Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1110

Welcome to RVtravel.com, America’s longest continuously published RVing newsletter. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.

Page Contents

June 25, 2023
Members edition

 Cover story 

How a coat of paint can warm a child’s heart

By Chuck Woodbury

This has nothing to do with RVing. What it’s about is how some red paint and a good imagination can improve the world, one person at a time — in this case, one child.

But first, like many people, I spent much of last week glued to the news about the desperate deep-sea search to rescue five men trapped in the Titan submersible exploring the wreck of the Titanic. For days, news updates counted down how much oxygen remained in the small capsule, which had lost communication with the surface. Then on Thursday, debris from the vessel was found. All lives were lost.

The Buddy Bench

Later that same day, I happened upon the story and photo of a special red bench. See it above. I felt myself smile, my dark day suddenly brightened.

I learned it was at an elementary school. Apparently, a father who saw it asked his son if all the school’s benches were painted red. “Oh, no,” the young boy answered. “This one was special.” It was the “Buddy Bench.”

The idea, he explained, was that a student who was feeling sad or lonely could sit on the bench. Another child who knew the significance of the bench could join him or her to offer comfort. Oh my, I thought, what a wonderful idea! I recalled times long ago when I was a child, when I might have sat on such a bench and how comforting it would have been to have another child join me. Couldn’t such an experience have a beneficial effect on some lonely, depressed or perhaps unpopular children?

More Buddy Benches?

If you have children or grandchildren, tell them about the Buddy Bench. Suggest they discuss it with their schoolmates and teacher. Maybe they can get permission to designate such a bench at their school. It would just require a small can of red paint, which I would be very happy to furnish.

If you can help make this happen, please send a photo of the bench to me at chuck (at) RVtravel.com.

What do you think??

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

RVer quoted $30,400 for repair, looked elsewhere, got it done for $1,200

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon summarizes some of our readers’ comments which include, again, more RV service nightmares and more rave reviews. Wendy D. says her trips wouldn’t be possible without her mechanic and his honesty because her restored Class A is too old to be repaired in a shop. Bill and Margaret B. had totally opposite results from two different Camping Worlds (“It’s hit and miss.”). And Mark S. suggests the RV service centers provide customer service training. (We bet you’d agree.)

Click here to read all that and more

Related story from yesterday’s issueRVtravel.com rescues reader from maddening Sprinter repair issue!

Campground prices have hit an all-time high

As Nanci Dixon travels from Arizona to Minnesota, she is noticing a big difference from years past: campground prices are at an all-time high! She notes that large chains are running around $70+ a night, and even Mom and Pop spots have caught on! What was once $25 to $35 a night two or three years ago is now $55 to $60. After additional campground fees, gas, maintenance and repairs, there’s no way RVing is less expensive than hotels! Read more.

If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t be towing

By Dave Kendall
Dear RVtravel,
I’m writing this about trailer towing because it has become dear to my heart, and is probably the most important issue for RVers who tow. What really stimulated my thinking is my experience towing a travel trailer for 22,000 miles and towing a 5th wheel for about 15,000 miles, all in the past five years. … Even more, I am writing because I have become aware that various organizations offer towing classes that only teach people how to back up a trailer. That’s good, but it greatly concerns me to think that once someone is given instructions on how to back up an RV, that they are now “trained” to tow. … Here’s a quiz. If a driver cannot answer these basic questions, they are at risk for problems. Read more and take the quiz here.

Nighttime tornadoes and RVs—not a good combination!

By Gail Marsh
Did you know that almost half of all tornadoes strike at night? I read that startling fact on The Weather Channel’s website this week. Nighttime storms are often the cause of higher fatalities simply because folks are sleeping and don’t realize that a tornado is coming. I think we’d all agree that nighttime tornadoes and RVs are not a good combination! Learn what to do here.

