Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 956

    7

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    July 11, 2020

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    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury

    D

    o you remember the song, “I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool,” by Barbara Mandrell? Well, I could say pretty much the same thing, as in “I was RVing, when RVing wasn’t cool.”

    Well, times have changed, and dramatically in the last few months, when the popularity of RVing has skyrocketed. It seems everywhere you look, in newspapers, magazines, TV and on social media, you find glowing reports of travel by RV. It’s “the thing” right now.

    That uncool industry where I have worked for decades (where RVs in the past often sported “Grandpa’s and Grandma’s Playhouse” bumper stickers) is now very trendy. The pandemic has fueled many people’s desire to buy an RV and travel with it; RVing is the safest way to go. International travel, cruises and hotel stays are no longer an option for many.

    We're spending our children's inheritance
    Popular bumper sticker from 30 years ago.

    Sales at RV dealerships across the country have boomed in the last couple of months, especially with first-time buyers.

    DEALERS RUNNING OUT OF RVs
    I attended a phone conference last Tuesday with about two dozen RV industry folks — mostly dealers, manufacturers and campground executives. What I learned was that nobody knows what’s coming next. The big topic of discussion was that with RV factories shut down or returning to limited production, dealer inventories are fading fast. One northern California dealer reported he normally had 150 RVs on his lot this time of year. This past Tuesday he had 10. A friend told me that a dealer friend of his would normally have 500 units to sell, but now has 180.

    One dealer reported he and his staff were repeatedly explaining to eager buyers that some of the RVs they liked on the lot were not for sale, but were there for service.

    TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, today’s first-time buyers are not providing trade-ins, which further depletes inventory. Some dealers are so desperate for RVs they’re buying them at auction at higher prices than before, which will likely mean higher prices back on the lot.

    Qualifying for an RV loan is suddenly more challenging. One dealer said a credit score of 700 was mostly good enough for a loan a year ago, but now it’s more like 740, but even that’s not a sure thing. “I often have to turn to sub-prime lenders,” she explained. “Six months ago the customer would have got a better rate.” She said that more customers than normal are paying cash, which other dealers said, too.

    As far as producing more RVs for dealers, who knows how that will be affected by what’s happening in Elkhart, Indiana, where 85% of all American RVs are made, and where COVID-19 cases are spiking? Will factories fully reopen or just manage limited production? Already masks are required. I wonder what it will be like building RVs in the mostly un-air-conditioned factories this summer, where conditions in Indiana can be brutal on hot and humid days. Wearing a mask in those conditions can’t be comfortable. How could that not impede worker performance?

    So, much is going on. My staff and I will keep observing, and let you know what we find.

    chucksignature

    P.S. We debuted our new Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter last Tuesday, and it will continue every Monday through Friday (read yesterday’s issue). If you’re just getting started RVing, you should read this. Sign up for a reminder email for each new issue.

    ALSO: Big contest starting July 25. Win a SoftStartRV air conditioner management device (value about $250) and other great prizes. Details, including a list of prizes, will be announced in this coming week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter (sign up).

    HELP WANTED: We still have room for another paid writer to join our freelance staff, part-time — or full-time if you love to write and “get” what we’re doing. You must have experience writing on deadline for a newspaper, trade journal or news website. If not, please do not apply. If you are interested, email Chuck Woodbury at chuck (at) RVtravel.com


    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    • Walmart to debut Drive-In Movie Theaters in its store parking lots!
    • RV sales are hot now – and they’re mostly to first-time RVers
    • Toyota reigns as most reliable, best buy among used trucks

    PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Upcoming RV shows • Stolen RV report • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …


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

    Stay safe on your RV roof.
    How to carry extra propane safely.
    RV Education 101: RV tire safety tip – Use a TPMS.
    How sewer backflow can get into your fresh water system.
    How to keep your RV’s fresh water tank fresh.


    Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

    Copyright 2020 by Clint Norrell

    Even with an RV, there’s no escape from the outside world

    By Andy Zipser
    Midway through our eighth season as campground owners, I still get surprised by the many ways in which our little microcosm absorbs larger social issues and conflicts. From most campers’ perspectives, a campground is an opportunity to get away from the larger world and the numbing routine of everyday life — yet in making that escape, many campers haul all that baggage along with them. The result is that what should be an oasis from a fractious world instead ends up reflecting it. Continue reading.

