Saturday, December 4, 2021


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 924

Welcome to, the newsletter that cares more about readers than about brown-nosing advertisers for their money. Please tell your friends about us!

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! If you will shop at Amazon this holiday season, please visit through our affiliate site (we get a little commission that way – and you don’t pay any extra).

Week of November 30 – December 6, 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)
Written at 9 p.m., Thanksgiving Day

Gail and I left Seattle in our RV on Wednesday with all the food we needed to prepare our Thanksgiving dinner the following day. Our plan was to drive to the northern Oregon coast, about 220 miles. Alas, we came up short. We ended up staying at the KOA near Mount St. Helens.

It took us more than three hours just to travel the 75 miles from our home north of Seattle to Olympia, even though it was the middle of the day when it should have taken about half that time. It was the day before Thanksgiving, after all, and I-5 was a parking lot. It was nearly dark when we passed through Olympia, so we decided to pause for a couple of days at the KOA, about 80 miles ahead at Mount St. Helens. We’d have our Thanksgiving dinner there and then get organized for two to three months on the road.

The owners of the KOA, Brian and Ingrid Orndoff, were putting on a Thanksgiving dinner, all guests invited, so we opted to join the crowd. Most park residents live at the park through the winter. Only a handful, like Gail and me, were just passing through.

So at 5 p.m., Thanksgiving Day, we headed for the park’s social hall. There was enough food to feed each guest three times over. I sat next to owner Ingrid, a blazing redhead and former hair stylist from Tucson, who purchased the KOA five years ago with Brian. We talked about the RV park business. She delighted in declaring her love of everything about it. She beamed.

Always-inquisitive me had purposely left his reporter’s hat in the RV, so I just enjoyed the small talk, the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, etc., capped off by apple and pumpkin pie. Gail had bet me $5 ahead of time that among the menu items would be a green bean casserole. Sure, enough, she was right. Did you know (I just learned this) that 40 percent of Campbell’s annual cream of mushroom soup sales are at Thanksgiving?

And so a couple dozen strangers filled their tummies, shared stories and laughed with not a word about politics. I’m sure we were composed of left wingers, right wingers, middle wingers — whatever. There was no shouting, no screaming, no name calling — just people enjoying each other’s company. It was a refreshing departure from “socializing” on the angry Internet.

The evening was cold, 29 degrees, when Gail and I returned to our warm and cozy motorhome. Little Archie, our recently rescued terrier traveling companion, greeted us like we’d been gone two days. It’s wonderful to be adored!

It feels very good to be traveling with the motorhome. Except for a couple of short camping trips over the summer, I had stayed home for more than a year. I was worn out after two years of full-timing, and for a while I didn’t care if I ever left home again. For those of you who don’t know me, I have owned an RV for nearly 40 years, and have probably spent the equivalent of 8 to 10 full years on the road over all that time. So it’s not like an RV trip is new to me.

Then about two months ago I felt the pangs of wanderlust. Gail was feeling the same. So here we are. My belly is full now as I write in my warm little abode.

All is good on this Thanksgiving Day, 2019.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your friends, family, or perhaps simply the love of your life, cozy in your home on wheels.


P.S. This newsletter is a little briefer than normal. Our staff ate too much turkey and was more interested in taking naps than working.

My Roadside Journal

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

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

The latest news from the Wonderful World of RVing
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …

Keep informed
Current Wildfire Report.
National Hurricane Center.

Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
Avoid “distractions” when parking in the campground.
Some disadvantages of buying a used RV.
Full-time RVers, beware of this insurance issue.
Shopping for an RV loan? Read this first.
Water pressure regulator tips.

Avoid drowsy driving: It’s a killer

Driving while drowsy is a formula for disaster. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year 100,000 crashes are reported to police nationally in which drowsy driving or driver fatigue is a contributing factor. NHTSA estimates those crashes result in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. Read more, including the best tips to be safe in case you’re drowsy while driving.

Maintain your roof vents – even in winter

While it may not seem such a critical item in winter, keeping your roof vents clean and fully operational is an RVer’s “good thing.” In winter, particularly in damp climates, keeping the roof vent cracked just a tad will help ventilate moisture which comes from cooking and breathing. The results are a better living environment and less weeping on the walls. Learn more.

At Wally World, some RVers are slobs

Russ and Tiña De Maris are annoyed by RVers who overnight in Walmart parking lots but don’t treat the place with respect. “Witness a large bag of garbage, presumably left behind by someone who couldn’t muster up the decency to drop their stuff off in an appropriate trash container,” they write. Read more.

Reader Poll

Which of these social media platforms do you participate in at least weekly?

