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November 7, 2020
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A QUICK NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
This newsletter is posted seven hours before the free, advertising-supported edition. Thank you for supporting us as a voluntary subscriber. If it’s been a year or more since you last contributed, would you please consider doing so again? It’s your support that allows us to put more energy into serving you with quality articles and information rather than tailoring what we write to suit the needs of advertisers. Any publisher, old media or new, must make that choice. We choose you! You may contribute here if you wish.
With Chuck Woodbury
In honor of Veteran’s Day and Remembrance Day in Canada, I submit this story by beloved World War II columnist Ernie Pyle, one of my heroes. This is perhaps Ernie’s most famous story. If you have never read it, grab a tissue (and if you have read it before, read it again).
And from my staff and me – we wish to thank every American veteran on this holiday when we celebrate your bravery protecting our freedoms. And, as always, we thank our wonderful northern neighbors, those Canadian veterans who are always by our side! And, of course, we must not forget our readers in the U.K., New Zealand and Australia, who served their countries — and stood right with us, too.
And now, Ernie’s heartwarming tale.
The Death of Captain Waskow
By Ernie Pyle
AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, Jan. 10 (1944) (by Wireless) – In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Tex.
Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had been in this company since long before he left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.
“After my own father, he comes next,” a sergeant told me.
“He always looked after us,” a solder said. “He’d go to bat for us every time.”
* * *
I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow down. The moon was nearly full and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley. Soldiers made shadows as they walked.
Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came belly down across the wooden backsaddle, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.
The Italian mule skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies, when they got to the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself and ask others to help.
The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule, and stood him on his feet for a moment. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there leaning on the other. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the stone wall alongside the road.
I don’t know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and you don’t ask silly questions ….
We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on watercans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.
Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about him. We talked for an hour or more; the dead man lay all alone, outside in the shadow of the wall.
Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there in the moonlight in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting.
“This one is Capt. Waskow,” one of them said quickly.
Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally, there were five lying end to end in a long row. You don’t cover up dead men in combat zones. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.
The uncertain mules moved off to their olive groves. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually I could sense them moving, one by one, close to Capt. Waskow’s body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.
One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud:
“God damn it!”
Another one came, and he said, “God damn it to hell anyway!” He looked down for a few last moments and then turned and left.
Another man came. I think it was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the dim light, for everybody was grimy and dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain’s face and then spoke directly to him, as tho he were alive:
“I’m sorry, old man.”
Then a solder came and stood beside the officer and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tender, and he said:
“I sure am sorry, sir.”
Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the Captain’s hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face. And he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.
Finally he put the hand down. He reached up and gently straightened the points of the Captain’s shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound, and then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.
The rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.
(Column courtesy of the Scripps Howard Foundation.)
To read more stories from World War II by Ernie Pyle, buy an out-of-print copy of his book Brave Men, available in limited supply on Amazon. If you’re lucky, you may also find it at a used bookstore.
DON’T MISS Mike Sokol’s tribute to all veterans, including amazing stories of survival of his family members and friends, and what this all has to do with what we’re going through now, here.
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
We are approaching the 1,000th issue of this newsletter. As I have written before, I plan to climb off center stage then. It’s now issue 973, so that means by late next spring, after nearly 20 years, I will bow out of writing the opening essay of this newsletter. Our staff writers and editors will take over, but I’d like to invite you to contribute as well. To learn more, visit here, where I will explain.
STATISTICS: Please let us brag about ourselves. Our staff works hard, and we are proud of our efforts and thrilled with the results — a huge readership that shows no sign of slowing. To illustrate, in October 2019, we sent our readers 1,070,210 email reminders about their favorite RVtravel.com newsletters. A year later — last month — we emailed a whopping 1,823,064 reminder notices. That’s a growth on average from 34,500 emails a day to 58,800! Thank you for being among our cherished readers!
MEET YOUR FELLOW READERS
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 this week’s installment of Meet our Readers.
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Safely packing your RV cupboards.
• Water gadgets you need for your RV.
• Protect your battery during storage.
• An easy fix to stop towed vehicle rattle.
• Head to the boonies to photograph wildlife.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Today’s RV review…
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Keystone Cougar 24SABWE travel trailer. Tony writes: “Cougar puts this trailer in its half-ton line but I’m not so sure I’d want to tow this one with a half-ton truck.” Learn more.
Did you read Tony’s review yesterday of the Thor Outlaw 29J Class C Toy Hauler? If you missed it, you can read it here.
For previous RV reviews, click here.
