Thursday, February 2, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1088

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January 21, 2023
Members edition

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When roads were made of wood

By Chuck Woodbury


arly in the 20th century, when auto travel was becoming the rage, Yuma, Ariz., was at a crossroads but with a big obstacle to the west: sand dunes – vast sand dunes.

The Algodones Dunes stretch more than 40 miles. Throughout history, travel of any nature was severely inhibited by this great barrier. Explorers, wagon freighters and stagecoaches approaching and leaving the Yuma Crossing avoided the dunes by traveling north or south.

With the building of Yuma’s Ocean to Ocean highway in 1915, a way had to be found for automobiles to cross the vast expanse of sand. A wooden plank road seemed the answer.

The first such road was constructed in 1915 and was rapidly replaced by a second one in 1916. The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, eager for the business the road could bring, donated 13,100 oak planks.

A stretch of the old plank road years after it was bypassed in 1926. Today, I-8 transports motorists quickly through the area.

The second road was built in eight-foot by twelve-foot sections and reinforced with strap iron along the edges and centers. The speed limit was 10 miles per hour. It wasn’t much of a road—a 6.7-mile one-laner with pullouts for passing.

DURING SANDSTORMS, the road could become impassable, forcing motorists to wait. But sandstorm or not, it was always a rocky ride, earning the road the nickname “Old Shaky.”


In 1925, traffic increased to 30 cars per day—a problem. Officials reacted by regulating the traffic: east-bound traffic would leave on even hours, westbound traffic on odd hours. But this wasn’t enough: After 10 years of use, the road was falling apart and traffic jams were frequent and sometimes nasty when the right-of-way was disputed.

On August 11, 1926, the opening of paved, two-lane California State Route 80 put an end to travel on the wooden plank road. Today, motorists speed across on Interstate 8.

A good place to see a piece of plank road is at Yuma Crossing State Park in Yuma, where a lone section of the old road has been preserved, complete with a 1909 Model T right on top.

Robots at work

Here are two brief articles I wrote today about RVing using Artificial Intelligence, AI. One turned out pretty well, but the other … well, you decide. To me, it’s totally ridiculous. See for yourself and then please leave a comment.

We want to know

What are your favorite RV YouTube channels?

By Cheri Sicard
After serving as’s “video editor” for the last 6 months or so, I have probably watched more RV YouTube videos than nearly anyone. I thought it would be fun to come up with picks of the best RV YouTube channels of 2022. BUT, then I thought it would be even more fun to get your opinions too. Click on the button below and tell us, then we’ll do a follow-up of your favorites.

Tell us here

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

Service center takes RV on joy ride; owners not joyful

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week our readers are split on the service at Camping World (obviously depends on the location). Plus, there’s more high praise for mobile techs and service centers, and a reader relates the nightmare caused by just two screws! Oh, yeah. And the RV that was obviously used/enjoyed by employees while it was at the shop for 10 days. All that and more here.

Everything you need to know about RV insurance – You may not be in good hands

By Dave Solberg
It’s something we don’t like talking about and hope we never need it – insurance for our RV. It may sound simple: Just call your home or auto coverage company and tell them what you bought and they should be able to put together a policy, right? It’s not that easy, and if you don’t get a policy designed for your type of RVing, you will pay too much and probably not have the coverage you need. Learn all about RV insurance here.

Letter to the editor: “I’d like to see an app that shows specific RV site specs”

Reader Earl B. sent this to our inbox earlier this week and we thought it was worth sharing. His idea about RV site specs is great! Read Earl’s idea and then add your thoughts in the comments.

Upcoming winter festivals RVers will love

By Gail Marsh
I’ll admit it. I’m itching to travel. Our RV has been parked for almost two months and I’m certain it’s eager to get back on the road, just like me. “But it’s winter,” you might argue. I know it’s winter and I also know there are amazing winter festivals and activities that await. … Grab your electric blanket or heated mattress pad. Find the space heater. Pack your boots and winter coat. Then get out there and visit these winter festivals for yourself. Winter won’t last forever, you know! Read more.

