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Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 946

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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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Page Contents

May 2, 2020

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

Editor’s corner

With Chuck Woodbury

If you are of a certain advanced age, you remember Gene Autry, the “Singing Cowboy.” In the 1940s and ’50s, he was one of the most popular Western TV actors along with Roy Rogers and William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy). He later became a successful businessman and the owner of the California Angels baseball team. Gene died in 1998.

For the younger readers in our audience, I offer this bit of advice from Gene, which he called the “Cowboy Code.” It provides an insight into the popular culture of the day when many Baby Boomers, myself included, were growing up — when young boys envisioned themselves cowboys like Gene — the “good guys.” I can’t imagine something as “corny” as this becoming popular today.

Now, here, to brighten your day in this difficult time, is Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code:

• The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
• He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
• He must always tell the truth.
• He must be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
• He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
• He must help people in distress.
• He must be a good worker.
• He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
• He must respect women, parents, and his nation’s laws.
• The Cowboy is a patriot.

I don’t believe in my life I ever had heroes quite as god-like or important as those cowboy TV stars. It was a simpler time, for sure — an era now remembered with great fondness by all little cowboys of yesteryear.

Hear Gene Autry sing “Back in the Saddle Again


Our new directory of RV parks with storm shelters

👍 When you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, it can be a terrifying feeling to be stuck in an RV park with nowhere to hide. With that in mind, our ace editor Diane McGovern has put together a directory of RV parks that have storm shelters right on their property or a quick walk away. Bookmark this, and if you know of a park not on the list, please let us know so we can add it.

👍 We don’t come across too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV from Network RV is a game changer. With the inexpensive SoftStartRV you can run two air conditioners on a 30-amp hookup or run a single unit with the power from a small portable generator. We love this device and believe it will keep a lot more RVers cooler this summer than ever before. Read more.

👍 I am happy to announce that veteran journalist James Raia, the editor of the Weekly Driver Website and Podcast, is now reporting news about pickup trucks for our Sunday RV Travel Newsletter. He’s focusing on trucks that are especially popular with RVers. A recent survey in RV Travel revealed that 81 percent of our readers own a pickup truck.

Here is the obituary of our dear friend and columnist Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, with information about the two charities where you can make a memorial donation. Personally, we are still in disbelief that Gary is gone. Read the more than 300 comments left by our readers in our original story about his passing from COVID-19.

There is a whole lot of coronavirus news as it impacts RVers. We’ll have a rundown of the important news that may affect your RVing life and travels.

Brain Teaser

What do the following words have in common?

• Assess • Banana • Dresser • Grammar • Potato • Revive • Uneven • Voodoo
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)

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

Want a new faucet on your galley sink? Read this first.
Tools for RVers: Two handy screwdrivers.
RV Education 101: Keep track of detector expiration dates.
How to keep your RV absorption fridge running efficiently.
Yikes! A holding tank pyramid!

Watch out for mice in your spring RV cleaning

With RVers hopeful that spring and summer travel will get a green light – even if on a limited basis – their thoughts may have turned to getting the rig ready to roll. Trouble is, not only do we like our RVs, sometimes rodents like our RVs too. Not surprisingly, we may find our prized motorhome or trailer has become the wintering grounds of the cagey mouse. Here’s what to do about them while staying safe from potential Hantavirus.

Husband says “No” to danger; wife says, “Let’s go!”

By Tom Mitchell
“Is it true that in every relationship, one partner is more wild and adventurous than the other? If true, I’m not that person. I suffer from Acrophobia, an irrational fear of heights… And I swim like a rock. So, I’m not the guy that says let’s go swimming in the ocean or let’s get on a roller coaster. Nope.” Read about Tom’s harrowing experience at the ocean thanks to his adventurous wife. (Includes a poll.)

Can your pet give you COVID-19?

If you are self-quarantining in an RV park, chances are you see a lot of other RVers walking by with their pets, almost always dogs. You might wonder if the coronavirus can spread from domestic animals to humans. Find out what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about this.