NEW: Sign up for our new Facebook Group, RV reviews. We post a link to Tony’s reviews there every day as well as other reviews and videos.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• New pickup truck has 300,000 pound towing capacity
• Lightning puts hole in RV’s roof. Big damage. Insurance company balks!
• Is RVtravel.com all about bashing Camping World?
• 5 Mistaken assumptions the new full-time RVer makes
A man is stranded on a riverbank with a wolf, a sheep and a cabbage. He has a tiny raft to cross the river, but it can fit only himself and one other, either the wolf, the sheep, or the cabbage. If he leaves the wolf with the sheep, the wolf will eat the sheep. If he leaves the sheep with the cabbage, the sheep will eat the cabbage. How can the man cross the river with the wolf, the sheep, and the cabbage and get all to the other side safely?
(Shhh. Don’t give it away. The answer is in tomorrow’s newsletter.)
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a couple of photos for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Nov. 7, 2020. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV here (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
What I learned when I wrote “Where are all the Black RVers?”
By Nanci Dixon
I have had several weeks to think about and process the strong reactions many readers had to my article “Where are all the Black RVers?” A rather innocuous article, I thought. I felt I was basically saying that Black campers don’t feel safe or welcomed into what have been traditionally white spaces – that there is a history of exclusion within the National and State Parks. I have reread the article, and then read it again and again, and still can’t figure out what was so offensive. Continue reading.
The most beautiful, tiny, van-camper RV you have ever seen!
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury reports he has never seen a van conversion as magnificent as this one. He says it packs in everything a typical motorhome can only include with three times the space. “If I were single and wanted to explore the country, staying wherever I wished without being identified as a ‘camper,’ I would go absolutely crazy seeing this and not being able to have one just like it for my very own.” Watch the short video and see if you feel the same.
Why is Veterans Day always observed on November 11?
By Mike Sokol
The other morning I saw a Facebook post about the reason that Veterans Day is always observed in November, specifically the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Now, I was never a fan of history class in high school, especially American History. That’s possibly due to the fact that my dad was an American History teacher and I was getting a D in that one class (yes, I was getting A+ grades in physics and chemistry, so not to worry). —Read more, including some amazing stories of heroism and survival, and find out what that all has to do with what we’re going through these days, here.
How capable are you or your partner making repairs to 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 in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
If the speed limit is 60, how fast will you typically go when driving/towing your RV? See how nearly 5,000 (wow!) other RVers responded.
How many sewer hoses does an RVer need?
By Dave Helgeson
I have been around RVs all my life. … Back in the BC days (before color photos) … “house trailers” only had a holding tank for the toilet. Sink (gray) water just ran freely on the ground or you dug a “gopher hole” to contain it – and often the contents of the black tank, too, via a lone sewer hose. Now folks use several sewer hoses, and Dave wonders: “How many sewer hoses does one need? Is the need to carry multiple sewer hoses really a convenient advancement in RV design or a necessary evil?” Read more and please leave a comment.
We had our RV custom painted. Here’s what the process was like…
By Nanci Dixon
Like many RVs with decal graphics, our motorhome had started to show signs of age after only four years. The decals were cracking and some were peeling. I was so proud of our still fairly new RV, that I just matched the paint and carefully painted in the cracks. That was NOT a good idea. Read more and see interesting photos of the process.
Campground crowding: Are monthly renters filling up spaces?
This week our readers talk about the need for a book explaining campground etiquette, having to make reservations two years in advance, even more examples of crowded campgrounds (some due to more monthly renters), and some tips for camping spots. Read what our readers say, and add your two cents’ worth, here.
Heavy duty extension cord might save your day
RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury offers a tip that might make it possible to warm up your RV on a cold winter day in those instances when a power pedestal is out of reach of your built-in power cord. Read what he says.
Water filtration: Keep it clean, keep it safe
Water is such an essential element and, as an RVer, it becomes an even more essential part of everyday life. Whether connected to water hookups at a campground or carrying your water with you, you want to have it clean and safe. Everything you wanted to know about water safety – and more – here.
10 tips for staying safe while hiking or walking in the desert
As snowbirds migrate to the Southwest, the desert and mountains beckon with the promise of amazing hikes and glorious sunsets. As alluring as a quick, easy walk in the desert may seem, it is always wise to put safety first before putting on the hiking boots. Here are 10 tips for safe desert hiking.