Around the Campfire

Traveling with an RV refrigerator—Leave it on or off?

By Gail Marsh
Off or on? That seems to be the question RVers face when it comes to travel days. Do you keep your RV refrigerator on or off while traveling down the road? This was the latest topic for discussion around the campfire. Read what these RVers had to say, then feel free to weigh in on this hot topic.

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

7 advantages of a solar generator over installing solar on your RV

By Cheri Sicard
Did you know there’s more than one way to add solar capabilities to your RV? I am continually amazed at the number of campers and RVers I have encountered who have never heard of a solar generator or know what it can do. While on my long, long RV trip, I quickly lost count of times neighbors asked “What’s that?” or came over to check out my portable solar panels, not knowing that such a thing was possible. Read all about their advantages here.

Can RVers buy in bulk? While in an RV? Really?

By Gail Marsh
We know that buying in bulk can save money. With the ongoing inflation, saving money is on almost everyone’s mind. But how do RVers buy in bulk? We barely have enough space for the few things we pick up at a convenience store. Where would we ever put a giant package of paper towels? Or a family-size pack of chicken breasts? I’m all about saving money, but is buying in bulk even an option while living inside an RV? The answer is yes! And here’s how to do it successfully! readers’ RV New Year’s resolutions for 2023

By Cheri Sicard
A couple of weeks ago we asked you about your RV plans for the upcoming year—your “RV New Year’s resolutions,” if you will. Not surprisingly, more travel is in the cards for many of you, as it is for me. This year I hope to find a decent popup camper for my truck, for those times I don’t need to haul the whole trailer along. I also plan to travel more in Baja California, Mexico, where I live part-time. I got started on that resolution last week (stories coming soon). Read about many of our readers’ resolutions (or not) here.

Reader Poll

Did you buy your present RV new or used?

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

We asked: How often do you stay at a KOA campground? (lots of reader comments)


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 and writers 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 a set of LED Emergency Road Flares?

How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 21, 2023) 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!

Visiting the very cool Airstream City in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico

By Cheri Sicard
As the gates to Airstream City swung open to allow me to drive in, the dusty San Felipe street behind my truck seemed a world away from the gorgeous oasis that spread out in front of it inside the “city’s” walls. Baja California, Mexico, in general, and the San Felipe area, in particular, have a lot to offer RVers, especially snowbirders and adventurous van lifers. And I will talk more about this in other articles. But this time I wanted to focus on one of the most unique places to stay, especially for Airstream lovers. Check this out!

Take an RV break and stay at the historic Red Bay Hotel in Red Bay, AL

By Nanci Dixon
Our motorhome is in the shop in Red Bay, Alabama, getting repaired from a disastrous mistake. We could have stayed with it in the shop, but the paint and fiberglass dust was too much for my husband. Red Bay, Alabama, is a small town and home of Tiffin motorhomes. There is one hotel, two small grocery stores, one McDonald’s, a Jack’s, a Subway and a dollar store. Oh, and a dog food plant. … Read about the historic, and very clean, Red Bay Hotel here.

A fun part of traveling: Finding silly business names

By Gail Marsh
As we’ve traveled the country in our RV, we’ve seen many, many cleverly named businesses. You probably have, too. I love seeing how resourceful people can be when it comes to naming their businesses. Whether it’s alliteration, rhymes, or a play on words, shop owners want to name their businesses something that will catch your attention and be remembered by potential shoppers. Here are some of the silliest shop names we’ve discovered so far on our travels. (We bet you can add to this fun list.)

Ask Dave

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

If you are at the Florida RV SuperShow this weekend, do not miss Dave’s seminar at 1 p.m. both days.

This past week’s questions that Dave answered:

Click here to see more questions for Dave.

Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!

