Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 971


    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). Thank you!

    October 24, 2020

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

    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury

    The angry comments from some readers last week about Nanci Dixon’s article “Where are all the black RVers? were disgusting. By the time our staff rolled out of bed here on the West Coast, there were literally hundreds of comments and emails. Some readers thanked us for the article but many others expressed anger, even hate. It was bad.

    In my two decades of publishing online, I have never seen such a display of cyber vomit over a single, thoughtful article, in this case written by a white woman married to a black man about their experiences as RVers. The comments got so mean-spirited and hopelessly out of control we had to close them.


    At least two dozen readers demanded we cancel their email alerts — fine with us, because they were the nastiest of all. If we can’t publish an essay that might challenge some people’s beliefs, then I, for one, will just wander out to pasture and hang out with the cows.

    What we found interesting and, in the end, became the final straw in prompting how we will publish this newsletter from now on, was when we compared the “hate” mail from our two subscriber lists — the free edition and the far smaller one of our voluntary subscribers, our member-donors who believe this website and newsletter are worth supporting with even a modest donation. Nearly all the mean, angry, hateful letters were from readers of the free edition. It spoke volumes to us about the quality difference between the two audiences.

    I must pause to acknowledge that there are many fine, respectful people on the free list who are on a very tight budget and unable to lend any financial support. We understand; food on one’s table is far more important. If that’s you, email me and I will personally put you on our donor mailing list.

    Our mostly paid staff produces more than 650 newsletters a year: This Saturday edition represents only 8 percent of those. But it’s the one where we post our most engaging and often thought-provoking articles and essays. Consequently, it prompts the most comments — often hundreds within a few hours of appearing.


    Beginning next week we will delay the free edition of this Saturday newsletter until 9 a.m. Pacific time — that’s noon in the East. The member edition will continue to go out seven hours earlier in the wee hours of the morning. By delaying the free edition, our Seattle-based staff will be able to monitor the comments properly after a good night’s sleep.

    Before deciding on the time change we had considered closing comments (or at least manually approving them before they appeared) on any article that we suspected might cause controversy. But that would not be fair to the 95 percent of you who comment with intelligence and respect.

    MY STAFF AND I WORK HARD. We try our best to provide information that will enhance your RVing life. I am disgusted with the closed-minded individuals who are eager to attack us over anything we write that even mildly challenges their beliefs. Heaven knows there are millions of respectful RVer-readers out there (and we attract hundreds each week as new subscribers) who appreciate our hard work and quality journalism. It’s these respectful people who motivate us to always be better tomorrow than we are today and to serve all our readers in new, creative and valuable ways.


    P.S. I am pleased to report that the printed edition of my new book The ABCs of RVing is now available. The book is aimed at aspiring and first-time RVers. It may also be ordered for immediate reading in a Kindle version.

    If you are a member of Facebook, be sure to join our RV Advice group. Ask questions, get answers from other RVers. Moderated by our editors.


    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.

    The Camp365 trailer. The left one is closed for travel, the right one is ready for camping

    Today’s RV review…

    In today’s review, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2021 Camp365, a most unusual folding trailer. Tony was surprised by how spacious and usable this camper is yet how very towable it is, too. Learn more.

    Last week’s reviews
    2021 Grand Design Solitude 3540GK • Winnebago Solis 59PX class B motorhome • 2021 Palomino River Ranch 390 fifth wheel • 2021 Keystone Springdale 242RK travel trailer • 2001 Winnebago Hike 210RB

    Read these and all other RV reviews by clicking here.

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

    Flagpoles: They can be useful or a nuisance.
    RV resale: Appearance matters, so protect your RV’s looks.
    RV tire storage.
    A quick guide to troubleshooting RV furnace problems.
    RVers must take responsibility for their own safety.

    Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

    Copyright 2020 by Clint Norrell

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

    Reader photos: Another ugly RV park
    I want this! Have you ever seen an RV so cute?
    Your fifth-wheel: Leave it hitched or not?
    Lonely Mina, Nevada. Not a ghost town, but close
    RV Shrink: Campground reservation rip-off

    Brain Teaser

    A zombie, a mummy and a ghost buy a house. It’s a big house with many rooms, however, one room is missing. Which room is it?

