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December 21, 2019
If you would like to read this week’s issue with the ads included, click here.
With Chuck Woodbury
Ihave yet to learn how to slow down when I travel with my RV. There are 2.7 million miles of paved roads in the USA. After several decades of RVing, I still do not fully comprehend that I cannot drive them all. If my math is right, it would take me 450 years traveling eight hours a day at an average speed of 30 miles per hour. I’m pretty sure I won’t be around that long.
This tendency to race from place to place is common with new full-time RVers. They act like they’re on a three-week vacation — rush, rush, rush to see it all. I spent more than two years on the road (2016–2018) and still didn’t figure this out.
Gail and I left Seattle a few weeks ago. We’re headed to my aunt’s home near Fresno for Christmas. We decided we would travel the Oregon Coast, which is the slow route by a long shot. In my unrealistic mind, I imagined stopping often along the way to while away an hour here or there in a cozy coffee house, bookstore, or cafe to partake of the regionally wonderful clam chowder. Gail and I would stroll the quiet, lonely beaches, holding hands, savoring the solitude, breathing the pure, misty salt air — soothing our restless souls.
We did a little of that, but just a little, because in two weeks you can’t do much (and in my case still find time to write and manage a business). Eight weeks would have been better, but still not enough.
Alas, by Dec. 17, we had made it only about a third of the way to the state’s southern border. So it was time to head inland to battle 18-wheelers on I-5 to arrive on time at my aunt’s for Christmas (with a short pause in Sacramento to see old friends).
Seeing the sights in the winter season is challenging because the days are so short. It’s dark at 5, so you don’t have much daylight to work with if you want to enjoy a leisurely morning before heading off. In summer, there are five hours more daylight, which is great, but have fun battling the hordes of tourists. And good luck finding a place to camp without making reservations months ahead.
* * *
ON A RELATED NOTE, driving from Newport, on the coast, inland to Medford yesterday, we passed dozens of RV parks. Even at this time of year, when the days are short, gray, gloomy and wet, the parks, many of them seedy, are filled or nearly filled. And few of those folks, I suspect are “campers.” They’re residents, people who can’t afford an apartment or traditional home. Most, I figure, will still be there next summer, when the tourists arrive, taking up thousands of RV sites where even 15 years ago, you and I could have stopped at 4 p.m. in the afternoon and found an available spot.
If you want to travel the Oregon Coast — and you should — consider doing so in the late fall, winter or early spring. You will likely encounter a lot of rain, but the area will be uncrowded, and on sunny days magnificent — as beautiful as any place on Earth. But no matter when you visit, do not forget to stop at Mo’s for clam chowder and the best fish and chips this side of London. I recommend the original Mo’s in Newport, but there are a half dozen other locations, too.
P.S. My article in last Sunday’s edition of this newsletter about plastic pollution on the Oregon Coast drew more than 170 comments as of Thursday. I’d say the one downside to visiting the Oregon Coast is witnessing this environmental disaster in the making. Did you know that a plastic water bottle can last up to 450 years? Most other plastic will still be around for 1,000 years. If you missed my story, please take a moment to read it.
And finally, I am happy to report that our RV electrical columnist Mike Sokol will be speaking at the Boston RV & Camping Expo January 24-26. Mike is the nation’s leading authority on RV electricity and RV electrical safety. This is a rare opportunity to see him in person for the price of a show admission. Learn more about Mike’s 2020 seminars here.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Cover Story: New details shed light on “Mr. Heater” death.
• AAA says this will be the busiest holiday season on the road ever!
• “Spray-on” solar charging? Could be …
• Washington state residents might pay taxes by the mile instead of the gallon.
• New RV resort approved in Travis County, Texas.
• RVing couple married 70 years die within minutes of each other.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips
• Sewer hose supports.
• Don’t kill the good bacteria in your RV’s black tank.
• Important torque wrench tips.
• Important first steps with a new motorhome or tow vehicle.
• How to help avoid mold and mildew in your RV.
Medications + Driving the RV = No!
