Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 920


    Welcome to, “The RVers’ Voice of Reason.”

    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 November 2 – 8, 2019

    If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.

    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury | Chuck (at)

    At 11:07 a.m. on Tuesday we added the 100,000th reader to our subscriber database. If I do say so myself, that is a major accomplishment, considering this website and newsletter has essentially been built on a shoestring budget. We have earned those readers, I believe, by working hard and delivering quality information available nowhere else.

    It cost me less than $100 to start I remember “talking shop” then with another RV website editor, whose site cost $1 million to launch. It was far prettier and more sophisticated than my low-budget, one-person, mutt-ugly creation. Three years later, the million dollar website folded. Little ol’ just kept on plugging along, now in its 19th year.

    Not a day has passed recently that I have not asked myself, “How can we be different — and better — than other RV websites?” I can’t stand being ordinary! I knew there was a way, and I knew the answer was right in front of me — I just couldn’t see it!

    Early this year, I got my answer: We were, in fact, already different than other RV websites and blogs because we have viewed ourselves more as a magazine than a website that repeatedly dishes out predictable information. I mean, how many times can you report how to dump a black tank?

    There are some wonderful mom-and-pop blogs out there, but with rare exception they have very small audiences. We always dreamed bigger — to have more influence to better the lives of as many RVers as possible. We still have a long way to go.

    Our new Sunday edition of this newsletter, which focuses on news for RVers, has been a huge hit. While there are other RV news websites and newsletters, they are aimed at people in the RV industry, and are supported by industry advertising. You will almost never read anything on those websites that is critical of the industry. Look at what happened to Greg Gerber’s RV Daily Report: Greg spoke out about what he perceived as problems in the industry. His advertisers pulled their support, running Greg out of business — his important voice silenced.

    Our editors as well as every RV industry executive knows that at this very moment thousands of people who recently bought new RVs are without them as they sit in repair shops for weeks, even months on end. We care about this; the industry only cares because of the bad press, which, heaven forbid, hurts sales.

    PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES of those RVers: How would you like it if you spent your hard-earned money for an RV only to find it so riddled with defects you couldn’t use it? And the dealer wouldn’t take it back? And you had to continue making your monthly payments as you watched your stingy one-year warranty expire?

    Earlier this year the RV Industry Association (RVIA) posted a video bragging about how in 2018 it had defeated RV lemon law proposals in two state legislatures. After we showed that video to our readers, the RVIA deleted that part of the video. Read our Facebook group RV Horror Stories to read about the frustration these RVers feel.

    The RV industry has no love for us. We have been blackballed by many industry businesses. So be it. We are increasingly supported by our members, the 4 percent of you who pitch in to help us grow our mission. If you believe in what we’re doing, please consider lending your support.

    And, do you really think that homeless people, or nearly homeless people, will stop renting junker RVs for $50 a week from “RV ranchers” to park along city streets or for “camping” at Walmarts? Did you listen to the story in last Sunday’s edition of this newsletter about how these RVers in Seattle are dumping a million gallons of raw sewage a year into the city’s storm drains, which is then running into local rivers and Puget Sound? Recently, residents in one Colorado neighborhood watched a tow truck haul a junker motorhome into their cul-de-sac and leave it there along a curb! It was a struggle to get the city to move it.

    What impact will it have for you and me when it gets to the point that Walmart and other RV-friendly locations say, “Enough is enough,” and ban overnight stays in their parking lots? Or when local citizens get fed up with beat-up RVs parked along their streets, at times right in front of their homes? How would you like that? I wouldn’t!

    NOTE: I fully understand how a very poor person would want to choose to live in an RV, no matter how beat up, than in a cardboard box on a city street. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    RVing IS UNDERGOING a fundamental change and the industry and its media have their heads buried in the sand. At we keep observing and trying to make sense of what is going on. Few others do.

    Other consumer websites will continue to tell you how to dump your holding tanks and repair a stuck slideout. Heaven knows that information is needed. But we’ll do more. We’ll continue to look ahead, to see where RVing is going and what it means to you and me. RVing, as many of you know, can still be wonderful. But I suggest it’s not as easy to enjoy as it was even 10 years ago (which our reader surveys confirm). And it’s getting more challenging every year.