    (Shhh. Don’t give it away. The answer is in tomorrow’s newsletter.)

    Campground crowding. “I might as well stay home!” and other complaints

    crowded campgroundsWe’ve heard from a lot more readers this past week regarding how crowded campgrounds are getting and the negative effect it is having on them and their RVing. One couple plans five years ahead(!). One reader gladly pays higher prices for resorts rather than public campgrounds because they are quieter and better run. One couple, sadly, sold their fifth wheel and F-350 truck two months ago because they’re tired of fighting the crowds. And a couple of readers added suggestions for alternatives to crowded campgrounds. Read this week’s comments here.

    Your input wanted on National Park campgrounds of the future

    The National Park Service has drafted its “Second Century Campground Strategy” which promises to bring changes to American National Parks. In this video Jason Epperson summarizes the changes the NPS is looking to make for RVers and tent campers. Plus, he shares a little history on the development of National Park campgrounds from the earliest days to a “redesign” in the mid-1960s, and what they may look like in the future. Read more and watch the video, then send in your two cents’ worth to the NPS if you haven’t already.

    An easy tip to keep the motorhome warm on the road

    By Nanci Dixon
    Brrr! It is cold riding in a motorhome in the winter! Granted, we left Minnesota in a snowstorm, so we knew it would be cold, but it is amazing how quickly heat dissipates when it is below freezing outside and the only heat is coming out of the dash. The cold was rushing in from the back and we needed a barrier! Read Nanci’s quick solution here.

    Reader Poll

    Have you ever met anyone when RVing who became a friend for years?

    Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.

    The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
    How many burners are there on your RV’s kitchen stove? See how nearly 2,500 other RVers responded.

    Casino RV camping is “the way to go!”

    A few weeks ago we mentioned WinStar Casino in Thackerville, OK, as one of our reader’s favorites casino camping spots. Ralph P. shared updated information with us this week about it. And our readers and Facebook group members had some wishes, great experiences and casino camping spots to pass along. Read more.

    When RV parts are discontinued, DIY projects to the rescue!

    By Nanci Dixon
    When motorhome parts are discontinued, it is time for a DIY fix. Our 2017 motorhome has a unique living area wall light – a sconce that was slowly getting dimmer until it only flicked on every once in a while. After several discussions with the RV manufacturer about getting the bulb replaced, it turns out that the LED bulb is not removable or replaceable. Who makes a light that has a bulb that can’t be replaced? And the even better question, who puts it in a motorhome? Find out how Nanci solved this dilemma here.

    A perfect fall recipe: Instant Pot Jambalaya with a twist

    By Nanci Dixon
    My family loves Jambalaya and they love red beans and rice too. With this Instant Pot™ recipe, I decided to take a chance and add red beans to the Jambalaya. This was an experiment that worked! Get the recipe here.

    Deer attacks woman. Turns out it was raised by a human

    Here’s a reminder about why it is a very bad idea to feed a wild animal, especially one that is large enough to harm a human. This report came from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Even feeding a wild animal in a campground can lead to trouble. But this was much more than that. Read more.

    Mug shots: The second batch!

    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 looking through your submissions. Keep ’em coming, okay? Here’s the second batch.

    Popular articles from last week

    Campground crowding. One reader thinks we don’t need more RV parks
    RV Review: 2021 Grand Design Solitude 3540GK.
    Casino Camping: There are two types of casino “camping,” and more reader favorites.
    Where are all the black RVers? Why the outdoors isn’t as inclusive as you think.
    13 tips about work camping that will point you to success.
    Does windchill affect RV water lines freezing when driving?
    RV Review: Winnebago Solis 59PX.
    RVelectricity – Updates on Hughes Autoformer, Dometic 12-volt fridge, SoftStartRV on a solar panel.
    2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 Review: Pricey luxury RV hauler.
    Jogger tracked for 6 minutes by a cougar! Dramatic video.
    RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): My WAG chart on solar panels and air conditioners.
    Campground Chatter: Several new campgrounds opening soon.


