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Week of August 10–16, 2019
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
ook closely at this photograph. It looks like a lot of nothing, right? Well, it is a lot of nothing. But look closer. Right about the center, toward the top, you’ll see what looks like a speck of dust on the photo. But that’s not what it is.
It was taken February 14, 1990, when the Voyager 1 spacecraft was four billion miles away, as it left our planetary neighborhood for the fringes of the solar system (it’s now traveled another 9 billion miles). At the urging of astronomer Carl Sagan, NASA turned the spacecraft around for one last look at its home planet. Sagan wrote:
That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
So why do I bring this up in a newsletter about RVing? Out of frustration. That “Pale Blue Dot” is the tiny place we call home — one of millions, perhaps billions of such worlds. When I look at it, so many things seem so insignificant, so small. And so wrong!
Observing this, and having the highly evolved brain of a homo sapiens to try to understand it, I marvel at the joy the Pale Blue Dot has brought me. But, right now, I want to put my fist through a wall out of frustration at the disrespect we tiny time-travelers express day after day to each other — in words, in actions and in terrible deeds like the brutal shootings of innocent people last week by sick, angry men whose hate boiled over.
As the editor of this publication, I am forced every day to witness the anger of so many people through their spiteful comments and emails. They cannot accept that others do not believe exactly as they do. And so they lash out, hidden away in their homes and RVs — faceless cowards spewing ignorant babble.
I have said before, but will say again: If you want to leave a comment on this website, please be sure it’s respectful and constructive. Do not call someone stupid or an idiot, or a liberal or right winger. If you wish to be a part of this intelligent community, as we hope you do, then please observe what Mr. J.C. Penney advised years ago, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Most religions urge the same.
Please, think about your own actions toward others, here and everywhere. Please try your best to be kind and fair, and keep an open mind. Accept that not everyone sees the world exactly as you do and that you may not always be right.
Look at the pale dot again and take a moment to think about it.
P.S. Some of you may have encountered a moment on an early Saturday morning where you got an error message when trying to read your newsletter. We keep increasing our server capabilities but sometimes traffic spikes and it pops its cork. To help even the load we’re now posting our member edition of this newsletter at its regular time (2 a.m. Pacific), but will move the free, advertising-supported edition two hours later to 4 a.m. Pacific., which is 7 a.m. in the East.
Also, it was great to meet the RV Travel readers who camped with us last week at the Enumclaw RV Show near Seattle. What a wonderful group of people! Let’s do it again next year!
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
On August 7, Camping World Holdings, Inc., reported results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019. Read them here.
Camping World/Good Sam stock takes a beating
Read Motley Fool’s take on Camping World’s second quarter financials, as reported in Russ De Maris’ inimitable style, here.
That was the RV week that was
• The Ten-X Campground in the Kaibab NF is increasing rates by 140%.
• Child attacked by mountain lion at Arizona’s Mount Graham.
• Update on story to not dump tanks in Olympia, WA, or you may get shot.
• World’s longest-living kidney dialysis patient is an avid RVer.
• Couple stranded in Kodiak, AK, by ferry strike paint church to fill time.
• BLM pondering future of newly acquired Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse in FL.
and much more …
• Some American Coach motorhomes recalled for incorrect install.
• Truma issues buyer alert over unauthorized sale of products.
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.
Reduce anxiety maneuvering at the fuel stop
While having that bigger motorhome or towing a larger trailer has its share of pluses, along with the increased length comes what for some is a “problem set.” When it’s time to fuel up your rig, getting in and out of the fuel station can become anything between a challenge and a nightmare. Here are some tips to make it easier.
Think your RV door is locked? Think again
Here’s a short story about how six RVers were able to gain entry to other RVs with the keys to their own doors — not intended for the doors they were able to unlock. How can this happen? Easy. Read all about it.
Alternatives to hitch ball grease
A new hitch ball is often bright, shiny and chromed. But many RVers have been much dismayed, on lifting the hitch coupler off the new ball after the first use, that the chrome is scratched and scarred. What happened? Metal-to-metal contact can scrape off that shiny chrome and things are never the same. Read more.
Your RV satellite feed may be affected if Congress fails to act
Do you take your satellite broadcasts with you when you travel? Plenty of on-the-road RVers do, keeping up with their local news and information as well as their favorite shows. But having that local feed while far away could vanish if Congress doesn’t take positive action to, as Captain Picard says, “Make it so.” Learn more.