    Help keep “Mom-and-Pop” businesses alive

    By Silvana Clark
    The coronavirus has altered the way Americans are spending their summer. Many people seem resigned to have a “staycation” rather than fly on a long-awaited trip to Hawaii or Europe. Those of us lucky to own RVs have the freedom to travel while still practicing social distancing. So how about considering supporting local businesses whenever we travel? Here are some great, and fun, ideas.

    Disney to reopen Florida parks. Good idea or bad?

    Walt Disney World theme parks will open beginning today, July 11, for the Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15. … Here’s a look at some of the changes guests can expect. Also, please answer the included poll and let us know if you think opening is good idea right now.

    Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 3: Freedom and civility

    By Dave Helgeson
    Last week we celebrated Independence Day and the freedom we enjoy in the United States. One of the freedoms we enjoy as RVers is the ability to go where we want, when we want. Another is the freedom to form and share our own opinions along with making our own decisions. However, with freedom comes responsibility, civility and understanding. Read more.

    Disaster at the Dump Station

    This man attempts to dump his rental motorhome’s black water tank (sewer tank) in this one-minute video. One big mistake was opening the valve quickly, instantly overwhelming the hose. Warning: This is disgusting, but if you’ve got the stomach, it just might make you laugh (perhaps a little nervously).

    Workamping? There are more ways to make money from it than you think…

    By Terri Nighswonger
    Levi and Natalie Henley, of Henley’s Happy Trails, are experienced work campers who put pen to paper this spring to tell others about their workamping experiences. The book, “Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It,” gives some background on the couple, who have been full-time RVing since 2014, and lays out the time commitment, duties and pay of a number of popular job types. Read about workamping and this informative book here.


    Do you have a blog you’d like RVtravel.com to host?
    If we accept you, you’ll earn money from the first day you post. Tip: No blogs about “we went here and did this.” Good writing important. Submit your blog idea.


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

    Marcus Lemonis and his big, illegal flag
    Meet my little pal Archie
    Telltale signs full-time RVing is not for you
    The many uses for WD-40
    Get rid of splattered bugs with Love Bug Eraser


    Brain Teaser

    A special offer allows you to get a free Popsicle if you exchange two Popsicle sticks for one Popsicle. Peter has 20 sticks. How many times can Peter get a free Popsicle?

    (Shhh. Don’t give it away. Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter.)


    Reader Poll

    Do you believe voting by mail is a good thing?

    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:
    How good a student were you in high school? As promised, those who responded received an A. See the results from more than 2,100 readers, and read some interesting comments here.


    What you need to know BEFORE buying a motorhome – Part Two

    By Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru
    This is Part Two of a video series where I speak with Steve Zeigler, the Director of Bus Shell Sales of Prevost, and Gil Johnson, a well-known Prevost Motorhome Inspector. While the content in this video is slanted towards Prevost motorhomes, the information will be useful to anyone shopping for a variety of motorhome brands. Watch the video.

    Are you managing your RV tanks? Part 1

    By Jim Twamley
    I’d like to address an important issue – tank management. Most RV’s have several tanks: fresh water, gray water, black water, hot water, propane and (for motorhomes) fuel tanks. Let’s deal with each one separately. Part 1 deals with the fresh water tank and the black water tank. Read it here.

    Which state has the worst drivers? This new report ranks them all

    For the fourth year in a row, Smart Asset has produced a report showing the states with the worst drivers. (Did the East Coast just pop into your head? Yes, for us too. But you may be surprised…) Learn more.

    Fire-chasing weird RV conversion!

    Most kids run to the sound of a fire engine siren, and those kids grown up probably do the same thing. There’s just something that compels some folks to chase after fire apparatus. Maybe that’s why those noisemakers are called “sirens.” Anyhow, grownups need hobbies, and maybe collecting fire trucks is one. Check out this fire engine RV.

    No! No! No! This fifth wheel towing setup can’t be real! Or can it?

    When you see this photo you’ll say, no way can that work safely, much less can it be legal! But the fact is, it is real and it was photographed at an Alberta gas station. Check it out. If you own a fifth wheel, please leave a comment with your thoughts. Does this really work, and safely?

    Stay safe on your RV roof

    The first rule of anything you do with an RV roof, even if to just check it out on a ladder, is to know your limitations and your comfort zone. … When you think you do need to get on the roof, here are a few safety precautions that are worth your time to follow.