    Sorry to be so “doom and gloom,” but this is the way I see things. . .

    We welcome your essays for posting in this spot. Submit them here.


    P.S. Were you forced to evacuate your home to escape the current California wildfires? If so, did you escape with your RV? We’re sure readers of this newsletter would want to hear about your experiences. Please write to us. We welcome photos, too.

    BE SURE to join our new Free Campgrounds Facebook group. Exchange locations you find and discover other hidden gems from other members.

    WE HAVE A NEW SPONSOR, ALLSTAYS. We approached them after receiving raves about its program from many readers. You may agree that this is one of the most useful resources for RVers ever! Learn more.

    TRIVIA: The website attracted 205,463 different visitors in October, who viewed 1,051,104 pages. As of Friday, Nov. 1, was ranked by as the 9,169th most popular website in the USA out of millions.

    REMINDER: Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight.

    My Roadside Journal

    (about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)

    Readers speak out

    Troubling developments reader Jeffrey Torsrud comments on a troubling development in the campground reservation system. Read what he says.

    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    • What RVers can learn from the California wildfires.
    • Huge RV storage space in California purchased by Amazon to convert to logistics hub.
    • Camping World’s Marcus Lemonis has sold a former RV World site at an apparent net loss of nearly $3 million.
    • Many California state parks closed or restricted due to wildfires.
    • RVers visiting the KOA on South Padre Island, Texas, last Sunday got an unusual greeting – from a very large reptile!
    : Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV Shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and Bargain Camping locations. Plus a reader survey.

    If you missed last Sunday’s edition, it’s here.

    Keep informed
    Current Wildfire Report.
    National Hurricane Center.

    Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
    Dirty electrical contacts? DeoxIT!
    Make your hide-a-bed more comfy.
    The half-full, half-empty (container) question.
    Emergency repairs: Go a step beyond duct tape.
    RVing in cold weather.

    Our most popular stories in recent times
    Illinois lemon RV ruling may be a game-changer.
    National Parks may slash benefits to senior pass holders.
    Another unsanitary RV park utility hookup.
    This may be the biggest travel trailer you will ever see.

    Campground Chatter

    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.

    How do full-time RVers keep busy?

    Some folks, unfamiliar with the RV lifestyle, wonder just what fulltimers do to “keep themselves occupied.” After all, there’s no more lawn to mow, trim to be painted or any of the other things that keep the sticks ‘n bricks folks too busy to enjoy life. For fulltimers, the adventures of the road keep them plenty busy. But lest ye think it’s not enough, here’s a list of things that some RVers do to keep their mental juices flowing. Read more.

    RVing and canning: Yes, you can can!

    Do you enjoy home canning? Do you think you have to leave it behind just because you live or travel for months on end in an RV? Well, think again. As Russ and Tiña De Maris explain here, it’s not that difficult. Read their story.

    RVers show off their Halloween-decorated rigs

    We asked you to send in photos of your RVs decked out for Halloween, and you sent some good ones! Emily Woodbury has a report with lots of pics. You’ll love this!

    Reader Poll

    Snowbirds: Will you stay in one place this winter season or move around?

    Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.

    What we learned about you last week

    Do you believe an economic recession is coming within a year? What form of payment do you use most often when buying groceries? How often do you do a crossword puzzle? Do you think marijuana should be legalized in all states? How far would you drive down a good dirt road to reach a campground? Did you buy Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters? Do you sleep with earplugs? All this and more, right here.

    Airstream mints new astronaut hauler “RV”

    You may remember when men who first walked on the moon and their crewmates were brought back to earth. There was concern that some sort of “outer space bugs” might contaminate human life, so the fellows rode back from their historic flight in a special isolation unit on wheels – built by Airstream. … Now Airstream has jumped into the space race again. The latest version of the unit designed for hauling astronauts to the launch pad breaks the mold. Read more.

    How do readers pay for groceries?

    Do you remember the days at the supermarket when the customer ahead of you — or maybe even you — would pay for groceries by writing a check? Well, those days are long gone according to a survey last week by Learn more.

