Thursday, February 2, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 959

Welcome to 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 largely funded through the voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you! 

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Page Contents

August 1, 2020

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

We appreciate your past or ongoing support of our efforts here at Some of you pledged $5 or $10 one time several years ago. If that’s you, and you are so inclined, would you please consider contributing again? We work very hard to be North America’s best source of news and information about RVing, without being solely dependent on adverting support and the strings that brings. We now publish 650 newsletters a year on various RV topics. A pledge of $25 a year comes out to about 4 cents per issue. We believe we are worth it. No matter what you can afford, we appreciate it very much. Thank you.

Editor’s corner

With Chuck Woodbury

I’ve saved my regular essay for tomorrow’s edition of this newsletter

From Congressman John Lewis, February 20, 1940, to July 17, 2020.

“When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

“Walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”

Rest in peace, Congressman.


New group RVing During the Pandemic.
We have created a new group at Facebook to discuss how RVers are adapting to life during the current Pandemic, which promises to be with us well into 2021, if not longer. We’ll use what we glean from group members along with that from readers of this website to provide you with a weekly digest about our new, unintended lives, and what we’re doing to cope, stay safe, and enjoy our RV adventures in creative ways.

Help wanted needs editors, writers (some paid positions, others volunteer) and moderators of our Facebook groups. We also need RV industry insiders to provide us with information about the inner workings of the RV industry – the good, the bad, the ugly – so we can serve our readers with the best information possible. Learn more.

This is what our meetings will look like.

Join RV tire expert Roger Marble and the editor today
Roger and Chuck Woodbury will host a members-only Zoom meeting today (Saturday) beginning at 10 a.m., Pacific time. We will limit it to 42 members. This is a great opportunity to meet Roger and brush up your knowledge of RV tires.

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 9:30 a.m (Pacific) for some informal chat. Roger will join us a half hour later. We will probably go an hour, depending on interest from participants.

To join today’s meeting, click the link below beginning at 9:30 a.m. (Pacific) for the “warmup show” with Chuck Woodbury, or at 10:00 for the formal start with Roger. 

Next Saturday, our guest will be RV waste management expert Doug Swarts.

See excerpts of last Saturday’s meeting with RV electricity expert Mike Sokol.

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Astonished RVers get kicked out of RV park for getting a FedEx delivery. Police called to escort them away. Yes, this is true!
• RV shipments soar, but can the pace continue?
• editor Woodbury interviewed on CNBC.
• Plenty of Americans traveling this summer. Will they be in your way?
• Did you receive a pack of seeds from China? Don’t plant them!
• Scholarship created in name of RV Doctor Gary Bunzer.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RVs • Reader survey • and much more …


rat, mouseWill dryer sheets keep mice and rats from your RV?

Through the years, we’ve received emails from readers asking us how they can keep rodents out of their RVs. Other times, readers have written to report how their method works … Of course, for every reader who says a particular method works, another will disagree, and say the rodents paid no attention. Watch this short video to see if dryer sheets kept the rodents away.

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

Try out a propane campfire when burning wood just won’t do.
Don’t feed the mosquitoes – Protecting yourself from insects.
Pay attention to interest rate when buying an RV.
Tips on cleaning your RV roof.

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

EDITOR’S NOTE: Clint just returned from a camping trip into the Oregon Cascades. There he found crowds, loud music, trash and people not respecting safe behavior during the pandemic. “Don’t get me started on RV parks becoming apartment complexes,” he wrote.

COPYRIGHT 2020 BY Clint Norrell

Traveling, camping and hunkering down in a COVID-19 world

By Nanci Dixon
We left Arizona just before the surge in COVID-19 cases hit the national news. We stayed so long that even the rattlesnakes were taking cover during the heat of the day. 112 degrees when we left and rising. I know – it is dry heat… but so is my oven. Continue reading to learn how Nancy and her husband fill their days meaningfully while planning for the future.

