Thursday, December 9, 2021


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 958

Welcome to, the newsletter that cares. Please tell your friends about us!

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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July 25, 2020

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

Editor’s corner

With Chuck Woodbury

Many decades ago I surmised that one day if I lived long enough I would become a hermit. I had already slowed way down from my college years of parties, chasing women and (mild) irresponsibility. Now, somehow, a half-century had passed since those carefree times, and I have wrinkles, gray hair, and I need to brush my teeth with extra care so they don’t fall out. Alas, drinking two beers puts me to sleep. Lively parties are no longer an option unless there’s a place to take a nap or pass out after Beer Three. Of course, parties are in short supply these days.

I’m not ready to be a total hermit yet, but the pandemic is pushing me there. I spend nearly all my time with Gail, my pooch and a cute little bunny who lives beneath the garden shed in the backyard. “Bun Bun” eats a few plants, but I don’t care. He’s so cute he makes me happy when I see him. Bun Bun is my favorite long-eared mammal.

Today’s reality.

I left home today on an infrequent errand. Most people were wearing masks. I wore mine a few times. All of a sudden seeing all those masked people made the pandemic more real. It’s one thing to read about what’s going on, and see images on TV and on the Web. But being out there, seeing restaurants and other businesses closed, and watching everyone walk around with masks — it hits you. This is for real and it’s a big deal.

Personally, I do not like it, and I am ready for it to end. Me and everybody else, right?

Home sweet home in a few weeks.

I WILL HEAD OUT in my motorhome early next month for a week-long camping trip, and then again a few weeks after that. I’ll be in a beautiful Pacific Northwest forest, with a small fishing lake a quarter mile away where I plan to catch a few trout for breakfast. Gail and I will enjoy a few campfires, and we’ll partake of some wine, and my pint-sized canine will stand guard for squirrels, then go crazy when he sees one.

Life goes on, and I, along with a few billion other people, am doing my best to make the best of it. Oh, yes, I know I am among the lucky people of the world. So many others are suffering terribly. I wish I were a billionaire so I could help more.

Okay. Enough rambling. If you have a little spare change, please consider donating it to a local food bank. Help a needy family put its children to bed with a full tummy, not an empty one. Here’s a good charity. And you be safe!

This is what our meetings will look like.

Join Mike Sokol and me today
Mike and I will host a members-only Zoom meeting today (Saturday) beginning at 11 a.m., Pacific time. We will limit this first meeting to 42 members. The topic is “Why you need an advanced surge protector.” But all other questions about RV electricity are invited. This is a great opportunity to meet Mike and talk with him.

If you attend, please do so with the intention of participating — asking questions, helping answer them, or chime in with your own responses to others’ questions. I suggest you register for Zoom (easy) before the session begins so you can quickly join today’s meeting and then the dozens of others we’ll hold every month — some members-only, others open to all RVers.

We will open today’s meeting at 10:50 a.m., Pacific time, and plan to get started at 11. We will probably go 60-90 minutes, depending on interest from participants.

To join today’s meeting, click here beginning at 10:50 a.m., Pacific time.  Later today, we will post a recording of the meeting for those who were unable to attend.

Next Saturday, our guest will be RV tire authority Roger Marble.


Win this and stay cool for the rest of the summer.

📌 NEW! Big contest STARTS TODAY!
Our big Cavalcade of Prizes Contest begins today and runs through next Saturday, August 1, with a bunch of great prizes including a fantastic SoftStartRV air conditioner management device. With its advanced technology you can now run your RV’s air conditioner with standard 20-amp household current or a small generator. Other prizes include a half-dozen 360 Siphon roof vent caps, which will expel the stinky odors from your toilet holding tank out your roof to prevent your RV from smelling like an outhouse. And you could win one of five copies of Mike Sokol’s book about RV Electricity, essential knowledge for all RVers. Plus more great prizes! Be sure you are signed up for our RV Daily Tips Newsletter to increase your chance of winning.

Today’s secret phrase: Don loved his dog, Pal.


We are looking for writers. Must have news writing background. Part-time (or full-time for the right person). Must love to write, be motivated, be a self-starter and be familiar with RVing. Work from home, your RV, or anywhere with a reliable Internet connection. If you don’t have experience at writing for a newspaper, trade journal or other major publication, please do not respond. No beginners. No “we went here and did that” travel stories. We are already the premier source of information, education and entertainment for RVers, but we want to be even better! To be considered, write Chuck Woodbury at .

