Thursday, December 9, 2021


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 921

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 9–15, 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)


wrote what’s below in this newsletter on November 17, 2002 — 17 years ago. What a reminder this is of how things have changed in how we communicate on the road. I wrote:

“I’m back from a short trip to the Oregon Coast. I spent most of my time at Fort Stevens State Park, which is just south of Astoria, about four miles from where explorers Lewis and Clark holed up one soggy winter at their makeshift Fort Clatsop. A roomy campsite at the park with a water and electric hookup (20 or 30 amp) is $17.

“For the first time ever, I brought along a cell phone that I could hook up to my Mac Powerbook to access the Internet. What an incredible feeling to be inside my motorhome, surfing the Net and slinging email. I opted for Verizon’s Wireless America’s Choice Plan, and for a few bucks extra got the Mobile Office kit. I am only able to connect to the Internet at 14.4k, which is nightmarishly slow. But “slow” is a lot better than no access at all. The service costs about $40 a month, which provides five hours of prime time talk or data access and unlimited nighttime and weekend use.

“Even though at such a slow speed it’s hard to do much on the Web, this is a very nifty setup at a very affordable price. Granted, there are many coverage “black holes” in the West, but overall, I am thrilled to be able to have the ability to connect to the Internet pretty much at will.”

Then, two issues later, we posted this item:

Mambosat is the latest entry into the high-speed wireless Internet access market. With its system, you can log on to the Internet from the comfort of your RV at lightning fast speeds. The only catch: The equipment and installation costs more than $6,000. [Yipes!!]

* * *
I REMEMBER that Oregon Coast trip well because it was the very first time I could get my email without leaving my motorhome. It took forever to download a simple email, but it didn’t matter; I’d just do something else while I waited.

Everything changed after that. From then on I could stay in touch with home, my office or RV Travel readers without having to search for a cyber cafe or public WiFi, neither of which were easy to find. We’ve come a long way since then, and “camping,” at least to me, was never as “pure” or uncomplicated ever again.


My Roadside Journal

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

Readers speak out

Is all about bashing Camping World?

By Chuck Woodbury
This was posted as a comment on this website by an RVer named Kevin Smith. I’d like to post it here, too, to share my thoughts with more readers.

Mr. Smith wrote:
I came across the bookmark today and thought I’d check in but darned if anything’s changed, still kicking Camping World around and trolls still flogging Lemonis due to their media illiteracy. Ugh. I unsubscribed and abandoned a few months back as what once was such a good resource for RV news had become a single-issue banner for anti-CW and made Lemonis the butt of angry right wing commenters who seem to be your main demographic now…. Read the rest of the comment and Chuck’s response.

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• New pickup truck features a whopping 300,000 pound towing capacity. Yes, that’s what the manufacturer claims! Can it be true?
• Lightning strikes RV’s roof. Big damage. Insurance company balks!
• Government considers allowing to make deliveries to National Park campsites. What do you think?
• Suspect in Padre Island RVers’ murder captured. Read the story; see a video of him entering jail.

ALSO: Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV Shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and Bargain Camping locations • Reader survey • and much more

PLUS: Breaking news from today

Keep informed
Current Wildfire Report.
National Hurricane Center.

Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
Another caulking cartridge preservation trick.
Switch off breakers when plugging in your RV?
Warning about LP appliances in slideout.
Full-timing insurance shopping? It pays to be frank.
Easier backing in – day or night.

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.

Honoring and celebrating veterans

Here’s everything you can get for free this Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service! If you’re a veteran or an active military member, there are tons of things you can get for free this Veterans Day, November 11. It’s a day to celebrate you, after all! Learn more.

5 Mistaken assumptions the new full-time RVer makes

We’ll bet if you’re a full-time RVer you can relate to these assumptions that reader Nanci Dixon made. She says, “Being almost four years into full-time RVing, I can see clearly (or at least more clearly than I previously could) the mistaken assumptions I made when starting out.” Read more and compare your experiences.

Don’t be a sucker: Internet safety for RVers

Kim Christiansen, our “IT wrangler,” explains how not to be a sucker when using the internet, i.e., how to use the internet safely and securely at home or on the road, especially if you’re a full-time RVer. Read, and heed, this important information.

Reader Poll

Are RVers friendlier than the general public?