I’ve had it! I’m tossing my GPS out the window!

By Barry Zander
Before the era of GPS took over from unrefoldable maps, our first encounter with the new technology was in a state park when a tiny figure looking out of the drivers-side window in a diesel-pusher high above us leaned out and yelled, “I’m throwing Nellie out the window,” only he used a slur to describe Nellie, his GPS. Oh, the misguided advice we’ve received since we invested in one of these gizmos 15 years ago. Read more, and chime in with your wayward GPS stories.

World War III: Our RV vs. pack rats, mice and scorpions

By Nanci Dixon
Pack rats, mice and scorpions, oh my! We were inundated with all three. Sometimes all three at the same time and sometimes separately. But no matter if all together or separate… they were disgusting. Our biggest battle, and a battle it was, occurred this summer. Read more.

Make pandemic time planning time

By Barry Zander
Do you have a bucket list or are you just a dreamer? If you have a bucket list of places you plan to visit – like all major league baseball stadiums, every presidential library, National Parks in the contiguous states – then, this article isn’t for you. You are already motivated to get there as soon as we’re allowed to roam freely again. But if you’re one of those folks who contemplates driving your RV to see a specific place or an old friend or relative, Let’s talk! Read more, and you’ll be motivated to start planning your next trip.

The view from my RV window. What’s yours?

By Terri Nighswonger
While we were following stay-at-home orders in Kansas City, I stumbled upon a Facebook page called “A View from my Window.” People from around the world who were stuck at home posted pictures of the view from their window and provided the time, date and place. Some were beautiful and scenic, and some, well, not so much. Read more.

Don’t forget to tow your… helicopter?

We found this image on the Facebook page and first gasped, then chuckled… could this be real? A few Facebook commenters mention they’ve seen this helicopter-towin’ RV around the country before, so it must be! Check it out!

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

Two inexpensive survival tools every RVer should have
Wife uncomfortable in remote boondocking spots – What to do?
Good solar design will meet most RVers needs
Where Harry Potter was born and the man with the 10-minute memory
RVer can’t find slideout’s manual override

Brain Teaser

On my way to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, and each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives. How many were going to St. Ives?

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


📌 Last Day of our Big Contest
It’s Day Eight of our Cavalcade of Prizes Contest, which ends today at Midnight (Pacific), 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!


Today’s secret phrase: Who knew that Matt had six toes?

Reader Poll

Are you spending more time online now than before the Pandemic?

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 newsletters:
Do you own a lawnmower? See how nearly 2,000 RVers responded.

Full-time RVing: A good Eagles tune, some pillow talk, and life’s grand adventure

By Terri Nighswonger
As life marches forward, we as RVers should always be ready for the next big adventure. It’s how we live our lives and, if it weren’t, we probably wouldn’t live in an RV. For my husband and me, it may seem to others that we are doing things on a whim, but truthfully there is a lot of “pillow talk” before we make drastic changes. Read more.

Road food: Ask the locals where NOT to eat!

By Barry Zander
“Where shouldn’t we eat in town?” I’ve asked the same question in a thousand towns around the country during our travels, far too many times for my wife, Monique, to endure. That contrary question almost always gets the right reply. Find out how it works here.

It’s all about the light: Easy tips for taking better photos

By Nanci Dixon
Light matters when taking photos, whether with an expensive SLR camera or on a pocket-sized cell phone. The light can make or break a shot and move the mundane to art. One of the easiest ways to improve your photography is to start actively looking at how the light is illuminating a subject or the objects around your subject. Get some great tips here.

See Old Faithful erupt live, right now. No mask required!

We’re stuck at home, most of us. Or we’re hanging out in our RVs. We’re not out visiting National Parks like we might this time of year. So is going to search the Internet far and wide to find some really great, live webcams to show you … no mask required! Like the one here of Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in the world. Read more, then watch and wait for it to erupt.

RVers report: “Don’t send kids back to school!”