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.

Read the final results of last week’s poll where we asked Do you believe we’re the only intelligent life in the Universe? Turns out many of you think we’ve got some neighbors out there somewhere.

This photo was posted on the Facebook Group RV Crashes and Disasters. We’re not sure what happened, but one thing is for sure … it’s not pretty!

How to avoid damaging slideouts when leveling an RV

So what’s the correct way to level your rig without damaging the slides — before or after they are extended? The safest (and most warranty-wise) answer: Do what your rig’s manual tells you. But here are some more tips.

Truck camper owners: Check out your rims!

Have you “beefed up” your tires to handle the increased load of your truck camper? When you did, did you also check the weight rating of your wheels? Here’s why it is imperative that you do.

New RVers ask: Should I carry water in my tank while traveling?

This is a question that comes up a lot among new RVers. The “right” answer (and there isn’t really a “right” or “wrong” one here) depends on your RV lifestyle. Read more.

Popular articles from last week

Are RV manufacturers finally “wising up”? New project hints “maybe”.
How to fix a sticking black tank valve.
Weird, wacky RVs of the week.
Glimmer of hope over RV technician shortage.
How can you live normally in California anymore? (Tons of comments!)
If you own one of these trailers, do not tow it!
Train slams stalled motorhome on track. See the impact.
Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, November 23, 2019.
10 Essential RV cleaning products.
RV Shrink: Shopping for an RV? Forget the “free” hot dog.
Uncle Sam wants to know where you live. Do you know?
Building an RV park from scratch: When it rains, it snows!
What we learned about you last week (November 16-22).


Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror StoriesRV AdviceRV ElectricityRV Parks with Storm SheltersRV Buying AdviceNorthwest RV CampingSouthwest 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.

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

Wife concerned about husband’s “fanatical” DIY attempts

Dear RV Shrink:
Our 12-year-old backup camera has failed on our motorhome. My husband has spent hours reading RV forums related to repairing or replacing our system. I sometimes think he wants to become a backup camera specialist. I say, “Buy a new system and be done with it.” He says, “It is not that easy because the newer units do not have the connectors that our unit does.” I am so tired of hearing about it. …

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

Ask the RV Doctor

OK to use hydraulic levelers when RV is stored?

Dear Gary,
I’m fairly new to RVing and I bought a 31-foot Class A motorhome that has the HWH hydraulic leveling system. I live in Upstate, NY, and the winters are pretty fierce here. I store my motorhome in a 35-foot carport (RV port) and would like to know if when storing my rig in the winter, should I have the jacks down to take the weight off the tires or is this not good for the leveling system? It’s just not possible to move the rig in the winter to change the tire position. —Michael

Read Gary’s response.

RV Electricity

GFCI Clarification

Mike’s column last week about how GFCI circuits operate caused some confusion for several readers, so he clarifies it a bit this week – but he warns that it’s complicated. Learn more.

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

Blown fuse indicator. Mike loves this “cool gadget,” which tells you which 12-volt DC fuse is blown. (Fascinating how it works!)

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

RV Tire Safety

Weighing an RV – 4-corner or CAT scale?

Roger Marble discusses weighing an RV by the 4-corner method versus on a CAT scale, and why it’s important to get fairly accurate side-to-side weights. He recommends the best inflation for your tires to maximize their life and safety. Learn more.

Tax Corner

Keeping track of income and expenses for a business

Dear Neil,
As a new full-timer I’ve begun operating a small business from my RV while we travel. How can I keep track of my income and expenses so I don’t just have a shoebox full of receipts to give my tax professional at income tax time?

Read Neil’s response.

RV Fire Safety

Galley fire safety

In a compact RV galley, all combustibles – from paper towels to curtains – are apt to be closer to the stove, so use even more caution in your coach than you do at home. A box of baking soda – the ingredient in powder extinguishers – can be used in lieu of a fire extinguisher for minor galley flare-ups.

Thanks to @nytransitmuseum for the photo!

Museum of the Week

New York Transit Museum

Brooklyn, New York

You probably won’t drive your RV to Brooklyn any time soon, but if you somehow find yourself there check out the amazing New York Transit Museum. The entrance looks like a typical subway station, but instead of walking downstairs to the train you’ll enter a 60,000-square-foot museum under the city above. There you’ll find a collection of transit history artifacts such as old maps, maintenance tools, subway tokens, turnstiles, etc., and 25 historic subway cars. Walk through them for a pretend ride back in time. Start planning your trip here.


According to the National Growers Association, Americans purchase 18.9 million pre-made pies for Thanksgiving. The American Poultry Association reports we eat on average about 46 million turkeys.