This is by far the craziest U-turn in history

VIDEO: We…. we…. we… we don’t have any words! Should we be impressed? Terrified? Sweating? All of the above? Can you imagine trying to turn your RV around on a road like this? Most people would think it was impossible, but not this driver. Watch it here.

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

Stop RV refrigerator fires before they start
Why one couple quit full-time RVing
How RV manufacturers hide shortcuts from you
How to prepare for boondocking

Reader Poll

Will you have trouble making your RV loan payment this month?

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.

How often do you go for a walk?
For grandparents, how many grandchildren do you have?
Are you doing your major grocery shopping online to be delivered to you?

Rain coming? Shut off that cruise control!

Everyone’s heard the story of the man driving his motorhome down that long, lonesome highway. Feeling the pull of a “call of nature,” the story goes, he sets the cruise control, climbs out from behind the wheel and heads off for the bathroom. It’s a silly tale, but one that does have a bit of moral to it. Besides “Don’t drink too much coffee before you hit the road,” there’s the corollary: There are times when you should not use cruise control. One of those times may not be what you think: in the rain. This is important.

Do you keep a travel log?

Do you keep a log in your RV? Before you respond, “Yeah, several, in basement storage for when we want a nice campfire” — Beware, we’re talking paper, not wood, here. But enough beating around the tree. Many RVers have found keeping a travel log is not only fun, it can be beneficial when you “come back this way again.” Read more.

Sewer hoses: Lacking honor but we all gotta have one

Sometimes things that have “a purpose lacking honor,” such as sewer hoses, are still necessary. Read about Russ De Maris’ unfortunate (and disgusting) “learning experience” before you make your next sewer hose purchase. We originally posted this in September, 2016. Read more.

Video: Roger “Hurricane” Wilson shares a catchy tune about RVing

Popular travel bloggers Gone with the Wynns shared this video of Roger “Hurricane” Wilson singing his tune “Home Sweet Home in My RV” in Bar Harbor, Maine. Wilson performs across the U.S., often at live events in campgrounds and RV parks. He’s a fan-favorite of many RVers. Watch the video.

RV Electricity Basics. Part One

VIDEO: In a series of videos, RV electricity expert Mike Sokol covers the basics of electricity for RV owners. In this first 27-minute installment he discusses volts, amps, watts and how to use a digital meter to measure them for your RV. Watch it here.

How to deal with unwanted noise in the campground

In this day and age of RV parks with tightly packed campsites, unwanted noise can be irritating or, worse, keep you awake at night. Here from editor Chuck Woodbury are a few ways to get rid of unwanted noise or at least mask it. We originally told you about this in September, 2016. Read more.

Popular articles from last week

RVelectricity – What’s all the noise about generators?
Who is responsible for educating the RV park idiots?
Dometic’s new compressor-run refrigerator. Is it right for you?
This campground is top secret. Do you know where it is?
Keep “virus-safe” at the fuel pump.
Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, April 25, 2020.
It’s a tank. It’s a trailer. It’s Aussie RV innovation.
Yikes! A holding tank pyramid!
Wind storm uproots trees, crushes RVs. See video (may be disturbing!).
Many places you can shop for huge savings right now.
RV Education 101: Establishing your RV’s pivot point.
Building an RV park: We’re still waiting!


Our Facebook and RVillage Groups: RV Horror StoriesRV AdviceRV Parks with Storm SheltersRV Buying AdviceNorthwest RV CampingSouthwest RV CampingFree CampgroundsBudget RV TravelRV VideosRV 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

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.

Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.

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.

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.

