Thursday, September 28, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 970

Welcome to, the newsletter for intelligent, open-minded RVers. Please tell your friends about us!

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 20th year of continuous publication, is made possible in large part by the voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

If you shop at Amazon, please visit through our affiliate site (we get a little commission that way – and you don’t pay any extra). Thanks!

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Page Contents

October 17, 2020

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

Editor’s corner

With Chuck Woodbury

Iam very happy to report that the Kindle edition of my book The ABCs of RVing is now available. It’s actually the third edition, but it’s been more than a decade since the last one. Much has changed and the new edition reflects that, plus it offers even more valuable information than ever. The print edition should be available by next week.

The book is for RV beginners, those just getting started who don’t even know the right questions to ask about buying or using an RV. It’s quick reading and will get newbies up to speed on choosing the right RV (for them), buying it at the best price, and then using it. It provides important information that will keep them out of trouble, both in the buying process and then on their trips.

The subject matter is presented concisely for quick learning. It would take reading traditional advice books or doing research on the Internet weeks, even months, to learn so much so fast. You can learn more about the book or order it for instant reading by clicking here. If you know someone who is considering buying an RV, please let them know about this. They will thank you.

Coming: RV reviews and ratings, 7 days a week

Beginning tomorrow, we will post a review every day of the week of a new model RV, along with the reviewer’s rating and reader comments. The best way to ensure you see each review is to sign up for an email alert for both this newsletter (chances are you are already getting that) and our Monday through Friday RV Daily Tips editions. We kick off the new feature in tomorrow’s newsletter with a profile of Grand Design’s just-announced Solitude 3540GK fifth wheel trailer.

In tomorrow’s issue we’ll profile Grand Design’s Solitude 3540GK fifth wheel trailer.

Most days, we’ll profile an RV from the Big Three manufacturers — Thor, Forest River and Winnebago. But we’ll also include those from smaller manufacturers, many of whom turn out the best-built recreational vehicles in the business. We’ll try our best to provide an honest, concise look at each make and model, pointing out the good — and the “not-so-good” when fitting.

So, again, to be sure you do not miss out on these informative RV reviews, be sure you are signed up to receive a reminder alert for both this weekend RV Travel Newsletter as well as our weekday RV Daily Tips editions.

Wow! Great Mugs

Last issue we asked you to send us a photo of your favorite coffee mug! More than 100 of you have already responded. Our staff had a whole lot of fun this past week getting a sneak peek view of what you will be seeing in the weeks ahead. Keep ’em coming, okay? Here’s the first batch.


P.S. I am thrilled to report that our website,, has topped in popularity in the USA — and with only a tiny, tiny advertising budget. Our staff is amazingly talented and productive. Each of us does the work of five people and we love every minute of it! And that’s why we continue to become more popular! Thanks to our donor-members for providing the baseline support to help us grow and thus improve the lives of RVers from Maine to California, Florida to Washington, and, of course, our friends across Canada and around the globe!

Watch a horrifying six-minute video where a lone hiker encounters a mountain lion along a dirt road. The cougar stalks him and attempts to attack several times as the terrified hiker tries to escape. All of this is captured on video. We’ll tell you how to act if you find yourself in such a life-threatening situation. And, no, you do not treat a cougar attack the same as a bear attack.


In our search to know our readers better, we’ve asked that they tell us about themselves. We know that thousands of them have followed us for a decade or more. We’ve met a few hundred of them through the years, which has been very nice. But who else, we wonder, reads what we write week after week? So, please, tell us about yourself! Here’s our next installment of Meet our Readers.

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

How to use your RV toilet in cold weather.
How useful are fifth wheel king pin stabilizers?
More tips on RV storage.
Watch your dumping operation closely (but not TOO closely).
An alternative to duct tape for quick repairs.

cover storyWhere are all the black RVers? Why the outdoors isn’t as inclusive as you may think

By Nanci Dixon
My husband and I are full-time RVers. We are also an interracial couple with black kids and black grandkids and have noticed that the other black campers are few and far between. Where are they? Why aren’t more black families camping? Where are all the black RVers? While thinking about this, speaking with my husband, and talking with other black RVers, I’ve come up with a few reasons (and debunked a few myths) as to why we see so few black families at the campground with us. Read this eye-opening and important article.

