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Week of August 17–23, 2019
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The new American RVer – not a pretty sight
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
cross the nation, people are discovering just how much an RV can become a home. Full-timers have known this for ages, and snowbird RVers may spend months calling their RV “home.”
But a new breed of Americans is taking up RV living and, for them, it isn’t a life of sights on the road, visiting National Parks, nor spending a wonderful night around the campfire with new friends. For these RV dwellers, it’s $10-a-day to rent an RV on a back street, ducking police and angry neighbors, and fighting bedbugs and other vermin. These unfortunates are homeless people, in a strange, symbiotic relationship with a new breed of slumlords called Vehicle Ranchers.
Here’s how it works: A Rancher hits the abandoned vehicle auction where, for example, a broken-down RV can often be bought for as little as a dollar. He tows the dead rig out of the yard and onto a local street where he parks it. An advertisement on Craigslist offering a place to sleep out of the weather for $10 a night will soon put the “no vacancy” sign up.
In many areas, as long as the vehicle is moved every 72 hours, the Vehicle Rancher can keep the game going endlessly. Worst-case scenario, if the rig is impounded the Rancher will often just leave it alone until it goes back up for auction.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: I am proud to announce that as of Friday evening, we had posted 6,000 articles on this website. That’s just in the last few years, after we updated our server and lost thousands of articles in the process. And as of 4 p.m., yesterday, readers had posted a whopping 36,774 comments, which, if you do the math, comes out to about six comments for each post. Wow!
Editor’s Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
- If only life were like it’s portrayed in commercials.
- My time in Congress. Yes, it’s true. (from my archives)
- Small town newspapers … ya gotta love ’em!
- It’s hard to believe an RV park hookup could be this stupid!
- The wordiest parking lot sign in America.
Wanted: Accountant to appear as a guest by phone on The RV Show USA syndicated radio program to talk about special tax considerations when operating a business from an RV. Contact chuck(at)rvtravel.com, who will pass along your email address to the producers.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RVers awarded $500,000 in Winnebago “lemon” lawsuit
Attorney Christina Gill Roseman of Roseman Law Firm, along with Ron Burdge and Beth Wells of Burdge Law Office, won a jury verdict against Winnebago for $500,000 on July 19. In Hanreck et al v. Winnebago, the plaintiffs sued Winnebago under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. The plaintiffs alleged that their 2013 Winnebago Adventurer motorhome had defects including a large slideout that would not fully retract at times. Learn more.
Harvest Hosts: Camping free at wineries and farms
From editor Chuck Woodbury: I’ve been a member of Harvest Hosts for about 10 years and try to take advantage of the membership as often as possible. In a day and age when RVers are squeezed into RV parks like sardines, and popular public campgrounds are often booked solid, the idea of staying at a peaceful, uncrowded farm or alongside a vineyard is incredibly appealing. Read more.
Once popular travel trailers now being made at Hutterite colony
A unique experiment mixing capitalism within a religious and socialistic culture is unfolding on the plains of southeast South Dakota, where a colony of Hutterites is seeking to help sustain their community of 140 followers by manufacturing TrailManor collapsible folding trailers. Learn more.
I have been reading your newsletter for several years and have learned from the many articles. However enough is enough so I am asking you to remove my email from your address list.
I almost cancelled when you got on your liberal soap box about Camping World and guns but decided to continue reading to see what happened. Your most recent article telling people what they can say and read and how they should behave is the straw that broke the camels back and I can no longer stand to be part of a liberal group from Seattle and we all know the problems it has.
Your lecture and censorship is very much like what we experience from Facebook, Apple and Google where they make their own Constitutional rights and we are old enough to decide for ourselves how we want and should behave. I will be surprised if your publication is around much longer because most of the older generation I speak with in campgrounds are conservative like me and have had enough of your and other liberal views.
I wish you well because you are on a slippery slope. —Ken
That was the RV week that was …
• BLM’s land size increasing by thousands of acres in Montana.
• Most dangerous six weeks of Atlantic hurricane season is about to begin.
• Hosts needed at campground in Umatilla National Forest.
• Three deaths at Sturgis bike rally due to CO poisoning in RVs.
• Vicious wolf attack closes campground in Banff National Park.
• Class B motorhome sales are up; other RV sales are down.
• Motorhome and semi hauling tomatoes collide and make a huge mess.
and much more …
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Save on insurance when your RV is at home.
• Overloading an RV is easier than overloading a car.
• Always check your lug nut torque after wheels are worked on.
• Don’t drive distracted.
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.
IMPORTANT CAMPGROUND UPDATE: Great news! Forest Service to expand campground at lip of Grand Canyon National Park from today’s 70 sites to 345, many for big rigs. Learn more.
What to do in the event of an RV accident
It’s something we all dread … the possibility that we’ll be involved in an accident. It’s even worse in an RV when your “home,” whether temporary or permanent, is involved. But, should the event arise, being prepared and having certain things in order can help make a bad situation a little easier. Learn more.