Hot off the press! Sign up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter!
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

To wear a mask or not to wear a mask …

Dear RV Shrink:
We live in an RV resort with a very large and very active community. It is one of the reasons we bought a lot in this particular park. Since COVID-19, there has been a lot of discussion on how we should handle it as a community. It was finally decided that to enter the community center, laundry facility or workshop area, a face mask is required. We thought that was a great idea, but we have other members that refuse. … One member showed up at a board meeting with his pistol strapped to his belt and insisted the rule was an infringement of his Second Amendment rights…. Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s advice. And watch the RV Shrink perform a 3-minute song, “UAW Rag,” he wrote a few years ago.

RV Education 101

Maintain water level in RV lead acid battery

By Mark Polk
If you have lead acid RV batteries, you need to check the water (electrolyte) levels in the batteries periodically. Hot weather, over-charging and high usage can deplete the electrolyte levels in the battery cells. Learn more.

RV Electricity

Preliminary report on Vitrifrigo Swing Compressor Refrigerator

by Mike Sokol
After a few false starts and stops I’ve finally finished my first series of tests on an 8-cubic-foot Vitrifrigo DP2600 swing compressor refrigerator powered by a single 100 amp-hour Ion-Ready Lithium battery from Briter technologies. And the run times using the refrigerator’s built-in 12-volt connection are quite a bit longer than using a 100 amp-hour battery to power a 1,000-watt inverter which powers a residential refrigerator with a conventional compressor. Here (in Mike’s report) are the basic numbers.

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

Solar battery tender? Yep! How to easily maintain the health of RV house batteries when the RV is parked somewhere remote without a nearby electrical outlet.

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

RV Tire Safety

Is moisture in tires a bad thing? What about in RV tires?

with RV tire expert Roger Marble
The question of nitrogen being used to inflate a tire has been covered in a few of my blog posts and on some other posts on the internet. It is often mentioned that the nitrogen used to inflate tires is “dry” and so that is considered a positive, but I don’t recall anyone getting too specific on why “dry” is better than “wet.” Roger explains here.

RV Short Stop

Public parks reopening gradually

By Julianne G. Crane
Most of us are ready to get back to camping, especially in our favorite public park. … Many state and national parks are open for day use, but not overnight camping; others are completely closed. Trying to find information on which public park is open can be tedious and requires contacting each individual park to be certain if the gate will be open when you arrive with your RV. Here are a few places to start your research.

RV Fire Safety

Check radiator and heater hoses monthly

A pinhole-size leak in a radiator or heater hose can spray antifreeze on hot engine parts. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol concentrate and water. When the water boils off, the remaining ethylene glycol can self-ignite at 782 degrees F. During your monthly fire inspection, check all hoses for firmness, clamp tightness and signs of leaking.

Traveling with a Pet

Do you sleep at night with a pet on your bed?

Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.

Time for a DIY project in the RV?

Here are some ideas…
Add another room to your RV with this brilliant mod
Make your own custom sink-matched cutting board
Keep the weather out – with putty tape
Replacing your RV skylight
Screen door mod provides better view

Pop Quiz

Where was this photo taken? Take your best guess

Here is your geography quiz for today. Where was the photo taken? Do you recognize it? It certainly doesn’t look very hospitable, does it? Click here to see a bigger photo and take your best guess.

Reader letters

Dear editor,
Here in northwest Oregon we are surviving, but getting restless. Many of the residents at the RV park here in Salem have been let go from jobs. To further the depression and money issues creating much stress, the managers are raising our rent as well as enforcing a larger late fee, and they will not accept partial payments. This is a horribly immoral and inhumane thing to do to other humans in our upside-down world.

The few of us here do not have combined resources to protect ourselves and the rest of this community against this resort as they have deaf ears.

I just needed to get this off my heart as it is weighing heavily on my spirit, and ask for uplifting prayers to help us stay strong, healthy and safe financially as well as emotionally as the two of us persevere. Thank you to all those who are working endlessly to keep us safe. —Terri Hansen

Dear Terri,
The very best to you. It’s a difficult time for many now, and we suspect the owners of your RV park are struggling along with millions of others.

