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Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 942

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April 4, 2020

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


Editor’s corner

With Chuck Woodbury

Iam mad, very mad. The state of Virginia has ordered that private RV parks can no longer accept short-term guests. If you are traveling along I-81 and need a place to spend a night or two along the way, forget about it. Oh, there’s always a parking lot and maybe a rest area.

But if you want to stay in a hotel, that’s fine — the state thinks that’s perfectly okay even though those who stay have no idea who slept in the bed the night before. Or who coughed and sneezed germs right onto the plastic covered drinking cups in the bathroom — that the maid assumes are clean. Maybe you’ll watch a little TV — holding the germ-covered remote control device by the bed. Who used it last night or the night before?

And what about the maid, going from room to room, picking up germs along the way?

DIFFERENT STORY IN AN RV
But if you want to stay in your self-contained RV in a Virginia RV park, where you know who slept in your bed the night before (you), and who used the bathroom before you (you), and who touched the doorknobs, chairs and heating controls before (you), you cannot do it. Even though with remote check-in and prepayment, an RVer can come and go without getting anywhere near another human. That’s more dangerous than staying in a hotel? Give me a break!

READ THE ARTICLE we posted yesterday by my friend Andy Zipser who owns the Walnut Hills Campground and RV Park in Virginia. One day, everything is normal and the next he has to kick out every short-term guest and accept no new ones unless they stay 14 days or longer.

“Just like that, we teeter on the edge of insolvency,” Andy writes. “Ninety percent of our business is short-term campers, anything from over-nighters traveling the I-81 corridor to residents within a 250-mile radius looking to camp with us for a few days.”

Virginia is not the only state to adopt such a ridiculous new policy. Not only does such a rule hurt an RV park, even jeopardize its survival, but it means RVers passing through no longer have a place to stay if they need a utility hookup. Most states have already closed their state parks. Ditto campgrounds in national parks, national forests and Corps of Engineers parks.

A law like Virginia’s is hard to believe. But, alas, it’s true!

You and I are getting the shaft
We can’t stay in our RVs because some politician thinks we’ll spread our out-of-town germs to everyone else. But, at the same time, anyone can stay in a hotel, where he or she can sneeze, cough and otherwise spew microorganisms every which way in the privacy of their own room, and then drive on down the road, leaving their germs behind for the next visitor.

Read Andy’s article and where you can write to voice your opinion about this.

chucksignature
P.S. Thanks to those of you who pledged your support this past week with a voluntary subscription. Your thoughtfulness helps ensure we are here to stay through what is shaping up to be an incredibly difficult time ahead. And welcome to the 1,678 new subscribers who came aboard since last week.

My Roadside Journal

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


Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Latest breaking news about the coronavirus and how it affects RVers.
• Comprehensive list of RV recalls for March.
• Pickup truck news: 2020 Best RVs for towing. Truck recall.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows (yeah, right) • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …


Keep informed
Current Wildfire Report.
National Hurricane Center.


Brain Teaser

A cowboy rides into town on Monday, stays for two days, and leaves town on Monday. How is this possible?

(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)


Last week’s featured stories in RV Daily Tips

Get a serious grip on RV condensation.
Is a warm electrical outlet cause for concern?
Campsite “site length” restrictions. What do they really mean?
Level your rig like a pro – without messing up your suspension.
Repairing dripping bathroom faucets.


Is coronavirus leading to a constitutional crisis?

Full-time RVers are struggling with finding a place to stay in this difficult time of pandemic. As state and local authorities shut down RV parks, or limit guests to those who stay under long-term status, the number of full-time RVers could conceivably exceed the available supply of short-term spots. One California RV park owner says the whole matter could end up in court – as a constitutional rights issue. Read more. Civil/polite comments are welcomed.

Not using your RV? Help save an MD’s life!

ER doctor Jason Phillips sees between 100-150 patients every day. As a father of an infant and two other young children, there was no question that he should quarantine while he treated patients with COVID-19. His wife, Emily, worried every time he came home and potentially exposed herself and their children to COVID-19. He needed a place to quarantine. Emily thought, “What better place to quarantine than in an RV?” Emily made it happen.

