Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 925

    16

    Welcome to RVtravel.com, an RV-themed website that publishes 420 newsletters a year — all about RVing.

    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!

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    Week of December 7–13, 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) RVtravel.com

    T
    his is the way I remember RVing 25 years ago — “going where you want, when you want.” Gail and I are traveling U.S. 101 along the Oregon coast, staying in its magnificent state parks.

    I am writing to you from Fort Stevens State Park, just south of Astoria. It’s famous for the shipwreck of the Peter Iredale, a four-masted barque sailing ship that ran ashore on the beach here on Oct. 25, 1906. Now, 113 years later, all that’s visible is its rusting bow and the remains of three masts.

    It’s late Wednesday afternoon. The campground loop where we’re staying has 27 full-hookup campsites, but only four are occupied. It is so incredibly refreshing to not be packed into a space a few yards from a neighbor’s, which was the case so often when we traveled full-time in 2016 and 2017 and stayed mostly in RV parks because the popular public parks were reserved months ahead.

    The Peter Iredale, 113 years after it ran ashore.

    It was that trip that opened my eyes to the shortage of RV parks, especially pleasant, tidy ones. Many (if not most) today are no more than “trailer” parks with seasonal, even permanent residents working temporary jobs, or full-timers, many of whom live there because they can’t afford a traditional home. If you prefer to travel spontaneously, as I do — wanting to go where you want, when you want — you end up stuck in these places in the tourist season out of necessity or else in a Walmart parking lot. The good places are filled or ridiculously expensive. You can’t just “drop in.”

    We originally planned to stay here only four nights. There is so much to see along this magnificent coast that sitting in one place for days on end can feel wrong. “Gotta go. Can’t waste time. Much to see.”

    Our campsite.

    If this were summer, we would have no option to extend our stay: The site would be booked by someone else the day we departed. We’d need to move to our next reserved location.

    But that’s in prime time, not now. Gail and I decided last night to stay another three nights, to relax — to slow down. All we had to do was pay for a few more nights — no worry about vacating to make room for the next camper. We know that every state park south of here will have ample space for us — no need to make reservations. What freedom!

    There’s something magical about the Oregon coast in winter. The fog, the rain, the moody Pacific, and the crisp, cool air. When it’s raining too hard, you just settle into your warm mobile beach house with a book and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Or you put on your rain gear for a long walk on the beach.

    IN OUR CASE, the weather has been beautiful most days — sunny, in the low 50s. And it’s so peaceful. We do not have a neighbor 20 feet away, smoking, watching his big screen outdoor TV. There is nobody in sight with outdoor lights that drown out the otherwise glorious, star-studded night skies. And, blessedly, it’s so nice to not be squeezed so tightly together that our neighbor’s sewer drain is two feet from our picnic table. Yes. . . it happens!

    Yesterday, Gail and I walked at least two miles along the beach and never saw another person. It was just us, the crashing surf, the cute little snowy plover seabirds and our furry buddy, Archie, who ran free, as dogs can do here.

    Gail and Archie.

    There’s an RV park about three miles down the road where the sites are packed together, with barely enough space to extend an awning. I’ll take a wild guess and say the residents are there for months on end, maybe even year-round. That’s not my thing, but to each their own. I’m just glad I don’t need to stay there. Been there, done that.

    I’m in heaven where I am. But then I’m an introvert who yearns for quiet to recharge. I don’t pretend I’m “camping” with my 32-foot, creature-comfort-packed motorhome. I savor this solitude over being forced to stay in a commercial RV park like a human-sardine.

    chucksignature

    HEAR MY 20-MINUTE INTERVIEW on the RV Advisor podcast recorded two weeks ago.

    BLAST FROM THE PAST: Here’s a story Mother Earth News wrote about me in 1990, when I was publishing my “on-the-road newspaper” Out West.


