Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter for Sunday, August 27, 2023

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

Page Contents

August 27, 2023
Issue 1119
Members edition

 Cover story 

Lessons learned from deadly I-81 RV crash

By Randall Brink


n August 9, at 9:00 p.m., a Class A RV traveling southbound on I-81 in Franklin County, PA, blew a left front tire, crossed the median, and struck a double tractor-trailer rig headed northbound. The collision destroyed the motorcoach. The five occupants of the RV, the Molander family, including their dog, of Middletown, PA, all died, as did James Shade of Martinsburg, WV, the driver of the semi-truck.

Not much is known about the make and model of the motorcoach, the family RV trip, or the driver. However, one fact consistently mentioned in all news reports was that the coach’s left front tire blew out. The driver lost control of the RV and never recovered it. We may never know much more—the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told RVtravel.com that it is not investigating the accident. But the circumstances are entirely consistent with what can happen in the case of a blown tire at freeway speeds.


An excellent article by Russ and Tiña De Maris in this edition of RV Travel explains the dynamics of tire failure and how to maintain directional control of an RV in a blowout. Michelin Tire produced an instructive video on how to maintain control during a blowout event.

My own experience suggests that over time and hundreds of safe and uneventful RV trips, a driver, no matter how diligent, well-trained, or informed, can fall into a state of complacency. A state of complacency, combined with a lack of recent thought or practice of any emergency procedure, increases the odds of disaster in the event of an actual emergency. Compound that with darkness, fatigue, poor road conditions, or driver impairment and you have a recipe for disaster. (We are mentioning these circumstances in general; we are not passing judgment on this tragic accident.)

Click here to please continue reading Randall’s important lesson

NEW! Sign up for important RV news every Monday through Friday

Beginning in November, RVtravel.com will begin delivering important, breaking news of interest to RVers every Monday through Friday. We’ll concentrate on bringing you news that will be helpful to you and even save you money. Sign up to receive these weekday emails here. You can easily unsubscribe if you wish.

Today’s RV review…

The Palomino Pause is a game changing towable RV with ground breaking features in chassis and suspension design as well as materials use.

Palomino Pause 20.3—Yeah, but it’s worth it… for some

By Tony Barthel
There was a lot of interesting inventory at the 2023 FROG International Rally in Goshen, Indiana, but one of the RVs that got a tremendous amount of attention was the Palomino Pause 20.3 overlanding travel trailer. We’ve looked at these in the past, but it was interesting to go and touch and see it for myself.

Read more in Tony’s very thorough review

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

Auto mechanic asks, “Whatever happened to dealer goodwill?”

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon relates more maintenance and repair horror stories, including one from a longtime car mechanic who always performed free services on the customers’ cars as “goodwill.” When he learned from the service manager at an RV service center that everything gets charged, even just to check tire pressure, because “this is how the techs are paid in the RV world,” he reluctantly paid his bill but also put back some items he would have purchased—and he hasn’t been back. And you’ve heard about karma? Well, there’s an example here. (Maybe if there was more “goodwill” from dealers and service centers, there’d be fewer instances of “karma.”) But there’s also a good report on Camping World.

Click here to read

How to survive a tire blowout

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A blown tire can ruin your whole day—or a whole lot worse. Tire blowouts are responsible for more than 78,000 crashes per year, ending in more than 400 deaths. In 2017, 738 people died across the U.S. as a result of blown tires alone. Are you prepared to survive a tire blowout? Preparation and following simple steps can make the difference between a tire blowout being an annoyance or a trip to the graveyard. Continue reading this potentially life-saving information.

Norcold RV fridges keep failing—I’m done! New Amish fridge is a winner!

Two of Jan Steele’s Norcold RV refrigerators have failed in the past year. She made the decision to: A) Be done with Norcold for good, and B) not buy another standard new cooling unit. So what came next? A recommendation for an “Amish fridge.” Her story unveils a small operation’s triumph against big names, promising reliability and freedom from RV concerns. Is she happy with it? You’ll just have to read to find out.

See RV crash test into wall at 40 mph. It’s scary!

In the United States, we don’t crash test RVs to determine their safety, to learn how they can be improved. One reason is that RV manufacturers do not want to show consumers how badly their products fare in a serious accident. It also costs a lot of money. In this video from the Swedish Transport Administration, you’ll see what happens when a small Class A motorhome slams head-on into a wall. It is very scary!

Around the Campfire

RVers and their RV awning woes

By Gail Marsh
When RV problems happen it’s always disheartening; but when the RV is brand-new, it somehow stings even more. Discouraged “newbies” joined the rest of us around the campfire last night. This was their maiden voyage with a new 38-foot RV fifth wheel. We all listened as they told about their awning trouble.

Read more

Little-known facts about license plates

By Gail Marsh
You probably played the “License Plate” game while traveling as a child. Parents often suggest this game as a way for kids to pass the time by finding a license plate from each state in the United States. License plates are more than simple child’s play, however. Check out the history and little-known facts about vehicle license plates here.