Bumper sticker of the week

You’re not stuck in traffic. You ARE traffic.

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

Joke of the Week

A wife, being the romantic sort, sent her husband a text: “If you’re sleeping, send me your dreams. If you are laughing, send me your smile. If you are eating, send me a bite. If you are drinking send me a sip. If you are crying, send me your tears. I love you!” The husband, typically non-romantic, replied: “I am on the toilet. Please advise.” —Many thanks to Mark Schaffler for sending this in.

Worth Pondering

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. —Elie Wiesel

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.

Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
• Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Tom and Lois Speirs • Alan Warren • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later.

Are you interested in our affiliate program? Learn more.

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.

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. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to 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.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2019 by


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2 years ago

Joke of the week. A real hoot. Your best one yet.

2 years ago

Glad you landed safely at the Castle Rock KOA! Sounds like a good time was had by all! We stopped with Brian and Ingrid last September and had a great visit to Mt St Helens and enjoyed the Visitors Center. Incredible artifacts of those fateful days there.
Ingrid was very gracious to my family during their maiden voyage with a new tow behind. They enjoyed getting to know her and Brian very much. Very nice folks.
By the way, if you’re ever passing through again, excellent Mexican restaurant just down the hill towards Castle Rock. Super nice people there as well.
We left home in Brookings and headed to Lone Pine and Death Valley last month. Beautiful trip down Hwy 395, as you know. Now we’re enjoying San Diego for a little while. Even if it is raining! Then off to…???!!!
Enjoy your adventures ahead.
Have a great trip, be safe, and we hope you three have a blast and get a well deserved recharge!

Steven Ward
2 years ago


I live on Whidbey Island and never go down WA 5 anymore, I have to take a ferry anyway so I drive up to Coupeville and take the ferry to Port Townsend and go down the Olympic peninsula. Even though it is 2 lane for some of the way it is much faster.

2 years ago

More than three hours to go 75 miles in “normal” freeway conditions. Heavens forbid it should happen, but in the case of a regional event, the plan of choice may be to shelter in the RV at home, rather than shelter in the RV trapped in freeway gridlock. The harsh fact, thanks to our unique geography here on the “shelf” between mountains and sea, is that there’s no good way out of here! So, plan ahead? Full fuel tanks at all times; water, propane, charged batteries, food, clothing, essential supplies… all stocked and ready for an extended stay at home. It’s a pretty good bet nothing will be moving out there.

Ray Zimmermann
2 years ago

Have a great trip, Chuck and Gail. Are you coming to Quartzsite this year?

Bob Reddington
2 years ago

Chuck I sympathize with your drive through Seattle. We live outside Vancouver, BC and regularly drive south in our small motorhome. I always come home whining about the drive which used to be gridlock from Everett to Tacoma and now extends to Olympia. We try different times of day but it doesn’t help much. The best has been midday Saturday. We met a couple in Astoria, OR who live south of Seattle and they told us that as much as they love the NW corner of Washington and southern BC they won’t travel through Seattle in their RV any more. We had thought locals must have ways of avoiding I-5 but apparently not. On our last trip coming home on I-5 we went up past Bremerton, etc., stayed overnight in Port Townsend and took the ferry to Whidbey Island. More time but relaxing. We keep thinking we’ll have to drive at night and stop in a rest area. There seems to be no easy solution.

2 years ago

Having a trailer repair shop I’d advise all trailer owners have a welder look at how well the running gear is attached to the frame. Some have been very poorly done. Our rough pot hole highways take there toll.
On Our Cedar Creek I added three crossmembers on the three hangers off the frames. Greatly adding side to side stability.
When I install new axels on a trailer and the customer wants some added height I attach the suspension and axels to a four sided steel tube frame and then attach that to the trailer frame.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne

I’ve always considered “running gear” the engine, trans, driveshaft and rear differential. I suspect you are referring to the suspension

Joe Allen
2 years ago

Always good to enjoy civility among our peers! Good to see you on the road again! We celebrated Thanksgiving in our coach, in warm Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Alas, we are heading out next week for cooler climates and then west young man, heading west!

Captn John
2 years ago

Glad to see you are on the road again. Doctors, dentist, and cataract surgery has us home until December 31 when we leave for 3 months. Then home to regroup and go again.

Dr. Willie Live
2 years ago

I Stay away from the social media to toxic on most of them. Happy Trails.

Gary Broughton
2 years ago

The wrecked 5th wheel with axels removed.
Several years ago saw a trailer like this and was caused by the truck spare tire cable rusting through and dropping the tire, which tore off the front trailer axel and one spring hanger on the other axel.