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

Save on your RV-lifestyle expenses.
Sticky LP problem: Valve not passing gas.
RV Education 101: Towing capacity tip.
Grow mushrooms in your RV? Best to keep water out of your rig.
Adjust refrigerator temperature – and keep freezer the same.

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

Road trips in 2020 may be shorter now but Grandpa’s stories of yesteryear aren’t!

Copyright 2020 by Clint Norrell readers see no improvement in RV quality

By Terri Nighswonger
You wouldn’t think buying a quality, well-built RV would be a problem, but horror stories abound among many well-known brands. RV Travel has conducted several polls throughout the years, with mixed results. Some RVers who cited problems had some whoppers. Others, like my husband and I, have had almost no issues with our Grand Design Reflection 312BHTS travel trailer since we bought it new in October 2018. Read more about what our readers have to say.

Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 4: What’s holding you back?

By Dave Helgeson
My wife and I are in the age bracket that places us at increased risk for severe illness if we were to contract the coronavirus. Many of you reading this probably are too. Maybe you have read a report at that conveys camping in an isolated area in the outdoors … is a low-risk scenario for contracting / spreading the virus. This fact alone should send us scurrying for the safety of the boondocks … yet campgrounds and RV parks are still packed with RVs and people of all ages. This begs the question: Why aren’t more RVers fleeing to the boondocks? Read more.

Watch the horror of a motorhome crash test

They don’t crash test motorhomes in America, and one reason is the results are frightening. In Sweden, they do crash test motorhomes and as you will see in this video, the RV and its test dummies do not fare well (to put it mildly). Watch this and, if nothing else, let it be a reminder to drive defensively. Click here.

Marriage advice from a hand-signalin’, RV backer-upper

By Nanci Dixon
I will admit it, watching folks back RVs into campsites, particularly tight ones, has become a rather guilty source of entertainment. I am not alone. Every head seems to turn to the new camper as they begin their backing up journey. … Here’s Nanci’s story of how she and her husband worked out their backing-up procedure and remained married. If you have backing-up tips, or interesting stories, please share them in the comments below the post.

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

My first time driving an RV, and how I nearly killed a cop
How to deal with bugs that go “splat” on your vehicle
Do you really need a new refrigerator?
Will Australian court case embolden U.S. RV industry to go after critics?
A semi off-color-joke with a great punchline

Brain Teaser

In what place does today come before yesterday?

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

Reader Poll

Has a mouse, rat or squirrel ever taken up residence in your RV?

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 later. CLICK HERE.

The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletter:
Do you own an Instant Pot? Click here to see how more than 2,000 RVers responded. (And check out our article from last week, Instant Pots aren’t your mother’s pressure cooker.)

Stash your RV inside a “fake house”?

Hide your RV inside a house? It’s a concept being looked at by city officials in Cripple Creek, Colorado. A hybrid “RV pavilion” looks like a sticks-and-bricks residence on the outside, but a motorhome or trailer can be slipped inside the “false front” (our term), and connected to a full utility hookup. The “pavilion” would then serve as an official residence. Learn more.

Update: Help! Lend your RV to a frontline healthcare worker

By Terri Nighswonger
When our article on RVs 4 MDs ran in April, I don’t think many of us would have thought COVID-19 would be spiking again so soon. Unfortunately, many hot spots are still taxing our healthcare workers. RVs 4 MDs is still working to keep first responders, nurses and other essential workers and their families safe. … The group helps to match available RVs with those in need of a way to self-isolate in order to protect their families from contracting COVID-19. Learn more.

Tips from a pro: Digitize your family photo albums

By Nanci Dixon
When we cleared out our house to begin our full-time journey, one of the hardest things we had to do was leaving behind the mammoth number of family photo albums. After they languished in a storage locker for two years I did a “what if” measure of just taking cell phone camera photos of the most important pages in the albums “just in case.” Learn how Nanci digitally saved all of the family photos here.

A good place to carry books in your RV

By Jim Twamley
How about setting a goal for yourself to read two books a month or more? RV parks usually have a free book exchange where you can trade in books you’ve finished for some you haven’t read. If you are like me, you probably have several books you like to keep around for reference. Both weekend and full-time RVers enjoy taking books along on their travels, but where do you store them? Read more. (Get it?)

Weird, Wacky, Wonderful RVs of the Week

Here’s another installment of weird, wacky and wonderful RVs. Please send us any photos you take or come across. But in the meantime, check these out.

