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May 23, 2020
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With Chuck Woodbury
Every evening, usually an hour or so before I go to bed, my little terrier and I take a walk. It’s mainly for Archie, an opportunity for him to do his business so he doesn’t awake Gail or me at night. But I enjoy it, too.
The daytime temperatures here in Kingman, Arizona, have been in the 80s, even 90s, for the past month. The evenings are glorious, perfect for sitting outside with a glass of wine and gazing at the stars or walking a dog.
It was 70 degrees last night at 10 p.m., with a wonderful, ever-so-gentle breeze. Dog or not, it was the perfect night to be out. As we walked through our park and then along the street that backs up to it — I found myself looking into the RVs, observing the people inside going about their lives. Their front doors and windows were open, inviting the sweet, fresh air inside.
Some watched TV, others were at their computers. Some read in an easy chair. Others were in the kitchen — cooking, cleaning, puttering. If I did not have an RV of my own, and observed this, I would have been incredibly envious. It looked so perfect!
I THOUGHT TO MYSELF that these people had everything they needed for a comfortable life. I know from my own recent experience of living in my RV for two years straight, and now for 7 months, that I lack nothing in creature comforts when I am traveling with my wheeled home. Traveling by RV has been part of my life for more than 35 years, and I am still in love with the life. Yes, it can be more challenging today with so many people doing it, and especially now with the pandemic. But in the evening when I am snuggled up on my couch with a good book I am as content as a human being is entitled to be.
And so, as Archie and I walked last night, I peered into a couple dozen RVs — some huge rigs, others trailers only 20 feet long. As I did, I felt an incredible sense of peace. In the complicated and confusing world you and I occupy, observing those people going about their normal lives in their cozy little homes was calming. The scene was no different than what I have observed for decades. What pandemic?
My little dog buddy and I returned to our cozy motorhome after 20 minutes. Archie had watered a few plants and one fire hydrant, so he was good. I washed my hands, grabbed my book and snuggled up on the couch. Thirty minutes later, as my eyes grew weary, I adjourned a few feet to my bedroom, climbed into my bed next to my beautiful Gail, and soon drifted off into dreamland.
I am thankful for my good fortune at a time when so many others are struggling. I pray for those less fortunate than me to find strength to hang in there until the germ that robbed them of their good lives is conquered.
• COVER STORY •
Would the rude, obnoxious know-it-alls in the audience please leave!
The “know-it-alls” in the RV Travel audience revealed their anger, rudeness and disrespect for other readers last week. It made me angry and prompted me to write what I think of these people, and to ask them to please do their reading elsewhere. Read what I wrote.
Update on new RV air conditioner device
Last week I announced we had a new sponsor, the SoftStartRV, a device that allows RVers to run two air conditioners on only 30 amps or one A/C using a small generator or even household current. Mike Sokol and I consider this a game changer: It will enable RVers to run their air conditioners in situations where they could never run them before. Yes, this company is a sponsor, but we only accepted its support after testing the device to be 100 percent sure it did what it promised. You can read my story on the SoftStartRV here, and if you want even more information, read Mike’s analysis about how it works. If you will be in your RV this summer, this device will help keep you cool in situations where you would have been sweltering before.
BRAGGING: Okay, we can’t resist bragging. Last issue’s article by Andy Zipser about reopening his Virginia RV park was viewed by a whopping 112,000 readers within three days. Our poll in Monday’s RV Daily Newsletter asking whether you would, or would not, stay in a campground where a mask was required outdoors had received more than 6,400 votes by Friday afternoon, with more than 325 comments. Wow!
Finally … Don’t miss our new feature Readers’ Pets of the Day (below). So far, more than 250 of you have sent photos of your dogs, cats and other little pals (even a bunny). They are sooooooo cute!
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
- My Life Update for May 22, 2020:
Heading home to Seattle now after 7 months on the road.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Pace quickens of parks and campgrounds allowed to reopen.
