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Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 19th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
Week of October 5–11, 2019
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
We asked our members last week if they thought it was a good idea to move the news section of this newsletter (see today’s offering) into a separate newsletter on Sundays. More than 90 percent of them were either enthusiastic or at least okay with the idea. So that’s what we will do beginning next week.
We’ll dig a little deeper than we have before to bring you even more valuable news “hot off the press.” We’ll move several features of this Saturday edition, too — weekly RV recall notices, free campground listings, the week’s gas prices and notices of upcoming RV shows.
As I said last week, because more of you are reading this newsletter on a smartphone than on a computer, it’s become too long for those readers to easily navigate. We work hard to bring you a lot of valuable advice and information, but when there’s too much of it, a lot does not get read, which frustrates us.
We will also move some of our regular features into our Monday–Friday RV Daily Tips Newsletter, which has grown fast. We’ll post RV recall notices there the day after they are issued.
So beginning a week from tomorrow, on Oct. 13, watch for the Sunday News edition of this newsletter. If you do not want to receive it, simply click unsubscribe when you receive your email: You will still receive this Saturday edition.
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The RV industry held its big “Open House” love fest last week in Elkhart, Indiana. The booze was flowing and RV manufacturers tried to outdo each other with entertainment to attract RV dealers, who were there to place orders for 2020 models. The ’80s rock group Styx performed at Forest River while Thor brought in country music star Keith Urban.
I have not heard how well sales to dealers went (I’ll tell you when I find out) but I have heard from multiple sources that there was a lot of talk about the need to improve the quality of RVs. One industry executive remarked that now that production had slowed, his company could concentrate more on quality (what does that say about what was important before the slowdown?).
I believe pressure from RVtravel.com, the RV Show USA, The RV Advisor and disgruntled RV owners is forcing the RV industry to serve us better. At RVtravel.com, we will continue to educate as many RVers as we can reach to buy “smarter” so they do not get stuck with a defective rig. And we’ll continue to lend our voice to efforts to promote meaty lemon laws for RVers who get stuck with rigs that are so defective they cannot be operated safely.
Now that we have added the Sunday edition of this newsletter and a Friday edition of RV Daily Tips, we are publishing almost 400 newsletters a year, all about RVing. If you pledge $15 a year to become a member of RVtravel.com to help support us, that comes out to about 4 cents an issue. Are we worth 4 cents? Whatever you can contribute, it helps us do a better job.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV recalls for September
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 Airstream, Entegra, Forest River, Jayco, Keystone, Newmar and others – plus many other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.
That was the RV week that was …
This feature will move to our new Sunday edition next week.
• Ikes Fire in Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is still burning. Check before going to the North Rim.
• Gulf Stream promoter (inadvertently?) states lower production means higher quality RVs.
• Family suing campground for fallen tree limb loses due to hiring wrong type of expert witness for trial.
• Which state has the worst highway system? We’ll tell you.
• All Illinois state parks are offering fall discounts.
• California’s Mendocino National Forest has new stay limits.
and much more …
• New 12-volt RV fridge debuts.
(this feature will move to our Sunday edition next week)
• More than 52,000 Sprinter vehicles recalled.
• Heartland RV recall: Bunk bed may fall without warning.
• Forest River recalls trailers for fire risk.
• Airstream recall: Inverter placement could lead to fire.
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• To eat healthy … or unhealthy.
• Your first stop when entering a new state should be…
• Rig too big to fit in a campground? Maybe not.
• Facelift for your RV: Try new carpet or flooring.
• Tilting solar panels for winter use.
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.
Twenty-two tips for choosing the best campsite
Here are some tips from editor Chuck Woodbury about choosing a campsite based on years of experience. Learn more, and please share your tips in the comments below the article.
Will California’s diesel law affect you as an RVer?
Back in 2008, California’s controversial California Air Resources Board (CARB) formulated new regulations for heavy (over 14,000 pound gross vehicle weight) diesel-fired trucks and buses. … As of a year-and-a-half ago, only about 70% of all rigs were in compliance. [E]ffective January 1, if a rig isn’t in compliance with the law, then its owner will no longer be able to get a vehicle registration. Will this affect California RVers with 14,000-pound GVW motorhomes or bus conversions? Learn more.
Problem: “Poop mountain” forms in black tank
What causes a “pyramid” at the pipe base in the black tank and how can it be avoided? [No pun intended.] These reader questions were answered by RV technician Chris Dougherty when he served as the technical editor of RVtravel.com. Learn more.
Another unsanitary RV park utility hookup
A reader named Irv sent a photo of the water and sewer hookups at the campground attached to the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley, West Virginia. “This is a worse example than your article on water/sewer hookups,” he said. Check it out here.
