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!
Week of June 1–7, 2019
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
The website RVdailyReport.com, owned and operated by my long-time acquaintance Greg Gerber, is shutting down June 21. He’s had it. Greg has been a keen observer of the RV industry for 17 years, often critical of it, which made attracting advertising to his website a challenge. Alas, one by one, advertisers pulled their support and, in the end, silenced him.
The beginning of the end came two years ago when he published his eight-part series The RV industry death spiral. If you have not read it, hurry before the website goes dark. The industry did not like what he wrote, which to many people, me included, was right on!
The RV industry is largely ignored by what remains of the mainstream press. The three remaining industry publications — RV Business, RV Pro and RV News — faithfully avoid publishing anything that ruffles anyone’s feathers. Check their websites on any single day and the stories are nearly all the same — very often reproduced word-for-word from press releases from PR people — easy, free copy they can post in a few minutes to showcase their paid advertising (none of them have paid subscribers, but rely almost exclusively on advertising). The editors are good people, but their loyalty, by necessity, is to those who pay them, the industry, not RVers.
Greg sold RVdailyReport.com two years ago to RV technician Terry Cooper, who ran articles that didn’t offend anyone. Of course, that didn’t pay off because the content was boring. Readership tanked. The website would have died before now had Greg not returned six months ago to retake the helm.
Alas, to gain advertisers (and pay his bills) he had to play it safe this round — avoiding writing anything controversial. The “old Greg” that I knew was effectively muzzled and his circulation declined.
So, the industry won. They wore him down and shut him up.
WE’RE OKAY, SO FAR. . .
The industry does not like RVtravel.com either because we speak up about what we see wrong. Fortunately for us, one-third of our support comes from our voluntary subscribers. Because of them, we could, if need be, survive without any advertising. We do have advertisers, of course — all quality businesses that make no demands beyond expecting a fair return on their investments.
Gail and I would like to camp with you August 1-4 in Enumclaw, Wash. (near Seattle and Mount Rainier). Read more here.
ELECTRICITY SEMINAR COMING NEXT WEEK
P.S. If you will be near Hagerstown, MD, next Saturday, June 8, please consider taking one or both of Mike Sokol’s classes on RV electricity. This is a rare opportunity to increase your knowledge and skills about RV electricity from the nation’s leading expert on the subject. The details are here.
Do you have a story for us?
We welcome your submissions, whether an article, short tip, news item, press release, poem, or an idea for a topic you believe is just perfect for this website. Or, if you would like to submit a complete article (up to 700 words) please do so, and attach a photo if you wish. We’ll look it over. Hey, you may find a home with us as a regular (paid) contributor or columnist. Learn more.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
If you have not contributed to RVtravel.com for some time and would like to do so again, you may do so here.
Need advice about RVing?
Want to help others with their questions?
Then join our Facebook group RV Advice. Click here.
Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for May
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Jayco, Tiffin and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
We get the craziest email requests
Every day is occasion for a good laugh when we open an email from someone with a totally off-the-wall request. Here’s this week’s award winner:
Attention: Sales or Customer Service
Am with the Snow Family Co and I am contacting your business in regards to the order for some DUMP STATION and so can you send me an email back with the types as well as the sizes and pricing information for those you carry and also let me know the methods of payment that you accept so that we can proceed with the order and so waiting to hear back from you with an email response.
That was the RV week that was
The latest news about RVing from our newsroom
• Camping World CEO would rather go to jail than take down huge flag.
• Lowest tides of the year on Western coastline on June 5.
• Pirate radio station operates in old RV beneath Brooklyn subway tracks.
• Camping is free in Oregon tonight (Saturday).
• More than 500 tornadoes in May in the Midwest.
. . . and much more.
• Forest River recalls trailers for improper wiring that could cause fire.
Developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA
Janet Groene reports each week on developments at RV parks and campgrounds across the USA and Canada. There’s a lot of good information here that you can use to plan your travels. Read the current installment of “Campground Chatter” here.
Lemon law attorney issues warning to the RV industry
RV Lemon Law attorney Steve Lehto discusses the recent video in which the RV Industry Association named as one of its 2018 accomplishments fighting and helping eliminate RV lemon law legislation in Vermont and Oklahoma. Watch the video.
Escapees RV Club releases RVer census results
The Escapees RV Club recently circulated a census among the RVing community, garnering the feedback of nearly 7,800 RVers. The census was open for five months, from November 30, 2018, to April 12, 2019, and included input from a wide variety of RV owners. The following results are based on the information shared by those who completed the survey.