• U.S.–Canada border closure to “non-essential traffic” extended until June 21.
• Two million jack stands sold by Harbor Freight being recalled.
• Reservations for rental RVs are high – one company reports up by 650% since early April.
• Thousands flocked to Yellowstone National Park Monday – very few followed safety measures.
• Sparks from travel trailer’s flat tire caused power outage and brush fires along several miles of I-5 in California.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Coronavirus News as its affects RVers • Reader survey and much more…
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Boondocking and hiking: Be cautious, stay safe.
• How to prevent your LP gas valve from getting stuck.
• RV Education 101: Improve your RV air conditioner’s efficiency.
• Slideouts operating erratically? Here’s probably why.
• Get your feet wet: Rent an RV.
Memorial Day weekend travelers get bonuses
If you’re planning to be out and about with the RV on Memorial Day weekend, you may see fewer folks on the road and pay a lot less for fuel. According to AAA, prices for fuel haven’t been lower since 2003, when the average gallon of regular was running $1.50. Get more details here.
Readers reveal changes in their lives during pandemic
Earlier this month, Editor Chuck Woodbury reflected on how he and Gail had been trying to do “new” things while stuck in isolation. He then asked readers to tell us what’s new in their world. Here’s a sample of how you have been spending that “extra time.”
If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t be towing
By Dave Kendall
I’ve gone from an RV newbie to towing for approximately 37,000 miles in the past five years. I previously had some boat towing experience, but that mainly taught me how to back up a trailer. Towing an RV is a totally different animal. Continue reading, and take the quiz.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Be prepared for lightning-caused or other RV fires
• Is it okay to play Taps in the evening at an RV park? (More than 100 comments.)
• Lightweight trailer is made with chicken feathers
• RVer wants buying advice. Isn’t it obvious this RV is bad news?
• Video: Unhappy campers vent on TV about Camping World
Every day the number of lily pads in a pond doubles. If the pond is completely full by the 30th day, on what day was it half full?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)
Do you believe a vaccine for the coronavirus will be available to you in 2020?
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.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletter:
Would you stay at a campground if required to wear a mask when outdoors? Tell us here and learn how more than 6,400 of our readers responded.
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.
Go where, young man? More of your RVing dreams
Written by our readers, compiled by Russ and Tiña De Maris
When readers told us of their dreams of future RV travel, we were flooded with both fantasies and clearly plotted-out trips. Here are more of your contributions, which include plans from “newbies,” some California dreamin’, going north, and going (really far) east.
Full-timing doesn’t mean major eating change
Despite the fact that a lot of “high-end” motorhome builders have eliminated the “old-fashioned” oven, it seems many full-timers still eat as much as they did before they went on the road. In a question posted on a full-timer’s forum, a huge majority of respondents said they pretty well stuck with the way they cooked “back home.” How’s that? Here’s a sampling of some of the “menu items” full-timers eat, plus some tips from full-timers Russ and Tiña De Maris. Read more.
Can’t hold your water? Bladder tanks tote it to your RV
So you’ve finally found the perfect boondock spot – but wait! Now you have to move the rig because you’ve run out of water. You could run back and forth with a five-gallon container, but what a waste of time – and what a mess filling the tank. A clever carrier allows you to bring back 45 gallons of water on the roof of the toad car, or the tow vehicle. Read more.
Cheery RV decor to spruce up the campsite
It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means the unofficial start of summer has arrived! If your campsite or RV’s parking spot is looking a little dull from winter weather, it’s time to clean and spruce it up! Here are a few things we’ve come across recently that we think will bring some cheer to you and your campsite. Check ’em out.
Video: The Rolls-Royce of the future is INSANE
We… we… we don’t even have words! Look at this thing! The Rolls-Royce of the future (from the year 2035, as the title states), is here, and it couldn’t get any fancier. A custom luggage door, a projected red carpet (this part is really somethin’), a heated umbrella compartment in the door, a silk couch and a robot named Eleanor that drives you around? Sign us up! Now, if only they’d make one that could tow an RV… Check it out! Then take our poll.