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

Visit the Independence, Montana, ghost town—Just in time for the 4th of July

By Dave Helgeson
In honor of Independence Day next month, I thought a visit to Independence, Montana, was an appropriate entry for June’s edition of Ghost Town Trails. … If you are an overlanding type, Independence, Montana, is for you! Read all about it here.

Does anyone believe RVers living on the “streets” are going away?

Does anyone who studies the RV lifestyle believe that the legions of America’s poor and disadvantaged who live in dilapidated RVs on city streets will suddenly find better housing and move on? Those of us who observe the RV industry and are honest about it say “no.” The ranks of these people are growing, and the efforts of most communities to deal with the problems that occur boils down to getting them to pack up and move to another town. It’s the game of RV Hot Potato. The tokens are junkyard RVs. Read more from Chuck Woodbury (and take our poll).

RV Prospector: Try “mossing” for gold

By Randall Brink
RV travelers looking for ways to expand their prospecting possibilities without carrying more heavy tools and equipment might consider “mossing” for gold. What is “mossing”? It was a favorite method of meticulous Chinese prospectors who successfully worked the streams of the West after the Gold Rush ’49ers were gone. The technique remains a good choice for gold seekers today. Learn about it here.

Summer’s favorite treat: The history of the popsicle

By Gail Marsh
It’s something a kid likely invented. That was my first thought when recently serving our grandkids this iconic frozen treat. Turns out, I was right! Read on to see how it happened: the popsicle! This is interesting.

19 dumb complaints from clueless tourists

Get ready to laugh, or at least shake your head in wonder at these actual complaints tourists made to Thomas Cook Vacations about their trip. While these are not related to RV travel, they illustrate a couple of things: 1. You cannot please everybody; and 2. Some people are stupid or, at the very least, clueless. Here are the complaints.

Reader Poll (and article)

Have you formed long-lasting relationships through RVing?

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: Do you eat more or less red meat than five years ago? See how nearly 1,800 other carnivores (some not) voted here.

Travel Destinations

Short stop at Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Yard, the biggest rail yard in the world!

By Nanci Dixon
This week’s short stop on our trip back north was at Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Yard, the biggest rail yard in the world! Every day, 10,000 railway cars are sorted out, put on the right track and dispatched to their destination. You can see the Golden Spike Tower for miles on the flat plain. That flat land is one reason that North Platte, Nebraska, was chosen as its location.

Learn more here

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.

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


In the RV shop with Dustin

Drain valve lubricant explained: What it’s used for and why

By Dustin Simpson
Let me introduce you to the product of the week. Has anyone ever talked to you about adding a drain valve lubricant by Thetford into your black or gray tank system? This is something you should be doing!

Learn more here

DID YOU KNOW? Dustin writes three other articles each week, posted in the Monday, Wednesday and Friday editions of our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. Make sure you’re signed up.

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” ―George Burns

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

By Cheri Sicard

Magic silicone dish scrubbing gloves make RV dishwashing easy

When it comes to great RV accessories, I always love items that can multi-task, in other words, accomplish more than one thing and/or replace more than one item you would otherwise need to carry in your RV. These amazing silicone gloves do just that. Read all about them here.

Camping journal and RV log book perfect for RVers to keep track of campgrounds and more

This little camping journal and RV log book makes a thoughtful gift for the RVers in your life. It’s also a great way to journal about all your own adventures and keep track of important RV and camping information in one convenient place. Continue reading.

DO YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT GADGETS? Then you absolutely must read the latest edition of our Great RV Accessories Newsletter! Read it here, and if you like what you see, sign up for it (delivered to your inbox every other Thursday).

Do you think maybe they gave up their home and lawn mowing for full-time RVing?

 NEW! Mystery article

What’s one very dangerous thing about being a snowbird? THIS! You do not want to get this, and, unfortunately, snowbirds have a higher risk of it. Read more here.