RV shipments continue decline in April
The RV Industry Association’s April survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments ended the month with 40,243 wholesale shipments, a decrease of 15.2 percent from the 47,442 units shipped last April. Read more.
For one night would you drive 10 miles out of your way to save $15 on a campsite?
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 plan on traveling more in the next year than you did in the last year? Does your RV have a roof ladder? Do you use bar soap or liquid soap to wash your hands? How often do you play games on your phone, tablet or computer? Do you plan on leaving the country this summer? All this and more, right here.
How to minimize “thermal checking” damage to your RV’s fiberglass
By Floyd Mayberry
“I have seen posts on various RV forums inquiring about RV fiberglass damage known as ‘thermal checking.’ I had never heard of this issue before experiencing it and have discovered the same to be true for most RV owners. I recently went through a massive and expensive repair to correct this type of damage, so I thought I’d pass along my experience.” Learn more.
Win a $2,000 RV makeover
Our friends at RecPro are holding a contest now through July 4th with a grand prize of a $2,000 RV makeover. It’s easy to enter, and we suspect the odds will be excellent. Learn more here.
Don’t make these mistakes at National Parks
With the explosion of RVing over the last decade, National Parks have never been more popular. With all those people getting back to nature, the National Parks are bound to see a few mistakes here and there. Here are some definite DO-NOTS when you’re entering our National Park System. Learn more.
Refrigerator in Keystone fifth wheel won’t work, flawed design
Roger Ford of Ford’s Refrigeration shows you one of his customer’s trailers, an Alpine fifth wheel by Keystone, with a refrigerator that won’t work, and never will, he says. The problem is the refrigerator’s air circulation is not adequate to keep it cool, which Ford says can happen with refrigerators built into slide-outs. Read more and watch the 4-minute video.
KOA manager pulls gun on unregistered campers
A KOA campground manager will be seeking new employment. The employee of the KOA park in Starkville, Mississippi, has been fired after a cell phone video showed her holding a handgun while ordering a picnicking couple to leave because they did not have a reservation. Read more.
Even the simple things – Post-It sticky notes
Rich “The Wanderman,” like most of us, forgets things. But with those convenient little Post-It® Sticky Notes he’s not forgetting nearly as much. Here are a few of the things he uses them for – maybe you’ll get some ideas you can use. Do you have any other uses that he didn’t mention? Read more.
Win this portable emergency radio
We love giving away stuff!
With all the severe weather lately, and with hurricane season nearly upon us, it’s important to have an emergency radio that will alert you to severe weather. This one is great, and it even can be used to charge your phone. Enter the contest.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Another RV Horror Story, again about Camping World.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, May 24, 2019.
• Surge protector types and what they each do.
• Get money back on your Camping World extended warranty.
• RV renovation tips to get you started.
• Changes in relationship concerning to couple now full-time RVing.
• What’s your RV’s “suit size”?
• RV Industry brags about defeating RV lemon laws.
• What we learned about you last week (May 18-24).
Our Facebook Groups: RV Horror Stories, RV Advice, RV Electricity and RV Parks with Storm Shelters.
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.
Common RV-related terms: If you’re an RVer newbie, you should know the meaning of these words.
Workers on Wheels: A terrific (and free) resource for RVers who want to work on the road.
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.
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.
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.
Save bandwidth while watching YouTube videos
How to watch YouTube videos using very little bandwidth.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of May 27, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.82. [Calif.: $3.88]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 14 cents.
Diesel: $3.15. [Calif.: $4.13]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 14 cents.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Have three fire extinguishers when RVing
You should have three fire extinguishers for your coach: one in the galley, one in the bedroom and one outside of the coach in an unlocked compartment or in your tow vehicle. Make sure family members know how to use the extinguishers and understand which extinguishers are effective on various fires.
Need a reminder of how important this is? Check out some videos of motorhomes on fire.
RV Quick Tips
Retreads – Illegal?
On a recent RV forum, a poster mentioned nearly clobbering a “gator,” or large chunk of tire, in the middle of a highway. This brought a response from a number of other posters who pointed out that retreads were illegal on all vehicles except semi-trucks, and could only be used on non-steer tires. Correct view, right?
Wrong. Here’s the lowdown from Treadwright Tires – you guessed it – a tire retreading firm. “Retreaded tires never went away and have never been illegal. While the market was being flooded with cheap imports, retread/remolding technology continued to grow and develop. Modern retreads are just as safe and long lasting as new tires and a single retread uses up to 70% less oil than a brand new tire … The only place where retreads are not allowed to be used is on the front two wheels (steering wheels) of a transit bus.
