Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 18th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Members Edition • Week of March 30 – April 5, 2019
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
With Russ and Tiña De Maris
Readers’ tips for picking out a campsite
A couple of weeks ago, Editor Chuck Woodbury passed along some suggestions on how to pick a good RV site. He asked readers if they had any to add to his list of 15 tips – and we received “umptee-ump” suggestions to add, including the following.
An eye on the weather
Bart Savino suggests: “During rainy season, avoid lower levels of the park, especially near bodies of water. Unless you enjoy muddy feet or worse.” PJ Nyvall adds, “We ask the park manager, ‘Does it ever flood Here?’ We live in the Hill Country of Texas.”
In a closely related vein, keeping cool is high on the priority list. To that end, Ed says, “In the warm months I like to park facing north to northeast. That way my sitting area is shaded by both the awning and RV. That’s the hottest time of the day and the most likely time I will be sitting out.”
“When backing into your site make sure that you have room for your slide-outs,” advises Einar Hansen. And to make it easier, here’s a trick provided by Barb Palm: “We bought a dowel at a hardware store. Cut it to the extended length of our widest slide. When we get out to check our site – before leveling or anything else – we use the dowel to see if the slide will come close to anything. It helps to eyeball the compartment doors to make sure they can swing open and clear a power pole or a big bush. Saves a lot of time to use this dowel first.”
Drone Contest Postponed
We still have a drone to give away, but we needed to postpone our contest for another week.
We are thrilled to report that Mike Sokol will kick off a national seminar series about RV electricity on June 8 just outside Hagerstown, Maryland, sponsored by RVtravel.com. He will teach two classes about RV electricity — a basic class in the morning followed by an advanced class in the afternoon. Read more about the seminars and let us know if you are interested in attending in person or via a live stream. RVtravel.com members receive a special discounted rate.
Editor’s Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Readers speak out
RV Travel has updated its RSS feed
To our RSS feed subscribers: Just a quick note to let you know we have given our RSS feed a much-needed overhaul. The RSS feed is the email you receive once a day with headlines of the articles we posted to RVtravel.com in the previous 24 hours. Read more.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
What has happened to us, that we are so angry?
Editor Chuck Woodbury writes: “I was very disheartened last Saturday by many of the remarks about our cover story, which I wrote. I will not even mention the subject for fear of stirring the pot again. More than 400 readers commented, an all-time high for this website. Many of those comments were just plain mean-spirited.” Read more.
That was the RV week that was …
• Baby Boomers moving beyond the RVing mainstream?
• RV park ordered to pay couple for bad gas
• Plant workers jamming up SE Texas RV parks
• RV dealer pleads innocent of assaulting wife
See all recent recalls.
The RV Proctologists relate an RV sewer nightmare
Anyone who has traveled with an RV for a few years either has a sewer-related horror story to tell or has heard one from another RVer. Here’s one we just came across. It’s baaaddd.
Three common ways full-time RVers get their mail
How do you get your postal mail when you’re on the road full time? Don Humes, the owner of South Dakota’s Americas Mailbox, answers that question. There are basically three ways, one of which Don favors over others (and which most full-timers favor as well). Read more and watch Don’s two-minute video.
A new take on the offensive neighbor in the RV park
Any RVer who’s spent any time in an RV park has had his or her share of obnoxious neighbors. They play their boomboxes late at night, watch Rambo movies on the outdoor TVs with the speakers cranked way up, or smoke their cigars right under your bedroom window. But here’s a new one we suspect you’ve never heard before.
KOA CEO explains how RVing is changing
This one-hour speech by CEO Toby O’Rourke at the recent RV Industry RVX gathering in Salt Lake City is fascinating. There is little doubt after watching this presentation that the times they are a-changin’. The Baby Boom generation, once the bread-and-butter audience for the RV and campground industry, is moving on. Millennials and Gen Xers are the future. Watch the video.
Use common sense to become a happy boondocker
Boondocking is not brain surgery. Anyone can camp overnight without hookups. Two or three days takes a little effort — no, not effort but common sense in the use of your resources. Read more.
When RVing, how often have you felt your life was in imminent danger from bad guys?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
What we learned about you last week
Do you listen to podcasts? Do you wear cologne or perfume? Have you ever taken typing lessons? How many rings do you wear? When was the last time you and your partner went out on a date? All this and more (plus a great book suggestion), right here.
How about this for zipping around the RV park?
How would like to have one of these cute little vehicles along with you on your RV trips? The single-passenger vehicle incorporates a 21-speed pedal-drive drivetrain going to its right rear wheel, along with a hub motor in its left rear wheel to supplement the driver’s pedal power. Read more.
Purchased a lemon RV? Need a lawyer?
Alan Warren, your RV Wingman from The RV Show USA, discusses the realities of filing a lawsuit against an RV manufacturer or sleazy RV dealer, and gives some advice for those who have a sure-fire lemon RV. Read more.
February RV shipments continue to decline
The RV Industry Association’s (RVIA) February survey of manufacturers shows that RV shipments ended the month with 36,421 wholesale shipments, a decrease of 15.4% from the 43,038 units shipped last February. Learn more.