My morning routine has gone all wrong!

By Nanci Dixon
My email account has been hijacked with hundreds of daily emails! I have a morning routine: Every day I get up long before my husband, make the coffee and sit down with my iPad or computer and read RVtravel.com, then I read about new homes on the market to check prices, and then I go diligently through my email. I have somehow gotten on a wide variety of email mailing lists from quizzes to blogs, ads for RV maintenance, RV sales, old wheelchairs and walker searches for my dad, and the one I can’t resist opening, no matter how many emails have populated my inbox overnight—Recommended Reads. Continue reading. (Does this sound familiar?)

Lonely on your solo journeys? Consider joining the Wandering Individuals Network

By Jan Steele
When I first hit the road eight years ago, I admit I didn’t have a plan beyond the first six months. I was focused on one quest—redo a trip from 1965. Then I wanted to see family, and hit some national parks—but then what? I found out that wandering alone is lonely. I saw all these happy couples chasing their dream and that made me feel even lonelier. Continue reading.

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

DID YOU KNOW our RV Daily Tips Newsletter is our readers’ favorite newsletter? And for good reason—it’s filled with so much great information! Read any issue here, and then make sure to sign up here. You won’t regret it!

Reader Poll

If a stranger asked to use your RV bathroom, would you let them?

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: Have you ever been bitten by a tick that you had to remove from your body? See how more than 1,600 other RVers answered (and if you’ve been bitten by a tick, you’re not alone!).

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.

And if you see a flying Pug in the wild, then DEFINITELY send us a photo!

SEND US A PHOTO! Have you taken a photo of something funny? A funny sign? A funny RV? A funny animal? What about something crazy? A crazy scene? A crazy RV? We want to see! Send your photos to editor (at) rvtravel.com. Thanks!

Midwest Travel

See if you can match the Midwest state to its nickname

By Gail Marsh
Did you have a nickname growing up? I didn’t, but I always wanted one. Nicknames often mirror some characteristic about the nicknamed person. Someone named “Curly” may have naturally curly hair. “Slim Jim” might be a person of slight stature. You probably know that every state in the U.S. has its own nickname, but how well do you know the nicknames of the Midwest states? Read through the following list of Midwest nicknames and see if you can identify the state to which each nickname belongs. Good luck! Test yourself here.

Iconic Midwest foods you must try on your RV travels

By Gail Marsh
Growing up in the Midwest, food was just, well, food. Now that I’m older I’ve come to appreciate that there are specific foods connected to individual Midwest states, and they are all delicious! If you plan to travel and like to eat, you should check out these iconic Midwest foods.

In the RV shop with Dustin

Gadget makes RV battery maintenance EASY!

Join Dustin Simpson in the video below as he shows you how to use a battery filler for easy RV battery maintenance. Maintaining the distilled water in your RV battery has never been simpler!

Click here to watch the video

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

Another French press with neat features: Stanley Boil + Brew coffee maker

Tony Barthel looks at, yes, another French press. But hear him out on this one. It works differently than other French presses, but are the special features enough to make him like it more than other camping French presses? You’ll have to read to find out.

Click here to read his review

Nature’s Highways

Traveling U.S. Highway 64 from Taos to Tres Piedras: Stops, sights, eats, and more

By Dale Wade
We have visited New Mexico annually for the past 40 years. During that time we have seen many changes in the towns and cities along the way. However, some places never seem to change. One of those is the road from Taos to Tierra Amarilla, U.S. Highway 64. Before we hit the Brazos Summit, here are a few stops along the way.

Travel along with Dale here

Video of the day

RV for free in 2023: Four styles of boondocking

By Cheri Sicard
If you are considering boondocking, or perhaps think it is not for you, know that there are more ways to RV for free than the stereotypical far-off-the-grid scenarios many people think of. Kristin and John, the team from No Ordinary Path, a YouTube channel focusing on working as a traveling nurse while RVing, outline four types of boondocking. One of them is bound to pique your interest.

Click here to read more and watch the informative video

RV Tire Safety

Tire load range E, F or G. What’s the difference, and why should you care?

Tire expert Roger Marble found a discussion on load range in a Forum where the question “How strong of a tire do I need?” was being discussed. Read some of that discussion and Roger’s reasons for the need to understand tire load ranges.

Read more

RV Prospector

Adventures in prospecting and boondocking, Part 6

By Randall Brink
The alpine coolness of June and July gave way to a dry August. We could feel hot breezes as heat radiated off the steep, rocky cliffs and ridges that surrounded us. Yet, our camp and prospect site near the cold mountain creek stayed cool. One morning in mid-August, we awoke with the pungent odor of woodsmoke in our nostrils and went outside to see the sky tinted in bluish haze. Wildfire.

Click here to read (Better put on your sunglasses for the glittery picture included. Just sayin’.)

Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?