“Yet you’ll still get people who complain that retreaded tires litter the side of the road and damage cars when they blow out. The fact is, the main cause of retread tire failure (failure for any type of tire) is underinflation. You can prevent underinflation with our simple tire gauge. The majority of the time, poor maintenance is the cause of tire failure, not manufacturing.”
RV battery safety
If you accidentally get battery acid on your skin, flush it with lots of water. If it gets in your eyes, flush them with low pressure water for 15 minutes and call a doctor. To prevent the possibility of arcing always disconnect the negative battery cable when working on or around batteries. If you don’t feel comfortable working around batteries you can have battery maintenance checks performed by an authorized RV service center. —Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Russ (at) RVtravel.com
What if you protect yourself but are then arrested?
We have discussed this before. It happens: You protect yourself but end up under arrest. Here is a case in point pulled from this week’s news. What do you think? Please comment below the article.
Ask the RV Shrink
Expect the unexpected when traveling
Dear RV Shrink:
Awhile ago we were camped in Deadwood, S.D., in a commercial campground. The second day the manager gave us hospital band IDs to wear on our wrists. He said it was going to get very busy and we would need this ID band to leave and enter the campground. He said it was the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We had no idea what to expect….
Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
Set a deadline for your new RVing lifestyle
Are you thinking about RVing, maybe even full time, but find yourself postponing it for one reason or another? Sam Suva offers some helpful tips to put your wishes/plans into action and get on the road before it’s too late. This may be just the nudge you need.
Ask the RV Doctor
This is much better than a P-trap
I was at an RV show recently and I noticed that there wasn’t a regular P-trap under the lavatory sink, just a straight fitting or adapter. Any idea what this was? I thought all sinks had to have a water lock to keep the holding tank fumes from getting inside the motorhome. —Craig J.
Solar panel charging tips for any location, including forests
Boondocking in the national and state forests in summer and using solar power to provide your electricity presents different challenges than found when snowbirding in the Southwestern deserts. Read more.
Back to the beginning. Plus: Electrical safety for RVers – Part 1
I’ve just started reading your RV Electricity articles, and it seems there are hundreds of them. How long have you been writing this stuff? Can you repost some of the simpler ones so I can learn about electricity without hurting my brain too much? —Dawson
Read Mike’s response, including the first article in the reboot of his 12-part series about basic electricity for RV users and how to protect yourself and your family from shocks and possible electrocution.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Is there a cheap and quiet generator?
Sign up for Mike’s new RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Why are there no tire comparison reviews?
Roger Marble occasionally sees people complaining about the lack of meaningful tire comparisons. In this article he explains some of the probable reasons why there aren’t unbiased [no pun intended] tire comparisons.
Building an RV Park
My job is done (regarding one son)
Machelle appreciates all of the support and advice she’s received from our readers regarding the struggles involved in building a campground from scratch, but she’s been in Florida the last 10 days so doesn’t have much to report on the campground. However, she tells a heartwarming personal story that we think most parents/grandparents can relate to. Read it here. (Good job, Grandma!)
When Wild Bill Hickok played ball
1869 was a banner year for many Americans: It’s the year that baseball grew up and turned pro. The first professional baseball team – the Cincinnati Red Stockings – took to the field and all their players were paid a salary. It’s also the year a Kansas City team – the Antelopes – hired a famous frontiersman, lawman and gunfighter to umpire a game for them. Read more or let Len Wilcox read the story to you.
The RV Kitchen
Let’s talk dirty (rice, that is). Don’t turn up your nose at this humble dish. It’s a soul food favorite throughout Dixie and a must-have in Harlem too. It’s a beloved tradition served at family get-togethers in the South and a noble one-dish meal to put on an RV table. Traditionally it’s made with ground chicken livers, hearts and gizzards. Janet’s shortcut version is made with ground chicken. Get the recipe.
The RoVing Naturalist
Nest competitors: Two species of birds
You just never know what you’ll encounter when you go on a hike, as evidenced by Dennis Prichard when he encountered not just one bird species protecting a nest, but another bird species attempting to take it over. It caused him to wonder if nesting spots are so rare that different species have to fight over them. Read more. And tell us in the comments below his article if you’ve encountered anything seemingly out of the ordinary on a nature hike.