    “Does the propane tank have to be empty before refilling?”

    We bet you know the answer to this question. But some people don’t. And that’s what editor Chuck Woodbury discusses in this essay.

    Win this warming blanket

    We love giving away stuff!

    Winter is on the way and that means chilly times ahead. This 12-volt fleece warming blanket is perfect for car or RV passengers or when lounging around the RV without heating up the entire rig. Enter the contest.

    Congratulations to last week’s winner, Eleanor Vantassell of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, who won a Camco TastePURE RV Water Filter.

    Popular articles from last week’s issue

    Reader photos: Another ugly RV park.
    Major RV retailer put on bankruptcy danger list.
    Building an RV park from scratch: Exciting things are happening here!
    Your fifth-wheel: Leave it hitched or not?
    Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, October 25, 2019.
    RV Shrink: Campground reservation rip-off.
    16 surprising ways to use toothpaste.
    How do you force Google Maps to go the way you want?
    RV Doctor: Quick Q & A on using RV antifreeze.
    What we learned about you last week (October 19-25).


    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

    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.

    RV Clubs
    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.

    Ask the RV Shrink

    Taking a gamble on free RV parking

    Dear RV Shrink:
    My wife loves casino camping. She tries to convince me it’s free, or that many times we are given money just for signing up for a player’s card. Simple math tells me this is just not true. She loses more money gambling than we would have paid for full-hookups at a commercial park….

    Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.

    Ask the RV Doctor

    How to winterize an RV using a “Schrader valve”

    Dear Gary,
    I have been hearing about dry winterizing a motorhome using a “Schrader valve” and blowing the water out using an air compressor set on 20-PSI, plus putting some of the pink stuff in the kitchen sink, bath sink and shower drains only. Is this a good idea? If so, how do I find the Schrader valve and where do I install one? —Bobbie V.
    (Yes, we’ve run this before, but it’s repeated for those who missed it or want a reminder.)

    Read Gary’s response.

    RV Electricity

    Pedestal voltage readings

    Dear Mike,
    In a recent issue of RV Travel Newsletter, you had an article that had a diagram showing the proper voltages between the contacts for a 50-amp connection and a 30-amp connection and a 20-amp connection all in one diagram. I have been searching for this diagram but cannot find it. I would appreciate it if you or someone could tell me what issue to look in, or email me the diagram. Any help would be appreciated. —BlueFlame

    Read Mike’s response.

    RV Electricity – This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:

    Why did this plug burn up? A member of Mike’s Facebook RV Electricity group wonders why his RV’s 30-amp power connection prong was charred and semi-melted from his last trip to a campground.

    Sign up for Mike’s monthly RV Electricity Newsletter.
    • While you’re at it, be sure to join his popular Facebook group, RV Electricity.
    • Read more of Mike’s articles here.

    RV Tire Safety

    Spare tire is wrong size. What to do?

    In response to an RVer’s inquiry about carrying a spare tire (or not), Roger Marble explains why, if you have two different size tires on your RV but can only carry one spare, it should be for the rear. Learn more.

    RV Short Stop

    Still time for 2019 autumn harvest festivals

    Here are four great ideas for autumn harvest festivals scattered around the country. Enjoy parades, arts and crafts, fantastic food, music, and much more for the entire family. Dates are from now until December 8. Check them out here.

    RV Fire Safety

    Be prepared in case of fire

    Have at least two escape routes — one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children how to open hatches and emergency exits. Make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. Choose a rallying point where everyone will meet immediately after escaping, so everyone can be accounted for.

    The world’s largest …

    The world’s largest collection of the world’s smallest versions of the world’s largest things…

    (Say that five times fast.) …is in Lucas, Kansas. Read more about what artist Erika Nelson does with her miniature replicas of the world’s largest things (including some of our favorite roadside attractions). Click here to read.