Last week we polled the readers of to ask “Should public schools open on their normal schedules this fall?” Comments were all over the place, but of the nearly 4,000 responses, only one in four said schools should open on time with students in physical attendance. Read more.

Scary! Our first step into an RV as newbies

By Barry Zander
Another day driving home in Southern California traffic. In a Prius. In the carpool lane. In the heat. Ready to take a nap on the sofa. Just another … but wait, that’s not how the day ended. I dragged myself into our suburban home, where I was greeted by my wife, Monique. “Sit down. We have to talk,” she said. The message was clear. She wanted to sell our comfortable home a mile from the Pacific Ocean, along the fairway of a golf course, where we were often dodging little white balls at 160 mph. She asked: “What do you think about selling the house, buying an RV and traveling full-time?” Continue reading.

Indiana RV technician school hopes to help fill big need

by Terri Nighswonger
Finding an RV technician while you are on the road can be a lifesaver … or at least a vacation saver. In an article from a couple of weeks ago, we indicated the need for techs, including those who operate as mobile technicians, all over the U.S. is growing by leaps and bounds, but supply has yet to meet demand. Curt Hemmeler, executive director of RV Technical Institute (RVTI) in Elkhart, Indiana, had been working with manufacturers, suppliers, RV dealers and the RV Industry Association to create a school there that will help fill the need. … So what’s the latest? Find out here.

RVer who lost job is in a pickle: What would you do?

We found this post on social media. There must be many other people in a similar situation. What would you do if you were this person?
“I’m in a situation right now. I have nowhere to live, no job. I lost it in September after 16 years of working there. I have a 28-foot travel trailer, parked where it’s not safe for me to stay. My car is not big enough to tow it. I have some money, I could buy a bigger used truck or SUV to tow it (I have NO experience with towing something that big, too scared).” Read more.

Lucky us! Free books to read wherever we go!

By Barry and Monique Zander
How lucky we travelers are to have arrays of books ready for us to swap at almost every RV park and campground! … If you’re a reader, we’re sure you’ve availed yourself of the bookshelf in the park office. But, what if you’re an off-road camper, or you’ve read every Janet Evanovich novel ever written (doubtful), and that’s all you see in the office bookcase? There is an alternative, and the books are free! Learn more.

Stupid statements can make your head spin – try this one

By Russ De Maris
It’s a good thing the Grand Creator made my neck to readily swivel. These days, there are things that make my head spin, and if my neck didn’t keep up, well, I just don’t know where I’d end up. Like tonight, in the Dollar General Store in little old Quartzsite, Arizona. It was the final stop of a long evening, trying to get ready to pull out of the well-above 100-degree temperatures common for this time of year. Read what made Russ’ head spin. (It’ll probably make you shake your head.)

Popular articles from last week

Couple sues Jayco, claims new RV was infested with wood-boring beetles.
Ancient weapons endanger drivers on Texas freeway – Watch out!
Can you see me now? No. Toyota recalls pickups with dim turn signals.
Chased by bison, woman successfully “plays dead” – Video.
Marriage advice from a hand-signalin’, RV backer-upper.
Farewell to RVer favorites, Chevy Sonic, Honda Fit.
See motorhome “crash tested” into a wall at 40 mph. It’s scary!
Sculptor creates another stone truck tougher than “Built Ford Tough”.
Stash your RV inside a “fake house”? readers see no improvement in RV quality.
Weird, Wacky, Wonderful RVs of the Week.
Boondocking in a coronavirus world. Part 4: What’s holding you back?


Canadian reader Dave Johnson sent this photo. “Having seen your articles on long RVs, I think we may be in the running at 75 feet. The motorhome is 45 feet and the trailer is an additional 30 feet.”

EDITOR: Dave’s RV and trailer is not the longest setup we’ve seen, but close, and the graphics are very impressive!