    HOW DO YOU READ THIS NEWSLETTER?
    In case you are interested, here are the stats.
    AND SOME TRIVIA
    As of 6 p.m., Friday evening, this website had 6,583 articles and 43,377 reader comments!


    My Roadside Journal

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


    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    • An in-depth look at the new Tesla truck. Is it right for RVers?
    • Ford recalls 86,296 model F-250, F-350 and F-450 trucks
    • The 7 worst travel trailer brands
    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
    One experienced RVer’s advice on new vs. used motorhomes.
    Slideout marks on floor or carpet?
    Full-timers and health insurance.
    Google your way to RV repairs.
    Insurance advice for motorhomers with toads.


    Why you can’t ever find a space at some RV parks

    Most RV parks earn their money one camper at a time. But what happens when a stranger shows up at the park counter and says to the owner “rent me your entire park for a year and I will pay you far more than you could ever earn otherwise?” Well, that happens, and a “No vacancy” sign goes up without coming down. More.

    For New RVers: Video explains RV electrical system basics

    This five-minute video explains the basics of how an RV’s 12-volt and 120-volt systems work. It covers converters, inverters, batteries and more. This is good information for anyone, and especially if you’re a new RVer. Watch it here.

    Need an RV mattress? This MIGHT be your pick to “sleep on it”

    One of the finest things we can think of when evening falls is knowing there’s a comfortable bed just a few feet away. Ah, sleep! But sometimes RV manufacturers make it a bit difficult to get there by creating “bed spaces” in oddball sizes. Trying to find a mattress to fit can be close to impossible. Enter Brooklyn Bedding, which “custom crafts” mattresses to fit a variety of sizes, sleep needs and price points. Learn more.

    This RV can store enough water to last years!

    (Warning: That headline was written tongue-in-cheek.) Henry Schwagly sent us this photo and we got a good laugh out of it. He wrote, “Be sure to pack extra water when dry camping!” Too funny!


    Reader Poll

    How much do you pay a month to store your RV when you’re not using it?

    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.

    BigfootRANDOM SURVEY FROM THE PAST: “Do you believe that Bigfoot (Sasquatch) exists?” Of the more than 3,000 readers who responded, how many of them would you guess believe the creature does exist or probably exists? Was it 24 percent or 39 percent? Find out here in issue 1185 of our RV Daily Tips Newsletter.


    What we learned about you last week

    Which social media platforms do you participate in each week? Will you have a Christmas tree this holiday season? For couples: Does one of you drive or tow your RV the most? Will you winterize this winter? What birth order are you in your family? How long have you had to wait for help while stranded on the side of the road (because of a mechanical problem)? When replacing a headlight, do you routinely replace the other at the same time? All this and more, right here.


    What do you think?
    This might be the perfect tow vehicle for the fifth wheel owner who wants the most powerful tow vehicle on the market. Yes, it’s for real. And it’s powerful — cranking out 3,974 horsepower. It was seven years in the making with $7 million spent in actual hard costs. It’s an impressive 44-feet long. When you’re not driving it, enjoy one of its 7 movie screens. But don’t get too excited about buying it — it sold recently for $12 million!

    big truck


    Not all antifreeze is created equal

    If your rig is sitting in cold country and you haven’t already done so, it’s high time to get it winterized. Keeping your RV water lines from freezing (and breaking) is serious stuff. One question that pops up when discussing winterizing is this: Is there a difference in the types of RV antifreeze? Here are some thoughts.

    Wacky RV includes a chicken coop

    There is no end to the variety of recreational vehicles on the road. Take this one, for example. Not only is the paint job unique, but check out what’s on the roof. Yup, an honest-to-goodness chicken coop complete with hens. What’s for breakfast? Eggs, of course! Check it out!

    Are these the longest RVs in America?

    Here are two examples from the files of RVtravel.com of two very long RVs — we’re talking the tow vehicle and the RV itself. Even though these are really, really long, we think there are longer ones out there in RV Land. Maybe yours? If so, send us a pic. Learn more.