Dolly Parton takes you on a tour of her RV
It’s not often you get to see the interior of a celebrity’s RV – in this case, Dolly Parton’s custom-built 1994 Prevost coach. So here’s your chance. Dolly invited Oprah Winfrey inside her RV and shows it off from front to back. You won’t believe how small Dolly’s “private bathroom” is and its child-size bathtub. Read more and watch the tour video.
What was the happiest day of your life? Read this and smile
In early September we asked you, “What was the happiest day of your life?” We’ve watched your submissions trickle in, and wanted to share some of them with you. In these dark, chaotic times, we all deserve a smile – which you’ll do when you read these uplifting stories.
Earn income renting your RV when you’re not using it
Keith Ward of RVtravel.com interviews Michael McNaught, the co-founder and CEO of RVezy.com, a peer-to-peer RV rental company often described as an Airbnb for RVs. In this 18-minute interview, the discussion focuses on how an RVer can earn money from renting his or her RV, and how RVezy.com streamlines the process by handling all the details. Watch the informative video.
Popular articles from last week
• Arizona – The Quartzsite RV Show must go on!
• RV review: Lightweight 2021 IBEX 20BHS travel trailer.
• A firsthand look at what it’s like to travel by RV with no reservations.
• Self-storage facilities: Is your RV safe?
• RV review: Lance 975 truck camper.
• Tips to improve your RV’s gas mileage.
• Campground crowding. How long do you spend looking for reservations?
• The perfect RV cookware does exist!
• RVelectricity power principles further explained.
• “They gave us earplugs at check-in.” Why are so many RV parks near train tracks?
• Hilarious Halloween prank is dog-gone scary!
• Fiat Chrysler changes route, will offer Ram EV truck.
🙂 Saturday Giveaway! 🙂
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (November 7, 2020) by 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
This contest has ended. Check back next Saturday for a new giveaway!
LAST WEEK’S WINNER of a Drocon drone was Pete Fawcett of Cape May Court House, New Jersey.
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.
Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.
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.
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.
A new blog: RV Warranties
RV extended warranties: How to get claims paid faster
By Tony Barthel
My extended warranty company requires an estimate for all work prior to starting in order to get an approval number. What should their turnaround time be for an approval number? I travel 1,800 miles round-trip to this service center that specializes in my brand. They scheduled us for 2 days to complete all work and yearly maintenance. They do not work with an extended warranty so I will be reimbursed and have to do all the negotiating. Any points on negotiating? —Rootie Canal
Winnebago 1973 Spring Rally
Wow! Look how far Winnebago has come in 47 years! But don’t watch this too many times: the jingle might get stuck in your head.
Power adapter overview – What works or doesn’t work?
I just received this picture from Chuck Woodbury, who wondered if I had covered that sort of RV hookup already. The answer is yes, but since many of my adapter articles have been strewn all over the place during the 10 years I’ve been writing for the industry, I’m putting them together in one place for ease of reference. Learn all about power adapters here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Appliance power usage update
My wife has one of those electric hot water kettles which really heats the water up fast. But when I run it from my Honda 2000 generator the gas engine cranks up to full speed just to boil water. And even if we’re on 30-amp shore power and try to run the electric kettle and the microwave at the same time, the circuit breaker for the kitchen outlet pops off. How do I know how much power my water kettle is drawing? Could there be something wrong with it? —Mustang Sammy
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
Tire load capacity is like your engine red line
Many times people point to regulations for tire inflation and say that RV companies select the tire inflation. They think that is what we should run because they think that is the “optimum” inflation. Well, the reality is that the “Load & Inflation” tables actually are giving you the MINIMUM inflation needed to support the stated load. Learn more.
Building an RV Park
We have tractors! Septic system, fencing and more updates
Machelle and AJ are “over the moon” excited to finally see the dirt being moved and the progress truly starting to begin on the septic system. This RV park has been in the works for one-and-a-half years(!). Machelle gives an update on how far they have come and how far they have to go. And you just have to see Jenna dressed up as a piece of bacon! So adorable! All that and more here.
The Digital RVer
Use an old phone as your webcam
When you get a new phone, do you keep the old one? Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour, says that the old phone is still a great camera. Add a stand and a little software app and you get yourself a high-quality webcam. Find out how easy it is here.