Our NEWEST Facebook Groups: RVing During the PandemicRVing over 60RV 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 Tech Corner with Mark Gorrie

water heater elementHow to fix problem from neglected water heater element

Dear Mark,
I replaced the electric heating element in my seven-year-old Atwood ten-gallon water heater. As I loosened the element for removal, the front of it dropped down and pieces of the calcium corrosion broke off and fell inside the tank. I rinsed the tank using the wand a dozen times and even filled and drained the tank several times but the hot water continues to be the color of the calcium. Short of replacing the tank, how can I remove the pieces that broke off? —Alan Reeves

Read Mark’s response.

RV Electricity

Avoid potentially dangerous shore power meltdown

Dear Mike,
I’ve noticed that my shore power plug is looking pretty bad. Instead of being pretty brass colored like the new ones in the store, it’s sort of brown with a bunch of little pits. Is there a way to clean this? Is it dangerous? Why does this happen? —Caleb

Read Mike’s response.

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

How many amps should a water heater draw?

I just had that question about water heater amperage asked on my RVelectricity Facebook group. Since so many of you seem to be tripping circuit breakers, this is a good opportunity to go over the basics of current draw from various RV appliances, starting with the formula to calculate amperage draw from known wattage. Learn all about it (in layman’s terms) here.

Watch for the monthly newsletter, RV Electricity – No~Shock~Zone by Mike Sokol – Issue 33, to arrive in your Inbox tomorrow, Sunday. If you’re not signed up for it, you can do so here.

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

RV Tire Safety

One tire fails – Is its “mate” still safe to use?

By Roger Marble
I had a question from a friend about replacing both tires on the same side of the RV when one failed. In motorhomes with “dual” tires (side by side) in the rear and you do not get the early warning from TPMS of air loss, you need to seriously consider replacing the “unfailed” tire because when it’s “mate” failed, the unfailed tire was overloaded by 100% for some unknown number of miles. Learn more.

Building an RV Park

I see roads! And funding is finally on the way!

By Machelle James
I can see it. I can FINALLY see what the Campground is going to look like. We had Tractor Tim come through and plow our shrubs down and I can see how the roads will flow. We are making some adjustments as we do not want to knock down our beautiful pine trees if at all possible. Continue reading and watch Machelle on Alan Warren’s RV Show USA last Wednesday night.

The RV Kitchen

Chickenghetti for a Crowd

Janet Groene’s Chickenghetti. Choose your prettiest pot for this dish because it goes from stove to table and serves 10 or 12. Thanks to the broken-up spaghetti and cheese to bind it together, it’s easily served with a large spoon or scoop. If you’re social distancing and this is too much for your immediate family, leftovers warm nicely in the microwave and it also freezes well. Get the recipe.

The Digital RVer

Need a laptop? Get a Chromebook

By Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour
A few years ago I wrote an article for titled, “A Chromebook may be your best travel laptop.” I’m wondering if anyone followed my advice to buy a Chromebook for your next laptop. If so, please leave a comment below (the post) and tell us how you like it. I have now bought my third Chromebook, and they only keep getting better. It’s fast. It boots up in a split second. The battery lasts all day. Continue reading.

Reader letters

Got a campsite reservation? Don’t be so sure during the Pandemic

Reader Roger Harker sent us this earlier in the week. He wrote: “We ran into an interesting problem with a reservation. We reserve a particular site in a park every summer here in western Nevada. I called about a month ago to make sure all was in order. I was told that the site would not be available….” Read more, then please share your thoughts.

How long is “too long” for a 5th wheel when staying in national and state parks?

Dear Chuck,
My wife and I are planning on RVing full time when I retire. We are inclined on purchasing a 5’er but have not yet decided on the length. We don’t want to feel cramped but neither do we want to be largely excluded from national and state parks due to our length. Read more and Chuck’s response.

Facebook Groups of Interest

Weird Beach Finds
RV Boondocking & Outdoor Cooking
LGBT RV Camping

Plus, join us in our own groups HERE.