Don’t make these mistakes around poisonous snakes
By Johnathan David
As the summer months approach, hiking trails across the United States will undoubtedly see an increase in foot traffic and while hiking is a well-loved activity by many, it comes with a few risks. Hikers sometimes risk encountering a snake while on the trail, and this can be especially dangerous if the snake is one of the four types of venomous snakes found in the country. Here are the five most common mistakes that first-time hikers make when it comes to poisonous snakes. Learn more from this herpetologist.
Popular articles from last week
• RV park reopens: Owner says “Be careful what you wish for!”
• 10 trucks, all 2020 models, all less than $35,000.
• RV Tire Safety: Was your “blowout” caused by parking at Quartzsite two years ago?
• RV Coronavirus News Update, May 17, 2020.
• Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, May 16, 2020.
• Letter to the editor: “Perspective is an amazing gift.”
• Video: Classic GMC motorhome tragedy!
• Hilarious small town crime reports.
• RV Shrink: RV migration during a pandemic.
• RVelectricity: A portable ECG that could save your life.
• Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
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.
Be sure to bookmark our new directory of RV parks with storm shelters. Tornado season is coming. Check here for our list of RV parks with storm shelters. This could be life-saving information.
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.
🏕Psst! National Parks are slowly reopening. Here’s a helpful list from Thrillist about which are open now or plan to open soon.
Ask the RV Shrink
“Bean counter” wonders how much the RV lifestyle costs
Dear RV Shrink:
Can you give me an idea of what the RV lifestyle costs per month? My wife thinks we should buy an RV and start spending months on the road exploring North America. We live on our Social Security checks and small retirement investment. It seems to me owning an RV and traveling all the time is as expensive as living on a cruise ship. … —Bean Counter in Boston
RV Education 101
RV Buying Tips: What’s the best floor plan for you?
After you have a good idea of the type and size of RV you want to purchase, you need to look at floor plans. RVs come in numerous floor plans, and you need to decide which one makes the most sense based on your requirements. Here are some things to consider.
More analysis of the new SoftStartRV air conditioner device
By Mike Sokol
Just in time for the long, hot summer I’ve hooked up my Dometic Penguin II air conditioner on my test bench (literally) to begin gathering data on the peak current draw of a Dometic Penguin II air conditioner with a stock starting capacitor compared to the same air conditioner with the SoftStartRV modification. You’ll want to read about Mike’s findings here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session:
Taming the air conditioner energy hog. A reader asks Mike if there is a big a difference between 30-amp and 50-amp power, and why air conditioners are such energy hogs.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RV Electricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Lug nut torque – Part 1: Why is it important?
With RV tire expert Roger Marble
Here are some YouTube videos on the topic of torque: what it is and how do we measure the force. As an engineer, I sometimes just assume that everyone understands some basic engineering terms, but I am wrong to make that assumption. You don’t have to remember all the details. I am just hoping that when we are done with this topic you will accept our recommendations on how to set and how to check the torque of your lug nuts. Learn more.
Building an RV Park
WE WERE APPROVED!
[Editor: Do you think Machelle is just a little excited?!]
By Machelle James
Imagine having someone sitting on your chest. You are paralyzed and you can’t breathe. When AJ and I were getting ready for our Zoom meeting with Planning and Zoning Thursday night, we were just sick to our stomachs. We didn’t expect to be so nervous but we were. What if everything we’ve worked so hard for didn’t get approved? What if selling our home and everything we own to open our campground was in vain? … Thursday night we finally had our Planning and Zoning meeting after months of postponement…. Continue reading.