Readers’ Pet(s) of the Day
“These are our little 9-month-old, 5-pound fur babies, Duke and Daisy. They are Biewer (pronounced Bee Va) Terriers and originate from the Yorkshire Terrier. Since we got them when they were 10 weeks old, they have not known anything other than traveling in the motorhome. Daisy loves to snuggle by Mom and Dad and gives kisses. Duke on the other hand is ‘Mister FOMO’ (fear of missing out) and has to know and see everything that is going on in and around the coach! With their small sizes they can both sit on my wife’s lap or in a small bed between stops. And because they are pee-pad trained, we don’t have to worry about stopping every few hours to take them out. Duke and Daisy are our perfect fur babies! It’s so nice to wake up in the morning to their little puppy kisses!!” —Ken Knutson
Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Miley • Tuesday: Jack & Daisy • Wednesday: Cali • Thursday: Zorro
• Friday: Sadie
With 280 park units, California has the largest state park system in the nation.
Laugh of the Week
“Halloween is the beginning of the holiday shopping season. That’s for women. The beginning of the holiday shopping season for men is Christmas Eve.” —David Letterman
Just for fun: Where is it?
Where would you be in California if you were standing where RV Travel’s Gail Meyring is standing? And who is the creature she’s standing with? No, it’s not Snoopy! Hint: Peanut’s creator, Charles Schultz, once lived only a few miles from where you can see this statue and snap your own photo (and order a sandwich at the same time). If you don’t know the answer, you can find it here.
Leave with a song from the past
If you think you have a complicated relationship with your family, wait until you hear this hit song from 1948, “I’m my own Grandmaw”! And good luck trying to figure out the lyrics!
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
By RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury
Book for newbie RVers a must-have!
If you are planning to buy your first RV or are just getting started with your first rig, this book by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury should be a must read. The ABCs of RVing answers important questions that newbie RVers don’t even know enough to ask! Read this, and you’ll save countless hours of research and avoid making costly rookie mistakes. It’s available in both a Kindle version and printed edition. (Yes, I sneaked in an ad. Sorry. [Not.] —Diane)
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Barry and Monique Zander, J.M. Montigel, Clint Norrell, and Andrew Robinson. Social media and special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. 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.
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Thanks for the Ernie Pyle piece. My great uncle served in the SeaBees world war II, Korean War and Vietnam and some other conflict between it all retiring as a Chief and the continuing as a GS something., and my great aunt served in the Navy as well and retired. I remember his arms covered 2 with tattoos. Then it seems I followed in his foot steps I joined the service and made it almost clear in 20 years without a conflict until desert shield/storm. Remember him always as a gentle giant, hero in my eyes. And when they retired they had a class C Motor home and traveling all over the state’s visiting friends and family. I vaguely remember him telling a story about captain Woskow. Thanks for jogging the old mind.
Thanks for printing the Ernie Pyle piece. My father served in North Africa and Italy taking part in the landings at Salerno and Anzio. He was wounded along the way but was back with his unit when the war ended just south of the Swiss boarder. Like a lot of WWII veterans he didn’t speak about the war in great detail. One thing he did speak about was Ernie Pyle. He absolutely revered him and made sure I read his books as I grew up.
Love listening to the old recordings. At 75 I’m a little too young to remember this one. Enjoyed it a lot. Keep it up.
Can you consider adding back the comment like and dislike buttons? Or maybe just like?
Here is a like for the idea
As to doing your own repairs, I like the saying: “I’ve done so much with so little for so long I am now capable of doing anything with nothing”.
There is a saying among airplane owners that the second happiest day in their life is the day they buy their plane. What’s the happiest day? The day they sell it. The same can be said about pleasure boats and also perhaps RVs. It’s all what you make of it.
Nanci, I also am sorry for the hateful comments but since you are still pondering why some found the article offensive, I would like to opine. I am not justifying the comments but would like to offer some perspective. First, I thought you erred by leading off with the “dangerous woods”, rampant KKK lynchings section, then referencing the obvious racism of John Muir, who died in 1914. Many people are tired of the “sins of the fathers” thing. Second, your perception of bias in National Park interpretive exhibits probably suggested to some that you may be one who looks for racism under every rock. That didn’t help, and is it really a factor in why black families don’t camp? If this had been a more straightforward article about your family experiencing racism on 4 out of the last 7 campouts, then people would have fallen all over themselves expressing disgust and support for change. In short, the tone of the article was wrong for what you were trying to achieve. Hope this helps.
Everyone has an opinion and yours is bunk, but thanks for trying. I am a 67 year old retired white male teacher and don’t see color of any kind! You don’t have to look for it the bias finds you easily!
I would suspect you and I would not be friends Mr. Bower.
Dwight was very polite in his comments, and he was trying to be helpful. I don’t like racism of any kind, but I think Dwight had some useful observations about how the article was written. I for one would like to live in a time when no-one needed to comment on skin color or national background at all!