Do tips for fending off sleep while driving really work?
Safety is the number one objective when driving your rig on the nation’s roads, not only for your own safety but for other drivers on the road as well. There are some currently held beliefs of certain actions that you can take to keep you alert when driving, such as winding down the windows, turning on the air conditioning, and turning up the volume on the radio. But do they work? Find out here.
Eight tips for taking professional-grade travel photos
You don’t need expensive photographic equipment to take good travel photos if you follow these tips that professional travel photographers use for both print and online travel articles. Whether you have a smartphone, point-n-shoot, or a fancy DSL you will add more keepers to your photo collection. Learn more.
Brats and beer? It must be Leavenworth – Washington’s “Bavarian Alps” town
Small towns and hamlets scattered throughout the West struggle to get by. Without major employers, there are few jobs for residents so many of these small towns rely on tourism for their survival. One such town in the Cascade Range of Central Washington has branded itself in a successful bid to attract tourism – and it has worked. Read about one of RVtravel.com’s staff’s favorite nearby places to visit.
Which of these manufacturers made your present RV?
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
Will you spend time in your RV this month? How often do you brush your teeth? What meal do you usually “dine out” the most? Pick a dessert to eat: pie, cake or ice cream. Do you subscribe to a print or digital newspaper subscription? All this and more, right here.
RV Advisor to fix five lemon RVs at no charge
The RV Advisor has announced that it will fix five lemon RVs purchased from Camping World at no charge to the customers. Moreover, RV Advisor will cover the cost to ship the RVs to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for repairs at RV Sales of Broward and then ship them fully repaired back for free to the customers. Read more.
Tip for RV park owners: How to make more money at the expense of RVers
Finding a campsite could get a lot harder if the suggestions made by Brad Templeton writing in Forbes Magazine take hold. According to Templeton, campground owners could reap more business if they started to cater to the owners of electric vehicles (EV) on road trips. Read more.
Our “Super Lube” axle disaster. Is there one waiting for you?
Last fall Russ and Tiña De Maris bought a used 2008 travel trailer. … For the most part, it had lived an easy life. They noticed it had Zerk fittings under the axle dust caps. It’s a Lippert Super Lube system, purported to make your life easier – just give your axles a squirt of grease and forget about all that hassle of pulling the drums off and hand-packing the bearings. Sounds like a great idea, right? Maybe not. Read more.
For relief from summer’s heat visit California’s Patrick’s Point State Park
Like entering into an air-conditioned room, the morning fog of the California North Coast redwood belt provides a respite from the interior valley heat of mid to late summer. Patrick’s Point State Park is a wonderfully cool forested destination to hang out for a few days. Read more.
Why do you “camp”?
There’s some question whether traveling in a comfy RV is “camping,” but a lot of us still call it that. Regardless, most of us like to get away with a recreational vehicle – or simply a tent, portable stove and sleeping bag. Why do we do it? Or more to the point, “Why do you do it?” Please answer here.
Sink your choppers into a luscious taste treat at a New England U-Pick apple orchard
The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is known as the father of the Declaration of Independence, the patriarch of democracy, and the grandfather of the Fuji apple. Well, OK, maybe the apple is pushing it a bit. Read about the history of the apple, different types, and where to pick your own.
Scenic photography ideas: Oregon’s 50 restored covered bridges
Back in the simpler “good ‘ol days,” when our daily distractions didn’t include social media, smartphones and terrorist attacks, gasoline cost a few pennies a gallon and stealing a kiss from a young lady was at the top of a young man’s list of thrills. Courting under the “kissing bridges” was the way to avoid the prying eyes of maiden aunts and vigilant grandmothers. Read more.
You haven’t seen South Dakota until you’ve roamed the Black Hills
Today’s RV explorers will find the Black Hills a wildly rugged range of mountains where you will find a couple of underground wildernesses, shaggy bison, herds of Harleys (if you are there at the right time of year), killer scenery, a quartet of giant old guys looking down from a granite mountain and, of course, black hills, part of the 1.2-million-acre Black Hills National Forest. Read more.