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“ZAC (Alexanders Zachariah Dutch von Dacker) is 6 years old and the 9th generation of the same bloodline we have been fortunate to have. He is a gentle boy and loves riding the golf cart and running in the fields. When we get to a new campground he is always anxious to get to the “bark park” and stretch his legs. He is a real cuddle buddy.” — winn315

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Angie Tuesday: Stewie Wednesday: Samantha Q. Pussycat • Thursday: Rigby & Rory • Friday: Puggie & Peanut

Dog parks in RV parks: Good idea or no?

By Terri Nighswonger
I recently asked a question on our RVing with Dogs Facebook group about RV parks with fenced pet areas and received several interesting responses. I haven’t stayed at any parks with a fenced area for dogs, but many others have. My dog does very well off-leash, so I’m happy with some green space, poop bags provided for pickup and a trash can. But our Facebook friends had some different ideas… Read what others had to say here.


On average, 37 people are killed in wrong way collisions each year on California’s highways. Most wrong way incidents are caused by drivers who are severely impaired and occur in the left-hand lane for vehicles traveling in the correct direction. — SOURCE: Caltrans

Bumper sticker of the week

I don’t need kids. I married one.

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

Nature Quiz

Do you recognize this? It’s an alligator gar fish. It can be found as far north as Mississippi, with historic ranges extending into Nebraska, Illinois, and a few other states. The gar retains many primitive features from Cretaceous ancestors, including the ability to breathe air if needed. Sharp, rigid scales cover its body. Its sharp teeth give it a bit more bite than most lake fish. We have a feeling a gar would not be a good pet!

Laugh of the Week

This is one of the most bizarre things we’ve seen on the Internet recently. But it’s also brilliant, and quite hilarious. Check out this short video for a laugh.

Leave with a song from the past

A cute, little voice. Beatrice Kay was born in 1907 and died in 1986. In between, she sang, acted in vaudeville and later on stage and in film. She first went on stage at the age of six. Here, she performs “A Bird in a Gilded Cage,” recorded in 1940, which should bring a smile to your face.

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, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Nanci Dixon, Terri Nighswonger, Barry and Monique Zander, 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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Joe F.
2 years ago

Not sure what death of John Lewis has to do with RV travel. Using the same reasoning, you may want to comment on Herman Cain’s passing.

Gene Bjerke
2 years ago

I was a bit taken aback when the picture of someone’s purebreed pet was a steak dinner. It took a while for me to find a dog hiding in the shadows.

Gene Bjerke
2 years ago

I’m assuming that the “Girl in the Gilded Cage” is by our old friend Spike Jones. How many remember him?

Eric M.
2 years ago

Tried the live stream of Old Faithful. Not worth my time. It was a live feed of Old Faithful and the Upper Basin. Just when Old Faithful started going off the camera switched to another dormant geyser. It switched back just in time to see everyone walking away (show over). Couldn’t find any way to stay on one camera.

2 years ago

Reading the articles by Barry Zander makes me feel like I was there with them like the story of finding a place to eat in new places, or planning for a wonderful adventure filled trip.
Please keep up the great writing! It makes us laugh and brings some joy into our day, especially important now, given the current situation we all find ourselves in. Thank you both for your sharing your stories with us all.

2 years ago

The Laugh of the Week video won’t play.

2 years ago
Reply to  Kim

You’re lucky, it was dumb. Somebody had too much time on their hands.

2 years ago

When I was a kid, I learned the beginning of your brain teaser this way: As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. The cadence just isn’t there with the way you posted it.

2 years ago

Love the cartoons by Clint. So very on point. Keep’em coming!

STEPHEN P Malochleb
2 years ago

OK,I don’t know what to say. Are you all locked up in Washington? I think this is the the best newsletter I have read in many years. This one has taken me the longest to read. Some may disagree but I think you out did yourselves. But now you’ve set the bar very high for future ones. Great job to all the staff. Thanks for your hard work in creating something worth reading.