    Popular articles from last week

    At Wally World, some RVers are slobs.
    Video: Take a test ride in Tesla’s new Cybertruck.
    How to avoid damaging slideouts when leveling an RV.
    Winnebago recall: Motorhome electrical issue could lead to fire.
    New RVer asks: Should I carry water in my tank when traveling?
    RV Doctor: OK to use hydraulic levelers when RV is stored?
    RVelectricity: What cost, electricity (in a campground)?
    Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, November 30, 2019.
    RV Tire Safety: Weighing an RV – 4-corner or CAT scale?
    RVelectricity – GFCI clarification.
    RV Shrink: Wife concerned about husband’s “fanatical” DIY attempts.


    Resources

    snake
    Click on the photo to see it better. Yes, that’s a snake that wrapped itself around the rail next to an RVs front door. How would you like a surprise like that? We found this photo on the Texas RV Camping Facebook group.

    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


    Ask the RV Shrink

    If the RV’s broke, switch it

    Dear RV Shrink:
    Recently we had a problem on the road with our water overflowing when we were hooked up to water. It would not stop flowing out the manual fill port on our rig. My husband said, “It’s time to sell.” He thinks fixing a problem on our RV requires buying a new one. He is never happy. We had a Class C and he wanted a 5th wheel. Now we have a 5th wheel and he wants a Class A. …

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


    Ask the RV Doctor

    RV’s water pump not pumping

    Dear Gary,
    I’m having my RV winterized for storage. The dealer called to tell me that the pump doesn’t work. It is located underneath the fresh water holding tank. They unhooked it from the tank to pump antifreeze into the pipes and it wouldn’t work. Is it a suction pump? Does it have to be connected to the holding tank to work? —Walter

    Read Gary’s response.


    RV Electricity

    What cost, electricity? Part deux

    Mike’s feature article in last Sunday’s RVelectricity newsletter was about gathering information on just how much electricity costs a campground to provide it for “free/included” versus metered. He’s trying to get to the bottom of why there’s a large percentage of poorly maintained electrical pedestals at campgrounds across the U.S. and Canada, many with too-low voltage and non-existent grounds. Read more here.

    In case you missed Mike’s most recent RVelectricity newsletter, here it is. Tons of important and interesting info and even some nostalgia.

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

    Battery charging for a residential refrigerator. A reader asks Mike why his truck’s alternator won’t keep the house batteries charged (and his fridge running) in his 5th wheel trailer while he’s towing.

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


    RV Tire Safety

    “The tire was defective.” Are you sure?

    Roger says that simply claiming a tire is “defective” is the go-to excuse used by many that have no working knowledge of, or don’t want to spend the time investigating, “why” tires develop various conditions. Here he explains the real reason why some tires failure.


    Building an RV Park

    Why I am thankful

    Machelle updates you on the (slow) progress on building their RV campground from scratch. Also, she was feeling sentimental after Thanksgiving and shares a personal peek into her and AJ’s family life (including finding out her own super-straight-laced father is a “rebel”!). Read more.


    The RV Kitchen

    Pronto Breakfast Burritos

    Hearty breakfast in a jiffy. These eat-from-the hand breakfast treats will give your crew something different. Just wrap each piece in a napkin or paper towel and hand them around. The scent of frying sausage will reel them in and this hearty breakfast will keep the family filled and energized for a chilly day ahead. Get the recipe.


    The Digital RVer

    Every travel blog needs a travel map

    A travel blog without a map is like cake without icing! It’s good, but not as good as it should be. And, sometimes don’t you want just the icing?! A travel map can give your readers everything they want to know. Then, if they want more, they can click on a marker and follow the links to your blog posts! Read how here.


    Reader letter

    Dear editor:
    I haven’t seen any articles regarding air conditioner covers coming off while traveling down the highway. Is this somewhat common? What kind of preventive maintenance should I do? —Gary Olson

    Dear Gary,
    I don’t think we have ever written about that, nor can I recall anyone reporting that their cover came off. If anyone has had this happen to them, please let us know at editor@rvtravel.com .