If you’re taking a medication, is it safe to drive your car or RV? Most likely, yes. Still, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises you to make sure it’s safe before operating any type of vehicle. Here’s an important article that lists types of medications – prescription and OTC – that may cause side effects and impair your driving ability, as well as tips to help you avoid driving impaired. Please read.
This week’s Wacky RVs!
Here are four more RVs that we can guarantee (well, maybe give you a 99.9 percent guarantee) never rolled off an assembly line. If you know about any of these please leave a comment. See the RVs.
Zero-emissions trucks: Coming to a California near you?
Perhaps Tesla’s Elon Musk is on to something. California is contemplating becoming the first locale in the world to mandate zero-emissions trucks by decree. The state’s controversial California Air Resources Board (CARB) took testimony last week on a proposal that would rewrite emission standards, and says it will vote on the proposal next year. What’s at stake? Find out here.
Save the life of someone during an opioid overdose
Our country is experiencing an opioid addiction crisis. Although it is certainly not found in the RV community any more than anywhere else, it is, sad to say, an issue that has affected the lives of those addicted, their family and friends. With that in mind, we present this important information from the FDA. You could save a life.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular stories:
Do you dream in color or black and white?
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.
LAST SATURDAY’S POLL: Do you own a pickup truck? More than 2,700 readers responded. We were surprised at the results!
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What we learned about you last week
Do you carry chains with you in the winter? How much stress do you feel about the upcoming holidays? Have you ever had a tick on your body? (With a funny story from Emily.) How often do you volunteer? Do you fast-forward through TV commercials? Do you drive a truck? Have you ever met someone in person from an online dating site? All this and more, right here.
Test your RV movie knowledge
When it came time for Jack Nicholson to hit the road in the film “About Schmidt,” he did it in style and comfort – in an RV. No surprise there, considering the enormous popularity of RV travel, and the frequency with which RVs are used in Hollywood films. … Test your knowledge of 10 other movies featuring RVs here.
The strangest road sign we’ve ever seen…
Sometimes when you’re driving down the highway in your RV you get real hungry. You might get an urge for a special food … like cottage cheese, for example. Well, in California, so many motorists crave cottage cheese that the state highway department has set up special cottage cheese directional signs. You think we’re kidding? Do pictures lie? Check it out!
Why full-time RVing limits holiday gift shopping … for the better!
By Nanci Dixon. In this holiday season of buying, buying, buying, and spending, spending, spending, and wrapping, wrapping, wrapping, and returning, I am reminded of the time, money, effort and stress that gifting for an ever-expanding list took. I have learned that an advantage of full-timing in a limited-space RV and being far from family and loved ones is being virtually Black Friday and holiday-shopping-frenzy free! Read more. Can you relate?
We’ve been asking our readers for photos of the longest RVs and RV combos they’ve seen. This one is the longest by far, so far – at 122 feet! Check it out (including video). Can you beat it?
See last week’s long rig (a mere 73 feet!). So it’s not as long as this one, but it has an elevator, so that’s pretty cool!
A tow vehicle that eats hay instead of gas? We’re not horsing around…
Now this is something we’ve never seen before. Forget filling up the gas tank and forget buying a new Ford F250. These RVers are taking “eco-friendly” to a whole new level. Watch the short video – you won’t believe your eyes!
Popular articles from last week
• What I found on the Oregon beach sickened me. (More than 170 comments!)
• Mr. Heater user dies from carbon monoxide – Could you? (Important update coming tomorrow — Sunday.)
• RV travels down icy highway with slideouts extended.
• 73-foot RV even has an elevator.
• Small Kansas town has big plan that could set pattern of RV relief.
• More wacky RVs that are pretty darn weird.
• Do you own a pickup truck? (Poll with almost 100 comments)
• RVelectricity – A few of Mike’s favorite things…
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, December 14, 2019.
• Florida RVer gives condo owners fits.
• RV Doctor: Why does one bathroom sink stink and the other doesn’t?
• What we learned about you last week (December 7-13).
• Police searching for artist who turned famous Chicago “Bean” into Airstream!