What to do about homeless RV dwellers: Seattle has a plan
A group of researchers in the homeless-plagued city of Seattle in collaboration with the Seattle and King County Housing Authorities enacted a test program in an attempt to attack the seriousness of America’s homeless problem, reports Dylan Matthews for the Vox. One of the researchers, economist Raj Chetty, says the program has “the largest effect I’ve ever seen in a social science intervention.” Learn more.
Avoid smacking low bridges with this new 2020 Road Atlas
The new edition of the premier guide to off-limit highways for large RVs has just been published for 2020. While it’s designed for big rig truckers, it should be a must-have for RVers who travel in unfamiliar territory with recreation vehicles over about 11 feet tall. Learn more.
New product, Brite Wash, promises effective RV cleaning
Many owners mistakenly use strong automotive soap on their RVs, thinking harsh equals effective. Nothing could be further from the truth. It instead removes any previously applied protective products, makes it difficult to rinse and pollutes the environment with chemical runoff. Brite Wash from Shurhold is different, the company claims in a press release. Learn more.
Win these incredible wine glasses
We love giving away stuff!
Your friends will be super impressed when you serve them wine in these most-excellent Happy Camper Wine Glasses. They will be so impressed with the glasses they may not even notice that you got the wine on the $3 rack. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Eleanor VanTassel of Mount Joy, PA, who won a safety vest.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Examples of horrible RV hookups.
• “Most hated” RV dealer launches service to help RV buyers.
• Wild Video: Big truck nearly loses it after RVs flip in Colorado winds.
• Stopping full-time RVing like a “hot potato”? (asked of editor Chuck Woodbury)
• RV and RV-related recalls for July 2019.
• That was the RV week that was, July 27 – August 2, 2019.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 2, 2019.
• A creative way to get a free long-term RV site.
• What we learned about you last week (July 27 – August 2).
• Judge chills plaintiffs in Dometic refrigerator suit.
• Don’t stand under a tree during lightning! Here’s why. Oh my!
Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror Stories • RV Advice • RV Electricity • RV Parks with Storm Shelters • RV Buying Advice • Northwest RV Camping • Southwest RV Camping and NEW RV Crashes and Disasters. You might also like Big Rig RV and RV Tips. And please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
Want a job in the RV industry? Here’s a Facebook group where you can learn what’s available.
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.
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.
The RV Death Spiral
Read the eight-part series of editorials by Greg Gerber that the RV industry never wanted written. Download the PDF.
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.
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 5, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.69. [Calif.: $3.54]
Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Down 16 cents.
Diesel: $3.03. [Calif.: $3.94]
Change from week before: No change; Change from year before: Down 19 cents.
Guns and nuts – What can we do?
From Mike Sherman, retired street cop. I usually try to bring forth topics that pertain specifically to RVers that travel the highways of America, discussing topics pertaining to your safety and your security. The readers of RV Travel have been a great asset, adding aspects and comments that I fail to touch on. Space limitations prevent deeper discussions, but today is different. Read more, and please participate in a discussion if you have ideas on what can be done to prevent further shooting tragedies.
Ask the RV Shrink
If in doubt, check it out before parking – or pay a hefty price
Dear RV Shrink:
I am very upset with my husband. We were just fined $150 for illegally parking overnight in a Florida marina parking lot in the middle of nowhere. He says it is partly my fault because I should have seen the sign. I’m 78 years old. I’m just happy if I can see tomorrow. …
Why leave a review?
Whenever we travel somewhere new while full-time RVing, whether we’re work camping or just commuting at a campground, it’s a first-time experience. It’s safe to say that if it is our first, then it is, or will be, someone else’s first too. Leaving a review for the place of business tells others who would venture down that same stretch of road of our experiences. This helps those travelers to have some information and our opinion of what we have encountered. Read more.
Ask the RV Doctor
How important is leveling for an RV absorption fridge?
We recently purchased a used 2007 motorhome and haven’t actually camped in it yet but have done some local driving to get used to it. We’ve been reading about the leveling for the refrigerator and understand the necessity. We have a two-door unit (top freezer and bottom refrigerator). My husband is concerned about leveling while driving such as on hills and mountains. Should we be concerned? —Rosemary P.
Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground update
I’ve read all the articles you’ve written about Reverse Polarity Bootleg Grounds but was unable to post a comment, since they are more than a year old! My question, which I don’t believe was answered in the articles, is: Are surge protector companies, like Progressive, working to fix this problem in their products so they do detect this condition? Appreciate your comments! Thanks! —Jeff
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Join Mike in Hershey in September
Just a reminder that Mike will be presenting free seminars at the Hershey RV Show September 11-15, as well as offering a 3-hour advanced electricity seminar just off campus in Grantville, PA, on Saturday, Sept. 14. Cost for his Advanced RV Electricity seminar is $125 for everyone, but discounted to $100 for RVtravel.com paid members. Register HERE, but do it soon since the room only seats 50.
Sign up for Mike’s popular RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
How old is too old for RV tires?
For RV application this is a tough question because “it depends.” There are several factors that can shorten tire life, which Roger Marble explains here.
Building an RV Park
When it rains, it pours!
From Machelle James: There is one thing you can count on here in Arizona during the summer: Monsoon Season. It rains every day here anytime from noon to 8 p.m. It can be a light rain to a downpour with hail. That happened every day here for the last two weeks. It has been making our chore list hard to do … So we wait! Read more about their progress in spite of Mother Nature.
Honoring Old Bill
From Len Wilcox: Williams, Arizona, is a place that has always piqued my interest. It’s high up in the pines, about 30 miles west of Flagstaff. Nowadays it’s a tourist town, famous for being the southern entrance to the Grand Canyon and the last stretch of Route 66 to be replaced by interstate highway. But once it was a high-living Western town. … [And] even before that, it was the home of Old Bill Williams, one of the most eccentric of that strange breed of Westerners known as Mountain Men. Read more, or let Len Wilcox read the story to you.
The RV Kitchen
No Noodle Tuna Casserole
There is no extra step in this recipe for boiling water, cooking noodles, draining and mess. Just put everything in a pan for the stove top or a baking dish for the oven. Serve it over biscuits, toast, crisp Chinese noodles, shredded cabbage or spiralized zucchini. Make it ahead and keep it cold to bake or nuke up to two days later. Double it for a potluck. Get the recipe.
The RoVing Naturalist
Climate change and succession
From Dennis Prichard: I attended a meeting of forest ecologists some 20 years ago wherein the scientists presented speeches on what might happen in the future in respect to forests in the Southwestern U.S. Their predictions were rather dire. Read more.
RV Short Stop
Autumn destination: Authentic Adams County, PA
Planning to tour historic Gettysburg this autumn, or traveling near Washington, D.C., Baltimore, MD, and Harrisburg, PA? Consider routing your RV through “Authentic” Adams County in south-central Pennsylvania. For the 54th year, the National Apple Harvest Festival is being held outdoors the first two full weekends in October. There is lots of room for RVs nearby, with shuttle service to the festival grounds. While you’re in the area, visit Authentic Adams County barns, including some which are more than 100 years old. Read more.
Check out our Facebook Groups
Free and bargain camping
Le Geant Motorise (Giant Motorhome), Saint-Ambroise de Chicoutimi, QC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Le Geant Motorise, a large RV dealership, welcomes RVs to park on its property. Large gravel lot with an asphalt patio pad and picnic tables. There are several dump stations on site. No fees to use the site, hookups, Wi-Fi, laundry or dump stations. Most staff speaks only French. Click here for more details.
Saint Albans Roadside Park, Saint Albans, WV
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. City-owned RV park has 3 pull-thru 20/30A E hookup RV sites. Large rigs may have difficulty with tight turns in the camping area. Signage: “RVs & trailers only, no other vehicles, no tents.” Picnic area, playground, boat ramp, and restrooms on-site. Strip mall with grocery store and restaurants across the street. First-come, first-served. Max stay: 2 nights in any 15-day period. 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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Midwest RV Super Show, Aug. 8-11, Elkhart, IN
• Hampton Roads RV Super Sale, Aug. 16-18, Hampton, VA
• Great American RV Show – Colorado Springs, Sept. 12-14, Colorado Springs, CO
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 12-15, Hershey, PA
• Portland Fall RV & Van Show, Sept. 12-15, Portland, OR
In 2018, 89% of wildfires were caused by humans. (Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear!)
Bumper sticker of the week
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
When I was a kid, my parents would always say “Excuse my French” after a swear word. I’ll never forget that first day at school when the teacher asked if we knew any French.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
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.
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This newsletter is copyright 2019 by RVtravel.com