    Facebook Groups of Interest

    Missing RVers, Pets, and Stolen RVs
    Over age 50 RVer’s and Nice
    WINTER RVing – Let’s Stay Warm Together!
    PLUS OUR OWN GROUPS: RV Horror StoriesRV AdviceRV ElectricityRV Parks with Storm SheltersRV Buying AdviceNorthwest RV CampingSouthwest RV Camping and NEW Free Campgrounds


    Trivia

    The tin canister, or can, was invented by Londoner Peter Durand in 1810, the year after French confectioner Nicolas Appert introduced the canning method of sealing food tightly inside a glass jar and then heating it. Unfortunately for Durand, the modern can opener was not invented for another 46 years. Before the invention of the can opener, people used a chisel and hammer to open cans.

    Bumper sticker of the week

    Librarian – the original search engine.
    (Do you remember when you could phone the library for information, the librarian would put your call on hold, go look up the info in a book, and come back on the line and provide the requested information? Wow! How times have changed!)

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

    Joke of the Week

    Tesco is a big supermarket chain in the U.K. Within hours of the news that Tesco’s “all beef hamburgers” contained 30% horse meat (in 2013), these quips hit the Internet (part 1 of 4):
    • I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse. I guess Tesco just listened!
    • Anyone want a burger from Tesco? Yay or neigh?
    • Not entirely sure how Tesco is going to get over this hurdle.
    • Had some burgers from Tesco for supper last night. I still have a bit between my teeth.
    Thanks to George Bliss for sending these in!

    Worth Pondering

    “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” —Yogi Berra


    Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

    Read it here | Back issues


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


    RV Travel staff

    CONTACT US at editor@RVtravel.com

    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. Advertising 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.

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    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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    16 Comments
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    Joe Allen
    11 months ago

    Chuck, I can appreciate the serenity and beauty of the state park you both are in now. When we full timed back in 2000, we never made a reservation and went everywhere with no issues. It is getting harder to do this now, but with selecting the right areas at the right time of the year, I find it makes it much more manageable!
    We stopped in our little town of Okeechobee last week for some needed doctor visits and decided that since we were only there for the day, we would ask permission to stay over night at our local Walmart, which in the past has allowed RVer’s to stay a night. We also were planning on doing some needed shopping for bread, etc. Unfortunately, we were told that just recently, management at this Walmart said, NO MORE! Seems they had RVer’s over staying their stays, leaving trash, building a camp fire right on the asphalt, etc., etc. Yes, that’s right, a campfire! Well, enough is enough and now no one may stay after dark.
    We need to wake up and realize that places like this and others that some of us use occasionally will be going by by and very soon. Seems we are our own worst enemy! Sad to say and hear!

    Loren
    11 months ago

    Speaking of Air Conditioner covers; A few years ago I noticed small cracks in the covers around the bolts that hold them on, I had some 3/32nd” aluminum sheet stock so made a couple strips about 3″ wide and long enough to go across the width of the AC’s and bent about 3 inches down each side. Drilled holes for the hold down bolts and installed them on the front of the AC’s. About a year later saw some commercial ones for sale at Camping World, don’t know if they are still available. We had a new roof installed last year and the AC covers were getting pretty well cracked all over so bought new ones.
    After 50 years traveling all over this country, and a couple other ones, we have seen one or two AC covers along side the road.

    Fred
    11 months ago

    You’ve written frequently about overcrowded & tightly packed rv parks. I understand the growth of rv sales & the lack of new rv parks seems to indicate a problem, but with 10 years of true fulltiming under our belts, we have not experienced the accessibility problems you’re talking about. We fulltime in a 34 ft fifth wheel with 400 watts of solar & a generator. We move frequently much of the year; have been to every state more than once & Alaska twice. We very rarely make reservations, & when we do they are only a few days or a week in advance. Like you, we prefer quiet, remote campsites. We boondock more than most, which reduces our need for developed campsites, but still, I can count on one hand the times we’ve had any problem securing a campsite in the last 10 years. I’m just a little baffled when I hear you & others talk about a campsite availability crisis. I encourage newbies I talk with to set up their rvs for boondocking so they have flexibility in their camping choices.