Video of the day

Top 10 states for free camping and boondocking

By Cheri Sicard
Are you feeling the pain of expensive crowded campgrounds? The team from Campendium has compiled a list of the top 10 states for free camping and boondocking. How did they compile this list? By tallying the 5-star rated free campgrounds, so it’s about quality as well as quantity.

Learn which states made the list here

RV Tire Safety

Important information on tire maximum inflation

By Roger Marble
I am going to do a series of shorter posts that will each be focused on one aspect of the tire inflation question. “MAX PSI” is a hot topic on various RV forums I monitor, so let’s jump in.

Read more

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

Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?

If so, stories you missed:
California generator “ban” fizzles – Cummins new generators coming
A “common law” of outdoor recreation?
RVtravel.com rescues reader from maddening Sprinter repair issue!
Slab City – Will sale shut down legendary RV boondocking spot?
Campground Crowding: It’s time to “extend the camping season” and “build more campgrounds”!
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

Recipe of the Day

Grilled Chicken and Tortellini Salad

by Peggy O’Brien from Avon Lake, OH

The ingredients in this recipe combine to make one fabulous summer dish. With the grilled chicken and tortellini, it’s hearty enough to be a light summer dinner. The frozen tortellini adds just enough cheese to the salad. Sun-dried tomatoes and Italian dressing give the salad a ton of flavor. It’s a universal meal everyone will love. Leftovers make a great lunch.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Teddy, a German Shepherd/Beagle, was 2 when this picture was taken. He’s 10 now and has been traveling with us since he was 5 months old. He’s been the best companion and loves being retired.” —Susan Stratford

RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.

Brain Teaser

A small number of cards has been lost from a complete pack. If I deal among four people, three cards remain. If I deal among three people, two remain and if I deal among five people, two cards remain. How many cards are there?

(Answer below.)

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


Mount Rushmore cost just $989,992.32 to carve and erect; however, today that would be about $17 million.

Sunday funny

I’ve always enjoyed spending time outside. As a kid, my brother would roll me down hills in old tires we’d find in the junkyard. Those were Goodyears.


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

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.

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

Brain teaser answer:

47 cards

 Roadside Journal 

Random Act of Kindness: The young man at McDonald’s

By Chuck Woodbury
In a world that is often depressing, reading this made my day. This story will warm your heart.

RVtravel.com All Star Team

rv travel logo

Publisher: 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, Janet Groene, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade and Paul Lacitinola. Moderator: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Artificial (AI) contributors: Johnny Robot and Milly MacWilly. Canine 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 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.

Editorial (all but news)
: editor@rvtravel.com
Editorial (news)
: chuck@rvtravel.com
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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Cancelproof (@guest_242332)
5 months ago

Chuck. Your red bench story, as heart warming as it is and as seemly innocent as it is, in 2023 I think it is a bad idea. I do not say this to be argumentative with you. In our/your/ my generation, it is a lovely idea that would have been a welcome addition in each of our childhood schoolyards. However, in 2023, it would be a scarlet letter for a child to show weakness by sitting on that bench. They would be targeted by bullies and get a rep for weakness for the balance if their childhood. In a world where we read about 10 year olds committing suicide daily and weekly, the viciousness of child bullying is extreme. I don’t even want to get into the targeting of children on that bench by predator grown ups, but a single predator keeping an eye on that red bench for a confused or troubled young person makes me shudder.

Your story in a bygone Era yes, but those were different times. We put groomers in prison then, not the library and the bullies didn’t have Facebook.

Stephen M (@guest_242442)
5 months ago
Reply to  Cancelproof

Sadly what you say is true. If a 14 year old was to sit and be crying for whatever reason that would be a sign on their back that says pick on me. And as you say predators are always watching for that moment. They now have rights to walk through school yards and playgrounds when at one time they were banned and had to keep a distance from children. It just seems these days criminals have more rights than victims.

Ron L (@guest_242304)
5 months ago

And the posts below show a very good reason why politics and religion should not be part of this rv forum.