If so, stories you missed:
Travel trailer stolen with RVers sleeping inside
Love’s opens new location with 125-space RV park
RV age discrimination? Washington “resort” tells older RVs to leave
RV shipments continue to plummet
Crowded campgrounds: East Coast “resort” rates up to $275 a night! Yikes!
National Park visits break record, propel U.S. economy with unprecedented $50.3 billion visitor spending in 2022
RVers show big interest in electric bicycles
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

Recipe of the Day

Crab Cake Sandwiches

by Mysti Bannister from Jacksonville, AL

This crab cake sandwich is delightful and reminds us of something you’d have at a seafood restaurant. The crab cake itself is filled with sweet crab meat and tons of fresh veggies that add flavor. The touch of horseradish and cayenne adds a little zip and spice. On a bun with a little coleslaw, these are great for lunch or a light meal.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Duke has been RVing since he took us on. He’s very independent, yet friendly, and mingles with every person and critter he meets. We’ve been fortunate enough for Duke to take us camping all over North America. It’s his RV, and he’s very careful backing up because he doesn’t trust the rearview camera. Duke has a perfect driving record and challenges any seeing-eye dog out there. Too bad we can only submit one photo to see him really in action.” —Ken Edick

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

Brain Teaser

Fill in the middle word. This word should correspond with the first and last word.

1) Street _____ Jack
2) Bird _____ Bed
3) Shopping _____ Lady
4) Orange _____ Stump
5) Stamp _____ Lock
6) Wet _____ Fill
7) Air _____ Pad
8) Pocket _____ Keeper
9) Life _____ Company
10) Wish _____ Fragment

(Answer below.)

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


Current Wildfire Report. (Includes map and details of fires.)
Current smoke and fire report for where you live or where you’re traveling.
Canadian Wildland Fire Information.
Weather & Air Quality Data in National Parks.


Now here is a study, a scientific study, to feel good about! According to a new Gallup poll, it seems that saying hello to your neighbors can boost your health and sense of well-being. Where else is it better to say “Hi” than in a campground surrounded by neighbors? This is interesting!

Sunday funny

Have you ever seen the 2006 comedy “RV”? There’s one scene in it that is utterly disgusting, but laugh-out-loud hilarious. We hope this never happens to any of you! Watch the short clip here.


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:

1) Street _Car_ Jack
2) Bird _Feather_ Bed
3) Shopping _Bag_ Lady
4) Orange _Tree_ Stump
5) Stamp _Pad_ Lock
6) Wet _Land_ Fill
7) Air _Mattress_ Pad
8) Pocket _Book_ Keeper
9) Life _Insurance_ Company
10) Wish _Bone_ Fragment

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 and Cheri Sicard. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade and Tony Barthel. Moderator: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Artificial Intelligence (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 many affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates 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 the 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
Advertising. Information here.
Help desk: Contact us.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2023 by RV Travel LLC.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Neal Davis (@guest_251140)
3 months ago

Thank you, Emily!

MattD (@guest_251021)
3 months ago

I’m feeling like I’m being shadow banned…am I being shadow banned Mountain Mama??

Diane McGovern
3 months ago
Reply to  MattD

Why? Not that I’m aware of. (BTW, I had to look that up.🙄) –Diane aka Mountain Mama

MattD (@guest_251093)
3 months ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

haha because no one is reading the comments correctly about the
comment features being missing, it seems people just scan, then write “I don’t have any problems commenting”. No reader comprehension. Nobody gets it. It really doesn’t matter anyway, it was a tongue in cheek comment that fell flat … take care!

Dan (@guest_250986)
3 months ago

Palomino guys, do you know what “%” means?

UPRIG (@guest_250985)
3 months ago

No problems… 10+yo laptop…

MattD (@guest_251020)
3 months ago
Reply to  UPRIG

OMG! really?!? LOL

Michael Hale (@guest_250936)
3 months ago

No problems reading this on an iMac with a 50MBps wifi.

MattD (@guest_250947)
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Hale

No you don’t get it, comment “features”, like editing, italicizing, bolding etc.

MattD (@guest_250922)
3 months ago

This is the 3rd weekend the comment platform has had ‘technical problems’. Seems your IT person could have had this worked out by now. Or… could this be a way of cutting costs? Oh well, I still enjoy the newsletter!

Ran (@guest_250854)
3 months ago

No problems on my end (MacBook Pro). Sounds like a computer problem, or are you reading on a phone or iPad?! Maybe more details will result in some resolve. Good luck.

Larry Lee (@guest_250825)
3 months ago

Features or not, it is too frustrating for me since part way through the comments my image freezes up such that I can not go up or down and am forced to back page and load again. As a result I am leaving for one month to avoid the irritation. I hope it is fixed by the end of September.
And thanks for this really great newsletter- great content and writers AND READERS’ COMMENTS which I so enjoy but cannot read without too much effort.
See you again later in the Fall.