Thursday, December 8, 2022


Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 987


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Page Contents

February 13, 2011

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

Guest essay

A proper burial for toy soldiers along the road

By Jerry X Shea

From 2002 to 2006, I took part in monthly highway cleanups along a two-mile section of Scenic Highway 1 on California’s central coast. Wearing a reflective orange vest and gloves, and holding a long trash pickup stick with a claw at the end, I placed other people’s trash in my bag. Most was at unofficial pull-off spots with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

I would find baby diapers, shoes, plastic fast food containers, a lot of empty beer bottles and cans right along with just about anything you could possibly imagine. No matter what it was, it seemed someone threw it out their window.

Then it happened: I came to a spot and just froze. There, on the ground next to a set of dually tire tracks and a little bit forward to what would have been the driver’s side window were a bunch of unfiltered cigarette butts. Surrounding the cigarettes were six empty glass beer bottles and the cardboard six-pack they came in. This, by itself, was not an unusual sight. But then I saw something that gave me pause.

Lying on its side in the dirt was an open tin box with plastic toy soldiers falling out of it. Others were scattered about. For a moment I just stood there motionless. I looked at the tin box and the soldiers. My eyes moved over to the cigarette butts, the beer bottles, and back to the tin box. It didn’t take much imagination to conclude that some cigarette-smoking, beer-drinking person grabbed some child’s tin box, full of his best friends, and threw it out his window.

BASED ON THE DEEP INDENTATION next to the cigarette butts and the fact that the box was a good three feet away from that, it appeared to me that it wasn’t even lightly tossed out the window. Oh no, it was viciously slammed into the ground and bounced away. What did the child do or say that caused someone in the car to grab the box of soldiers and toss them to the ground.

I picked up the beer bottles and cigarette butts, put them in my trash bag, and walked over to the tin box. Should I just pick it up along with the soldiers, put them into my bag and move on? No way. I served my country in the Navy and every military person knows you don’t leave a fellow soldier behind. Sure, these little guys were just plastic miniatures; but to the kid who owned that box, you know they had been his best friends. One could only imagine the times he lined them up to fight the enemy, which I bet surrounded him daily.

Obviously, I could never know what happened to that child. But for the moment, I picked up the tin box and put all the soldiers back in. I secured the lid and walked from the parking area toward the ocean and into the brush. I found a flat stone, dug a hole, put the box in it and covered it up – a proper burial for an unknown child’s best friends. They may have only been plastic miniatures of the real thing; but, even so, they didn’t deserve to be discarded out a window, especially when they had been someone’s best friends.

We welcome your guest essays. If we publish it we will send you a $75 Amazon gift certificate. Submit here, 500-600 words.


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Surprise your sweetheart with a love note in tomorrow’s Sunday newsletter. Send us a message of 25 words or less for us to feature in tomorrow’s newsletter! Then be sure your special someone reads the newsletter. Imagine how surprised he or she will be! Learn more and show your love here.

Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

• Propane shortages, skyrocketing prices. Problems ahead?
• Climate change moves Interior Department to action
• Readers’ Valentine messages to their “Special Someones”
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 highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters

Stop throwing money away on throwaway LP gas canisters
Propane: Do you know these safety basics?
Hot weather? Prevent food from spoiling and melting with this trick

Today’s RV review…

Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Palomino SolAire eXpandable 147X. He writes, “It starts life as a small, single-axle trailer that offers everything one could need for a camping adventure. From there, it can be expanded to sleep up to eight people with a bed that folds down from each end of the trailer.” Read more and see all that space here.

Last week’s reviews:
2021 Northwood Arctic Fox 27-5LCoach House Platinum 220 MotorhomeRustic Trail Teardrop Campers, Kodiak Stealth Travel TrailerForest River Wildwood Grand Lodge 42DL2021 NeXus Ghost Super C

Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

COPYRIGHT 2021 by Clint Norrell

12 of the weirdest campground rules – You won’t believe these!

By Nanci Dixon
Almost every campground hands out a packet, sometimes a full book, of rules when checking in. There are a lot of rules that make sense: keep your dog on a leash; pick up after yourself, dogs and children; control your children; abide by the quiet hours; follow the speed limit; etc. Those are the rules you wish everyone would read and adhere to. But some campground rules I have come across seem just plain weird. Read these 12 hilarious, weird rules here.

Free phone service helps hard-of-hearing – Good to know

By Kate Doherty
It’s not uncommon for us as RVers to be in a campground or RV park with poor cell reception. Many of us, too, have hearing aids. … If you have trouble hearing someone on the phone, whatever the circumstance, CaptionCall might be just what you need. Learn more about this nifty free service.

crowded campgroundsCampground Crowding: Thousand Trails? More like “Zero Trails”!

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 we have tips, tips … and more tips about getting reservations, or many alternatives if you can’t find any or don’t want the hassle. Get some great tips here.

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

KOA to open new park: RVs not welcome
How to tell if your black tank is almost full
Will your RV be banned from your neighborhood?
The truth about Butt Wipes and RV holding tanks

Hah! Hah!