Please let us know what you think. 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

Snowbirds: Will you stay in one place this winter or move around? Are you planning on spending Thanksgiving in your RV or somewhere else? At night, do you prefer to sleep in a dark room or one with some light? Do you smoke, or have you ever smoked? Did you watch the World Series (plus a neat video from a baseball game in 1908!)? What were the best years of your life? If you had to choose between black or red licorice, which would you pick? All this and more, right here.

New RV design: moveable interior walls?

A ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has shed some interesting light on the future of towable trailers, at least in the mind of Thor Industries. The court ruling tosses a decision to reject a patent filed by Heartland RV (a Thor subsidiary) back at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board for reconsideration. Some background will help.

What you should know about lug nuts

Here’s an area of RV tech that few of us give much thought to — until we have a flat tire on the road. These characters play a critical role in RV safety, yet often get little more than lip service. Here’s some thoughts and tips on dealing with lug nuts. Read more.

Company enters the custom RV mattress business

U.S. mattress manufacturer and retailer Brooklyn Bedding recently launched a new category with custom-crafted mattresses specifically for RVs, travel trailers, fifth wheels and other recreational vehicles. Learn more.

National Park Service announces free admission days for 2020

The National Park Service will have five entrance-fee-free days in 2020. On each of these significant days of celebration or commemoration, all national parks will waive entrance fees. So mark your calendars now to enjoy your visits for free. Dates and more information here.

This is absolutely the cutest accessory for every RVing dog and cat

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any cuter, we stumbled across this ADORABLE trailer-shaped pet carrier online and just had to share it with you. Check this out!

Camping World’s third quarter 2019 results announced

Camping World Holdings, Inc., on November 7, reported results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019. Read the full report here.

No contest this week

We’re taking a break for the next few weeks

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Julie Winkelman of Durango, Colorado, who won an electric car blanket.

Popular articles from last week

Missing RVers found dead, ruled homicide.
• “Does the propane tank have to be empty before refilling?” (Editorial on why we publish
RV and RV-related recalls for October 2019.
How do full-time RVers keep busy?
Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, November 1, 2019.
Avoid hidden fees by knowing a park’s reservation system.
California wildfires are a warning to all of us.
RV Doctor: How to winterize an RV using a “Schrader valve.
What we learned about you last week (October 26 – November 1).
RV Shrink: Taking a gamble on free RV parking.


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.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

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.

Ask the RV Shrink

Are smartphones a smart investment for RVers?

Dear RV Shrink:
My husband wants to keep us in the Dark Ages when it comes to phones. All we have are flip phones as the rest of the world is run on smartphones. I looked at buying a phone at Walmart and signing up for their Straight Talk plan. My husband said it probably won’t get a connection in half the places we travel. He’s an “expert” even though he has a hard enough time using his flip phone. He doesn’t even know what his own phone number is. …

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

Ask the RV Doctor

How to winterize an ice maker

Dear Gary,
How do I winterize my ice maker? I have a Norcold refrigerator in a Fleetwood motorhome. —Larry R.

Read Gary’s response.

(FYI: We ran this a year ago but some readers have been asking about winterizing an ice maker so we’re running it again. We’ve left in some helpful comments from readers from last year.)

RV Electricity

How infrared temp guns work

Infrared temperature guns are ideal for finding overheated shore power plugs, dragging brakes, hot wheel bearings, etc. Here Mike explains how they work, and what they can and cannot do. And what’s this about the hot springs at Yellowstone? Learn more.

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

50-amp test plug. A reader asks where to purchase a test plug with 50 amp to a Y with 15-amp outlets on each side so he can test that L1 goes to one side of the Y and L2 goes to the other side.

Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.

RV Tire Safety

Should ST tires be outlawed?

A post on an RV forum caught Roger Marble’s attention:
“In 2014, when I bought my RV trailer, I immediately went to Discount Tire for 6 Michelin XPS Rib truck tires. I don’t baby them, I barely pay any attention to them, they’ve never been at 80 psi, and they have been wearing fine for 5 years. Been all over the U.S. with no issues. Yet I see new trailers coming into the dealership where I work with blown tires just coming from Indiana. Chinese bombs need to be outlawed.” Read Roger’s response.

Building an RV Park

We learned at the RV park industry conference!