Video of the day

CampersCard – Exciting new Harvest Hosts program

By Cheri Sicard
The video below from Woodall’s Campground Magazine brings exciting news of a new program from Harvest Hosts, the CampersCard.

To be sure, the video was produced for owners of RV parks and campgrounds, but as a consumer, it can give you insight into this new RV consumer program, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2023.

Click here to watch and learn about the perks

RV Tire Safety

How much air pressure do my motorhome tires need?

By Roger Marble
This is another version of the basic and recurring question about how much air pressure RV tires need, so let’s look at the facts. Previously I answered a question on how much inflation is needed on a smaller RV trailer. Similar questions for air pressure in motorhome tires need a slightly different answer.

Read more

Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.

RV Fire Safety

Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.

Part 7 of 13: For your fire drill, start by rolling out of bed and crawling low on the floor where the air is clearer. Proceed immediately to your pre-determined safe meeting place and make sure no one is missing. If you are worried about a pet, know your animal’s instinct will be to escape the fire. Although it may seem callous to think through how you’d react if your pet were trapped inside your burning coach, make a decision now whether your pet’s life is worth risking your own. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Recipe of the Day

Spinach Cheese Bars

by Nancy Clemens from Carpentersville, IL

Enjoy these cheesy spinach bars when they’re still warm or at room temperature. This is a super simple and versatile dish. They can be an addition to a brunch buffet, served as a side dish, or eaten as an appetizer. You can jazz these up by adding different types of cheese, such as pepper jack or smoked cheese.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Our Calico, Dolly, adopted us at the BCSPCA in Campbell River, B.C. She is very small— only 7-1/2 lbs. full grown—but she rules the roost! Since moving from an apartment to a fifth wheel RV, she is more than happy. She has so many windows to look out, and the wildlife that she sees!” —Barbara Wyatt


Brain Teaser

Sometimes I am born in silence. Other times, no. I am unseen, but I make my presence known. In time, I fade without a trace. I harm no one, but I am unpopular with all. What am I?

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


Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly forward and backward.

Laugh of the Week

If you ever get locked out of your RV, you must talk to the lock calmly. Communication is key!!!


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.

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.

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.

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

Dustin Simpson RV Repair and Maintenance Articles: Incredibly helpful!

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

Meet Earl and Burl Squirrel, from the mind of friend R.L. Crabb. 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, Gail Marsh, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Julianne Crane, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Jeff Clemishaw. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Mascots: Archie and Astor “the Disaster”

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.

Editorial (all but news)
Editorial (news)
Help desk:
Contact us.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2023 by RV Travel LLC.

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Pamela Holt
12 days ago

We have 17 acres in the backwoods of NC. It used to house a one-room school house, with lots of roads leading to it. One road crossed a stream. A carved-out tree was used as a bridge. This was about the late 1800s. My grandfather attended that school (which we found out after the purchase!).

Lil John
12 days ago

Nice article on the plank road, Chuck. When I was young we traveled a lot from San Diego to El Centro and Yuma. Quite a bit of plank road was still visible back then. (50’s). Of course “those” people took the history away for themselves or for campfires! Glad Yuma has preserved a section. Keep up your good writing!

Last edited 12 days ago by Lil John
12 days ago
Reply to  Lil John

Lived in El Centro and also went to Yuma many times. Remember seeing sections of the plank road as it slowly disappeared. For a time there was a section that had a fence around it—maybe that’s what ended up in Yuma.

Greg Kanne
12 days ago

Can’t see your polls anymore. Help!

Diane McGovern
12 days ago
Reply to  Greg Kanne

Sorry you’re having a problem with the polls, Greg. Here’s what one of our IT folks has said about that issue: “Sometimes script blockers and ad blockers interfere with our polls since they are from a 3rd party site. If you have one of these try and turn it off and see if that fixes the issue.” I think some readers have also suggested using a different browser(?). Good luck! And have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

12 days ago

Well Hello Dolly! I’m seeing more travelling cats these days.