    Museum (Factory) of the Week

    Pet Casket Factory Tours

    Gladstone, Michigan

    We get that this is a little morbid, but it’s Halloween week and you know we like to throw weird stuff at you. Anyway, in Gladstone, Michigan, you can find 30 different styles of pet caskets and urns. Hoegh Industries has created cozy burial contraptions for pets for 66 years, and we’re lucky enough to be able to tour their factory. It begins in their showroom, which appears like an actual pet funeral is in progress. Learn how each casket is made, and what type(s) of animals they’re built for. You’ll also learn the history of pet cemeteries, and walk through a model of one, which will leave you with the chills. If you’re brave (er, weird) enough to want to visit, start by visiting the company’s website here.


    Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. President to be born in a hospital (October 1, 1924).

    Bumper sticker of the week

    Sawdust is man glitter.

    Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)

    Joke of the Week

    They should stock ATMs better. I went to four different ones and they all said insufficient funds.

    Worth Pondering

    “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” —Ibn Battuta (1304-1368, Moroccan, considered greatest traveler of premodern times)

    Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

    Read it here | Back issues

    If you have not contributed to for some time and would like to do so again, you may do so here.

    RV Travel staff


    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 in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. Learn more here.

    This website utilizes some advertising services. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

    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 or this newsletter.

    Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

    This newsletter is copyright 2019 by

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    Congratulations Chuck and staff! It’s a milestone for sure and just the lst step to 200,000!


    I find the web site you use for “current Wildfire” is not that current! Maria fire tat started 2 days ago is not even shown!

    Dan Coffey

    We have been using Allstays for the 11 years that we have owned an rv.
    We travel from CA to ME every year and a must for planning our next
    stop. Have recommended it to
    friends that also love it.

    Ron Seidl

    Water Pump Noise
    This last year, I purchased and installed an accumulator right at the discharge of the on board water pump. Just a small one that you can find on Amazon for about $35.00. Pump is also not screwed directly into the floor, but mounted on about 2″ of stiff foam. Found that it really reduced the pumping noise and even prevents the pump from running for just small water uses. Noise is so lo that at times I have to listen hard to even hear the pump

    Ron Seidl

    Checking your “new” RV.
    Reading all the new RV horror stories, I thought I would offer come comments.
    We purchased our 23 foot travel trailer new from a dealer in 2013. After hunting around quite a bit to find all the features we wanted, we sat through the typical dealer sell tactics and finally purchased the trailer. Our dealer had a repair person go over the trailer with us before we picked it up to show us how everything works and answer any and all our questions. He even ran the AC and heater to prove operation. We knew we were taking a chance that some issue was not revealed, but made sure of the warranty to cover it.
    I wonder if those purchasing “new” RV’s get this indoctrination from the dealer before taking delivery.


    100,000 right on, great info. Thanks


    Everyone – please contribute to this invaluable resource – RVTravel. Let’s knock the socks off the percentage (now 4%) of subscribers who help this dedicated staff financially.
    One day the RV industry (manufacturers, public (Fed/State) & private campgrounds, etc.) may finally recognize, more fully, that the information provided by and influence of the people that are the RV community are there best resource. This newsletter has done more to inform RVers about RVing, but more importantly, it has also informed us about the RV industry – the good, the bad, the ugly. The latter involves huge risk.
    Everyone – consider how important this resource is and what it has contributed to you. Chuck has shown his commitment all these years. Please support his and his staffs commitment with a donation.

    Arthur Jacobson

    I have been a reader of this newsletter for many years starting in 2009 when we bought our first RV. We sold our second RV in 2016 and stopped being RVers. I continue to read Chuck’s newsletter and resumed being a paying member because I enjoy Chuck’s weekly editorials. Since we stopped RVing my interest in the industry has waned but not completely. RV Travel Newsletter has all I still need to know and much more all in one place. I will continue to read and subscribe as this is my Saturday morning routine: RVTN, NPR and a good cup of coffee.

    Dave Laton

    I’d love to see a series added about staying healthy on the road. Maybe it could have health, first aid, and prevention information.

    Steve C

    I’ve used the AllStays app since it came out. It’s the most consistently up-to-date app of this kind. You will not go wrong with it.

    Gary Broughton

    Lots of new members.
    Remember when I found your Outwest (?) newsletter. Been a lone time.