Can you really be confident of the purity of your RV water supply?
In much of the world obtaining safe drinking water is a daily concern. But we RVers are fortunate to be able to fill our water tanks from taps whose sources we don’t even question. … When was the last time you even thought of pathogenic microorganisms and intestinal parasites? However, even in this highly sanitized country, we may be taking too much for granted. Read more.
Death Valley Encampment packs in the RVers
Every fall, thousands of RVers show up for the Death Valley Encampment, a celebration of Western music (including lots of fiddling), art, and special events including its famous Coyote Howling Contest. It’s a big deal with RVers. This year should be as good as ever, as Chuck Woodbury explains.
Try these grilling tips for healthy and tasty barbecuing
The barbecue has become just as much a part of the RV lifestyle as camp chairs and hiking boots. If you are the head barbecue cook, there is no reason why you can’t produce both tasty and nutritious food on the grill. Here are a few tips on healthy barbecuing.
Camping World CEO Lemonis: The “Profit” or the “Destroyer”?
VIDEO: Alan Warren, the sometimes outspoken host of the syndicated radio program The RV Show USA, takes a moment away from his radio microphone to “rant” (his description) about Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis. In Warren’s opinion, Lemonis’ business practices have caused grief and even harm to many RVers. In this sometimes rambling 18-minute monologue he explains why he feels that way. Read more and watch the video.
How accurate are the holding tank gauges on your 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
Which manufacturer made your present RV? Did you pay for your Good Sam membership or get it for free? Can you recall what you had for dinner two nights ago within 20 seconds? How many of your parents are still alive? Do you still keep in touch with friends from high school? If so, how many? All this and more, right here.
You can maintain your fitness in the sizzling season with these simple tips
The hot weather of summer continues to roast many parts of the country, and many RVers will be on the road enjoying Mother Nature from new or old familiar campgrounds. The summer vacation months are full of fun opportunities, but it is also important to maintain your fitness when it’s tempting to slack off during these lazy days. Find out how here.
Are you an RV water whiz? Get these gadgets!
If you’ll be camping in a park with “city water,” that is, water from a faucet, there are some good accessories to keep in your RV storage compartment. These can make your visit easier – and even safer. They’re inexpensive and you’ll bless yourself for having them when you need them. Learn more.
RVer jumps from motorhome, survives flaming crash
An unnamed RVer saved his own bacon from getting cooked when he jumped out of his motorhome just before it careened off the edge of an embankment, landing some 300 feet below and bursting into flames. Read more.
Nail those pesky mosquitoes and send them fleeing from your campsite
So you like camping but wish you didn’t have to put up with biting insects, especially those pesky mosquitoes. And even more so when sitting outside in your campsite with a cool one watching the light fade from an artist-palette colored sunset. However, you wouldn’t have to retreat inside or wear a mosquito net hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants if you had a Burgess Insect Fogger. Learn more.
Do “still” RV water pumps run deep?
Boondockers and other folks who get away from “city water” connections sometimes complain of a noise when using the RV water system. Sometimes they’re just not used to the additional noise produced by the RV’s water pump; at other times there are problems – most of which are easily cured. Read more.
Michigan-based Outdoor Adventures on notice for misleading sales tactics
The Michigan Department of Attorney General issued a Notice of Intended Action to Bay City-based Outdoor Adventures earlier this week, outlining serious concerns with the company’s aggressive and misleading sales tactics. The company has an “opportunity to immediately cease and desist from engaging in unlawful business practices” before the state files a lawsuit against the company, the letter stated. Outdoor Adventures operates eight campgrounds in Michigan… Learn more.
What you don’t know about fishing and are afraid to ask
A lot of RVers like to fish. Many RV parks offer free fishing in their lakes even if the camper does not have a state fishing license. Here are some interesting facts we found at the website of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. We thought you might find them interesting, as we did. Read more.
What is it about camping near water?
By Jerry Brown: I love camping near water, and I know I’m not unique. Those waterfront spots always fill up first — and they often carry a premium price. Ocean front, lakeside or river bank: it doesn’t seem to matter. We’re all drawn to water. Read more.
Travel Ideas For You
• 12 great no-entry-fee public lands.
• The old West thrives in Washington’s bucolic Methow Valley.
• Oregon Coast’s Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area offers wildlife viewing year-round.
• John Sutter built a fort and forever changed the Wild West.
• For scenic views and whitewater rafting drive the Payette River National Scenic Byway.
• Take this short detour to Wupatki and Sunset Crater on your trip south.
• The old West lives on at Julian, SoCal’s mining mountain town.
• Take some time to meander the scenic and historic Georgia Coast.
Win these folding, high-power binoculars
We love giving away stuff!
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Reg Gray of Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada, who won four Happy Camper Wine Glasses
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Think your RV is locked when you turn the key? Not necessarily!
• Five “lemon RVs” to be fixed at no cost by RV Advisor.
• Reduce anxiety maneuvering at the fuel stop.