Dear editor,
We have a June trip planned and made all our reservations months ago. Would you please ask Chuck if he thinks things will be opened up so we can take our June trip. Our 42-day plan is to go to New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, & Utah. Does Chuck think we will be able to take our trip or does he think we should cancel all our reservations? His thoughts would be much appreciated. — John & Lana Stahl

Dear John and Lana,
From Chuck: If I were you I’d cancel my reservations. I doubt very much that many of the places you would want to visit would be open. I know that’s not good news, but if I were in your shoes that’s what I would do without question. Hopefully things will be better next year.

Dear editor,
How about when it’s time to smog ur RV where can I go to get repairs done or help with it? I’m needing only 3 hosed to pass. —Sylvia H.

Dear Sylvia,
You didn’t tell us where you live, and so it might be difficult for us to recommend a shop for you. Have you ever heard of the search engine called Google? Perhaps go there, type in “RV repair,” or “RV smog” to find what you are looking for.

Museum of the Week

ESSE Purse Museum

Little Rock, Arkansas

If you’re in need of a new purse, a visit to this museum just for the gift shop might be in order. This fascinating little museum tells the story of style through purses, and also gives a glimpse into women’s fashion history throughout the 20th century. The museum has a stunning collection of bags, and walks you through each decade showing different styles and trends. You can find more info on the museum website here.


The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water. Less than 1 percent of that is fresh water, and 2 to 3 percent is contained in glaciers and ice caps. From MarineBio Conservation Society

Bumper sticker of the week

“5/4 of all people have trouble with fractions.” Thanks to George Bliss!

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

Joke of the Week

Fred Brown is on his deathbed, the end near. His nurse, wife, daughter and two sons are at his side. He asks for two witnesses as he records his last wishes. “My son Bernie, you take the Mayfair houses. My daughter Sybil, you take the apartments in the East End. Jamie, my son, you take the offices at City Center. Sarah, my dear wife, please take all the residential buildings along the river.” The nurse and witnesses are blown away by the man’s words. The nurse says, “Mrs. Brown, your husband must have been a brilliant businessman to have accumulated all that property.” The wife replies, “Property? Oh, no … he has a paper route!”

Coronavirus pledge: “I need to practice social distancing from the refrigerator.”

Worth Pondering

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat.” —Steve Jobs

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

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RV Travel staff


Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris. Contributing writers: Mike Sokol, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Bob Difley, 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 or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

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This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


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Scott Gitlin
2 years ago

. . . and now we return to Melody Ranch . . . which just happens to be located over the lost city of Murania. Watch out for the Thunder Riders!

Greg T
2 years ago

Great article in the Editor’s Corner. Thanks for the memories Chuck. I loved all of the westerns on TV back then. Oh, for those simpler times again.

2 years ago

In the 50s we had tons of cowboy TV shows; now it’s all crime drama. How about a cowboy revival?

2 years ago

Glenn, I think you misread his article. He clearly states he wears a mask and even said he will bump up to the N95 when available. I also don’t think he was suggesting people should not wear seat belts. He does say he feels we should make good choices without the government telling us how to protect ourselves.

2 years ago

Remembering? Our childhoods were great times. I had 2 chrome cap pistols and we played cowboy every day. Violence and guns! To this day I haven’t shot anyone. Roy and Dale were my favorite hero’s! Gene was ok, but he was singing more than chasing the black hat bad guys. I also had a Gen. Douglas MacArthur hat in about 1942-43 era. Ah yes, how about the “Road Runner” – more violence with falling rocks and riding cannon balls – but alas , kids know the difference between real and false – only adults can’t seem to figure it out. Thanks for memories Chuck.

mike neely
2 years ago

we all are entitled to our opinions and your is wrong. I agree the face masks are way over hyped and I do not use them either. As Dr Fauci says. face masks will not protect you from getting infected and not necessarily stop the spread. It just prevents some one who is infected from coughing or sneezing the virus 20-30 feet from him. Since cloth mask sill not stop the virus (at .125 microns), it will still spread from an infected person with a mask (2-4 feet), which is way the 6 foot social distancing. It will still go thru your mask and infect you if you are too close. Only a N95 mask will stop you from getting infected. The problem is most people think a mask will protect them, it will not. (also, your tear ducts (moisture) connect to your sinuses, so if your eyes are not covered you will get an infection that way)

JR Thornton
2 years ago
Reply to  mike neely

I guess the nurses and others wearing cloth masks (when N95 not available) are just being foolish.