A poem from a reader. Our favorite testimonial!

Reader Dianne Belk submitted this poem to us and we, for obvious reasons, smiled the whole way through. We had to share it with all of you. You don’t want to miss this.

There are two types of casino “camping,” and more reader favorites

Last week many of you commented on the rising costs of casino camping in casino RV parks. … This week, Jim O’Briant from offers some useful information highlighting the difference between camping at a casino’s RV park and parking in a free lot. And more readers tell us their favorites here.

PBS spotlights RV work campers in excellent report

The PBS NewsHour, Public television’s evening news program, recently profiled the growing movement commonly called work camping. Thousands upon thousands of RVers — the number is almost certainly in the six-figure range — travel with their RV from place to place to work. For some, it’s simply to keep busy. For others it’s essential income. Learn more and watch the video.

crowded campgroundsCampground crowding. One reader thinks we don’t need more RV parks…

Readers offer their suggestions to reserve a campsite even via a non-flexible computer reservation system, or finding an available campsite at a campground along a backroad instead of along a major highway. One reader suggests penalizing campers for cancelling multiple reservations throughout the year, and one suggests we don’t really need more campgrounds. Find out why here.

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

Copyright 2020 by Clint Norrell

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

The weirdest RV you have ever seen. And it’s for sale.
“Abandoned” Seattle RV – Truth is stranger than fiction
13 surprising ways to use Windex
Be kind to your RV batteries this winter
Don’t forget to take care of your RV’s frame

Brain Teaser Puzzle

Spot the poker chips! How long will it take you to find the two poker chips hidden in this sea of pumpkins? You can click on the image to enlarge it (that’ll help a little).

Thanks to PartyCasino for this fun puzzle

(If you can’t find them, we’ll show you where they are in tomorrow’s Sunday News newsletter. And, yes, they really are there!)

Reader Poll

Have you already decided who will get your vote for President?

Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. CLICK HERE.

The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
How comfortable is the bed in your RV? See how 2,200 other RVers responded here.

😁 Join the Facebook Group RV Advice. Share tips with fellow RVers 24/7. Moderated by our editors.

13 tips about work camping that will point you to success

By Nanci Dixon
Ever think about work camping? Cutting costs and staying in an area longer? Getting to know more people in a more permanent venue? … My husband is always needing something to do and enjoys having people around, so becoming a campground host seemed like the perfect job while we were [at a campground] for the winter. Learn some great tips from this now-seasoned campground host, and find out what cleaning toilets had to do with the library sale room here.

Does windchill affect RV water lines freezing when driving?

Dear RV Travel,
We were advised by a dealer RV technician to winterize our water lines while driving in cold weather. The claim is that windchill would freeze the water lines while driving. When I review a windchill chart driving at 50 mph in 40 degrees F the windchill is 26 F. It sounds like every time we travel we will need to winterize water lines. —Tim Connors

Read the answer from Mark Polk, RV Education 101

What’s that smell? Pot smoke an increasing traveler issue

By James Raia
RV travelers who rent cars or trucks may have increasingly noticed an unusual odor in their vehicles – pot smoke. They could also be providing the odor with their own smoking preferences. Rental agencies around the country have reported an increase in the pot smoke smell in their fleets. Since marijuana is legal or decriminalized and allowed for medicinal purposes in all but eight states, many drivers believe it’s okay to smoke it in rental vehicles. It’s not. Read more.

How to use your RV toilet in cold weather

Some people prefer not to use the plumbing system during the winter for fear of doing something wrong and risking a freeze-up, and subsequent damage. Others prefer to just use the toilet, and depend on campgrounds for their other needs. Is it possible to use your RV toilet for brief periods in freezing weather? Find out.

Featured video from yesteryear

Check out this 1951 double-decker RV, or caravan as it would be called in the U.K. Watch two bathing beauties go about their lives in their home on wheels. Ah, all the comforts of home, 1950s-style. You’ll love this (and conclude quickly that we have come a long way in the many decades since).