    How would you like to win a copy of our editor’s new book, The ABCs of RVing? 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 24, 2020) by 7 p.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 Mike Sokol’s book RV Electrical Safety was Barney Larry Hughes of Gibsonville, North Carolina. The previous week’s winner of the Happy Camper Coffee Mug was Gene Bjerke of Forest, Virginia.


    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.

    RV Gadgets and Gizmos

    RVer Product Review: A mosquito repellent that works!

    What is the best mosquito repellent for RVers? You see this question a lot in the RV forums and it’s something Tony Barthel was concerned about, being an absolute mosquito magnet. If there’s a mosquito in the county, it’ll find him and bring its friends for a stinging sensation. That is, until now…. Continue reading to learn about a product that works!

    Blast from the past video

    Pack-Away, Get-Away camper was big news in 1939

    This lightweight trailer (caravan) sleeps four. When returned home after a camping trip, the RV could be easily disassembled for easy storage. We don’t think this would be a big hit today.

    RV Electricity

    Get your RV ready for winter maintenance

    Dear Readers,
    Since the camping season is just about over, I’m including some tips and gadgets that you can use during your post-camping season maintenance time. There’s more to winterizing your RV than just blowing out the water lines. This is a great time to go over the electrical systems on your RV.

    So today’s column will include several tech tips on interesting and important technologies that will help keep your RV humming next spring. Continue reading.

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

    My WAG chart on solar panels and air conditioners

    Hey Mike,
    Please help me understand this. I’ve been following your recent articles about solar panels and air conditioners, and wonder if there’s a simple chart you can provide that will give us a hint of just how hard/expensive or easy/cheap this is to do. And do we really need a SoftStartRV to run an air conditioner with a 2kW inverter, or is that just sales hype? I really appreciate your straight talk on these complicated topics. —Doug Z.

    Read Mike’s response (and find out what “WAG” is, if you don’t know) here.

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

    RV Tire Safety

    Things to consider when buying an air compressor

    Here are some things to consider before purchasing an air compressor for your RV, including looking for maximum pressure capability and the rate of inflation – and don’t buy more air compressor than you need. Roger Marble explains it all here.

    Building an RV Park

    Septic system approved! But costs continue to escalate

    The park’s septic system was approved through ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality) with no comments or change requests – which is unusual. But why did the park’s soil then have to be tested to 18 feet deep? And the rate things are going, the costs for building the park could be more than $1.5 million! Also, your input is requested to help Machelle and AJ decide what type of fencing to use. All that and more here.

    The RV Kitchen

    Double Quick, Double Thick Chili

    Quicker, thicker chili. This takes a big pot and a big appetite. It can be vegan or vegetarian. Use your favorite beans, preferably one can of each. Need more chili for more folks? Keep adding more beans and adjust seasonings as you go. Make this chili for a big family or freeze leftovers in batches right-sized for your needs. Get the recipe.

    Reader letters

    Dear Chuck
    I am now experiencing the full campgrounds you were writing about as I plan for June 2021 going to the Grand Tetons after Yellowstone. If a park takes reservations, they are all taken. Otherwise it is “first-come, first-served.” So I have to drive to every campground to see if they have a site available! Even the Jackson Hole KOA is first-come, first-served. Driving over from the Aliner national convention at Mt. Rushmore I may return to the Grey Bull KOA as every place I contacted in Cody is full. —Donald Wright

    Facebook Groups of Interest

    Birds and Wildlife of North America
    Military RVing
    SUV RVing

    Plus, join us in our own groups HERE.

    Readers’ Pets of the Day

    “What do you mean we can’t drive? Mokie and Buddy try to take the wheel on a recent road trip through Arizona…” —Sylvie Whitman

    Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
    • Monday: Duncan Tuesday: Annie & Holly Wednesday: Keo • Thursday: Gem
    • Friday: Alwyn


    The filling of the popular chocolate bar Kit Kat® is made out of damaged Kit Kats! All Kit Kat bars that don’t turn out perfectly at the factory because of air bubbles, weirdly shaped formations or some other issue aren’t tossed out and wasted. They’re ground up into a fine paste to be used inside the candy bars. How’s that for the circle of life?

    Joke of the Week

    Wisdom: “If we’re not meant to have midnight snacks, why is there a light in the fridge?”