Diane Mc
2 years ago

Just my opinion. Regarding the couple asking about a trip in June. I would recommend they get on the state govt websites and check status each day. Many of those states are starting to reopen, slowly, like Colorado. I’ve read some parks may be close to reopening. Where they’ve made reservations call and ask what is going on in the area. I wouldn’t cancel just yet. Especially if you can do 24 or 48hr cancellation for a refund. Nothing to lose by waiting. And if they cancel and things change, may not be able to get a reservation.

William Edward Kendall
2 years ago

I have two 4Patriot power cells for extra power for my cell, and Ipad. One of these just exploded and caught fire in my kitchen almost burning down my home. If you have one of these please return it. It was not connected, just sitting on the counter. They have also had problems with the battery they sell to go with their generators. Take care.

John M
2 years ago

Gene , Roy , Hopalong ,Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid and many others were my hero’s back in the 40’s and 50’s.

John M
2 years ago

Just read the RV shrink’s replay and agree with him. You need to read the whole question and comment over again. He is only stating it the way it is. What does wearing a face mask have to do with the second amendment.

2 years ago

Hmmm…. fire someone because you don’t like what they say? That sounds like censorship to me. My momma taught me young that if I didn’t like something it was best to move on. It holds true today. Believe me, I do a lot of it! Except here. Sometimes it just right to point out being censored.

Glen Scofield
2 years ago

When my wife, Jeanne, and I began RVing about twenty years ago,, we realized that when we tried to remember where we had been and what we had done, we could not. So, we now keep a journal. Normally, we don’t journal when at home, but when we travel, we try to describe as carefully and completely as we can what each day was like. From time to time, we’ve needed to revisit those tomes in order to describe something to someone or just to remember, ourselves, what we did. We include in the journal photographs that we’ve taken that could enhance our descriptions. Because our family wants to keep track of us–we’re in our eighties–we send them emails every couple of days which are derived from the journal. We actually have friends who have heard of our emails and ask to be included with the family when we describe our adventures to them. We keep printed copies of the journals in each of the folders we generate from our travels. Also, they are stored on the laptop we carry with us so that we can access them if we need to be reminded of something when we think we’ve been there before. We are pleased that we have written memory joggers to help us remember some of our forays; reliving trips is almost as good as doing them.

Captn John
2 years ago

I was growing up with Gene and believed what he said. All holds true today EXCEPT I learned during 2 years in the jungle if you don’t shoot 1st you’re dead. That holds true today. No one knows I carry but hate the thought of possibility being dead due to hesitation.

Larry Boswell
2 years ago
Reply to  Captn John

I learned while young and shooting all kinds of weaponry with my Dad, a 34 yr Navy Veteran, that the most critical step in shooting is to IDENTIFY your target. Like you, I learned as a Corpsman that, if your target is identifying you, you need to shoot first. Sorry, Gene Autry! That’s one of the Cowboy Codes that needs flexibility.

Joe Allen
2 years ago

On the U-turn, WHY?

Bob p
2 years ago

About the the U turn, as Ron White would say “stupid can’t be fixed”.

2 years ago
Reply to  Bob p

remote controlled toy

2 years ago
Reply to  Bob p

The stupid part is some don’t see it as a computer generated fake.

mike neely
2 years ago
Reply to  Robbie

are you implying that if “its on the internet it must be true” saying may be wrong?
It was a pretty poor computer generation (must have been on an Atari), poor graphics.