    Bill
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Fred

    Boondocking is easy out west but not many places in Florida.

    John T
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Fred

    I agree. I mostly boondock, but when I’m in an area with no free camping, I don’t book more than 2 weeks ahead. The only exception was the Oregon coast, which I booked 5 months in advance, but when I got there, all four campgrounds I stayed at had empty spaces available throughout my stay. In 2 years on the road full time, I’ve only had one campground that was fully booked when I wanted a reservation. This trouble must be in the east; it’s certainly not in the west.

    wanderer
    11 months ago
    Reply to  John T

    Often those empty spaces are not available for travelers; they are reserved for thoughtless campers who booked ahead and then did not show up. Refund policies in many state parks are so heinous that people just ‘blow it off’. The problem is indeed worse in the east and midwest, and anything within striking distance of a metro area on weekends.

    wanderer
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Fred

    This post is a week old, but just for the record, there is a problem. I’m very glad you’ve been able to escape it, but Chuck is not crazy. I am in my 3rd year of full timing. While there are areas of the country that have lighter RV occupancy and adequate parks, many many areas are locked up tight every summer weekend, Spring Break season is a nightmare in Texas, and I ran into full parks in Arizona last winter. I wasn’t looking for ‘high season’ but just traveling where I wished to during good weather. Florida I did visit ‘off-season’ and my choices were bad, crowded and noisy. It is not realistic to assure newbies they can bop around and find good sites wherever they go.

    Garry Hammond
    11 months ago

    Hey Chuck – You hit the nail right on the head!
    We had pretty much the same experience in Virginia mid Sept. into mid Oct.
    An RV resort, basically abandoned by the 85% seasonal inhabitants, who had gone back to work, with their kids in school.
    Dar and I basically had a private beach and pool most week days, with some of the locals still coming back for the weekend.
    The only issue, as an RV Resort it was expensive, but totally worth it, due to the “relaxation factor” you describe.
    Garry & Daar
    Roving RVers

    cee
    11 months ago

    Totally jealous! The Oregon coast is always spectacular, will never not be excited to travel from Brookings to the mighty Columbia. We always go in the off season and always use the state parks, Beachside S.P. and Beverly Beach S.P. are favorites but we stay at all the coastal S.P.’s

    Wishing you safe travels and salt mist on your lips!

    Mike Sherman
    11 months ago

    Great story on the history of your beginnings in the RV publication business Chuck. And glad you have reconnected with the joys of camping in a quiet, vacant campground!

    DAVE TELENKO
    11 months ago

    WOW did’t see any mention of Pearl Harbor Day, or did I miss something! Thanks to all that have served in our US Armed Service!

    Jeff
    11 months ago

    Hey Chuck:
    Since you are rolling down Hwy 101 in Oregon, you will go right by COOS BAY! There is a Great RV Park just off the HWY, called Mills Casino RV Park!
    You might consider checking it out!

    Jeff
    11 months ago

    I sent you that TOW Vehicle Picture of the 12 million dollar Truck!
    Guessing it gets about 20 Gallons to the Mile, LOL!
    Also, can you imagine trying to pull into a Pilot or Loves and get it positioned to fill up those immense fuel tanks?

    Terry Brown
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Jeff

    I bet that truck has a full tanker following it full time.

    Tommy Molnar
    11 months ago
    Reply to  Terry Brown

    He probably TOWS a tank!

    John M
    11 months ago

    Yup, Your ‘campsite’ looks heavenly! I’m currently in an Arizona RV Park with only about 400 other units. But for now I’m good with that.