Governor’s misguided order deals crushing blow to at least one RV park

Andy Zipser, owner of the beautiful Walnut Hills RV Park in Staunton, Virginia, writes: “Never underestimate the power of one individual to effect change – especially if that person is hysterical. Case in point: This past Monday, the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, issued a ‘temporary stay at home’ edict. Tucked into the middle of this order is the one sentence that has upended our lives, commanding the “cessation of all reservations for overnight stays of less than 14 nights at all privately-owned campgrounds.” Continue reading.

Related to above:
How a caring RV park owner acts in hard times

If you have read RV park owner Andy Zipser’s essay posted April 3, then you know the state of Virginia has banned him, and other private RV parks, from renting a site to RVers staying less than two weeks. Here is what Andy has now posted on his late arrival board. Other RV park owners in a similar situation, please take note.


Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles

What has happened to us that we are so angry? (Sadly, this is still very relevant.)
A new take on the offensive neighbor in the RV park
The RV Proctologists relate an RV sewer nightmare
Readers’ tips for picking out a campsite


Reader Poll

How comfortable are you in the space where you’re self-quarantining?

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.


Readers tell us (What we learned about you last week)

We analyze what we learned about you and fellow RVers from our reader polls and your comments.

Do you take the coronavirus threat seriously, or believe its dangers have been way overblown?
What part of this newsletter do you look forward to the most? Is there something you’d like to see done differently?
Do you know anyone who has gotten the coronavirus, COVID-19?


EMS worker shares preventive uses for personal protective equipment

Jonathan Chaffin, an EMS worker, posted this on our Facebook group, RV Coronavirus News. “Okay, I’m going to give a rundown of masks, gloves, and various forms of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). I’ll say this first and foremost that I’m not here to argue. I’m simply offering my personal and professional experience from working EMS the past 12 years in urban and rural EMS services.” Read more.

Add another room to your RV with this brilliant mod

We came across an RV mod completed by Facebook user Joshua Torres, and we’re blown away by it! Torres had no use for the bunk beds in his Keystone RV, so he took them out (with some help) and created a laundry room and office. How’s that for adding a whole new room to your RV? Check it out!

Reader asks: What does your RV insurance cover?

Reader Kevin Parker sent us an email asking us to ask for your help. Here’s what he wrote: “I got hit by a full-time RVer without insurance, driving a Class C motorhome. My insurance will cover all but several thousand dollars for my replacement. I feel sorry for the other guy. As far as I know, he has no place to go and my insurance company will pursue him ‘to the ends of the earth’ to recover their liability. I would be interested to know what your readers’ RV insurance coverages are?” Read the rest of the question and, if you can, offer advice in the comments.

Sharing the beauty: A 600,000-photograph cross-country journey

By RonnieSue Ambrosino
It’s a very difficult time for all of us. Many people are focused on trying to navigate through this world that was turned topsy-turvy over the last month. There doesn’t seem to be an immediate break in the stress. We have been fortunate to travel the country with our cameras in hand, taking more than 600,000 photos of the beauty we’ve seen. Read more, and check out some of their spectacular photos!


Popular articles from last week

Full-timers – Where can you stay during this outbreak?
Action needed: Keep RV parks open.
Video: Update on recent cougar attack in Colorado RV park.
During this crisis, ask what you can do for your neighbor.
At last! A toy-hauler with a “hidden garage” – but with hidden problems.
All bottled up! A hilarious story of an RVing newbie
Can your pets get, or give you, COVID-19?
Homeless in California. An RVing family’s struggle to shelter in place.
Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, March 28, 2020.
Why FMCA did not refund registration fees for cancelled rally.
RV Shrink: Find an RV safe harbor and hunker down.
Building an RV park: Campground, Smampground. Everything is ON HOLD!


Resources

Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror StoriesRV AdviceRV ElectricityRV Parks with Storm SheltersRV Buying AdviceNorthwest RV CampingSouthwest RV CampingFree CampgroundsNEW Budget RV TravelNEWER RV VideosNEWEST RV Coronavirus News • plus Texas RV Camping and Florida 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.

Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.

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.

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.

Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.


Sign up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter
Coronavirus news for RVers in your inbox daily!
Every Monday through Friday you get a short, informational email from us delivered straight to your inbox. Inside each issue you’ll find: quick RV tips, popular articles, reader polls, RV thoughts, helpful resources, a website of the day, RV clubs and organizations, trivia, jokes and more! If you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe, but we doubt you’ll want to. Read Friday’s issue here and then sign up here.