    Leave with a song from the past

    What happens when a flying saucer is sighted “hovering over the city?” Well, in this recording from 1956 you will find out. Anyone who was around back in those days who listened to AM radio will experience a big trip down Memory Lane listening to this — and a good laugh, too!

    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’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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    5 months ago

    Stereotyping and prejudice are extremely bigoted and racist. Being from the South and more specifically from Mississippi I take offense at being stereotyped by this author.
    Racism works both ways.

    5 months ago

    When I was finally able to read Mrs. Dixon’s essay this past week I was horrified that comments were turned off because of hate comments. I do hope that the Dixon’s were not able to read any of those hateful comments, and that they are welcomed by the vast majority of the RVing community. Hopefully she’ll share more on their travels and the obstacles they face. Finally, thank you Chuck for continuing to keep this a safe place for RVers’ It’s why I have been a long time reader and supporter!

    5 months ago

    Love your newsletter. It is most unfortunate that we live in these times where people feel the need to publicly express their bigotry, intolerance and hate and then expect that others should agree with them. I applaud your response and your efforts to defeat these outrageous people. As many of the commenters have noted, I am also a contributor and will continue to support your hard work. Maybe some good from this will be the increased revenue from your supporters. Keep up the great work.

    Mark Evenson
    5 months ago

    Such responses from ungrateful , bigoted readers have encouraged me to send another donation to help fund your fine publication. I fully support your efforts to provide RVers a comprehensive and very useful news letter. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!

    5 months ago

    I’m sad but not surprised to read about the hateful comments and emails to Ms. Dixon’s article from last week. I get even more saddened when sites such as this feel pushed to make changes in response to that garbage. To me, that only emboldens those parasites. I watch this happen time and time again. Facebook moderators, online newsletters, blogs, vlogs, etc. who have to spend all their time trying to run interference, to soothe hurt feelings, multiple daily reminders about what posts are acceptable and what are not, constantly changing the rules until the group no longer resembles it’s original form, and many unfortunately closing because these angry hateful people do not and will not stop. They thrive on response. Any response. I hope you will not get caught in that trap. The only response other than blocking/banning those who cross the line, is no response at all. Let their hatred consume only them. Stay focused on your original mission, values, and goals.

    5 months ago

    Chuck, I’ve been reading your News Letters since 2009 when I lived full time in my ’88 Dolphin 31footer, and ‘never’ read a ‘bad’ article. Times have really changed and I/we can see it everyday in peoples attitudes all around us especially in the media who feeds this garbage thru the internet and airwaves. I ‘still’ like your editions and you have my total support…unlike those who get it ‘free’ and ‘still’ complain ~ I will be donating more often, now. Hang in there! “Nothing Grows Where Boneheads Go”. This from a Tex/Mex Tejano/Chicano RV’er! Viva el Camino!

    Scott H
    5 months ago

    Chuck and crew!

    I am saddened to hear that you and your staff have come under attack by those who send hateful mail and say hurtful things to you and others. I have always enjoyed reading (when I can) the articles written in the newsletter, picking and choosing those I am most interested in. Although I am not able to be an RV’er, I feel like a part of the amazing people who make RV’ing great and worthwhile. To me it’s a free road trip with all of the experiences included!

    There is NO place for negativity in the “camping world” as it is an escape from the daily humdrum and worry the inhabitants experience. I, for one, appreciate the enormous efforts that are put in to generating your newsletter! Ignore the “hate” and realize there are people who appreciate all that you do!

    With that, I will be donating again to your efforts and the great publication that you make!

    Scott H

    Norm W
    5 months ago

    I’ve enjoyed your free publication for the past few months and finally decided a couple weeks ago to gladly contribute financially to support you and your staff. I will diffenantly increase my support in the near future. If these negative people don’t like what’s in your publication…then they should stop reading it. You’ll do just fine without them and they can go read something else…
    The article was very informative to me and I appreciated it greatly!

    Dennis G.
    5 months ago

    Dear Chuck Woodbury & Staff,
    Understand your frustration with what happened, post publishing the Nanci Dixon’s article . For eight years I was the editor of a monthly car club magazine, and this type of nasty response happened (online) to us as well.
    Please don’t let yourself or staff get down. The online hatters seem to be far more caustic today than they were even 10 years ago. I am a continued paid subscriber, and thank you for publishing the newsletter.