The RV Kitchen
Hot Water Corn Cakes
A bread you don’t bake. This old Southern favorite was cooked in lard or bacon fat in a black iron skillet over a black iron cook stove. It’s a quick way to have a breakfast bread over a crackling campfire. It’s also good when served with a salad for lunch or a mug of soup for a light supper. Serve them plain or with jam, preserves or yogurt, or go Southern with cane or sorghum syrup. Get the recipe.
The Digital RVer
Scanning documents with your smartphone
Do you sometimes need to scan documents but don’t want to spend money on – or take up space with – a flatbed scanner? Did you know your iPhone or Android smartphone can do it for free? Learn how easy it is to do here.
Readers’ Pet(s) of the Day
“We currently have three dogs and hope to hit the road with them full time later this year (depending on COVID-19 at this point). Here is a picture of them on the bed we made in our motorhome. Left to right is Tango, Audrey Cricket, and Murdock. Audrey Cricket was rescued as a stray in 2010 and had to have a rear leg amputated due to an extreme injury at that time. She gets around great now and is a snuggle bug. Murdock was rescued in 2015 when his previous owners turned him over to rescue because he was too much for them to handle at the age of five months. The three of them make quite a pack, as you can see.” — Kris and Gary Steiner, Edinboro, PA
Send us a photo of your pet with a short description. We publish one each weekday in RV Daily Tips and in our Saturday RV Travel newsletter.
Video: Should you do housework or hang out with your dog?
We came across this video on Facebook and thought we’d share it with you if you’re having a hard time deciding what to do today. Should you do housework? Probably not. What about read a book? Maybe later. Oh, you could take today to learn a new hobby… Nah. Try a new workout? Nope. Instead, by a unanimous decision, you’ll drink wine and hang with your dog. Great plan – we’ll join you! Watch the video here.
Facebook Groups of Interest
PLUS OUR OWN GROUPS: RV Horror Stories • RV Advice • RV Electricity • RV Parks with Storm Shelters • RV Buying Advice • Northwest RV Camping • Southwest RV Camping • Free Campgrounds • Budget RV Travel • RV Videos • RV Coronavirus News
On March 18, 1925, a tornado began its path of destruction in southeastern Missouri through the south of Illinois and Indiana. It covered 219 miles in three hours and killed nearly 700 people, making it the deadliest tornado in U.S. history. It is the longest-lasting tornado on record. SOURCE: AccuWeather
Bumper sticker of the week
Stupidity ought to be painful! —Thanks to Jay Jeffress!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker? Send it to diane(at)RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Wisdom in the Coronavirus Age
• Ladies, it’s time to start dating older men. They can get you into the grocery store early.
• Never in my whole life would I imagine my hands would consume more alcohol than my mouth!
• I can’t believe I can walk into a store to buy marijuana but I have to meet my hairdresser in a back alley with unmarked bills to get a haircut!
• Wearing a mask inside your home is now highly recommended — not so much to prevent coronavirus, but to stop eating.
• Sitting at the bar in the kitchen last night. Tried to pick up my wife. She gave me a fake phone number. (Read that with Rodney Dangerfield’s voice in mind.)
• New command by cops these days: “Come out with your hands washed.”
Thanks to Mark Schaffler for sending these.
Reader letter (we’re including this in this Joke section):
Every day, normally a few times a day, we receive an email like this. We present it here to give you an opportunity to scratch your head and go “Huh.” THE EMAIL:
Hope you safe.
How are you doing today?
Hope this email finds you well.
Will be so glad if you can do me a favour.
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who are going hungry because their parents lost their jobs. You will feel so good if you contribute — helping people less fortunate than you go to bed without the pain of an empty stomach. Here’s where to donate.
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, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Social media director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
FOREVER IN OUR MEMORIES — OUR STAFF MEMBER IN HEAVEN, Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor.
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 • Gary Gilmore • Steve Barnes + others we will add later.
Advertise with us. Contact Chuck Woodbury at chuck(at)rvtravel.com
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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