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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 August 31 – September 6, 2019
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
Electrical code change could spell trouble for RVers, campgrounds
By Mike Sokol
I received a number of inquiries last week about possible changes to the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) and how it might affect campgrounds and RVs that plug into their shore power. Let me explain why I believe this could cause harm to you and other RVers.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the National Electrical Code has a 3-year update cycle, with hundreds of electricians, engineers, inspectors and manufacturers involved in improving the safety and performance of the electrical systems that power our lives. And electrical power systems are vastly safer now than when I first started playing with electricity back in the mid-1960s.
Read the rest of the article here.
Editor’s Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on his mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• My childhood hometown morphed into someplace else.
• Most RVers keep to themselves.
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.
RV recalls for August
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 Forest River, Heartland, Thor, Tiffin, Winnebago and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
Recalled on Friday:
Newmar recalls motorhomes: Header over bed could drop unexpectedly.
That was the RV week that was …
The latest news about RVing from our newsroom
• $500,000 judgment issued against Winnebago sanctioned by judge.
• Laurel, Delaware, RV dealer arrested on fraud-related charges rearrested for alleged organized crime and racketeering related to the earlier incidents.
• Owners of Meadowlark RV Park, Middletown, RI, hope to turn it into housing tracts.
• Mat-Su RV Park in Alaska destroyed by the McKinley Fire.
• Car being towed by RV caught fire near Penticton, B.C., because it was left in gear.
• Eureka, Missouri, KOA Campground employee credited for saving lives during flash flood.
and much more …
• Current Wildfire Report.
• Track Hurricane Dorian as it heads toward Florida.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• How to control mold and mildew in your coach.
• Finding more storage space in the RV.
• How to back up your rig the GOAL way.
• Tire temperature always seems to be a hot topic.
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.
Flash from the past
Those newfangled Sprinter motorhomes!
From RV Travel Newsletter, #37, December 1, 2002:
From editor Chuck Woodbury: “A news item caught my eye the other day about a Canadian company that has introduced a 21-foot Class B motorhome with a Mercedes-Benz diesel engine. Leisure Travel Vans’ 2003 Free Spirit is equipped with a turbocharged 2.7-liter, five-cylinder, 154-hp Mercedes diesel engine that is said to get 22 miles per gallon. It’s the first motorhome in North America based on the Mercedes-Benz diesel-powered Sprinter van chassis, retailing for $72,000. I spent a few weeks last year exploring New Zealand in a similar motorhome, also with a Mercedes diesel engine. It was a smooth-running, peppy little rig that did not like stopping for fuel. What a shock that was after years of driving American motorhomes with their big thirsts. This new rig may be worth investigating for anyone who doesn’t need much space, and who enjoys lots of miles between petrol stops.” UPDATE FROM TODAY: And the rest is history!
RV shipments continue their decline
The RV Industry Association’s July survey of manufacturers found that total RV shipments ended the month with 28,044 wholesale shipments, a decrease of 23.2% from the 36,525 units shipped last July. Learn more. (With video from Yahoo! Finance about what the decline could mean.)
Do you leave your porch light on?
It’s a common practice for many RVers to leave their porch lights on when away from their RV, especially if they intend to return after dark and want to see where they are going. Many might think it will also keep would-be thieves away. But Bob Difley thinks it does the opposite. Find out why.
Some Washington, Idaho Walmart stores ban overnight RV parking
Last week, in Pullman, Wash., and adjacent Moscow, Idaho, Walmart stores announced they would no longer allow overnight stays in RVs in their parking lots. “It became a nightmare with no maintenance or people to clean up,” an employee said. Read more.
Runaway trucks get new option – Catch ’em in nets
A set of freakish coincidences have sped up the thinking of Utah’s Department of Transportation regarding runaway truck ramps. In less than a year, three commercial trucks have come to grief after having blasted down U.S. Highway 89 in Garden City, Utah, and across a T-intersection. … What’s to be done when you don’t have sufficient “real estate” to put in a runaway truck ramp, loaded with sand and gravel to provide an “out” for a runaway? Utah engineers have come up with a solution. Learn more.
