ago

We travelled just like Chuck this week. We travelled, from the Gulf Coast in Alabama, to Bullhead City AZ (1900 miles) in 4 days to pick up our new Host truck camper. We stayed in motels for the first time in over 14 years. Two nights in Motel 6s were bearable, but the third was miserable, with paper thin walls & poor water. So, the fourth & fifth night, we stayed in a Days Inn, which was wonderful. For only $10 more ($75), we got a really nice room, with more amenities than Motel 6, & a fantastic, free breakfast, with a great selection of hot & cold foods. The whole experience at Days Inn was far superior to Motel 6 for only $10 more. But we did tire of eating in restaurants, like Chuck did, & living out of the truck got old real fast. We now have our triple slide truck camper, & are trying to settle back into our fulltime rv lifestyle.

bill
1 month ago

My experience driving in June from Salem OR to Santa Cruz in our BT Cruiser 5230 was quite different. We dropped in with no reservations at 2 Oregon State Parks ($) then spent a night in the redwoods at a California State Park ($$$). Total camping cost en route was $96. Beautiful drive down Highway 1 and 101. Meanwhile Motel6 was $130 a night. Newer Motel6 are very nice but $130???
In my opinion camping reservations are for someone else and that whole system needs to be revamped.