Ask the RV Shrink

What do RV park managers and pig farmers have in common?

Dear RV Shrink:
We have spent the winter in the state parks of three states as well as many city and county parks. One common denominator we find in most parks we visit are nasty restroom and shower facilities. Are we too picky or is this just the norm? We are fairly new at this RV lifestyle and I have to say, I think twice before I venture into a park restroom. —Untidy in Texas

Read the RV Shrink’s advice.


Ask the RV Doctor

Gary is currently in the hospital fighting COVID-19

For current updates about this condition, click here. We update this page every time we receive new information about our friend’s condition. Leave a get well message here if you wish. Gary’s family is reading them, and we know he will, too, once he recovers.


RV Electricity

Quick 30-amp outlet tester for cheap

Dear Readers,
You may have noticed that I launched my RVelectricity webcasts this week, and have been creating all sorts of YouTube videos while I’m stuck inside. Here’s a really short one for you about a simple yet effective test for 30-amp RV outlets that will cost you about $30 even if you have to buy everything. If you have some of these devices laying around, so much the better. Read more and watch the short but very useful Webcast.

Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
And you don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his new YouTube channel.


RV Tire Safety

Importance of side-to-side motorhome weight balance

Roger Marble received the following question: “Hi. I have followed your postings on this forum and I own a 2017 Newmar Ventana 4002. I am trying to understand and resolve an issue with my coach where I have a 1000 lb. difference in weight on the front axle side to side. I have had the coach weighed on all 4 corners 3 times and get the same results. My understanding, and I think it may have been in one of your posts, is that the difference should never be more than 500 lbs. side to side. …”

Read the rest of the question and Roger’s response.


RV Short Stop

Wildflowers bloom across Texas

During this time of COVID-19 crisis, if you are a Snowbird needing to travel through several states to get home, check the Centers for Disease Control’s advice on “Coronavirus and Travel in the United States.” If you are able to travel and your route home takes you through the Hill Country of Texas, one small upside during these challenging times is that now is the peak of spring wildflower season. With more than 5,000 species of native flowering plants, the Lone Star State is known for its breathtaking spring (now through June). Read more.


RV Fire Safety

Help prevent RV engine fires

A hard-working engine manifold can get as hot as 900 degrees F. The heavy insulation in the compartment reflects the heat back to the top of the engine, and a fire can easily break out. Inspect your radiator and have any problems repaired by a qualified person as soon as possible.


@marinmuseumofbicycling, Instagram

Museum of the Week

The Marin Museum of Bicycling

Fairfax, California

Bicycle lovers unite! Get wheely excited for this… This volunteer-run museum in downtown Fairfax, CA, shows the 19th-century evolution of the bicycle. Visitors can watch as the bicycle advances from the early 1860s to the turn of the century. The museum also hosts the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, so if mountain biking is your thing, you’ll find the fascinating history of it here. And if you ever need a gift for a bike lover, the gift shop is where to go. Ride on over to the official museum website here.


Trivia

During the first quarter of the 20th century, new Americans arriving at Ellis Island were served Jell-O gelatin dessert as a treat to welcome them to America. Gelatin dessert was patented in 1845 and the Jell-O brand was created in 1897. The first flavors were strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon.

Bumper sticker of the week

“Grumpy. It’s not a mood … it’s a lifestyle!” —Thanks to Richard Bauer.

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

Joke of the Week

Hilarious video: Trust no one!
We can guarantee that your smile will last longer than this 6-second video, and that you’ll want to watch it more than once. Watch it here.

Worth Pondering

Going outdoors is not canceled, listening to music is not canceled, quality time with our families is not canceled, reading a book is not canceled, sharing with friends is not canceled, singing out loud is not canceled, laughing has not been canceled, sharing HOPE with others has not been canceled. Let’s EMBRACE what we have. —From Kelly’s Treehouse


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. Thank you.


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.
• George Bliss • Tom and Lois Speirs • Alan Warren • Steve Barnes • Mike Sherman + others who we will add later.

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REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on RVtravel.com 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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com. 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 2020 by RVtravel.com.