True story: “My RV was a Bloodmobile”

By Nanci Dixon
We outgrew our family truck camper the day the kids and their friends didn’t sleep in the tents outside and we did. My husband said never again, so I was determined to get something bigger with sleeping room for all of us. I had always dreamed of having a motorhome. … Continue reading how they acquired a bloodmobile that just needed “a little more work to finish.” Uh huh.

Popular articles from last week

RVer mistakes gas station fuel tank for dump station.
Monster truck and RV combo takes off-road RVing to extreme.
Birds build nest on RV. RVers must stay put or face jail or $15,000 fine.
Will Irish Spring soap repel rodents from your RV?
Weird, Wacky RVs of the Week. See ’em to believe ’em.
Important warning! Bad RV door part can lock your loved ones in the RV.
Wow! Is this home-built RV incredible or what?
Electric bicycles are perfect for RVers. Here’s why
Prepare to mask up at Walmart.
Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.
Adjust refrigerator temperature – and keep freezer the same.
Are you managing your RV tanks? Part 2.
RVelectricity – Swimmers electrocuted in Arizona lake. Don’t let this happen to you!
Building an RV park: Septic skeptic, road “feathers” … and more issues.


Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RVer’s Pet PeevesRVing Over 60RV TiresRV 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

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.

RV Education 101

Watch the RV battery discharge numbers

By Mark Polk
Never let a 12-volt battery discharge below 12 volts, or a 6-volt battery discharge below 6 volts. That might sound funny, but a fully charged 12-volt battery is actually 12.7 volts and a fully charged 6-volt battery is 6.37 volts. When a battery reads 12 volts, it is at or below a 40% state of charge. Continue reading.

RV Electricity

Get yer red hot projects right here, folks….

By Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
Just a quick update on some of the cool projects I’m working on over the summer, a few of which I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel this weekend.

Here’s one I’m very proud of. I’ve been able to merge HRDL (my High Rate Data Logger) with Ecamm and YouTube, to produce real-time videos showing my previously captured current and voltage data. Yikes! Now you can see what I see inside of my head – which is a scary place indeed. Continue reading.

This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session: Please buy a digital meter

Dear Mike,
I have a ???? RV and it is or is not doing ???? and can you tell me how to fix it? —A reader

Mike gets questions like this every week. He explains why, if you have a digital meter – even if you’re not sure how to use it – it will assist him to answer your questions. Read more.

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

RV Tire Safety

Shield your tires from exhaust heat

By Roger Marble
Some folks are noticing the inner dual tire on one side seems to always run hotter than the outer dual or the inner on the other side of their coach. IMO it is the radiant heat from your exhaust system that is causing your tire to always run a bit hotter. Remember that the “aging rate” of tires doubles with each increase of 18°. This means you are potentially cutting the life of the tire in half. Learn how to avoid this.

RV Short Stop

Visit “The Unexpected” Urban Art in Fort Smith, Arkansas

By Julianne G. Crane
Since 2015, downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas, has been transforming itself with the support of a determined local community and the creativity of an amazing group of renowned visual artists from around the world. Over the five-year period, The Unexpected art project has resulted in a treasure collection of 35 public art pieces including outdoor murals, installations and sculptures. … The Unexpected has helped transition a slightly dated old west town into a world-class destination for unique urban and contemporary public art. Learn more.

RV Fire Safety

Maintaining your fire extinguishers

Once you’ve determined that you have the right type of fire extinguishers, the next priority is to keep them properly maintained by checking them periodically. Check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Museum of the Week

Photo by Sai Sreeja Bakka, Google Photos

The Big Mac Museum

Irwin (or North Huntingdon), PA

This is more along the lines of a small gallery… inside a McDonald’s (but who doesn’t want to go to a museum and eat a burger at the same time?). This “museum” takes a look at the history of America’s favorite hamburger, the Big Mac, and features a small exhibit on vintage McDonald’s toys. You’ll also find the largest Big Mac in history. The address for this McDonald’s is 9061 US-30, about 30 minutes east of Pittsburgh.

