Friday, June 9, 2023


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 977

Welcome to! 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!

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Page Contents

December 5, 2020

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

Is your RV making you sick?Cover story

Are toxic chemicals in your RV making you sick?

By Tony Barthel
Could toxic chemicals in your RV be making you sick? In a recent discussion on RV Travel’s RV Horror Stories Facebook Group, a question was posed by member Toni Molloy to see if people had experienced health issues after buying a new RV. Quite a few had (at the time of writing this, there are 231 comments on the post).

One of the respondents, Jamie Fox, wrote, “Yes. The formaldehyde smell in my trailer is so bad that I have not been able to stay in it for very long. I bought it brand new, ordered it from the factory. Was told that the smell will dissipate. It never did.”

Lynnea Koehler chimed in and added, “I had constant headaches when we bought our first camper.” However, she indicated that they had since upgraded to a new travel trailer which offered none of the issues.

So what’s making RVers sick? Continue reading.

We are still looking for one or two good writers!
Must have a background in writing for a daily or weekly periodical and love deadlines. Good pay for a motivated person who respects quality journalism, who loves slinging words and sharing them with a big audience. Work part-time or full-time. Contact if you are interested.

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Drone hobbyist fined $182,000 by FAA for illegal flights
• Magazines’ readers rate best RVs and products
• 2021 RV shipments still climbing: Where will we stay?
• New COVID rules: California State Parks will close many campgrounds
• Video: Terrifying collision between snowplow and truck
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Stolen RV report • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …

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

Try this! Labeling your supplies will save you lots of time
Prep meals at home for RV use
Should you grease up the hitch ball?
Extending the life of an RV battery
Should you buy a damaged RV and fix it up yourself?

2021 Forest River Cherokee 294BHToday’s RV review…

Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Cherokee 294BH Bunkhouse Travel Trailer. He says, “The Cherokee 294BH is a large, two-bedroom travel trailer that doesn’t break the bank and has many useful features.” Read about it here.

Last week’s reviews
2021 Little Guy Max Travel Trailer2021 CrossRoads Zinger ZR259FL Travel TrailerSafari Condo Alto R1713 Travel Trailer2021 inTech RV Terra Oasis2021 Riverstone Reserve 3850RK Fifth Wheel

For previous RV reviews, click here.

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

Planning a trip makes you happy! Tips to fight “COVID fatigue”

Fighting off “COVID fatigue?” You’re not alone. Lots of people are feeling COVID fatigue lately, and we don’t mean fatigue from being infected. It’s exhausting going to the store with masks, and sometimes gloves, on. … Having to schedule get-togethers 6+ feet apart, or learning how to download and use Zoom. Reading and watching the news obsessively… When will this all be over?! Here are some tips to fight “COVID fatigue.”

A positive spin on our Crowded Campgrounds feature

crowded campgroundsMore people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. This week we have a reader with a positive spin on more campers (refreshing!), readers expressing concern about campground reservation policies and campers taking advantage of them, and several comments on why “size does matter” when it comes to being able to find a campsite. Read these comments and more here.

What would you do for an internet connection?

By Dave Helgeson (veteran boondocker)
After nearly two weeks of boondocking at various sites without a usable internet connection, the inbox of my email account was approaching 100 unread emails and dozens of unread newsletters. … Upon arriving at a new boondocking campsite, I was presented with several options on where to set up camp. What did Dave choose? And what would you choose if presented the same options? Find out, and add your thoughts, here.

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

Poll results: “Which trailers would you advise others not to buy?”
Why you can’t ever find a space at some RV parks
Video: Take a test ride in Tesla’s new Cybertruck
Are these the longest RVs in America?

Brain Teaser Puzzle

Search for the five letters that AREN’T there. Each letter appears just once, but five do not appear at all. Find the missing letters, then arrange them to spell out the name of an animal.


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

Reader Poll

Do you live with chronic pain?

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:
What is your favorite way to eat eggs?
Vote and see how 3,700 other RVers responded.

Has your RV been recalled? You’d know if you were signed up for our RV Recall Notices Newsletter (well, it’s more of an email now…)! Once a month you’ll receive a short email listing RV recalls from the month before. Our November issue is going out today, Saturday, December 5th, at noon Pacific time. Sign up here.

Is this your RV?

If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific Standard time today, Dec. 5, 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 (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.

THIS PAST WEEK, TWO READERS RESPONDED and each claimed a $25 Amazon gift certificate. They were Blaise B. of Marinette, Wisconsin, and Cheri S. of Spokane, Washington.

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.

Can’t get enough Check this out!

By Nanci Dixon
I have been an avid and loyal reader of for years and look forward every morning to reading the RV Travel weekend newsletters and the weekday Daily Tips Newsletters with my morning coffee. Now, writing for the site, I am chagrined to find out I could have been reading so much more this whole time! Find out why here.

Mailboxes along the road

Here’s our first installment of a semi-regular series about interesting mailboxes along the back roads of North America. We’ve all seen these often one-of-a-kind creations. We’ve laughed a little, marveled at their creativity, maybe even stopped to snap a photo. Well, now’s your opportunity to share those photos with tens of thousands of others, maybe even bring a little laughter into their lives — a good thing! Click here to see this week’s offering.