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pursuits712
1 year ago

We got our first cancellation this week from a Va. campground. The two week rules makes sense to me. If you are on the road, you need to respect the needs of those states who are trying to protect their citizens. They are not saying you cannot stay…they are saying you must stay put for 14 days, which is no different than the stay-at-home orders that many states (including mine) have put in place. The reason those orders were put into place is because people would not stay put! Being in an RV doesn’t make anyone an exception.

Likely the hotels are staying open more for business travelers. Many of those who are continuing to support our infrastructure and lifestyle (truckers, et al.) are forced to travel. Our daughter had to travel to a different region of our state (serving as a Covid nurse for that area) and the only place to stay was a hotel!

Those whose loved ones are dying alone; those healthcare personnel putting their lives on the line; and those who actually abide by those inconvenient orders likely don’t think the whining RVers have much to complain about.

jim beattie
1 year ago

on your comment about Va closing the campground due to the virus they are doing that in a lot of states oh started today they are just trying to get people to stay in place to get this terrible thing to stop there are a lot of people hurting over this but we will get thru it i have not moved a camper in 3 weeks nothing is worth loosing your life over

Diane Mc
1 year ago

I emailed Marcus Lemonis about RV parks/campgrounds being shutdown. Mentioned Good Sam has always been an advocate for RV’ers and this is the perfect situation for Good Sam to help out. I received this back (why he called me Mr as I signed it Diane McGovern… no not that one….beats me.

Mr. McGovern,
Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your long association with Good Sam
Club. It is loyal members like you that have made us the proud organization that we are today. I am forwarding your question to the appropriate leadership individuals who will look into the matter. Thank you.

Robert L. Welch
Good Sam VIP
866.232.9060

Might help if others called/emailed. Also used Twitter to tweet a number of high profile senators asking them to work with the other Senators and Governors to help out. Who knows. If you don’t try, for sure nothing will happen.

CTK
1 year ago

Such ignorance. Sad language from an obviously very sad person.

Ray Zimmermann
1 year ago

The stupidity I’m seeing from our government leaders has destroyed any confidence I might have had in their ability to manage this terrible problem. Example: Missouri closed the state park campgrounds but left the parks open for day use. Last weekend the weather was nice in the St. Louis area and visitors swarmed the nearby parks, so much so that the parking lots were overflowing. The governor lamented that people were not social distancing. It was the governor that made the situation worse by doing the exact opposite of what he should have: Leave the campgrounds open where people can easily isolate in their rigs and close the parks to everyone else.

Diane Mc
1 year ago

If any of you are on Twitter (yes, it can be terrible, but for times and issues like this it can be a lifeline to the powers that be) send a message to Senators/Reps, even not in the state you are concerned about. We are home, but I will fire off some to various folks and see if it gets their attention.

Ed D.
1 year ago

His Horses name was Monday! Right?

Mike Miller
1 year ago

Chuck, I assume there are many other Virginians who read your newsletter. I Just sent the article written by Andy to my Virginia House delegate to ask that this decision be overturned. Hopefully, others will do the same…

Tom
1 year ago

Alabama issued stay-at-home order, effective 5:00 pm, today, Saturday, April 4.
However, State operated campgrounds are open during the stay-at-home order.
Some adult leadership in this insane situation.

Bill Semion
1 year ago

The Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, where my son and his family live, is at the epicenter of mountain biking. Where it was “invented” by a group that included Gary Fisher. His bikes now bear his name. A bench near the local coffee roaster–a great place to buy beans, just around the corner from the local ice cream shop–attests to the sport’s invention there. Seems, however, I was “mountain biking” on my own bike where I grew up on four acres of woods and two creeks in Southeast Michigan, long before the term came to be. We rode down hills and up, across bridges spanning creeks, down narrow paths hugging hills, and more, with our coaster-brake equipped beauties. All without realizing what we were doing.

C WOLF
1 year ago

I WOULD RATHER STAY IN MY RV THAN A HOTEL AT LEAST I KNOW MY RV IS CLEAN AND SAFE. THIS MAKES NO SENCE. STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE EVERYONE.

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

Many RV parks seem to be designed for RV units with a full bathroom since the site has full hookups. I have been to COE campground with awful bathrooms and no ventilation, and other’s you would want in your home. Some guests are slobs, others pristine. Some showers designed for “twiggy” others big enough for a wheelchair. Some bathrooms, oh no, I will go squat on a log in the forest.

