Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 943

    12

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    April 11, 2020

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


    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury

    Thank goodness I have my work or I’d go crazy. I spend my days writing, answering emails, and doing whatever I can to attract new subscribers. Even though we at RVtravel.com are hanging in there just fine, I worry that something might happen and my staff and I will be stuck like millions of other Americans struggling to pay our bills or, even worse, battling the nastiest virus we’ve ever known.

    So I work my fanny off, say a prayer here and there, and formulate a Plan B and even a Plan C if B doesn’t work. And I wash my hands — a lot.

    In between, I take naps, and a few times a day I take my furry buddy Archie for a walk. He smells the smells — dog pee, dog poop and the faint aroma of rodents who passed through earlier. Life is good for a 22-pound terrier, whose primary goals in life are to eat as often as possible and one day catch a squirrel.

    On nice evenings, Gail and sit outside in our lawn chairs, sip a little red wine and wave at neighbors who walk by, usually with a dog or two. Outwardly, everything looks normal.

    But, to be frank, this life is getting old. I’ll take a wild guess and suggest that you are feeling the same. Never, in any of our lifetimes, have we been so restricted to where we can go and what we can do. To me it’s like “No way!” But then I remember that millions of people are really hurting, and I must be thankful that I’m among the lucky ones.

    Still, I think, “Okay, this is enough. It must stop! Give me a shot so I won’t get this disease and let me get back on the road.”

    There’s a museum down Route 66 from where I live now in my 32-foot motorhome. “World’s largest collection of electric vehicles,” a sign says. It kills me that I cannot visit. It is almost impossible for me to bypass an opportunity to see anything that’s the “World’s Largest.” In Salem, North Dakota, for example, there was simply no option to stopping to visit Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein Cow. In Winlock, Wash., I visited the World’s Largest Egg, another must-see.

    Yet here I sit, all the electric vehicles just up the street waiting for me, but the museum doors are locked. That is not fair! But then in my head I hear the words of a friend of mine, who is as pessimistic as the Pope is Catholic, that “life is not fair.” Okay, maybe so, but I prefer to not think that way.

    Every day, for the last two or three weeks (can’t remember because time is going so fast), my staff and I have put together a daily report about how the current pandemic is affecting RVers. I can sum up to you by saying that practically every public campground in America is now closed, and half the private ones, too. For now, those of us with RVs — who are, by our very nature, explorers — are grounded.

    Okay, all that said, I hope you are coping well, and staying well. Maybe you have taken up a new hobby. Maybe you are being forced to slow down; that may not be a bad thing for folks who can never sit still. Or maybe you’re getting to know your spouse or partner better — sharing an experience that you will talk about for the rest of your lives (be sure to take our Reader Poll below).

    Finally, if you believe in the power of prayer, say one for our friend Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, our columnist who has been battling COVID-19 for the last three weeks, in critical but stable condition in a Seattle-area hospital. Read my story and get updates here.

    Stay safe!

    chucksignature

    P.S. Update on my past week: Day 32 of self-isolation.

    And Happy Easter! It will be a memorable one, won’t it?

    👍 Enter Mike Sokol’s Contest!
    He’s giving away six Southwire digital meter kits. Each kit includes three different meters. Read more and enter.

    Readers speak out

    • Have a good laugh: “My Self-Isolation Quarantine Diary” – submitted by Mark Schaffler.


    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    • Latest breaking news about the coronavirus and how it affects RVers.
    • Supply of RV parts being affected by coronavirus.
    • Food trucks are temporarily allowed to do business at rest stops.
    PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …


    Brain Teaser

    First, I threw away the outside and cooked the inside. Then I ate the outside and threw away the inside. What did I eat? (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)


    Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters

    Best ways to tow a vehicle behind a motorhome.
    Stabilizer jacks are not for lifting your RV.
    Get started in boondocking with these essentials.
    Think rubber tires will protect your RV from lightning? Think again!
    How about some dump station decorum?


    Toilet paper – the softer side of the coronavirus crisis

    By Russ and Tiña De Maris
    Coronavirus is driving us crazy. No, we haven’t caught it and developed mental symptoms. Rather, it’s everybody around us – those who’ve caught it or not – and seem to have developed a nagging compulsion to buy peculiar things. Like disinfectant wipes, bleach and toilet paper. [Editor: You need to read all about Cliramer Ultra Comfort Care Toilet Paper, “Made in USA and Imported.” Christmas in July?] You’ll enjoy this.