New technology can save the day if you lose your brakes!

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Have you ever been on the downhill side of a steep pass and had that sickening feeling of no brakes? A runaway RV is a scary situation, and one that some have not lived to tell about. … You’ll often see – but hope to never use – a runaway truck ramp on steep downgrades along interstates. Now, in Garden City, Utah, there’s a new “truck escape system” that doesn’t utilize a gravel ramp but, rather, a technological stopping system. Learn more.

New app enables you to update eyeglass prescription without visiting the eye doctor

By Andy Pargh, The Gadget Guru
Many RVers, myself included, are using motorhomes, travel trailers or fifth wheel units to break the COVID-19 monotony while maintaining social distancing recommendations. … [T]here’s a good chance that you’ve postponed some routine, but non-urgent medical appointments. What happens when you need to update an eyeglass prescription but don’t want to visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist office? The answer is … there’s an app for that! Read about it here.

Fall is here. This hidden seasonal occurrence could spell trouble

It is fall, and the trees are ablaze with color. But changing color isn’t the only thing the leaves are up to. They’re falling. They’re falling straight on top of my slide outs. So are some twigs, a few bird feathers, and a small branch. This can spell trouble! Continue reading.

The world’s lightest trailer can be towed by a Prius!

Check this out! This is the world’s lightest homemade hard-topped trailer. At only 450 pounds, this cute little trailer can be towed by a Prius! Amazing! Read more and watch the 4-minute video.

Popular articles from last week

Top 10 complaints RV park managers have about campers.
What is the future of RVing?
2021 Honda Ridgeline gets rugged new good looks.
Campground crowding. RVers would rather quit than fight!
Pay attention to passing motorists’ warnings of trouble.
What’s a Super Bugger? A VW camper conversion, of course!
SoftStartRV – Run an air conditioner with a small generator.
Casino campgrounds not always a bargain.
I flooded my RV with poop! Will my warranty cover me?
Trucks with no drivers coming soon to a road near you?
Meet your fellow readers, October 10, 2020.
Campground Chatter with Janet Groene, October 10, 2020.
Video: American life in 1957. How things have changed!


How would you like to win a copy of Mike Sokol’s book: RV Electrical Safety? Well, this might be your lucky day! In one of this past week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters we published a secret phrase. Simply email the phrase to us at . We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (October 17, 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 the Happy Camper Coffee Mug was Gene Bjerke of Forest, Virginia. The previous week’s winner of Rand McNally 2021 Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas was Charlie Parsons of Jonesboro, Arkansas.


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

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.

Our Facebook Groups
NEW RVing Wacky, Tacky AmericaNEW Casino CampingNEW RVing Route 66NEW California RV TravelNEW The Future of RVingNEW Electric Bikes for RVingNEW RVing the Back RoadsNEW Casino CampingFree CampgroundsRVing over 60RV Tires with Roger Marble RVing Fulltime Southwest RV CampingNorthwest RV CampingRVing with DogsTowing Behind a MotorhomeRVing with a DisabilityRV Travel TipsTrucks for RV Towing RV Crashes and Disasters

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

The amazing disappearing sewer hose. Don’t let it happen to you!

Camco magnetic sewer hose cap

We’ve all seen an RV driving down the road with half the stinky slinky flailing about as it snakes it way out of the bumper and onto the side of the road. This is one of the more universal challenges we RVers face — the vanishing sewer hose. So what do we do to prevent this from happening? Find out.

RV Electricity

Updates on Hughes Autoformer, Dometic 12-volt fridge, SoftStartRV on a solar panel

Dear Readers,
I’ve been working on several unrelated testing projects over the last few weeks, but don’t have enough new data on any single item to warrant a full article. So I’m going to break this article up into a three-fer with a brief update on each project. Continue reading.

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

Generator carbon monoxide reminder

As part of my series on staying safe in cold weather (you should remember last week’s article on electric space heater safety), it’s time to remind you all about the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from running a generator inside of (or even near) your house or RV. Read these important safety reminders.