How to prevent being shocked while swimming
In this segment from The RV Show USA, Mike Sokol explains how someone can easily be electrocuted while swimming near a dock where a boat’s electrical hookup is miswired. And it’s not just the fact that someone can be “shocked” to death, but the way they die that’s the scariest. Watch the 10-minute video.
Escapees RV Club attracts 2,400 to Arizona rally
More than 2,400 RV enthusiasts joined together in Tucson last week for the Escapees RV Club’s 59th Escapade. The event at the Pima County Fairgrounds attracted RVers from across North America and Mexico. The week’s events included approximately 80 educational seminars. Read more.
Lightweight “teardrop” drops in on RV market
While it may not be “just the thing” for the typical RVer, there’s a new RV on the market that for the young and the physically flexible may be worth looking into. It’s called Polydrop. Naw, forget pictures of your favorite parrot taking a dive, the Polydrop trailer is a “polygonized” teardrop rig with a couple of twists. Read more.
Two NYC millennials see an RV up close and personal
If you want to see how RVing has changed, especially how the marketing of RVs to consumers has changed, and how the audience has responded, watch this episode from “The Ellen Show.” Two New York City millennials see an RV up close and personal. Watch their reactions. Read more and watch the video.
Free admission to National Parks on April 20
If you can restrain your wanderlust for a few weeks, then mark your calendar for Saturday, April 20 for the second Free Entrance Day of the year at America’s National Parks. Read more.
Dewinterizing checklist updated for 2019
Rich “The Wanderman” has updated his very thorough annual checklist: “How to go from winter’s slumber to spring’s reawakening and perform a yearly safety check.” And there are numerous links throughout to fully describe a lot of the steps. Wow! Is this ever handy! Check it out!
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• RV Electricity – Why did my shore power plug neutral burn up?
• Another take on the Campground of the Future.
• New RV discount club website debuts.
• Ah, camping! Your own outdoor movie theater!
• RVer Safety: I carry a gun – Should I have insurance?
• Building an RV park from scratch: I don’t know what I’m doing!
• RV spring shakedown primer.
• What we learned about you last week (March 16-22).
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.
NEW: RV Inspection and Mobile Repair Services Directory
These RV technicians and inspectors will inspect an RV you plan to purchase (new or used) for a fee, and some offer mobile RV repair services as well. (The list will grow weekly, so check back.)
The RV Show USA
Listen each Wednesday evening on Facebook or YouTube for the live taping of America’s only syndicated radio program about RVing.
Did you buy a lemon RV? Here’s more about RV lemons and lawyers who will represent you if you need help.
Motorhomes on Fire
This is not pretty – dozens of videos of RVs burning up. But the point is to help viewers understand that RVs burn fast, and they need to practice good fire-prevention habits and practice an escape plan … just in case.
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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of March 25, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.62. [Calif.: $3.39]
Change from week before: Up 8 cents; Change from year before: Down 3 cents.
Diesel: $3.08. [Calif.: $3.82]
Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 7 cents.
RV Quick Tips
Don’t use Magic Eraser on these!
Plenty of RVers love those Magic Eraser cleaners. All around the rig they can be handy for quick cleaning – some even use the Magic Eraser mops for awning cleaning. But here are five things you shouldn’t use them on:
Stone countertops: It removes the protective seal on your stone countertops. Without that protective seal, your stone could be vulnerable to scratches, stains and other forms of permanent damage.
Nonstick cookware: Nonstick coating can scratch easily, especially if you clean it with abrasive materials like a Magic Eraser. Once a nonstick pan is scratched, the chemicals from the nonstick coating can get absorbed into your food. Instead, hand wash nonstick pans with a soft sponge and a bit of dish soap. If you have a really stubborn mess on your hands, use a bit of baking soda to help loosen it up.
Stainless steel: As durable as it is, cleaning it with a Magic Eraser it will likely end up leaving small scratches on the surface. Instead, use Barkeepers Friend and a soft, wet sponge.
Electronic screens: These need to be cleaned super gently to avoid scratching them. That means that Magic Erasers are a big no-no for cleaning screens!
The tow car (or truck): Sure, this oughta be a no-brainer, but just to be on the safe side …. Vehicle paint has a protective coating which helps protect the paint and makes your car easier to clean. But a Magic Eraser can rub right through that protective coating down to the paint easily! You can use a Magic Eraser to remove particularly stubborn bugs from the front end of your car, but just make sure to be conscious of how much force you are using.
For more details and suggestions, visit onegoodthingbyjillee.com
Find your rig in the dark
If you boondock, sometimes “coming home” to the rig after dark can be a challenge. Assuming you have good battery capacity, get yourself a 7-pin receptacle, and run a jump wire between the battery connector and the running light connector. Plug this modified receptacle on to your trailer’s 7-pin connector and you’ll have running lights on your rig to guide you home.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
Weapon insurance options for liability coverage
The ability to come up with pricing for weapon insurance options for liability coverage can be difficult for our readers. It appears the cost is determined by several factors unique to each individual’s needs and desired coverage. Learn more.
