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February 6, 2021
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Veteran RVers fed up with reservations hassles
By Randolph Myerson
During our 51 years of marriage, my wife and I have enjoyed camping. Early on we enjoyed the last-minute decision to take to the outdoors and settle into the forest for a few days. During those early B.C. (Before Children) years, we camped in a tent on the ground and continued to do so while the first of our children were young. As the family grew, we put wheels under our sleeping bags and graduated through a series of travel trailers.
After the house was once again empty of our offspring, we returned to tenting, sleeping on cots and air mattresses. During those first 20 years, there was never a thought of making reservations at State and National Parks because it just wasn’t necessary. We always found the perfect location for a weekend stay or a week-long vacation.
Now that we are in our retirement years we’ve returned RV camping, first in our motorhome and more recently in our 5th wheel.
Our first trip up to Oregon and through California took us through several National Parks. It was a well-researched and well-planned excursion. We made reservations a few months in advance and it was easy, predictable and enjoyable.
Our next summer trip from Tucson to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone required reservations one year in advance. Each day was planned with a few extra days set aside along the way. There was little opportunity for unplanned adventures since our reservations required adhering to a strict travel schedule.
THEN CAME OUR MOST RECENT CROSS-COUNTRY VENTURE to Orlando last winter. It was a tiresome series of daily calls ahead to secure an overnight stay along the 8-day journey. When we finally reached our destination we were fortunate enough to find an acceptable campground for our 3-month stay in central Florida, since most were not taking advance reservations. Several of the “RV Parks” were crowded with old, run-down units and most of the nicer parks were charging exorbitant rates.
The return trip to our home in Arizona as the Covid-19 pandemic emerged was, once again, a stress-filled series of hard-to-find last-minute campsites willing to accommodate us for an overnight stay. Arriving home felt like we had successfully run the gauntlet and survived the task. Looking back at our camping experiences over the years we realized that being on the road has really changed.
So, for five months this past summer, with the health crisis enveloping everyone everywhere, we set up “The Cottage,” our 5th wheel RV, as a second home about 90-minutes’ drive away… A place to get away as we continued isolating. We soon realized that, for now, traveling the roadways of America was in our rearview mirror. Perhaps the best use of our RV would be just that: a second home. We found just the right place, an RV park situated at the base of a beautiful mountain vista boasting excellent amenities. A place we call “Away.” Maybe things will change in one year and we can return to the road. Probably not so much, but we will see.
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Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? One man’s unfortunate story
• Some California state parks now accepting reservations
• Arizona asking for enough vaccines to include non-residents
• Two Oregon RVers die from carbon monoxide poisoning
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Latest RV recalls • Free and bargain camping locations • Reader survey • and much more …
Last week’s Tip of the Day in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Getting “toad” – Are you prepared to be dragged out of trouble?
• Don’t let your RV fridge make you sick
• Hooking up a refilled LP cylinder? Check this out!
• Need hospital care? Your RV may be welcome
• Can I use bleach to clean my RV? Here are some tips…
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel looks at Relic Custom Trailers. These mid-century retro trailers will be show-stoppers at the campground! Tony writes, “A Relic trailer can be outfitted with new or vintage components including lighting and more. You can get modern RV windows or the jalousie windows you would have seen on vintage RVs. The interior is masterfully crafted from wood, giving the whole thing a retro feel.” Read more and see photos of the inside – you’re going to want one!
Last week’s reviews:
2021 Fleetwood Bounder 33C Anniversary Edition • 2021 Safari Condo Alto F2414 Travel Trailer • 2021 Lance 2465 Travel Trailer • 2021 Springdale 1740RK Travel Trailer • 2021 Flagstaff Super Lite 526RK Fifth Wheel
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Can I use my CPAP machine when I boondock? Yes, here’s how
One of RV Travel’s past surveys told us that 61 percent of readers use, or their partner uses, a CPAP machine. If you’re one of those people and struggle with where to keep your machine at night or while in transit, or don’t know how to use your machine when you boondock, this is for you.
Top 10 campground pet peeves of RVtravel.com readers
By Nanci Dixon
In June of 2019 we published an article titled “Campground pet peeves – specifically, campground jerks.” At the end of the article, writer Liz Wilcox asked readers to vent about their campground pet peeves and “campground jerk” story in the comments. I read all 91 comments left by readers in search of finding out: What are the most common things you all are complaining about? Here are the top 10 campground pet peeves from RVtravel.com readers.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Falling tree crushes travel trailer, pinning RVer inside
• Boondocking and running low on liquid? Bring water to your rig
• Readers reveal their favorite RV mods or add-ons
• Have you remodeled your RV? These folks have, and it’s gorgeous!