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

RV Tire Safety

How “strong” of a tire do I need, and what’s Load Range?

Roger Marble found a discussion on Load Range in a forum where the question “How strong of a tire do I need?” was being discussed. Read part of the discussion and Roger’s explanation of Load Range and the “strength” of steel ply in tires here.

The RV Kitchen

Amazing Instant Pot French Onion Soup

By Nanci Dixon
This Instant Pot® French Onion Soup is absolutely amazing. My sister just bought a farm and her first harvest included an abundance of onions, fresh from the field! Not only that, but she delivered. I knew there was no way to store all those onions in the RV along with the amazing zucchini and squash she brought us, so I made this French Onion Soup. Get the delicious recipe here.

RV Fire Safety

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 1 of 13

Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.

Most people killed by fires are actually overcome in their sleep from gas, lack of oxygen, hot air, and smoke, or wake up too late or confused to escape. Flames are last on the list of killers. That’s why your best defense from a fire is properly installed and maintained smoke, LPG, and carbon monoxide detectors. Test your detectors weekly to be sure the batteries have enough power and the detectors are in working condition.

Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

mailbox, letters

Reader letters

Dear editor:
We really look forward to your stories and updates every day. We saw in our current issue of RV Living magazine that Lazydays RV is buying up many small independent RV dealers across the country. Are they becoming the new Camping World with the lessening quality of reputable, dependable, non-high pressure sales and service dealers? Thanks for all you and your staff do for everyone. —Brian and Robynn Jasper

See Chuck’s response.

Dear editor:
A topic I would be interested in learning more about is building NEW campgrounds. Almost daily someone on the RV forums posts that they want to build a new privately owned campground. They usually ask what amenities people are looking for. My question is how feasible is it for ordinary people to accomplish? … —Kathleen Squires

See Chuck’s response.

Museum of the Week

Photo by @lexivegasrealty on Instagram

Guided Hoover Dam Tour

Clark County, Nevada

Take a guided tour of the Hoover Dam and see it like never before! This tour takes you deep into the inspection tunnels of the dam. Ride the original elevator all the way to the top for amazing views. Peer through inspection ventilation shafts for views of the beautiful Colorado River, and much more. You can also take a guided tour of the power plant, and enjoy 360-degree views after walking through narrated exhibits showing the history and construction of the dam. Learn more on the official website. *Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Hoover Dam is temporarily closed to visitors.

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Dakota Su is our 8-month-old Shorkie. Her name is from the two places that we love to be at the most. South Dakota in the summer riding in the Black Hills. Lake Havasu is our winter home. She loves to go on rides, doesn’t matter to her which one of our toys we take her on. She loves the Harley, the off-road Jeep rides, and the boat rides. We are getting ready to go full time in the next couple of months.” —Mary Plowman

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Bentley Tuesday: Maggie Wednesday: Maddie & Reggie • Thursday: Brandy • Friday: Andy (the bunny!)


Almost exactly 100 years ago, one-third of the world’s population was infected with the so-called Spanish flu which killed an estimated 50 million people, 675,000 of them in the United States. Most influenza fatalities claim juveniles, the elderly or people already weakened. The 1918 pandemic was different, hitting healthy and strong adults between 20 and 40 years old the hardest. Those 75 and older had the lowest death rate. And, incredibly, more U.S. World War I soldiers died from Spanish Flu than were killed in battle.

Joke of the Week

Q: What’s the difference between a motorhome and a test in advanced nuclear physics?
A: The test is easier to pass!!

Leave with a song from the past

You will need to search a long time to find a love song sung by an auto mechanic to his sweetheart. Well, we’ll save you the trouble of searching. Listen now to a 1946 recording by Paul Wynn titled the “Automobile Song.”

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.

If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. Millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, 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. Find a local food bank here.