Video: $380,000 Class B motorhome? You read that right!

Mike and Jennifer Wendland of recently visited Advanced RV in Willoughby, Ohio, for a walk-through tour of the company’s brand-new B Box, a very expensive Class B RV built as a box to be bolted on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter cutaway chassis. The cost? How about $380,000? … “You have to see it to believe it,” the Wendlands said. Well, you’re in luck. You can see it here.

Snow bike kit expands e-bike function – Fun and practical!

With electric bicycles becoming ever more popular with RVers, it was only a matter of time before someone sat around in winter, bored, and one-upped that idea. Enter ENVO, a company that already makes kits to transform your regular bicycle into an electric one. Now they’ve developed a kit to go further and turn it into a snow bike. (Maybe take it with you in your ice house RV, below.) Continue reading.

Tour an ice house RV. Camp on frozen lakes, catch fish!

You may have seen an ice fishing RV in a campground and wondered what the heck it was. They’re low riders, their floors hugging the ground. There’s a reason for that. These specialized travel trailers, manufactured in Minnesota, are made to be towed onto a frozen lake where they will be used by anglers, who can fish while being sheltered from the elements in comfort. … After watching this video, you may wonder why traditional RVs are not available in such cozy, rustic designs. They’re gorgeous! Read more and watch the video.

Popular articles from last week

RVelectricity – Do I need a surge protector on an inverter generator?
Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis to star in new TV show.
List of RV Reviews (too many popular posts to list individually).
Street-dwelling RVers now get free honey wagon service.
Video: 2021 Airstream Interstate GT Feature Review – Part 1.
Winnebago recalls some trailers built with wrong axle.
Massive truck, SUV Takata airbag recall stuns General Motors.
Campground Crowding: A few tips and ideas to avoid crowded areas.
Visit a ghost town with “wild” animals to feed.
Pending Rivian EV pickup truck reaches reservation limit.
Meet your fellow readers, November 28, 2020.
10 harsh RV realities for beginners.

🙂 Saturday Giveaway! 🙂

The Prize: Camco LED Retro Travel Trailer Party Lights

How to win

We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (December 5, 2020) by 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.

Click here to enter and see last week’s winner!


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

Boondockers Welcome — Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Great alternative to crowded RV parks. Modest membership fee. Learn more.

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 Tire Safety

Tire valve core torque tool recommendation

By Roger Marble
I have mentioned valve cores in a number of posts, including offering some advice on how and why you should avoid over-tightening the core. I have a tire valve core torque tool recommendation. Last week, I learned about a low-cost tool that I feel I can endorse, as I purchased and tested this tool and was pleased with the results. Continue reading.

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

A way to mount holiday decorations that doesn’t suck…or does it?

As the holidays approach, RVers want to decorate as much as everybody else but putting nails in the side of an RV is usually a bad idea. I’ve found that Command strips do work sometimes, but not always. What about a vacuum mount? Now there’s a thought… Continue reading.

Featured video

RVing in the USA in 1937. My, how things have changed!

Camping with a recreational vehicle has come a long way since 1937, when about one million people traveled in RVs — which in those days meant a travel trailer. This short movie newsreel from Chevrolet shows what it was like to camp way back then. Does $1 a week for an RV park sound good?

RV Electricity

RVillage acquired by Togo Group: Curtis Coleman Interview

From Mike Sokol

Dear Readers,
Togo Group, the Cincinnati- and Chicago-headquartered travel technology company, has acquired RVillage, the online RV community sometimes referred to as the “Facebook for RVers.” With the acquisition, Togo Group, owned in large part by Thor Industries Inc., now includes the brands Togo RV, Roadtrippers and RVillage…. Read Mike’s interview with Curtis Coleman, the founder of RVillage, here.

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

How is my RV grounded?

Dear Mike,
People are always talking about how a bad ground on an RV can cause problems such as a hot-skin condition. So how exactly is an RV grounded? I don’t see a ground rod anywhere. I’m pretty stupid when it comes to electricity, so can you please explain? —Sam (the Sham)

Read Mike’s response.

Short-circuit test demo video
Watch this new short video from Mike, where he lays out the basics of his short-circuit troubleshooting test.

Building an RV Park

Septic update and a dirty cabin!

By Machelle James
As I write this, I am still recovering from a week-long food coma. We had family come into town last week for two very special reasons. Not only was it Thanksgiving, it was also AJ’s 50th Birthday – on Thanksgiving! … Read about the dirty cabin they rented for their get-together, the latest on the septic tank, the electrical expense(!), and the very slow SBA loan process here.

The RV Kitchen

Seafood Popeye Pie

Eat more seafood. This is a lifesaver recipe for folks who fish because it can be made when you have a plentiful catch but also bulked up with any canned seafood, such as tuna or salmon, when the day’s catch has been skimpy. The crusty biscuit top and a layer of healthy spinach make it a whole meal. Get the recipe.