Readers’ Pets of the Day

“The thee fur kids, Roxy, Rusty and Tiger, go everywhere with us. I think they love to travel more than us. Tiger has been traveling for over 10 years and the other two about 7 years. When my husband starts the diesel engine and pulls out of the RV garage, Tiger literally starts singing (“howling”), “It’s party time again!!” This photo was taken on Valentine’s Day this year in an RV resort near Fort Lauderdale. Roxy has her pearls on and the boys are wearing Valentine ties for the special day. They love to dress up just like us, silly fur kids!! My first place to stop and shop while on different vacations is always “the doggy store.” Happy tails and happy travels.” — Patsy Perkins

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Rockie Tuesday: Noah, Nicholas and Charlie Wednesday: Tango • Thursday: Callie • Friday: Freddie

Little known danger: Too much water can kill your dog

By Terri Nighswonger
No joke. Too much water can kill your pet. If you have an active dog who likes to play fetch in the water or jump and bite at the outdoor water hose or sprinkler, you need to be aware of the problems of water toxicity. Continue reading.


Sleep literally cleans your brain. During slumber, more cerebrospinal fluid flushes through the brain to wash away harmful proteins and toxins that build up during the day. Source:

Bumper sticker of the week

Go around! If it was supposed to be fast, it wouldn’t be shaped like a brick. —Thanks, Alan Hubbard!

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

Nature Quiz

Do you recognize this wild bird? You’d find it in parts of Colorado and small areas in adjacent states. Adults range from 15 to 16.1 inches in length and 22.1-28.7 ounces in weight. For the answer and to learn more about the bird, click here.

Joke of the Week

Business sign spotted in Seattle area: “I made my mask out of masking tape. It’s kinda tacky!”

Leave with a song

Before Jeff Bezos and Sam Walton, there were Sears and Roebuck. Here, popular singer and actress from the late ’40s, Dorothy Shay, the “Park Avenue Hillbillie,” has a few requests for the early-day retailing moguls.

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

If you have not contributed to for some time and would like to do so again, you may do so here. Thank you.

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, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Bob Difley, Terri Nighswonger, Silvana Clark, Nanci Dixon, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Social media 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.

Are you interested in our affiliate program? Learn more.

REGIONAL AND LOCAL ADVERTISING: We can now run banners on in your town or in a designated area near you, for example to readers within 100, 200, etc., miles of your business. Learn more here.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of 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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


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1 year ago

Back up solutions
We use two walkie talkies which works very well! Way better than hand signals!
Safe backing!

1 year ago

After you click submit for the contest you get the following message. (Make sure you enter each day’s correct secret phrase.)

Pat G
1 year ago

Found secret phrase, did not find secret word..

1 year ago

The 3 doggies, Roxy, Rusty, & Tiger, Readers’ Pets of the Day, are just gorgeous! Beautiful markings, alert and attentive expressions. So sweet. May I ask what breed(s) they are? Such happy pups!

1 year ago
Reply to  Pamela

Hi Pamela,

They are all Dalmatians, Roxy and Rusty are liver spotted and Tiger is brindled, he definitely is a rare boy. Tiger was rescued from a shelter in 2009 and has been traveling with us ever since.
Thank you , wuff, wuff , wuff //:0
Roxy, Rusty, Tiger and Patsy

Thank you RV Travel newsletter for choosing us, we like attention! Can you tell?

Tony Madia
1 year ago

Regarding to Enter the Contest, contained in the newsletter is “Today’s secret phrase.” When filling out the form to enter the contest is asks, today’s secret word. Which is it?

1 year ago

Fire extinguishers also need to be loosened up. The powder tends to become hard packed due to the vibrations of RV travel. From time to time you need to remove it from its bracket shake it to loosen the contents and if needed a sharp rap with a rubber mallet or 2X4 will help to break the compacted contents.

Marilyn M
1 year ago

I was in the Canadian military for 29 years – fixed the electronics on the aircraft, scrubbed the bellies of choppers, dined with the higher echelon – you name it, I did it and LOVED IT.
A big part was marshalling the aircraft so giving directions is a no-brainer. So I couldn’t figure out why my sister had such problems getting me on top of the hitch or into a large camping spot. Imagine my shock to realize that what I thought was an easy job isn’t! Turns out that she has depth issues so we solved that problem by me hopping out every few feet to assess things – much easier and way fewer arguments!
Fast forward to current day and my husband & I are well-matched – for a few years he drove semi’s and can get into tight spots with a 1/2″ on each side with me directing him. Love telling him where to go!!

Astrid Bierworth
1 year ago

What happened to the RV Shrink?

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago

Hi, Astrid. Dick Mallery, the RV Shrink, isn’t writing for us at the moment (lack of readership). But we certainly wish him well. —Diane at

1 year ago
Reply to  RV Staff

That’s too bad, I always enjoyed his writings.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  LiVan_Life

Thanks, LiVan_Life. A lot of people enjoy the RV Shrink’s posts, including me. 🙂 —Diane at