Bob C
1 year ago

Re closed campgrounds: We returned home from a 3 month rv trip yesterday. During the last two weeks of travel, we had two TX state parks cancel our reservations, one NM casino RV park cancel, and NOT TELL US, one UT state park, one UT KOA would not accept a requested reservation and one UT private RV park offered to “hire” me has a one day volunteer employee which then qualified us for an overnight site. Later at that same RV park I was told that they could accept overnighters if they were “too weary” to safely continue their travels. During the last 10 days of our travel, all the parks we stayed at were taking “social distancing” precautions; office window check-ins, vehicle window check-ins, self check-ins, hand sanitizers, closed rest rooms, texted maps, telephone credit card payments, etc. But many still wanted us to sign the credit card receipt and tried to hand out their usual park maps, tv listings, receipts, etc. We refused all of those.

Color us “Happy To Be Home”!

Wayne
1 year ago

It is obvious to me that any governor that forces closure of an RV Park based on virus scares is not a deep thinker but an individual that already hated the RV life style.
Likely an earth muffin tree hugging type who believes RVs burn to much fuel and take up space on the road.

Gman
1 year ago
Reply to  Wayne

Wow, oh so dumb

Todd
1 year ago

The challenge for those of us who live in Florida (or any other state) to help Virginia (or any other state) keep their private campgrounds open (that we like to stay at as we travel) is the state or local officials in that state don’t care about us out of staters or we can’t sign a petition without an in-state zip code. IMO.

Mike
1 year ago

If I was a RV campground owner in Va, I would seek a court order to stop the RV park closure. Any fair minded judge should be willing to offer that to these owners. The purpose of our judicial system is to control stupid laws set up by politicians who do not have a clue about what they are doing.

Rick Sorrenti
1 year ago

EXCELLENT NAME FOR THE HORSE…..MONDAY

Phil Atterbery
1 year ago

It is unfortunate that the Good Sam organization has folded its tent. As your article from WV highlights, local officials lose sight of reality. Twenty years ago GS would have been the leading edge of advocacy for the mom & pop park to remain operating. I find it interesting that just a week or so before the pandemic news broke a story ran stating that local GS chapter officials were told to “stand down”. I do not ascribe to “Gibbs Rules”. I just wish near sighted officials could be enlightened to thier error before they make it. Good Sam could have been that voice.
Stay well & enjoy where you’re at.

wanderer
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Atterbery

I don’t know about Good Sam, I stopped participating in it since it’s just a promotion for Camping World. But, I am really disappointed that none of the other national RVer associations seem to have had any effect in preventing these stupid park closings. All those dues we pay, and in the end, we are on our own and cast into the street on a whim.

Forgive my venting, you see I got evicted this week from a peaceful forest where I was camped 50′ away from anyone else at a remote and unattended park run by ‘honor box’. As I packed up my existing rig and the one I had just purchased (yeah, bad timing), scrambled to find storage for one and safe harbor for the other, I did it all while hearing the whooping and hollering of the fisherman down on the ramp; probably 50 guys crowded around having a big time. I don’t know about the other states, but this southeastern state has always run every state park for the convenience of fishermen, campers are just a nuisance to get fees from. “Shelter in place” for me meant hit the road and be exposed to multiple hazards. Meanwhile the state kept 3 weeks worth of my cash that had to be prepaid, and maybe I’ll see it some day, maybe I won’t.

Bob p
1 year ago

When you look at the other things the VA governor has done it’s no surprise to me. As much as I hate to admit it though a lot of these stupid rules (laws) are coming right from the top. The president is trying to contain Covid-19, he’s listening to his advisors who are college educated idiots with no common sense who are advising him to lock everything down and don’t let anyone move. There is no consideration given to people who snowbird the winter months and need to get home. Had we not left 7 weeks early we would have been caught in this fiasco. We live in TN and all our parks are closed, by order of a conservative governor who is getting direction from Washington.

Gary Broughton
1 year ago

Sheltering at home. We’re 73. Camper ready to go, just food and clothes. When nice, sitting on the porch, watching the world go by reading our books. Library let’s you order books, so we have fresh ones. Grandson comes and mows, I could but gives the kid money and we get to see him and he gets out. Don’t see our son or daughter n law as they work and won’t go out at night. But life goes on.