How far did you travel to buy 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
Have you ever had anything stolen from your campsite? Do you plan a special drive to see fall colors? How often do you watch the evening news? Do you donate to a food bank? How often do you wash your bedding? Have you ever taken a class in CPR? All this and more, right here. (From the editor who is not Emily’s dad: Be sure to check out Emily’s spectacular award-worthy photo!)
Video: Bull elk bounces Colorado visitor
When the elk rut is on, it pays to stay out of the way. That’s the lesson from Estes Park, Colorado, after tourists apparently upset a bull elk by taking a photo of one with the camera flash turned on. Read more and watch the video.
Top RV dealers named by industry publication
The 2019 roster of RVBusiness Top 50 Dealer Award recipients has been released by RVBusiness, the Elkhart, Ind.–based trade journal that has partnered for nine years with BJ Thompson Associates to promote the industry-wide program. Is your dealer listed? Find out here.
Mushroom “farm” in RV, but not intentional
RV Travel reader Marty Chambers sent along a photo, explaining, “My son was working on an air conditioner in an old Class A motorhome. He happened to notice the mushrooms growing out of the floor. He asked the owner about the water leak, and he said it was one of a few.” Yikes! Read more.
Facelift your RV with new carpet or flooring
(In case you missed this in the recent RV Daily Tips Newsletter, here are some great tips from Russ and Tiña De Maris for updating your RV.) One of the biggest ways to make your older RV feel new is to install new floor coverings. Face it, after a fair amount of living in your RV, those “show every spot of dirt” carpets that manufacturers so thoughtfully install begin to look a bit “doggy.” Can you replace it, or will you need a professional to help? Much depends on the design of your rig. Learn more.
Video: Winter RVing Canadian style
Want to camp in the snow, maybe on a remote hunting trip with the guys, but can’t figure out how to get your cozy, warm RV to your preferred location? Do as these enterprising Canadians did. Watch the half-minute video.
Do not take your picnic table for granted
For most of us, a picnic table is simply something that comes with the campsite we choose for the night. It’s just there, and we give no more thought to it than that. But, like all things, the picnic table has a history. Did you know this?
Win this best-selling camping guide
Completely revised and updated for 2019, this is the best guide to all RV-friendly camping areas operated by the Corps of Engineers. It’s perfect for RVers because all of the hike-in, boat-in and tent-only camping areas are not included, making it very easy to locate campgrounds that can accommodate RVs. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best campgrounds available. Enter the contest.
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Denise Carter of Tyler, Texas, who won a very cool George Foreman Grill and Panini Press.
Popular articles from last week’s issue
• Would you hook up at this disgusting campsite?
• Hothead RVers are running wild among us!
• Laughing at RV industry’s silly spin on bad news.
• That was the RV week that was, September 21-27, 2019.
• RV Shrink: Dealing with a nosy campground neighbor.
• Will “rubber band barriers” save you from death or injury?
• RV Electrical Safety: 30- and 50-amp surge protectors.
• Lemon law attorney: “Don’t buy a new RV!”
• What we learned about you last week September 21-27.
• Maintain your RV furnace and keep warm!
• Campground Chatter Janet Groene Sept. 21-27 2019.
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.
Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.
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
(this feature will move to our Sunday edition next week)
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel as of September 30, 2019:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.64. [Calif.: $3.95]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 22 cents.
Diesel: $3.07. [Calif.: $3.98]
Change from week before: Down 1 cent; Change from year before: Down 25 cents.
Ask the RV Shrink
Husband’s forgetfulness causing navigation issues
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband likes to be in charge of navigation. He controls the GPS, reads the maps, plots our course, and likes to drive the Blue Highways of North America. The problem I have is his disorganization. He never remembers to set everything up and have all his route information figured out before we shove off. We get a few miles up the road when he starts asking me for directions. He forgets to set up the GPS, loses his map and takes it all out on me. … —Lost in Lone Pine
The Business of Work Camping
The five things we did wrong – Part 2
Sam and Suzi Suva have been work camping in many situations for a very long time. This two-part series is about when deceptive or simply opportunistic people (campground owners/managers) try to take advantage of errors made by inexperienced work campers. Sam hopes that relating the mistakes he and his wife made while work camping will help you in your work camping life. You may possibly learn from their mistakes here.