Who do you want to win tomorrow’s Super Bowl?
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 long ago did you buy your first RV? See how nearly 2,500 other RVers responded.
Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.
A man claims he was 88 years old two days ago, and yet he tells you that he will turn 91 next year. How can this be?
Thanks for the brain teaser, Deb Treneff!
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)
Do you have have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
The pandemic still rages: Can we travel safely in our RV yet?
As the travel bug is biting, the itch is upon us. COVID-19 is getting so, so old. Where and how can we travel safely in this new year? … The CDC does not recommend any travel if it can be avoided. … But if the RV is pawing to get out and travel just can’t be avoided, here are a few tips to get you back on the road safely (and legally!). Read more.
Escapees RV Club to host conference about working remotely
Escapees RV Club is hosting a fully virtual conference March 4-8, 2021, for RVers interested in remote work. This conference, Rethinking Remote Work, is the first of its kind for Escapees RV Club and supports the ever-growing community of working RVers and digital nomads. Learn more.
New movie documents Black grandparents’ 35-year RV journey
Visual artist and Baltimore native Carla Brown is busy these days putting the finishing touches on her documentary tribute to her grandparents Frances and Benjamin Graham. What is helping to inspire her as she toils away is the image of Jennifer Lopez belting out “This Land is Your Land” at the Biden Inauguration ceremony, which Brown says perfectly captures the message that her grandparents were trying to send to African Americans throughout the United States by traveling the country in their trusty RV, oftentimes going to places in the U.S. where African Americans had never been seen before. Continue reading.
Campground Crowding: The campground begged them to stay longer!
More people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before. In this weekly blog, RV Travel readers discuss their experiences. This week, readers discuss… are campgrounds crowded during the winter months of a pandemic? A campsite owner defends cancellation fees, and readers share secrets to finding a campsite. Read it here.
Check out this incredible DIY RV. It’s a “log cabin” on wheels!
By Nanci Dixon
Mike and Bobbi (Mikey and Barbi) Wemple set out to make their 30′ 2005 Coachmen Concord into a woodland retreat – and succeeded. They hail from Montana and know a thing or two about log cabins and forests. Mikey and Barbi have totally (inch by inch!) remodeled the interior of their motorhome to be their perfect vacation retreat, aptly named “Barbi’s Rig.” Intrigued by the wood door, I stopped to spend a little time chatting. They treated me to a tour of their log cabin RV. Take your tour here.
Avoid trips to the store – Regrow veggies in your RV from scraps!
By Gail Marsh
Stop going to the grocery store so often to buy fresh produce! You can easily regrow veggies from scraps. Nope, it’s not science fiction. This is real. Real food that you can grow for free! In an RV! What could be better? You just need to rethink typical food scraps… Continue reading, then start regrowing some veggies!
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, Feb. 6, 2021. 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 claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Tina S. of Titusville, PA, and Rodger H. of Prospect Heights, IL.
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.
Popular articles from last week
• Boondockers’ dream: Portable device makes water from air!
• Bear and wasp spray: Good or bad idea for self-defense?
• Directory of RV Reviews (too many popular posts to list individually).
• Can snowbirds get shots? A vaccine controversy
• Cargo trailer RV conversions: What spurs the trend?
• Is the Good Sam Club reneging on a promise to some members?
• RVelectricity – Watering flooded cell batteries; comparing RV batteries
• Campground and RV Park News, January 30, 2021
• Use phone’s unlimited data plan to stream movies on TV
• RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Don’t fight an RV fire!
• Building an RV park: Thank you! And we can see the camping spots!
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, January 31, 2021
You will not believe how fast this goes! For its size, it may be the fastest motorhome in the world!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (February 6, 2021) by 7 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.
Stolen RVs — Help us recover these stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See the stolen RVs.
NEW: Check out all our favorite websites of the day! We compiled a list of (almost) all the websites we’ve ever posted, and we update it weekly.
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.
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.
See all of our many Facebook groups here.
Reader Dan Coffey sent us this photo of a homemade RV on the back of a Buick Roadmaster he saw in Parker, AZ. Wow!
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
Bake a cake at the campsite! Portable outdoor gas camping oven makes it possible
Last week, I wrote about folks who had created their own travel trailers from the base of a cargo trailer. Some of the individuals I heard from said that they raided RV junkyards for appliances for their conversions. However, this Hike Crew Outdoor Gas Camping Oven has been circulating around our staff email inboxes, and I thought it could be a good option for those who don’t want to poke around RV junkyards. Chefs, check this out!