RV Short Stop
Pedestrian Bridge connecting Omaha and Council Bluffs waterfronts
The waterfront development featuring the 23-acre Lewis and Clark Landing, and the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge connecting Omaha and Council Bluffs on the mighty Missouri River have much to offer for family fun. The Lewis and Clark park, located just north of Omaha’s downtown, features open space, benches and historic exhibits. The 3000-foot-long, 15-foot-wide Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge spans the Missouri, and connects Nebraska with Iowa. Learn more.
RVtravel.com is interested in hosting your blog. Increase your audience hugely in most cases. No need to abandon your current blog: Just post highlights with us (and watch traffic to your existing blog soar). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Facebook Groups of Interest
• RV Instant Pot, Roaster, or Skillet Recipes & Chat
• The Real Housewives of RV’ing
• Camping is our life
PLUS OUR OWN GROUPS: RV Horror Stories, RV Advice, RV Electricity & RV Parks with Storm Shelters
Free and bargain camping
Dick’s Sporting Goods, Winchester, VA
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but you must obtain permission from the store. Park in SE part of lot, farthest from the store and close to Ruby Tuesday. Lot is level and quiet. Click here for details.
Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, Balzac, AB
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Obtain permission from the security desk and park at far south end of the lot, which is level, well-lit, quiet, and appears safe. The casino has a restaurant, bar and buffet. Click here for details.
•Walmarts that do not allow overnight RV stays.
•Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Tampa Bay Summer RV Show, June 6-9, Tampa, FL
• Green Country RV Show, July 19-21, Tulsa, OK
• Enumclaw RV Show (near Seattle), Aug. 1-4
See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.
The first European travelers in a hot air balloon were a sheep, a duck and a rooster. Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, the French brothers who invented the hot air balloon, made this first successful launch and eight-minute flight in 1783 in the presence of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. All three animals survived. BTW – International Hot Air Balloon Day is June 5, 2019.
Silly Tourist Questions
From Jack Putnam
While working as a student in Yosemite, I was busing tables outside in what was then Curry Village. One of the visitors looked down the valley at Half Dome and asked, “What happened to the other half?” (Jack admits that’s probably a fairly common Yosemite comment, so maybe not so silly after all.)
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
Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
From Tom Hart
More from Church Ladies With Computers. (These sentences [with bloopers] actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services.)
• Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
• Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 p.m. – prayer and medication to follow.
• At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What Is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.
“Our character is a lifelong project, and perhaps the older we are, and the more fixed our shortcomings are, the more we can use inspiration to encourage our escape from the restraints of our deficiencies.” —Senator John McCain
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, Dennis Prichard, Len Wilcox, Sam Suva, Mike Sherman, Machelle James, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising director: Emily Woodbury. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. 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
For those that wish to read the entire series, all 8 parts, “The RV Industry Death Spiral” you can download it at this tiny url web site address: https://tinyurl.com/y5dtktav
Here’s a link to the entire RV industry death spiral series. The link in the article is only to part one.
Greg’s candor and honest journalism are definitely going to be missed!
Good newsletter. Been reading your stuff since ‘Out West’.
As a kid in the ’50s and 60’s I grew up with retread tires. We couldn’t afford new tires, and we also needed a second set of retread “sawdust” tires for winter roads. During a several-year stint as a long-haul trucker, I again became familiar with retread tires. I soon learned to carry a 60-foot ‘glad-hand’ tire-inflating hose, as most trailers I picked up had at least one seriously under-inflated tire. All tires on the truck and trailers were retreads, except for the front axle ‘steer’ tire. They were always new casings, and when they became worn down, they were sent for recapping and became a trailer tire.
Please NEVER follow closely behind a truck trailer, lest you ‘eat’ a thrown tread!
As a retired trucker myself, I concur with your whole post, especially the last line. Spend as little time as possible behind or next to ‘big trucks’.
Maybe Treadwright Tires will offer to reimburse everyone whose car was damaged by one of their road gators since they think so highly of these crap tires. Why is it darn near every tread gator is a retread and not an original tire. Probably because they are are manufactured to such a high degree. (Sarcasm).
Maybe you should complain to the huge corporations who’ve beat down freight rates so low it’s a dog-eat-dog survival game in the trucking industry. Or the economic model that has turned long-haul trucking into sweat shops on wheels. Can you guess why trucking companies have an average 150% to 200% driver turnover every year? And they’re doing everything except kidnap kids from bars to put behind the wheel? Or… maybe supplying every driver a 60-foot glad-hand air hose and a good tire gauge? Or easing the time pressure and log-book rules a bit to encourage more time for safety checks and proper tire inflation? The fault is NOT with the retreads. It’s with UNDER-INFLATED trailer tires!