    Reader from South Africa shows off cute VW motorhome

    RVtravel.com readers span the globe. Here’s an email and photo we received from reader Danie Fourie from South Africa. Read Danie’s note and see this cute RV here.

    RVing: The joy of the unexpected

    By Russ and Tiña De Maris
    We find that a good part of the joy of RVing is running into the unexpected. Round the next corner, who knows, maybe you’ll happen onto a herd of antelope. There’s always that vintage gas station that looks like a coffee pot. But half the fun is seeing the reactions folks have to these strange turnings. So what did Russ and Tiña’s Southern friend have to say about this Northwest anomaly? Find out here.

    YOU DO NOT (repeat: DO NOT) want to drive on this road

    What’s the scariest road you’ve ever driven down? There are many of them across the U.S., but the road in this photo might just have them all beat… Check it out.

    Never a dull moment for game wardens

    What comes to mind when you think of game wardens? Fellows that ask to see your hunting or fishing license? A fellow who sits in his truck at the edge of the fishing hole, nodding off? In some places, maybe. But Texas game wardens evidently live an active and frequently challenging life. Witness a few tidbits from the lives of Lone Star State wildlife officials. Continue reading.


    Popular articles from last week

    Recall: Some Forest River trailers have wrong weight information.
    What’s better for you: Class C motorhome or Class B van conversion?
    How to keep your RV’s fresh water tank fresh.
    Slide-outs for your galley make storage a snap.
    Full-time RVing: Learning how to “just roll with it.”
    RVelectricity: SoftStartRV update – Yes, it really works, and here’s proof
    It’s checkout time, your RV has a problem, won’t move. What to do?
    This RV wouldn’t budge in a tornado!
    Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
    Building an RV park: We met with the Board of Supervisors – Good news!
    How sewer backflow can get into your fresh water system.


    SWELL CONTEST OF THE DAY

    This could be your lucky day! The prize for this week will be a brand-new Travel Journal. Easily plan and record your routes, mileage, visited roadside attractions and more all in one place. To win find the secret phrase we published in one of this past week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters. Simply email the phrase to us at RVcontests@gmail.com . We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (July 11, 2020) by 11 a.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.

    LAST WEEK’S WINNER of their choice of these directories of free campgrounds, West edition or Heartland edition was: Selene Montgomery of Mears, Michigan. The previous week’s winner of the George Foreman 2-Serving Grill was Wayne Caldwell of Belen, New Mexico.


    Resources

    Is this a real airplane? Did it ever fly? Or is it non-flying movie prop? The answer is here along with where you can see it.

    Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RV Parks where you can fish without a licenseRVing Fulltime RVing with DogsTowing Behind a MotorhomeRVing with a DisabilityRV Travel TipsTrucks for RV Towing

    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.

    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.

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


    Ask the RV Shrink

    Reader asks, “Are all absorption fridges inefficient?”

    Dear RV Shrink:
    We bought a new trailer and the refrigerator is not staying cold enough. We have had it in the shop where fans have been added, outside shades have been installed, and airflow inspected. Do all absorption refrigerators work inefficiently?

    Read the rest of the question and the RV Shrink’s response.


    RV Education 101

    RV gray water tank maintenance tip

    We always talk about black water holding tank maintenance, but seldom mention the gray water holding tank. The gray water tank requires some simple maintenance to keep it clean and odor free. Read more.


    RV Electricity

    Hughes Autoformer – A cure for low campground voltage?

    Dear Readers,
    Not a week goes by without me receiving at least a few emails and questions about the Hughes Autoformer. This is advertised as a cure for low campground voltage, and its users are adamant about how great it works, and everyone else at the campground is shutting down while their own air conditioner is still working, etc.

    Note that in the 2020 National Electrical Code any voltage boosting transformers have been made a violation of NFPA 1192, allowing campgrounds to force you to disconnect or leave. Continue reading.

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

    Chiller? Cooler vs. refrigerator comparison. A reader wonders why their food wasn’t kept cold in a plug-in cooler.

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


    RV Tire Safety

    What valve stem to use with a TPMS – Part 2

    As a follow-up to last week’s post of why Roger Marble recommends people NOT use rubber valve stems with their external TPMS sensors, he shows some of the “guts” of valve stems. He explains the attention to detail tire engineers go to when designing tires and when trying to understand the “why” for a tire to lose air. Learn more.