RV Travel’s incredibly talented staff

Editor and publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Emily Woodbury, Russ and Tiña De Maris. Contributing writers: Nanci Dixon, Mike Sokol, James Raia, Keith Ward, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, Barry and Monique Zander, J.M. Montigel, Tony Barthel, Clint Norrell, and Andrew Robinson. Social media and special projects 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, who was taken from us by the coronavirus. We miss him terribly!

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 • Steve Barnes + others who we will add later.

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. If interested, contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck (at) .

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.

Need help? Contact us.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


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Tony Grigg
2 years ago

My wife tests the smoke alarm each morning while making breakfast. 🙂

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Grigg

Hi, Tony. Is that because you like your bacon extra-crispy? I can’t think of a better way to test the smoke alarm. 😉 —Diane at

Larry Sodi
2 years ago

There are two pocket chips has anyone found the second one.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Larry Sodi

Hi, Larry. If you look in today’s News for RVers Newsletter, there is a second illustration towards the bottom of the newsletter with black circles around the two poker chips. It’s a tough puzzle, for sure! 🙂 —Diane at

Vanessa Simmons
2 years ago

You can’t fool me! They are all poker chips for my special Halloween costume strip poker game! 😉

2 years ago

Food banks rely on cash. Donating a case of goods or so is very nice, but a case does not work in the face of 400+ families a week. COVID has really been hard on those in our society who are low on the totem pole. Our local food bank has assisted over 2,000 families during this crisis. It is prepping up to produce 1,500 baskets for Thanksgiving. Even with USDA goods, it still takes cash and volunteers.
I’m just saying.

Steve Barnes, Kamloops, BC
2 years ago

“I am thrilled to report that our website,, has topped in popularity”. WOW! You are thrilled, Chuck. I am excited. CONGRATULATIONS Chuck and staff.

Steve Hart
2 years ago

John Barry’s book “The Great Influenza” makes a compelling case that the “Spanish flu” should be called the “Kansas flu.” Epidemiologists have traced the earliest cases to SW Kansas and the first major outbreak to soldiers training at Fort Riley, Kansas. When those soldiers were sent overseas, they transmitted the virus to other military posts, East Coast embarkation ports, and France. The reason for the “Spanish” name for the event was because Spain was a neutral country. It allowed newspapers to publish reports of the flu’s spread, while all the combatants, including the U.S., hushed it up.

2 years ago

No link to the Fire Safety article? I think I found it by web-searching the title

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  BoinLV

No, BoinLV, sorry. We’re just including one part each time we have that post in the newsletter (every other week), so there’s no link to a complete article. But that might be a good idea — for me to combine them all into a post and then include a link to it after we’ve posted each part. Thanks! Have a great day, and stay healthy. 🙂 —Diane at

Scott R. Ellis
2 years ago

Maybe before you “print” tomorrow’s issue you could do some more research on the mountain lion video. That man was not “stalked” (you will never see a mountain lion that’s actually stalking you), and nor did she “try to attack” (bluff charges are not attempted attacks). She’s reacting to a threat against her cubs, period.

This thing is already all over the internet, which would be fine were it not almost universally presented, as it is in your teaser today, completely counter-factually.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scott R. Ellis
John T
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

Correct. The wildlife experts have said she was not stalking and she did not attack. She merely protected her cubs. To publish the article as you have teased is false and misleading.

2 years ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis


Edward Wullschleger
2 years ago
Reply to  Scott R. Ellis

I’m just impressed that RV Travel picked up this story and got it into the newsletter so quickly. We heard about it on our local TV news yesterday as an “attack” and then today’s newspaper reported it as “charges” that were intended to frighten the man away from her cubs.

Richard Edmonston
2 years ago

Hope your story on the mountain lion includes the professionals explanation on why he was not in danger.

Donald N Wright
2 years ago

The British two story RV trailer was interesting, I am surprised we do not see more of them today as so many RV’ers need more space for all their stuff. I liked the little homebuilt trailer too, I have read of the box like things towed behind bicycles and motorcycles.

2 years ago

Gotta admit, that rooftop sun deck is pretty neat. I’m surprised some manufacturer doesn’t offer that today.

2 years ago

yes I always set up our rig In suit and tie. My lapels are a bit narrower.