Do you believe the activities of humans are contributing to global warming?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
What we learned about you last week
How hard is it for you to make ends meet each month? Which spectator sport do you enjoy watching the most? Is the home where you spent most of your childhood still in your family? Pick one: Hot dog, hamburger or pizza? How long has it been since you replaced or refilled your RV’s fire extinguisher(s)? All this plus some interesting Labor Day history and more, right here.
You’ll laugh at this!
Someone sent us this which they saw on Facebook. Somebody’s got a great sense of humor. We laugh every time we see this! If you’re having a bad day this should cheer you up!
When roads were made of wood
Early in the 20th century, motorists traveling between Yuma, Arizona, and San Diego, California, needed to cross expanses of sand dunes. It was only possible after the creation of a wooden plank road. Read about the road and how long it lasted.
How a pig nearly changed U.S. history
One of the America’s most unusual wars involved only one casualty – a pig – and yet it could have changed the course of history. Today, you can visit the camps of the British and American troops, who came very close to going to battle in what likely would have a led to a vastly different America than we know today. So what happened? Find out.
Travel Ideas For You
• Cross the Idaho Panhandle on the Silver Valley’s Mullan Road.
• Fall is the best time for RVers to tour the Oregon Coast.
• Over 400 miles of shoreline define tiny Rhode Island’s motto, “The Ocean State.”
• Visit the Florida Panhandle coastline for a less-crowded snowbird destination.
Win this very cool mug!
We love giving away stuff!
Don’t you wish you could drink your morning coffee with this very impressive and cool mug. You can drink hot chocolate or tea from it, too. It’s versatile! The odds are very good you could win. So go ahead, enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Fred Burns of Hudsonville, Michigan, who won a potentially life-saving LifeStraw (every RVer or outdoor enthusiast should have one).
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Reader letter: Watch out RV Travel, you’re on a slippery slope!
• Own your own KOA. Only $2.8 million.
• Wages in “RV capital” drop dramatically, worst in USA.
• There are still heroes on the highway.
• RV shopping? Watch for the dreaded low-end CCC sticker.
• Is RVing an economic recession indicator?
• When Quartzsite had its own bank – in a motorhome!
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, August 23, 2019.
• That was the RV week that was, August 17–23, 2019.
• Why won’t RV’s AC work on generator power?
• What we learned about you last week (August 17-23).
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 please join our group on RVillage (like Facebook except just for RVers).
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.
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.
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 26, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.57. [Calif.: $3.44]
Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 25 cents.
Diesel: $2.98. [Calif.: $3.89]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 24 cents.
Don’t like guns? Alternatives for self-protection
Do you want to feel protected while camping but you shun guns? There are alternatives that will help you in the event you find yourself under assault, either by an animal, or a human being acting like an animal. Learn more.
Ask the RV Shrink
Couple “out of sync” for volunteer time commitment at NPS
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I felt we needed to change things up a bit in our travel routine so we decided to try volunteering at the National Parks. … We find openings at various parks that satisfy both our wants – the problem seems to be time commitment. My wife wouldn’t mind staying in one place for six months at a time. I, however, like to move around a lot more. I think two or three months in one place would be perfect. … —Vulnerable Volunteer in Virginia
Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
The Business of Work Camping
Theft in the campground
From Sam Suva: For the most part, the campgrounds and resorts we stayed at were safe, and almost no major incidents of theft were reported. I say “major,” although any theft is really difficult to have to endure. In our tenure, we have had fishing poles, personal items from campsites and golf carts stolen from the campgrounds where we worked. Read more.
Ask the RV Doctor
Manually overriding the RV’s slideout system
I have a 2011 Jayco trailer with a slide. The owner’s manual states that the slide can be manually operated in an emergency but doesn’t say how. Could you help me with this? —Paul G.
Pedestal power basics
I hope you all read my guest essay above so you can get a feel for just how important RV electrical hookups are for you and the industry. And since there’s been so much confusion about 120/240-volt power on groups that cover RV electricity, this is a great time to review how 20-, 30- and 50-amp pedestal hookups actually work, and how they should measure using a meter. Learn all about them here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Series/parallel battery capacity. This is a continuation of a previous JAM session where Mike discussed the possible spots to place a disconnect switch.