    Views from quarantine: What’s out your window? Send us a photo!

    Since we’re all stuck inside together (well, not actually “together”), we might as well enjoy each other’s views! Where are you reading this? What is the view out your front door, window, campsite or porch? Click here for info and maybe we’ll publish your photo.

    Is your RV theft-proof? Here are some tips

    By Lidia Hovhan
    Camping season is just about to kickstart (well, if it were a normal year, it would be), and one of the things you must secure is your RV. Your RV is an easy target for thieves because it is a small space with many valuables. And, on top of everything else they might steal, they can hijack the RV itself, which, of course, costs a lot of money. … Consider these tips to help you protect your belongings and your RV.


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

    Is this the year to get handy? (Oddly enough, it is!)
    Is it safe to run that cheaper Walmart DEF?
    A visit to the place “where the music died…”
    Video: Why NOT to travel with your propane tank on


    Reader PollReader Poll

    For self-quarantining couples: How are you getting along?

    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.


     

    Do you have a favorite campground or RV park?

    We asked our readers and we published the results here, creating a guide for you of your fellow RVers’ favorite spots. If another RVtravel.com reader recommends it, you know it’s good. We update this weekly, so please continue to tell us your favorite campground or RV park by commenting on this post.

    New parks added this week in:
    Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas.


    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 own a boat? (So many of you do that we’re thinking of changing our name to BoatTravel.com…kidding, of course.)
    If asked to self-isolate, will you do so in a traditional home or an RV?
    How long do you think the coronavirus will affect daily life?


    Products we tested – and which later failed

    By Russ and Tiña De Maris
    Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to try all sorts of products. … We usually report fairly soon after we’ve tested those products and give you our impressions. Flipping back in the old test notebooks, we thought we’d come forward and fess up about a couple of products we tested and felt were “pretty good” at the time – but now, with the passage of time, maybe weren’t quite as up to snuff as we thought. Read more.

    Oh, the horror! Sewer tank overflows while RVer is away

    Here’s proof you need to pay attention when you are dumping your holding tank, or in this case flushing it. If you don’t … well, this can happen. Be warned, the photos are pretty darn disgusting! But it is worth reading this and seeing the pics for a reminder, so you never do this.

    Boondockers Welcome adds locations to host RVers overnight

    In case you missed the announcement in our Coronavirus News Update for RVers on April 6, Boondockers Welcome has added more than 100 locations where its members can stay in their RVs for free. Some hosts are permitting stays longer than one night, allowing RVers to quarantine and/or hunker down as needed. Read more.

    What happens when freedom is taken away from RVing nomads?

    By Ingrid Hubbard
    A nomadic lifestyle may seem like a dream and for many it is, especially in the beginning, but there are some disadvantages to the nomadic life that become evident over time and more so now than ever before. Al and I have been living in our RV full-time for the past seven years, and we have a pretty good handle on the slew of emotions, good and bad, that come with living a nomadic life. Continue reading this very insightful view of the “nomadic” life during the pandemic.

    How to get rid of “the corner of death” in your RV

    We saw this posted in the Facebook group RV Tips and couldn’t help but giggle. We know everyone has at least one “corner of death” in their RV. How many times have you bumped your head on yours? Read what Mandy Roberson-Slayback posted here (our article) and get ideas on how you can get rid of your own “corner of death!”


    Popular articles from last week

    How a caring RV park owner acts in hard times.
    Hilarious video: Trust no one! (We guarantee you’ll love this 6-second video!)
    Governor’s misguided order deals crushing blow to at least one RV park.
    UPDATED: Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, fighting COVID-19.
    Add another room to your RV with this brilliant mod.
    RV and RV-related recalls for March 2020.
    Edmunds.com’s 2020 best trucks for RV towing.
    Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, April 4, 2020.
    Is coronavirus leading to a constitutional crisis?
    How about some dump station decorum?
    EMS worker shares preventive uses for personal protective equipment.
    RV Shrink: What do RV park managers and pig farmers have in common?
    RVelectricity – Quick 30-amp outlet tester for cheap.


    Resources

    Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror StoriesRV AdviceRV ElectricityRV Parks with Storm SheltersRV Buying AdviceNorthwest RV CampingSouthwest RV CampingFree CampgroundsRV Coronavirus NewsTexas RV CampingFlorida 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.

    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.