After acquiring a tremendous amount of information on running a successful campground while at the ARVC Conference this week, Machelle and AJ are revising their campground plans – so they are grateful they didn’t have time to get them submitted to Planning & Zoning before they left on their trip. Machelle relates some of her favorites of what they learned, which has her “hair on fire.” (I guess that’s a good thing, right?) Read more.

The RV Kitchen

Risi e Bisi

A main dish to make meaty, vegetarian or vegan. Shortcuts such as instant rice and broth in a carton make this colorful Italian classic a snap for RV travel. One advantage to instant rice in a small RV with only one to three burners is that it cooks off the burner, freeing up the stove for cooking other courses. This is delicious comfort food any way you make it. Get the recipe.

The Digital RVer

Let friends know when you’ll get there – using Google Maps

There were several times during their RV travels this year when Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, made arrangements to meet up with friends. When plans changed for one reason or another, such as heavy traffic, they’d have to keep updating their friends by text or phone. But if Chris and Jim shared their location via Google Maps, their friends could see exactly where they were and knew exactly when to expect them. Here’s how easy it is.

The world’s largest …

Visit the world’s largest prairie chicken

You never know when you’re traveling from town to town when you’ll run into something really big! For example, what if you were to turn a corner and come upon a big ol’ prairie chicken? We’re talking the world’s largest prairie chicken! If you did, you’d be in Rothsay, Minnesota. Read more.


Although Charles Schulz loved drawing Charlie Brown and his pals, he hated the name Peanuts, which was chosen by United Features Syndicate despite his objections.

Bumper sticker of the week

I’m planning to be spontaneous.

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

Joke of the Week

I just got over my addiction to chocolate, marshmallows and nuts. I won’t lie … it was a Rocky Road.

Worth Pondering

We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. —Will Rogers (Nov. 4, 1879 – Aug. 15, 1935)

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


Are you interested in our affiliate program? Learn more.

Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris. 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.

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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2 years ago

Politics? Hmmm? Remember back in the day when it was impolite to even ask a persons political party affiliation? Then the news media came along and bombarded the polling places with “how did you vote?” Suddenly it seems confidentiality does not matter. This “RV” newsletter is no place for political discourse – you are what you are – for the reasons important to you, and we don’t need any additional labels to be attached either!

Ron Swartz
2 years ago

My wife and I worked as freelancers for Sue Bray and the Good Sam Club for several years. The Great North American RV Rally then The Good Sam Rallies were events that were well organized and fun to attend. It was a great time to meet people, see new RVs and buy “stuff”. RV manufacturers were represented by local RV dealers. Then “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis came along.

Camping World’s representation expanded and the “local” dealers were squeezed out. Marcus was like a bull in a china shop. He abused the volunteers and started the move to turn Good Sam into just the company that “stuffed’ your mailbox every month. As we all have found out, Marcus is an opportunist. His interest is in making money, not in the people who camp or RV. He does not own or has ever owned an RV.

Local Good Sam chapters are hanging in and there are lot of good people keeping them alive. Perhaps there will be a renaissance in the national organization some day.

RV Travel continues to be our go too place for the latest RV information. Keep up the good work.

Michael R Hale
2 years ago

Your “Crazy excuses for accidents” has the same link as “Have you buried a pet”.

Joe Allen
2 years ago

After having read the letter from Mr. Smith, I feel I must chime in here as a veteran, a conservative and yes, a republican. I’m surprised he didn’t just come out and claimed we were all racists as well. Seems that is the theme lately. If I disagree with you and can’t have an honest debate, we are labeled racists!
I am an avid reader and have enjoyed RVTravel for many years. I have used CW many times for parts, etc. and glad they are around when an RV’er needs a product in an emergency. However, that has never been the problem! The problem is there are large companies out there dominating the RV market, waving what sounds like a great buy to unsuspecting customers and ending up so upside down, they can’t give the RV away. Is CW the only ones doing this? No, there are plenty of others out there mixed with wonderful dealers going the extra mile for their customers. Unfortunately, the big boys are dominating the market and the small Mom & Pop dealers are slowing being gobbled up.
I, for one, am glad to hear a strong voice coming out of RVTravel, warning potential RV buyers out there on the ins and outs of what to expect and beware in a RV purchase! Just my honest opinion,! “FLAME SUIT ON!”