Sandi Pearson
12 days ago

Sure enjoyed my Saturday Newsletter and coffee this morning..great edition! Now if my transfer switch comes in and I get power will be a great day!

Diane McGovern
12 days ago
Reply to  Sandi Pearson

Thanks, Sandi. Good luck on the transfer switch – so you can have a great day! 😀 –Diane at

Randy Stracener
12 days ago

I have always traveled with the frig turned on. When we had one on propane and now with a residential Whirlpool, running on an inverter. Never a problem. Have been RVing for nearly 40 yrs. Will continue to have cold, fresh food when we stop. As far as the brain teaser, I got an idea, but I will wait and see the answer tomorrow!!!

Bob p
12 days ago

Joke writer needs some time off.

12 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

hahaha agreed, not even a groaner it’s so bad…

12 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

The problem is that they evidently did take some time off today.

Diane McGovern
12 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

Must not have been me then, Kelly, since I never take time off. 😉 Have a good night. 😀 –Diane at

12 days ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

I knew it wasn’t you. It sounded like a robot snuck in there. A robot you’re not, as there are no robots our age. We were born when there were only real “people” in this world. Lucky us.

Diane McGovern
12 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

😆 Yep, I liked the good ol’ days much better, before artificial intelligence, out-of-control social media, etc. I still remember how scared I was (at 5 years old) when I saw the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” with Michael Rennie, in 1951. (Probably before your time.) Have a good night, Kelly. 😀 –Diane at

12 days ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

Nope, my time was just about a year before your time. AND just for a moment at least, I wish the earth would stand still.

Diane McGovern
11 days ago
Reply to  KellyR

That would be very interesting, Kelly. I think we all need a “breather” or a break from constant bad news coming at us from all sides. 😀 –Diane at

Last edited 11 days ago by Diane McGovern
11 days ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

Really? You’re THAT old!!! I saw that movie when I was about 10 or so (think I’m about 2 years younger than you are). I was too “jaded” for it to scare me by then LOL!! I too miss the days of people caring for people! Where oh where did we mess up????

Diane McGovern
11 days ago
Reply to  Lindalee

Yep, I’m THAT old (76)!!! 😆 Although I certainly don’t feel like it, and I have a very hard time believing it! And, like you, I miss the days of people caring for other people (and not just themselves), as well as people respecting people and their different points of view. Too many people these days are easily brainwashed, and it worries me. But I have a good life, a so-called “job” that I love and great people to work with, and my family and I are healthy, so I’m very thankful and try not to let all of the bad news get me down. And by your comments I can tell you’re also upbeat, Lindalee, in spite of everything out of our control. Take care, and have a good night. 😀 –Diane at

Micheal Whelan
12 days ago

Chuck, I loved your piece about plank roads of the desert areas of the west. Back here in northern Michigan we had vast areas of swamps to cross. Most of these were surrounded by cedar forests.To accomplish a “safe” and easy crossing 4 to 6 inch cedar tress were cut down and laid side by side similar to the pictures you displayed. This provided a bumpy but solid “road” to cross a swamp. If an area was damaged it was a simple but labor intensive task to pull out the damaged areas and cut down a few more nearby trees to replace them. Road stability was improved in later years by covering the logs with a layer of gravel. As a young forest firefighter part of my job was to repair and improve these ancient roads as they became part of our fire road access system to our vast forest and swamp lands. Many are still in use to this day. Many have been replaced (or covered) with modern “silt blankets” and then covered with stone and gravel forming a very easy to maintain forest trail.

Judy Wiemer
12 days ago
Reply to  Micheal Whelan

So much history. Thank you for sharing.

Tommy Molnar
12 days ago

The “Road skills” joke is perfect.

12 days ago

Excellent edition with lots of useful info. And in almost a hundred years we have not come that far in travel. Although not made of wood, todays travel is still, (very shaky).