    Sign up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter.
    INCLUDED: Breaking News about Coronavirus that impacts RVers!
    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

    Coronavirus presents RV traveling dilemma

    Dear RV Shrink:
    I know you are fielding a lot of coronavirus questions. We are not newbies or spring chickens. We have been living the RV Lifestyle for several years. We feel lucky to have traveled all we have. This pandemic has frightened us. When it first started I wondered how it would impact us in the way we travel. I could not have imagined what has transpired, so we are headed home. Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice.


    Ask the RV Doctor

    Gary still in the hospital with COVID-19

    Our friend and yours is headed into his third week in a Seattle area hospital in Intensive Care, breathing with a ventilator. His condition is still critical but stable. That’s all we know for now.


    RV Electricity

    Free Southwire meter kit contest this week

    Dear Readers,
    I get tons of questions every week about troubleshooting electrical problems, and I’m always asking them if they have a digital meter. Sometimes it’s a Yes, and other times it’s a No. And even if they do have a meter, they may not know how to use it. … So I’m going to do something about it. I’ve asked my friends at Southwire to come up with a decent prize, and they’ve supplied me with half a dozen of their really nice 3-meter kits. Read how you can win one of these great prizes.

    Please be sure to read this very special message from Mike to Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor: A promise between Gary the guitar guy and Mike the keyboard guy.

    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 YouTube channel.


    RV Tire Safety

    Things to do with your RV while not traveling

    Here are some tips from RV tire expert Roger Marble for things we can do while we can’t be out traveling in our RVs. He recommends a couple of projects that may make life a bit better down the road – and why not get them out of the way while we have the time? Get started here.


    Building an RV Park

    We met the neighbors … again!

    Well, well, well…. We had another neighborhood meeting after a small group of neighbors complained they didn’t have enough time to drive up and see our presentation on February 6th. They requested a new presentation so they could be included. What we ended up doing was a Facebook Live event so they, as well as proponents of our campground, could all join in…. Find out how the presentation turned out, and about progress (or not) on the campground here.


    The RV Kitchen

    Butterscotch Quick Bread

    A sweet, swift quick bread. When you need a hasty hot bread to go with a meal, this sweet and flavorful bread invites a sweet meal such as baked beans, ham, pork or honey-fried chicken. It slices more easily if it’s cooled, wrapped and set aside for several hours. Or bake it in a round dish, cut in wedges and dig in while it’s hot and crumbly. Get the recipe.


    The Digital RVer

    Looking for something to do at home? Got any old slides?

    How does Chris Guld get her slides into Google Photos, which is what she and Jim are doing while staying at home? In this video, the Geeks on Tour show you how they get their slides into Google Photos, change the dates and identify the faces. Easy and fun – and lots more productive than counting grains of rice in a box (which we’ve heard some people are doing 😆 )!

    Facebook Groups of Interest

    RVs 4 MDs To Fight the Corona Virus (We wrote about this group here.)
    The RV BunchRV Storage IdeasGeorgia RV CampingMichigan RV CampingLouisiana RV CampingTennessee RV Camping


    Trivia

    The head and tail of a bald eagle turn white only after the bird reaches about five years of age. A female bald eagle, larger than a male, stands three feet tall, weighs 10-15 pounds and flaunts a wingspan of nearly eight feet. Bald eagles can soar more than 10,000 feet high (almost two miles!), and their eyesight (six times sharper than that of a human) lets them see fish or a rabbit up to a mile away. They can reach speeds of up to 100 mph when diving.

    Bumper sticker of the week

    “Conserve toilet paper … use both sides.” —Thanks to Gale Wilson!

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

    Joke of the Week.

    Reflections on our current times
    • Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
    • This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog … we laughed.
    • I’m so excited – it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?
    • Home-schooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job.
    • I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.
    • My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet. — Thanks to Carole Wallace for sending these to us

    Worth Pondering

    “We all have an unexpected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.” —Isabel Allende


    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.
    • 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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    12 Comments
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    pursuits712
    6 months ago

    I think our ancestors who survived slavery, rationing during the war, the Spanish flu, typhoid, and the Great Depression would probably tell us all to stop our bellyaching and think of someone other than ourselves for a change.

    mark b
    6 months ago

    Chuck, you have the outdoors, so hopefully the walls don’t come crashing in on you. I did want to correct your perceived “cooped up in 300 square feet of living space”. Let’s guess your 32′ motorhome is measured bumper to bumper. We’d better subtact 2′ for the bumpers and wall. Guessing you have a Class C, that means the engine and cab probably account for 6′ of the length. Some are 102″ wide, but with walls inside you have 96″ (8′), at best. If your driver/passenger chairs swivel and/or recline, and you have a cabover area, then you can add some sq’ back in. Realistically, including the pantry, closet and steps you may be less than 200′. Now we have a topic for the RV Shrink.