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 new RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
When you “upgrade” tire load range, what inflation to run?
Here’s a recent question from an RV trailer owner on a forum: “I am replacing the tires on my small (12-14 ft., depending on how you measure) travel trailer. I plan to buy Goodyear Endurance ST205/75R14, load range D, to replace the Brand X Chinese ST205/75R14, load range C. Vehicle manufacturer says to inflate to 50 psi. Sidewall on existing tires have 50 psi listed as max. The replacement Goodyear tires have max of 65 psi on the sidewall.” Read the rest of the question and Roger Marble’s answer.
Apps to help you weather a hurricane
Dorian is now a Category 3 hurricane and it looks to be headed towards Florida. If you find yourself in its path, the best safety equipment you can have is your RV. Get out of there! Here are some apps to help keep you safe.
Free and bargain camping
Marathon Centre Mall, Marathon, ON
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The store cannot give permission as they don’t own parking lot, but RVs park overnight here regularly with no reaction from the police station next door. Just park away from all stores, without obstructing any traffic lanes. Fairly level, well-lit, and believed to be quiet and safe. A&W adjacent to lot. Click here for details.
Lake Fisher City Park, Bloomfield, IA
ALMOST FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. The park surrounding the city reservoir has four back-in and two pull-thru 30/50A E/W RV spaces on gravel. No dump station. No reservations. Self-register and self-pay upon arrival and before occupying site. Max stay: 10 nights in any 30-day period. 2019 rate: $10/night. Click here for details.
•Walmarts that do not allow overnight RV stays.
•Walmart Directory: Best printed directory of Walmart locations that do and do not allow overnight stays in RVs.
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
Pottawattamie Squirrel Cage Jail Museum
Council Bluffs, Iowa
If you like history, architecture and haunted places, this museum is for you. The Pottawattamie Squirrel Cage Jail Museum in Council Bluffs, IA, is on the National Register of Historic Places … and for good reason. The jail is the only three-story revolving (also known as “squirrel cage” or “lazy Susan”) one of its kind, and one of only 18 ever built. The jail was designed so that the cells were all located on a central carousel that, by the turn of a hand crank, would rotate, allowing only one cell to be accessed at a time. It was built in 1885 and was in use until 1969. Click here to visit the official website and plan a neat, spooky visit.
Upcoming RV Shows
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 11-15, Hershey, PA
• Great American RV Show – Colorado Springs, Sept. 12-14, Colorado Springs, CO
• Portland Fall RV & Van Show, Sept. 12-15, Portland, OR
• Southwest RV Supershow, Sept. 12-15, Dallas, TX
• Maryland RV Show, Sept. 12-15, Timonium, MD
• Georgia RV & Camper Show, Sept. 13-15, Atlanta, GA
See the complete list of upcoming RV shows.
The three largest RV manufacturers now produce nearly 90 percent of all American RVs. They are: Thor (47.42%), Forest River (37.08%) and Winnebago (8.4%). That adds up to 88.9 percent, leaving about 11 percent for other companies to fight over. SOURCE: Statistical Surveys, Inc.
Bumper sticker of the week
From Bill Bateman:
Seen on the back of a two-horse trailer with french doors: “Don’t be what you see.”
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Why was the cook arrested? He was caught beating an egg.
“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” —Henry David Thoreau
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: Emily Woodbury, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Mallery, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Sam Suva, Mike Sherman, Machelle James, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. 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. Info: email@example.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.
We’re hosting at a state park that requires contact information upon registering. Pets cannot be left outside unattended and If a camp host reports a barking dog in an RV, the visitor center contacts the people to come back immediately or face a citation. All parks should have this procedure.
On a positive note in this forum we are very pleased with our 2018 Jayco Alante motor home. Our purchase experience through Camping World in Salt Lake was excellent as has been all of our minimal warranty work. We spent about 60 days on the road last year and are just finishing a 101 day, 11,000 mile Alaska trip with only one issue – a failed bedroom A/C. However, with a pre-planned stop in Minnesota we were able to get it inspected at the local Camping World, warranty approved and new unit ordered and installed with NO interruption in our trip and a total of 3 hours at the shop. I must admit I am very handy and capable of doing a lot of minor work myself. That said, I am very pleased with my Jayco coach and with our Camping World experiences.