Make coffee without electrical power – It’s easy with this!
I see a lot of questions on various forums about how to make coffee while boondocking. The assumption here is that people are asking how to make coffee without electrical power. There are actually a few good options. The Coleman Camping Coffee Maker is one of those options. The Coleman coffee maker is your typical drip coffee maker with the simple exception that it doesn’t use electricity to heat the water. Instead, the coffee maker is designed to sit on a stove burner. Read Tony’s review.
Review of Mike’s popular Lithium battery chargers webcast
Mike’s “Ask an Expert” live webcast on Lithium battery chargers with Dennis Wieske from Progressive Dynamics last Tuesday evening on YouTube was a huge success. Some 528 of you watched it live, and as of the next day it already had more than 1,200 views. What’s next on Mike’s webcast agenda? Well, that’s up to you. Please answer the quick survey in Mike’s post here.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Switching/lifting batteries, saving your back
I’ve been wresting my RV batteries around and wonder if there’s a better way to lift them. They certainly are heavy! —Eugene
Mike explains the proper (i.e., safe) procedure for switching batteries here. He also tells you about a handy, inexpensive gizmo for saving your back (and maybe your fingers) in the process.
Sign up for Mike’s popular and informative RVelectricity group on Facebook.
RV Tire Safety
What size spare tire can I use?
There have been a few people ask about what size spare tire they can use. The easy answer is to use the same type, size and load range as the tire you are replacing. But for some this may not be easy to do. Roger Marble looks at a few scenarios here.
Have a tire question? Sign up for Roger Marble’s new Facebook Group: RV tire news, information and discussion, hosted by RVtravel.com and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.
What The Forecast?!! Laugh-out-loud weather app gives it to you straight!
By Tony Barthel
This week I want to talk something goofy. And, for those of you who might be offended by the use of words your mom told you not to say, this may not be the app for you.
My wife has a weather app installed on her phone called “What the Forecast?!!” and while it isn’t nearly as useful as last week’s NOAA weather app, it’s significantly more entertaining. The app allows you to see what’s happening outside your own window but with snarky and often NSFW (Not Safe For Work) descriptions of said weather. Click here to read more about this hilarious app.
RV Short Stop
Fun family RV Short Stops begin with live animal cams
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many wildlife parks and zoos are turning to online technology, such as live animal cams, to swing open their doors to visitors. It is also an amazing way to get the whole family involved in researching your next RV road trip. Continue reading and watch some live animal cams (fun for all ages!) here.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 9 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.
You may also need to tailor your plan to accommodate a visually or hearing-impaired person. A whistle can aid a visually impaired person who needs to signal for help during an evacuation. Alarms that sound intermittently allow for an exchange of emergency information otherwise masked by the noise of a constant alarm. Continuously sounding alarms can disorient people who are auditory-dependent. Visual signaling systems are available for those who can’t hear smoke alarms. Posting emergency information on your coach’s windows can alert rescuers to the fact there’s a person with special needs inside.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Museum of the Week
Mardi Gras World
New Orleans, LA
Mardi Gras parades have graced the New Orleans streets for more than 150 years. Blaine Kern, aka “Mr. Mardi Gras,” became the top producer of its monumental floats and eventually, in 1947, opened his workshops to the public. Today, step inside the 250,000-square-foot warehouse and admire these beautiful floats and other props. It’s an experience you won’t forget (and the photo ops are fantastic!). Visit the museum website here to plan your visit.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Our Airedale, Willow. Waiting on me to come back with my coffee and her donut. She loves to travel and meet new people.” —Michael Gregg
America’s billionaires have added $1.1 trillion to their wealth since the beginning of the pandemic – an increase of nearly 40 percent. Not only have the uber-wealthy recovered their losses from the spring, many are faring much better than before. That’s in large part because of the sizzling stock market.
Joke of the Week
My wife was going through her wardrobe. She said, “Look at this. It still fits me after 25 years!” I said, “It’s a scarf!”
Leave with a song from the past
You’ll love this song from 1929 by The Happiness Boys. It’s titled “I Can’t Sleep at the Movies Any More.” Now, why would they say that? Listen to the song and you’ll get your answer. What a hoot!
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
If you want to have a wonderful day, send $10, $50 or $100 to a local food bank. There are millions of our fellow citizens, including little kids, who 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. Here’s where to donate.
RV Travel staff
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, Kate Doherty, Gail Marsh, J.M. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink 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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