• Which of these manufacturers made your present RV? (poll with more than 100 comments!)
• Camping World issues second quarter earnings report.
• Camping World stock takes a beating.
• Tip for RV park owners: How to make more money at the expense of RVers.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 9, 2019.
• That was the RV week that was, August 3–9, 2019.
• Our “Super Lube” axle disaster. Is there one waiting for you?
• Do tips for fending off sleep while driving really work?
• RV Electricity – Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground update.
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.
A social media site like Facebook, but for RVers only and without the privacy concerns many people find objectionable at Facebook. Join the RVtravel.com group at RVillage.
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.
Do you have a popular blog, website or social media page? Join the RVtravel.com affiliate program and earn money sending us free signups to this newsletter. Takes only a few minutes to get going. After that, the only work is depositing your checks. Learn more.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of August 13, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.62. [Calif.: $3.49]
Change from week before: Down 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 22 cents.
Diesel: $3.01. [Calif.: $3.91]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 21 cents.
Guns and nuts, Part 2
From Mike Sherman, retired street cop: Last week’s topic ignited a strong response with strong opinions. I believe many Americans are asking what can be done about mass shootings. Having read all of the comments, and several articles over the past few years, I’ve come to some conclusions as to the cause and potential solutions. If you have the time, continue on with your own analysis based on our findings, then offer all of us your suggestions and conclusions. Read more.
Ask the RV Shrink
Full-timers: Husband wants to downsize RV; wife says no
Dear RV Shrink:
We have been living in our fifth wheel for just over a year. We’ve been to many wonderful places we’ve always dreamed of visiting. My wife and I love this lifestyle and have adjusted well to living in a small space in comparison to our home. I keep talking about downsizing even more into a smaller rig and my wife will have none of it. …
The Business of Work Camping
Making our new-to-us RV livable
From Sam Suva: What happens when the current camper becomes the old camper? Well, we find out a great deal about our lives over the past few full-timing years. Let’s take a look back at buying the new camper and moving in. Read more.
Ask the RV Doctor
Why are RV batteries setting off CO detector?
On a recent camping trip, we were connected to 30-amp shore power. During the night, our CO alarm went off. Since there was no stove or furnace operating, I felt the alarm was defective. I did notice the coach battery compartment felt warm. Later when entering the coach from outside, I noticed a foul odor that I couldn’t identify. … Is it possible that the batteries are producing carbon monoxide poison? —Fred N.
Possible tester failure on 30-amp outlets
In this column I’m going to warn you about a potential measurement problem that can occur when testing 30-amp shore power outlets. … [I]f you’re relying on using only a residential 3-light outlet tester plugged into an adapter to test a 30-amp outlet, or using a basic surge-protector with a 2- or 3-light indicator system to check for proper polarity and grounding, then I’ve recently been made aware of probable tester confusion when encountering a 30-amp outlet that’s been accidentally miswired with 2-pole/240-volts. Read more.
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, 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 RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Is a pickup tire better than a trailer tire?
That’s a question Roger Marble received the other day. Here is his reply (after a very short side trip into Italian food).
How to keep reminders by location rather than time
Have you ever wished you could remember to do something when you’re in a particular place? Like when you were visiting friends in Oregon and they told you, “If you get to Newport, you must eat at Moe’s!” … Or you tell yourself, “When we drive thru Camp Verde, check to see if the Verizon signal is strong enough for us to stay there.” These examples are things that Google Keep can remind you to do. Check out how easy this is!
Free and bargain camping
Minit Mart – Phillips 66, Walsenburg, CO
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required. Park in huge truck lot behind travel plaza. The lot is partly paved, level, well-lit, and appears safe. Expect truck stop noise. Designated RV fueling lanes. Good WiFi signal from adjacent motel. Fast food on site. Click here for details.
Lowe’s #0566, New Bern, NC
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed but you must obtain permission from store. The lot is well-lit and mostly level with manageable drainage slopes. Believed to be safe and quiet. McDonald’s, Arby’s, Firehouse Subs within walking distance; additional eating places nearby. Click here for 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
The Umbrella Cover Museum
Peaks Island, Maine
Here at RVtravel.com we like oddities, quirky roadside attractions … and staying dry. So does Nancy Hoffman, creator, curator and collector of The Umbrella Cover Museum in Maine. Hoffman has collected more than 2,000 umbrella covers from 66 countries (and counting) and says that the museum is “about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover.” Visit and allow Hoffman to be your tour guide while she sings “Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella” and plays the accordion. Yes, we expect the museum to be as weird as we’ve made it seem. Visit the official website here to plan your visit.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• Georgia RV & Camper Show, Sept. 13-15, Atlanta,GA
If you have a morbid fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth, you have arachibutyrophobia.
Bumper sticker of the week
Please don’t litter; have your pet neutered today!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Ready for more Church Ladies With Computers?… They’re Back!
From Tom Hart
These sentences (with bloopers) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:
• Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
• Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
• This evening at 7 p.m. there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at [email protected]
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.