    RV Short Stop

    Trees of Mystery – Popular outdoor destination in the Redwoods

    Since the mid-’40s, the Trees of Mystery in northern California has been a favorite stopover for many travelers driving along U.S. Highway 101. This attraction sits in the center of Redwood National and State Parks. The outdoor location of the Trees of Mystery lends itself to a good family destination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.


    RV Fire Safety

    How many fire extinguishers for your RV?

    While the National Fire Protection Association does not require that you carry more than one fire extinguisher, don’t take chances. One fire extinguisher is simply not enough. Fire and Life Safety instructor Mac McCoy recommends having at least two extinguishers inside of your coach — one near the door and one in the bedroom — and an additional one in an unlocked outside compartment or in your towed vehicle. Make sure that everyone traveling with you is trained to use the extinguishers.


    Reader letters

    Dear editor:
    My partner and I have just returned home to Arizona after an 8-day trip. Our first observation was how few people anywhere were wearing any masks including none of the owners/employees at RV parks we visited. That was very surprising, and frankly disappointing. Our other observation was the number “new” RVs that pulled in every evening, with temporary tags, fresh off the dealer lot. As Chuck has discussed many times, “Where will they all stay?” Read more.


    Museum of the Week

    Photo by Ryan Byer, Google Photos

    Skeletons: Museum of Osteology

    Oklahoma City, OK

    Ever wonder how tiny a hummingbird’s skeleton is? Well, you’ll find out at this fascinating museum. The Museum of Osteology displays almost 400 skulls and skeletons from all around the world. Want to see the rarest skeleton? Check out the Sumatran rhinoceros… Wow! Check out the official museum website here and plan your visit. You won’t want to miss this one!


    Readers’ Pet of the Day

    “This is Rusty at Valley of Fire. He loved this cool little nook on a hot day.” — Julie

    Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
    • Monday: Don Tuesday: Missy Wednesday: Two anonymous small white fluffballs! • Thursday: Dobby and Weezie • Friday: Dolly


    (Many) Tips for RVing with pets

    By Terri Nighswonger
    If you are full-time in your RV, I’m sure you know more than a handful of neighbors that own pets. You might hear Fido barking or see Fluffy checking out the world outside her window. Whatever the species, there are many pets out there traveling with their owners. Continue reading.


    Trivia

    Sometimes visitors at Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, break the rules, and the law, by taking rocks home as souvenirs. But then, according to rangers, they often mail the stolen rocks back to the park, along with a note of apology.

    Bumper sticker of the week

    I am a nobody, nobody is perfect, therefore I am perfect.

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

    Joke of the Week

    Q: Why did the girl take toilet paper to the party?
    A: Because she was a party pooper.

    Worth Pondering

    The best part of any RV trip is when you turn your ignition key and roll out of your driveway.


    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, Richard Mallery, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Bob Difley, Terri Nighswonger, Silvana Clark, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Social media director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

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    Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
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    7 Comments
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    David
    2 months ago

    Chuck, I don’t know where you found your “tank” expert, but he doesn’t have a clue what he’s writing about. I don’t expect such rookie mistakes from RV Travel.

    Admin
    Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
    2 months ago
    Reply to  David

    David, you say he doesn’t have a clue what he is talking about. Okay. But why, exactly, do you say that, and then say we made a rookie mistake?

    Harvey Schwartz
    2 months ago

    The scary part is people are buying RV’s without a clue on how to operate one. When the smoke clears I am betting there will be a a whole bunch for sale.

    GeorgeB
    2 months ago

    Why or why would you use such a politically charged poll today? The concern is over voter fraud and why it is being pushed by one political party over the others objection. That divide is what makes today’s question politically charged. Please, lets try to keep this wonderful site, non-political.

    Mike
    2 months ago

    Traveling (carefully and maintaining as much isolation as possible) from downstate Illinois to Washington, I’ve been taking note of RV dealers as we go. Driving by, it seems like lots are 80% full. Lower than normal but clearly not the “we are running out” moDe we are hearing in some of the media. Obviously this might be different in some other areas of the country but I personally have to wonder if there isn’t a bit of “we are an essential business” bit of a push to get workers back in factories so dealers can have stuffed lots again.

    gFab
    2 months ago

    Chuck, you stated “first time buyers are not providing a trade in”. What trade in would they have if they are first time buyers?

    Mike Sherman
    2 months ago
    Reply to  gFab

    Simple, quick explanation… lack of trade ins because they are, in fact, first time buyers. The explanation is forthright at the very beginning so there can be absolutely no misunderstanding.