The Digital RVer

This feature will return January 2, 2021. The Geeks on Tour are taking a much-deserved break from technology. (Gasp!)

Reader letters

Dear Chuck,
When are you coming to Death Valley? Or, have you already been here? My wife and I are full-timers, currently Camp-Hosts at Furnace Creek Campground. If you’re still going to be visiting, please stop by and say “Hi!” and enjoy some liquid refreshment. —Lyle Latvila

Dear Lyle,
Oh, would I ever love to meet up with you! The Furnace Creek Campground is one of my favorite campgrounds in one of my favorite places on Earth, Death Valley. Alas, with all the hassles over COVID, Gail and I will stay put here in the Seattle area this winter season. Our original intent was to visit Death Valley in January. Hopefully, next year!

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“This is our senior cat, T-Rex. His favorite spot in our Phoenix Cruiser is on the dash in front of the passenger. He sleeps on one side, and after the sun warms it, he flips over to warm the other side. He is an 18-year-old rescue and travels fairly well.” —Tom Phipps

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Patches Tuesday: Anakin Wednesday: Chewie • Thursday: Porterhouse or “Porter” • Friday: Archer & Eli

The dogs have spoken (er, barked)! These are the most popular dog names of 2020:

1. Max 2. Charlie 3. Cooper 4. Buddy 5. Milo 6. Bear 7. Rocky 8. Duke 9. Tucker 10. Jack
1. Bella 2. Luna 3. Lucy 4. Daisy 5. Lola 6. Sadie 7. Molly 8. Bailey 9. Stella 10. Maggie

Trivia Quiz

Alexander Graham Bell is best known for inventing the telephone. But he accomplished other things. For example, he taught a dog to do what?
1: Talk • 2: Pedal a tricycle • 3: Smell cancer cells • 4: Respond to “come here” in 23 languages. The answer is here.

Laugh of the Week

Readers: This is as close as we’ll get to an X-rated photo

Leave with a song from the past

This song from 1953 proves that times do, indeed, change. Can you imagine a song today called The Cuckoo Bird in the Pickle Tree? Well, that’s the title of this one. It’s silly, of course, but then a lot of songs were silly back then.

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. 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.

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 • Tom Hart + 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. For information contact .

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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Thomas D
2 years ago

Love the Santa photo. Truly the way a lot of people think about this year.
Re the story about the Class C. Some people have TOO MUCH MONEY. Ridiculous!

Ann Scherzinger
2 years ago

Hey, Chuck! We just read that you’re staying put for the winter. We are too and would guess that there are many others. How about a section of tips for extended stays? Newbies like us would appreciate it!

2 years ago

What the heck is that picture about in the opening story?!? Looks like a serial killer about to attack you in bed!

2 years ago

My curiosity was aroused about the $380,000.00 motorhome. I thought I would do a quick check of the video. I ended up watching the whole thing. Pretty interesting.

2 years ago
Reply to  Barry

You peaked my curiosity! You are correct – this was very interesting!

Wayne Caldwell
2 years ago

I li!e goofy names for our dogs. We’ve had a Ciaty (C A T) (aka, Booger), Diogi (D O G), Idgett (think of Yosemite Sam and his dragon), Tigger Saraus, Sammich, and now ArrVee. Thinking about it, maybe something like ‘Mr (or Mrs) Smith’ may be in a dog’s future.

Joe Allen
2 years ago

we may have to visit Furnace Creek as well when we come out of Mexico in February! Si

Wayne Caldwell
2 years ago

Although I’m not interested in replacing our travel trailer, I read today’s ‘RV Review’ by Tony Barthel to see what’s offered in today’s models. Looking at the photos, this Cherokee is really nice. But I have to agree with Tony regarding the dark wood and trim. Why do so many of these newer ones have such deep brown or black wood throughout along with the dark furniture? Maybe I’m just spoiled with our 20 year-old CrossRoads and its ‘dated’ light oak cathedral arch cabinetry throughout, but the dark wood is such a turn-off to me. But, to each his (or her) own.

2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Caldwell

That and horrible fabric choices. Some are getting better but, wow, it is taking them a long time.

2 years ago

Hey Lyle! I’ll take Chucks spot and come visit you when we get to Furnace creek in March!

Donald N Wright
2 years ago

Is there a “don’t take this road with an RV” guide book out there? Scenic roads are hellish with an RV. My nightmare is the “moki dugway” in Utah.

Joe Allen
2 years ago

I believe that there are thousands of us who would agree with that statement! Sometimes, one needs a book on how to escape from a eatery when you park the coach! Or move the car that just parked inches from your front bumper! Geez

2 years ago

No, but the road atlas I have has little green dots to mark ‘scenic’ roads. I have found this means mountainous, narrow, and curvy. Don’t take them unless you’re in a small vehicle.

Julie Winkelman
2 years ago

In my family, Moki Dugway is code for nightmare road as in “don’t take that road, it’s a Moki Dugway!”

2 years ago

I’d buy that guide!

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

Lyle, are you in the full hookup Furnace Creek CG or the “drive-in movie” CG across the street? Just curious.