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. • Free Campgrounds. 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
New RV furnace failure fiasco – Factory refuses to fix
Dear RV Shrink:
We just retired and thought we were going to spend our first winter season as official “Snowbirds.” Instead, we are “snowbound.” We bought a brand-new motorhome with all the bells and whistles, made a winter’s worth of reservations at Florida State Parks, winterized our house in Michigan, and headed south to the Promised Land of sunshine and warm ocean breezes. We only made it to Indiana, where our motorhome was manufactured. We have several problems our dealer could never seem to fix, so we headed straight to the factory and screamed warranty. … Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.
We welcome your letters. Send them to email@example.com
Ask the RV Doctor
Mice messed in heating ductwork, can’t get rid of smell
Mice got into my RV so I purchased an electronic mouse repellent, which appears to be working. Here is the problem though: While in the RV, they must have urinated in the heating ducts. When I turn the heat on now, this obnoxious odor comes pouring out. I have tried running the heat while out of the motorhome for a couple of hours at a time, yet it continues to come out strong the next time I turn the heat on. Any suggestions? —Cheryl
If mice are invading your RV, get rid of them with lion poop! Really – we’re not “lion”! Read more here.
Upcoming RVelectricity™ Seminars with Mike Sokol
Mike updates you with his latest RVelectricity™ (RVe) 2020 Seminar schedule and explains the four versions of his seminars – for every level of electrical expertise from beginners to RV technicians. Learn more.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Can I run a generator and shore power at the same time? Mike answers this question, including clearing up a couple of urban myths.
RV Tire Safety
Are there stupid questions about tires?
From Roger Marble: I recently ran across a thread where there was a rather basic question on inflation where someone claimed to have “searched everywhere” to find how much pressure to put in his tires. … There are no stupid questions. Ask questions and learn something new every day. But clearly, stupid answers are a real possibility. Read more.
Other popular RV Tire Safety articles:
• “China bomb” tires and McDonald’s fries? What?
• Spare tire is wrong size. What to do?
• Is there a critical do-not-exceed tire temperature?
Building an RV Park
Papers finally submitted to Planning & Zoning!
What a week it has been for the Jameses! Last Wednesday they finally received the necessary paperwork they have been waiting so long for, and formally submitted the zoning change request and campground site plan to Planning & Zoning. But what caused the recent “panic, fear and mayhem among the locals,” not to mention a similar reaction to something happening right in the Jameses’ front yard? Yikes! Read more.
The RV Kitchen
A bacon lover’s cheesecake. This rich cheesecake makes a good appetizer or a side dish with salad. It’s rich, so a little goes a long way. You can, however, substitute low-fat evaporated milk and cream cheese if you’re shaving calories. Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
Listen to any radio station from anywhere – Free!
Listen to your home radio station while you travel, or a foreign station when you’re home. There are several Apps that let you listen to live radio over the Web on your smartphone. The one Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, use is TuneIn Radio. Find out why, and how simple it is to use. What fun!
Marine Reservists, headed by Major Bill Hendricks in Los Angeles, distributed 5,000 toys to children in 1947. The campaign was so successful that the following year the Marines adopted the practice nationwide and formed the Toys for Tots organization. Walt Disney Studios designed the Toys for Tots red toy train logo in 1948.
Bumper sticker of the week
“I’m not over the hill, I just have a great view of the valley.” Thank you, Willard Smith!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
An elderly man in Dublin calls his son in New York right before Christmas and says, “Son, I’m sorry, but I have to tell you that after 45 years, your mother and I are divorcing.” “What are you talking about?!” the son yells in disbelief. The father says, “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so call your sister in Chicago and tell her.”
Frantic, the son calls his sister. “No way they’re leaving each other!” she shouts. She immediately calls her father. “You are not splitting up. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing!” The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. “Well, then,” he says. “They’re coming home for Christmas and paying their own way!”
Thank you to Tom Hart for sending in this timely joke!
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world … would do this, it would change the earth.” —William Faulkner
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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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RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
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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