    Patricia Belletto
    5 months ago

    Dear Chuck and staff, I am so sorry to hear about the bigoted and negative comments. the article was thoughtful and spot-on and I appreciated it. We all need to be friendlier and realize that we all share the same world and we all breathe the same air. thank you and remember that the majority of your readers are sane people

    Austin Crehan
    5 months ago

    I’ll join the many who state their disappointment at the negative comments. I can only imagine the angst of you and your staff.
    Anyhow, I say now as I’ve said before: keep plowing, don’t give up. We may not be there to shake your hand but we are here following you as you shove thru this life. You and your faithful staff are a gift to us all and I do appreciate your efforts.
    And I’ll join others who have said: I’ll show’im, I’ll just donate more $.

    5 months ago

    I think you might find (if there was a way of telling) that it’s the same (or many of them) people that leave the campgrounds in total disarray when they leave and have the loud parties and leave their outside lights on all night. This is a new camping group, Chuck, and they aren’t all nice!

    Helen Lottridge
    5 months ago

    You do a great job! I am so sorry you have to deal with the mean-spirited comments from intolerant people. Thank you for taking actions to shield the rat of us from their hateful energy.

    Don Nedrow
    5 months ago

    I feel like all others have said, your news letter is the best and very informative. i have a 2 1/2 inch binder i use to place article in I can use later if needed. like the one I copied today regarding what size of compressor to buy. I have looked back many times to find articles on repairing my RV.

    There has not been an issue that didn’t have something I might need later.

    Chuck and your Staff, I appreciate your work and PLEASE continue. it has been many years since I found your publications. Keep it up.

    5 months ago

    Chuck, Gail, and the rest of your staff,

    Today when I read this newsletter I did two things.
    1. I reread the referenced article again.
    2. I donated again.
    We do not need haters.
    Nuff said.


    Eric M.
    5 months ago

    First come first served sites at National Parks aren’t what you think. All available sites were reserved during the middle of last week at Shenandoah National Park, except for those first come first served sites. Since there were so many and it was the middle of the week we planned to get there just past noon and felt confident one would be available. We were surprised they were all taken. I suspect, since the the rate is so low, folks arrive during the week to set up, and go back home to return for the weekend. I don’t know if this was true because we couldn’t get a site, but I have witnessed this before when we have been at public campgrounds.

    5 months ago
    Reply to  Eric M.

    I totally agree, Eric, about the setting up then returning home to return for the weekend. It should be required that someone be with the MH or trailer, not at all times but at least at night

    Gary Stone
    5 months ago
    Reply to  Eric M.

    It is kind of a hit or miss thing. Some state parks parks prohibit “homesteading,” even if it’s paid for…others don’t give a fig. National parks should have a nation-wide “no homesteading” policy on FCFS sites, at least. At a minimum, the site should be occupied during the evening and overnight. Not a hard thing for camp hosts and rangers to keep track.

    Daniel Pankiewicz
    5 months ago

    Best way I can respond to the hate email – I’ve sent, again, another donation. Keep on writing!

    Elaine Ashton
    5 months ago

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for that trip down Memory Lane — I SO ENJOYED IT — I’ll listen to it a few times for sure.

    Elaine Ashton
    5 months ago

    I am SHOCKED and sickened with this knowledge that you received ugly comments from people about the Black RV’ers. I, in fact, was totally interested in the question and wondered myself. I enjoyed the article. Some years back — I realized that I had naively been thinking that most people think the way I do — and I wonder how I could have been so ignorant for so long. Your editorial comments just prove to me I wasn’t paying attention. I’m so sorry you’ve had to experience such ugliness but so pleased that you’ll continue to carry on publishing with your head held high.

    Cal Hall
    5 months ago

    It’s so sad that the world has come to the place that we can’t have a civil discussion of our differences of opinions. I spent 30 years in the military defending people’s rights to have their own opinions and sometimes it seems as if was for nothing.

    keep up the good work and don’t let the haters prevent you from publishing your stories because if you stop publishing then they have won.