    GeorgeB
    6 months ago

    Hi Chuck,
    Isolation can be tough, but we are a strong Nation of people and will endure. I always remain mindful that this isolation really isn’t tough to do when compared to our Armed Forces who sacrifice family for our country and lives for years in conditions that you or I could not do for a day. Not to mention those who are sequestered in hospitals trying to battle through Covid19. Did you read the article in your local newspaper today? It chronicled the hell a woman in your host town suffered while being treated for Covid19.
    Meanwhile we will suck it up and thank our Lord that we and our spouses are healthy.

    impavid
    6 months ago

    The Winlock, Washington egg may be the biggest egg in the U.S. at 12 feet long weighing in at 1,200 lbs but it’s certainly not the biggest in the world. That title goes to an egg in Ukraine. The second largest egg in the world title goes to Vegreville, Alberta in Canada at 31 feet long and weighing 5,512 lbs.

    Charlene Reagan
    6 months ago

    When the recommendation came out to wear face masks when venturing out to the grocery store, 6 of us stepped up and made over 245 fabric masks for the staff & campers at Riverside RV Resort in Arcadia, FL. Several people donated fabric to help the cause. This was done in 4 days! Another couple volunteered to deliver all of the masks to the different sites.

    JBC Cripps
    6 months ago

    32+ days and counting. Have we learned anything? This is an interesting article to give some thought to: https://medium.com/@juliovincent/prepare-for-the-ultimate-gaslighting-6a8ce3f0a0e0

    Kevin Loving
    6 months ago

    Chuck, I believe there is a LIMIT to how long many Americans will “stay home”. I don’t know what that limit is, but I think we are getting close. The fact is that all of these restrictions are followed because most people want to do what they are being told is “right”. I can assure you that there are not enough Law Enforcement in this land to MAKE people follow these dictates should they decide not to.
    I pray we will see a lifting of these orders soon!

    Karen Willis
    6 months ago
    Reply to  Kevin Loving

    I, too, believe this.

    Roger Marble
    6 months ago
    Reply to  Kevin Loving

    Kevin, sadly, you are probably correct. Americans have had it too good for too long and as a nation, we do not understand the concept of “shared sacrifice”. Currently and for a number of months the only thing we can do to prevent the virus spread and to save lives is to practice “social distancing”. However not a day goes by without seeing some story about this group or that, that think they are “special” and somehow immune from disease. According to reports from China, some are reporting being infected a second time. There is still a lot we do not know about this virus. Some will rush the “return to normal” and if they do some will pay, with their lives, for that mistake.
    This is what happens when people are not taught to accept Science but to rely on their “gut” or “feelings” or “faith”.

    Kevin Loving
    6 months ago
    Reply to  Roger Marble

    Roger one of the problems with this is that a LOT of what they are telling us just don’t make sense. Of Course there are ALWAYS those Americans who believe that the Constitution has NOT been suspended (I happen to be one of those “knukleheads”)! I believe most Americans will take REASONABLE steps to help each other IF they are given REASONABLE information.
    I am retired, but MANY poor folks are so “selfish” they INSIST on feeding there families! Not so long ago when my children were young; I MYSELF was one of those “selfish” people who had to work hard and make sure I took care of my family. Funny, we USED to APPLAUD people who insisted on working for a living and didn’t take Government handouts.
    Perhaps “Science” can tell us how to feed our families without working Roger.

    Roy Christensen
    6 months ago
    Reply to  Kevin Loving

    Maybe NEXT time the administration will not disband the Pandemic Response Team and will LISTEN to scientists who say a pandemic is a likely occurrence and we must prepare for one. We dodged bullets with SARS, Ebola, and MRSA, but were warned the next one could be a large problem. Unfortunately there is an influential group of people who don’t trust science. The current problem will not go away until there is widespread testing to scientifically evaluate how bad and where the problem spots are. It is thought that many people are asymptomatic and are unknowingly spreading the virus. We may not return to normal until a vaccine is developed and produced for worldwide use. Recent studies indicate that many infected people on the east coast got the virus from Europe, not Asia. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t originate from Asia, but that it traveled here directly from Europe. Scientists will play an important role in ending this pandemic. We need leaders who tell us the truth.

    Norm Milne
    6 months ago
    Reply to  Kevin Loving

    Even with the Virus in full swing???