Several great items in this issue, might have dates wrong, but facts are mostly correct. Does anyone remember National RV? They controlled a huge swath of the RV manufacturing space back in the 2005, and that is when the last time RV sales started going down. I think it was just two years later, National RV had declared Bankruptcy, WHY? Simple, they amassed their size with debt, when RV sales started going down (quality of their products also was bad), they could not sell enough to pay the bills, and also fix all the issues with all the rigs they had on the road. They are gone now, several other well known brands also went out, Monaco, Western Recreational Vehicles, Holiday Rambler, Country Coach, now just vague remembrances in the rear view mirror of RV manufacturers. Monaco, HR, were resurrected by a big conglomerate (cannot remember their name now) and they are being made, not sure what penetration into market share they now have, believe they are expensive units. WRV never came back, had they just stuck with 5th wheels and Campers, they would have survived I think, the motorhome business killed them, mediocre quality, almost no warranty support, and very expensive for the quality of build. I know I owned one and every time we took it out something broke. Worst RV I every owned, and that includes the 1958 Oasis TT (which I ended up just about rebuilding). So lets talk about today, Thor and Forest River are the two big boys, FR most likely has the depth to survive because Buffett owns company. I have not read the Financial Statement of Thor, but we looked at two brand new units in AZ last winter, and both of them had at least 15 surface defects per unit, the classic phrase was “oh we can fix that” oh sure we can fix that. Well why don’t you do it before the customer sees the defects, so they don’t get the wrong impression. If you check out IRV2.com owners forums for Thor, you will see a bunch of folks who are having issues, the warranty work, lower sales, and if they have lots of debt load, will take them into the toilet. Personally I would never own one, but that is just me. Now, RV’s are toys, toys cost money, and people usually buy toys to have fun, if it appears the economy is heading into recession, toys go on the back burner, and if layoffs start to occur across the spectrum of jobs, then the disposable money folks have will dry up, and then slower RV sales will occur. So if you are planning on buying one, I would not be in a hurry, because bargain basement sales are going to start happening, as manufacturers and dealers feel the effects of the downturn, hold cash, and try to not finance your new rig, because rates will not be very good, and you will have to have 810 credit score or better to qualify for a loan if things get as bad as I think they will. Why? S&P 500 companies, good quality companies, have financed the stock market expansion with DEBT, for instance ATT over the years has purchased lots of companies, Direct TV for one, the Time Warner Deal for two, and both are being done with debt. Lets see, if I loose my job, get laid off, the first things I cut are things I don’t need, DTV, expensive cell phones and plans, various movie streaming, all that is not necessary to survive, food, gas for car, make house payment, make car payment, those are the things I need to do. RV’s, and all the rest are not on my priority list. So the next downturn is going to be 100% worse than 08-10, and will parallel the crash of 29 some experts believe. Other factors will come into play, which will make the next one very bad, and I cannot describe it to you herein, because they won’t keep my comments. Suffice to say, batten down the hatches, the economic storm is coming, too many good reliable indicators showing up pointing to bad times ahead. Now, my qualifications on RV is: Master Certified RV Technician, with over 30 years experience working and using them.
What most irritates me about selfish, irresponsible dog owners is that they get their dogs to alleviate their own loneliness but have no qualms whatsoever about leaving their companions alone and lonely for many hours as they pursue some other distraction or entertainment, and usually to the annoyance of everyone else within earshot…
I would never leave my dogs alone in the camper. They are family and if I can’t take them with me on my travels, well, I don’t need to go. Would you leave your young kids locked up in a camper while you go out?
Bright porch lights after 11pm do not generate camaraderie in the backwoods. Please carry a flashlight and take the pets you love with you!
I have similar complaints with lights, and DOGS! Although I love them, they are a real annoyance when left in RV’s as owners go off for hours. Continued barking and yelling is extremely annoying! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!