Ask the RV Doctor
Preparing the RV for winter storage
For many RVers who live in northern regions where freeze warnings, wind chill and snow will soon become a common topic on the local weather forecasts, late October and early November typically signal the end of the RV travel season. That means it’ll very soon be time to prepare the RV for possible harsh winter weather. Here are steps you should take to winterize your coach and protect all of its vital systems so the vehicle is ready to roll once the trees start budding out again. Learn more. (Tons of info! Great for beginners or veteran RVers [so you don’t forget something]. And yes, we’ve run this before but it’s excellent information for this time of year.)
Inverter generator battery charging
I have a Predator inverter generator, and have done any battery charging to date via the 110V outputs and a good wall charger (yeah, a little inefficient but easy). The genny also has a 9A “battery charging” plug, which I plugged into for the first time last week just as a DC source – and found it puts out 19V?!? Despite the included cable’s battery clips tempting direct connection, that’s not a good voltage for charging batteries.…
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Sign up for Mike’s popular RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
RV Tire Safety: Is it OK to regroove a “regroovable” tire?
Question: My Goodyear tires say they are regroovable. Do you approve of this and who does it? I am located in Indiana. Thanks in advance. —RVForum writer
Read Roger’s groovy response. (Editor: Includes an interesting short video.)
RV Short Stop
Rustic, whimsical destination brewhouse
If you are venturing through western Pennsylvania on an autumn camping trip, try to work in an RV Short Stop at the North Country Brewing Company in Slippery Rock, Pa. This is not an adults-only brew pub. Housed in an historic building, this rustic English-style family restaurant offers a full lunch and dinner menu of locally sourced ingredients. Everything is made fresh. On tap are usually a dozen handcrafted brews for the elders. And, the kids will love all the whimsical wood carvings and tons of old photographs. Read more.
RV Fire Safety
Develop a plan of action before a fire occurs. Review with everyone the “Stop, Drop and Roll” rule so they know what to do when clothing is on fire.
The world’s largest…
Sleep inside the world’s largest beagle! Forget the cat and the RV for a couple of nights, and sleep inside the belly of a 30-foot-tall beagle. Click here to read about this adorable roadside attraction in Cottonwood, Idaho.
Free and bargain camping
(this feature will move to our Sunday edition next week)
Remington Nature Center, St. Joseph, MO
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed. Permission is not required, but please obtain it anyway. Park in the north end of the huge, paved lot. If you want to extend a slideout, park parallel to a curb and extend it over the grassy area. Parts of lot are well-lit, others are dark. The lot is quiet and appears safe. Casino with restaurants directly north of Center. Click here for details.
Beall’s Outlet Strip Mall, Tallahassee, FL
FREE! Overnight parking is allowed and permission is not required. Park away from stores, without obstructing traffic lanes. Level, well-lit, and believed to be safe. RVer says lot is noisy until late at night. Three restaurants 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
Titanic: World’s Largest Museum Attraction
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Go back in time and take a ride on the Titanic (and survive!). The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN, walks you through an exact replica of the famous ship. You’ll become a “passenger,” immersed in an interactive experience while walking through the ship’s halls, parlors, cabins and a $1 million dollar exact replica of the Grand Staircase while viewing hundreds of artifacts. You can walk alongside a real iceberg, stick your hand in rushing 28-degree water, and see if you can stand straight on the ship’s tilting, sinking deck. The museum offers lots more, too, which you can read about on their website here.
Upcoming RV Shows
(this feature will move to our Sunday edition next week)
Fall Detroit RV & Camping Show, Oct. 2-6, Novi, MI
Tacoma Fall RV Show, Oct. 3-6, Tacoma, WA
California RV Show, Oct. 4-13, Fontana, CA
Jacksonville Fall RV Show, Oct. 10-13, Green Cove Springs, FL
RV Liquidation Super Sale, Oct. 11-13, Pittsburgh, PA
Midwest RV Super Show, Oct. 17-20, Elkhart, IN
Toronto Fall RV Show, Oct. 18-20,Toronto, ON
Studies on dolphin behavior show that they have “names,” a unique whistle, for one another. If they hear their own (recorded) call played, they respond.
Bumper sticker of the week
Never do anything you wouldn’t want to explain to the paramedics.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
One day the first-grade teacher was reading the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part where Chicken Little warns the farmer. She read, “… and Chicken Little went up to the farmer and said, ‘The sky is falling!'” The teacher then asked the class, “And what do you think that farmer said?” One little girl raised her hand and said, “I think he said: ‘Holy Sh*t! A talking chicken!'”
This has been around for at least 10 years, but was forwarded to us by Joe and Helen Hesketh. Thanks!
It doesn’t take a very big person to carry a grudge. —Anon.
RV Travel staff
CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris, Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Mike Sokol, Bob Difley, Richard Mallery, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, 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. Contact advertising(at)RVtravel.com .
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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