Ask the RV Shrink
How to handle “needy” RV campground neighbors
Dear RV Shrink:
We have been full-time RVing for about seven years. We have met many wonderful people. However, occasionally we meet a “stalker.” It is usually a single person, perhaps lonely….
Talk about these subjects at your own risk
“Which team do you pull for?” “That politician is a liar!” “Do you pray?” These and more common sayings/questions can get you swiftly and unceremoniously in hot water when you’re work camping. Read more.
Ask the RV Doctor
Can a 2-way RV fridge be converted to a 3-way?
We just replaced our Dometic refrigerator with a new one. On our old refrigerator we had an aftermarket 3-way switch put in (AC, DC, propane) – that way we could run our fridge on DC while we drove. Now I am told I can only use propane or electric and the fridge is off during travel. … —Edie T.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Should I turn off circuit breakers?
This is an experiment to see if you like this Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) format for a secondary weekly column.
Welcome to J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike), a weekly column where Mike Sokol answers your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Read more about this new (potential) feature and about circuit breakers.
RV Tire Safety
RV tire expert Roger Marble has written a number of articles on the advisability of running trailer tires at the inflation molded on the tire sidewall. He has found information on the Goodyear website which backs up that recommendation. Learn more.
Astronomy for RVers
International Space Station – The world’s laboratory in the sky
The most expensive thing humans have ever built, the International Space Station whips around the globe 15.5 times a day or every 92 minutes; it has been continuously occupied for nearly 20 years; it’s about the size of a football field; and you can spot it with your naked eye if you know where and when to look. Learn more.
New South Dakota statue honors “Dignity”
A new statue overlooks the Missouri River in the central part of South Dakota. Called Dignity, it’s a 50-foot tall image of a Native American woman and is made of stainless steel and glass. It is a magnificent work of art.
The RV Kitchen
Blushing Rice Cakes
Rice is always nice. Now that cooked rice comes ready to eat in a packet, RV cooks have another shameless shortcut for camp cooking. Serve these crusty cakes as a side dish with meat from the grill, or as a satisfying and filling vegetarian main dish. Get the recipe.
How to find your lost phone
Whether your phone is buried in the couch cushions or you left it back at the last campground, there are times you need help to find it. On both Android and iOS devices there is a website to find a lost phone. Learn more.
Facebook Groups of Interest
Free and bargain camping
Unnamed Gravel Lot, Lake Havasu, AZ
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed in large gravel lot just south of Chevron station and across SR 95 from Pilot Travel Center. Unlit but fairly level. Appears safe, with possible highway noise. Click here for more details.
McDonald’s, Wickenburg, AZ
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but permission from the manager is required. Park in one of four marked bus parking spaces. Well-lit, and appears safe but is not level. One RVer reports that McDonald’s free WiFi reaches these parking spaces. Click here for more details.
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 14,000 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
Museum of the Week
Vent Haven Museum: The World’s Only Museum Dedicated to Ventriloquism
Fort Mitchell, KY
This really isn’t us writing this, it’s the doll… Can you imagine being SO into ventriloquism that you create a collection, an organization, and a magazine dedicated to it? We couldn’t, but William Shakespeare Berger could. Berger began his collection when he purchased his first doll in 1910. After that, his collection grew so rapidly that he had to convert his garage, then erect a second building on his property to house all his talking friends. He created the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists and started a monthly magazine, “The Oracle,” which kept up with current events in the “Vent” community. Now, you can visit Berger’s collection, which has more than 900 dolls. You can see photos, scripts, memorabilia, playbills, recordings and much more. Visit the museum website here to plan your visit.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Acadiana Boat, Sport & RV Show, March 29-31, Lafayette, LA
• New Hampshire Camping & RV Show, March 29-31, Bedford, NH
• Colorado Springs RV & Travel Expo, April 4-6, Colorado Springs, CO
• Vacationland RV & Camping Show, April 6-7, Auburn, ME
• Evergreen RV Show, April 12-14, Monroe, WA
See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) was the first American film to show a toilet being flushed on screen.
From Jack Putnam: I used to work in the small expedition ship industry. On trips through Alaskan waters, standing with guests on the deck looking at the extensive Sitka Spruce forests on the mountainside, all bathed in mist with clouds hiding everything more than a couple hundred feet up, someone would often look up and ask, “What altitude are we at?” My answer was always to look over the side of the ship and respond, “About 80 feet.”
From Steve Shelton: From a tourist viewing the Alaska pipeline outside Fairbanks: “Don’t all those barrels make a lot of noise going down the pipeline?”
Have you overheard a silly tourist question at a National Park or other well-known tourist location? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Bumper sticker of the week
Don’t tailgate or I’ll flush. (Seen on many motorhomes.)
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
What do you call a game where Germans throw bread at each other?
“What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.” —Abraham Lincoln
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Dave Helgeson, Chris Fellows, Dennis Prichard, Len Wilcox, Sam Suva, Mike Sherman, Machelle James, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising director: Emily Woodbury. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on RVtravel.com in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. Contact Emily Woodbury at advertising(at)RVtravel.com .
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
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.
Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.
This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com