Cancelproof (@guest_242311)
5 months ago
Reply to  Ron L

I very respectfully disagree Ron L., and here is why. For some, RVing full time is not purely recreational. It is also a primary domicile and as such, all issues of the day are in play just by choosing that lifestyle. In many cases, for many RVtravel readers, the fulltime choice is the only choice for financial reasons and thus, it really makes politics of the day relevant and timely.

MattD (@guest_242285)
5 months ago

GREAT Brain Teaser!

Joe Allen (@guest_242152)
5 months ago

Wonderful story on the red bench! Not a bad idea to incorporate these as well as bibles and prayer in schools today as it just might make a huge difference!

Dave (@guest_242207)
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Oh, Joe. Quite a leap from a friendly bench towards incorporating the bible and prayer into school. Have you heard, we live in a diverse country & world? Not everyone is the same and believes the same as you. Perhaps if there is a book one day that people use for good, purely, and don’t misinterpret it like they do today that could work.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Richard (@guest_242243)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Oh, Dave. Quite a leap quoting the Constitution as a force against bibles and prayer within the educational system, when every point of measure shows as these things are removed, every bad aspect of society increases. Morality requires a guide.
Have you heard? Diversity is dragging the U.S. down to the squalid level of the world these people are coming from.

MattD (@guest_242283)
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard


Dennis (@guest_242290)
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Oh Richard, where did you get that information, from the dark corners of the internet? From Q anon? Fox? Intolerance is what’s dragging our great country down.

bill (@guest_242296)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis

Thank you Dennis!

Cancelproof (@guest_242324)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis

Oh Dennis, things are sooooo much better since wokism became the religion of the day for the left. The intolerance of those darn free people that won’t be silent. The ones that won’t speak untruths to go woke. The ones that are so intolerant that they want only girls to compete in girls sports. That crazy crazy lunatic fringe with ideas like making sure that only women receive athletic scholarships that were driven by title IX, designated for women and advancing women’s rights for the last 50 years. Those crazy people that scratch their heads when a Supreme Court Justice can’t provide a definition of a woman. It is so nice that we are so tolerant today that genetics in the composition of men and women are no longer the scientific fact of the day. What do you have against women? Why do you hate women? If you are woke, your actions prove that is your position so don’t say it’s not true.

Last edited 5 months ago by Cancelproof
MattD (@guest_242395)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dennis

Wow Dennis, the MSM has you right where they want you, don’t they…God’s own truth is what the propogandists call lies and conspiracy theories. THAT, in my opinion is what’s intolerant my friend.

KellyR (@guest_242419)
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Who are “these people”? I’m betting it is you and me. I am not Native American. The country has been diverse since day one with people coming from most countries of the world. I don’t understand why the country of diversity suddenly thinks it should not be diverse. If you wish, go back to the country your ancestors came from. I, for one, am thankful that my foreign ancestors decided to land here. How do we forget who we are?

Tim Palmer (@guest_242642)
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Yes Richard, we should have prayer. Muslim prayer, Jewish prayer, Buddhist prayer, Satanist prayer, Rastafarian prayer…get the picture?
There is a reason why people came to this country to escape forced religion.

Cancelproof (@guest_242294)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Speaking of diverse country and world, are you part of the banning only the Bible in schools? Should we revisit banning explicit gender ideology reading in middle schools too, maybe?

Given that you clearly express not everyone believes the same as Joe Allen, do you stand by your same statement with Gender theory reading? Ban the Quran too or only the Bible? Should we ban The Lotus Sutra? Or just the Bible?

Last edited 5 months ago by Cancelproof
Pammy (@guest_242510)
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Allen

Not all of us believe in fairy tales

Cancelproof (@guest_242516)
5 months ago
Reply to  Pammy

What a wonderful freedom we all have in the USA, that we choose to follow any God, any faith or none at all. 👍❤️