James Raia spotted this sign along California state route 20 east of Nevada City.

Reader Poll

Have you ever moved from a campsite because of an undesirable neighbor?

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:
Did you winterize your RV this winter?
See how more than 2,500 other RVers responded.

Read other polls we’ve run through the years. There are more than a thousand. It’s fascinating reading.

Brain Teaser

The man who built it doesn’t want it, the man who bought it doesn’t need it, the man who needs it doesn’t know it. What is it?

(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)

Thanks to Kathy Traina for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.

There are two more stargazing events happening this month and one of them is happening early tomorrow morning! Read about it here and get your telescope ready!

More wacky mailboxes along the road! What a hoot!

Here is another installment of Mailboxes along the Road – unique, funny, outrageous and/or otherwise creative mailboxes the readers of have spotted while traveling North America in their RVs (and sometimes without their RVs). Check out the outboard motor, a miniature USPS delivery truck, some location-appropriate animals, and more here.

Is it time to re-level your RV? Here are some signs to look for

By Gail Marsh
Here’s the scenario: It’s been several weeks since you parked your rig. … When your RV has been sitting in one spot for a while, it tends to settle. … You might be surprised to learn that your RV will often “tell” you when things are no longer level. It’s true! Here are some things to watch for. If you notice one or more of these phenomena, your RV might be telling you it’s time to level up. Read more.

OMG! These jaw-dropping vehicles will shock you. How can they drive?

OMG! Our jaw was open the entire time we watched this video! How do some of these vehicles even move? These will shock you! Just when you think you’ve seen it all… A backward truck? A mobile living room? A boat… or a car? A train? Some of these are ridiculous! And look at that cow!! Moooooove over for that guy! And wait until you get to the part with the dragging RV… Check ’em out!

Actor Tim Allen no fan of RVing (just the opposite)

Tim AllenActor/comedian Tim Allen is an RVer. But he is definitely not a fan of the lifestyle. After spending a night in his RV recently with his youngest daughter, he wrote on Twitter, “I spent the night with my youngest in our RV for fun and after doing my service on it I am reminded why RV people never shake each others’ hands.” By “doing service on it” he meant dumping the holding tanks. And there’s more. Continue reading.

“You can’t fix stupid with duct tape.” Funny sign will make you laugh

By Kate Doherty
While traveling last fall on our way south to Pueblo, Colorado, to have our overheating rear radiator problem fixed, we pulled into a truck stop to refuel. Little did we know that there would soon be a truck with a funny sign (not about duct tape) on its side pulling in, along with a truck driver with amusing anecdotes to tell. Continue reading.

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. 13, 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.

Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Norbert D. of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sylvia E. of Livingston, Texas.

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

Top 10 campground pet peeves of readers

Hot weather? Prevent food from spoiling and melting with this trick
Campground Crowding: The campground begged them to stay longer!
COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? One man’s unfortunate story
Avoid trips to the store – Regrow veggies in your RV from scraps!
The pandemic still rages: Can we travel safely in our RV yet?
Can I use my CPAP machine when I boondock? Yes, here’s how
RVelectricity: How to keep warm in a cold RV
Bargain trucks? Ford, Ram have 2020 surplus inventory
Meet our newest National Park: New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
Check out this incredible DIY RV. It’s a “log cabin” on wheels!
Good News: Things to smile about this week, February 7, 2021

Saturday Giveaway!

How would you like to win these cute wind chimes?

Let’s be honest, folks. Ordinary wind chimes just aren’t good enough anymore! Be different. Hang these by your rig and passersby will think you are absolutely the coolest campers in the park! You’ll be at the top of the invitation list for the park buffet! Everyone will want to meet you!

How to win

We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (February 13, 2021) by 7 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 or see last week’s winner!


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

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 Repair and Maintenance

with Mark Polk, RV Education 101
These tips ran in our weekday RV Daily Tips Newsletter this past week, but for those of you who don’t subscribe (what is wrong with you??), here they are again!

7 common RV owner mistakes and how to avoid them.
Top 5 essential items for every RV trip.

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

With Tony Barthel

RVSuperbag: A cozy solution for making those tricky RV beds

Making the bed in the RV usually stinks. You’re on vacation to start with (who wants to make their bed on vacation?) and most RV beds aren’t really in a place where they’re easy to make. We came across the RVSuperbag, which can be described as a fancy sleeping bag designed to replace the bedding in your RV. There are sheets that simply attach to the inside of the bag which can be easily removed and laundered. This is a nice feature and makes this feel much more like your bedding at home. Read more.

Stinky tanks might need the popular “TubShroom”

One of the ways to keep your gray tank from becoming smelly is to minimize food waste that gets into it. Recently someone recommended using a TubShroom to keep things from going down the drain and this actually seems like a good idea. The TubShroom has been getting a lot of traction in advertisements on social media as a device that pops into your drain and keeps hair and food waste from going down the drain. There are various models depending on the size of the drain including ones for the shower and bathroom sink plus a Kitchen SinkShroom as well. Continue reading.

RV Electricity

Join Mike Sokol from RVelectricity and Danny Rahner from SoftStartRV™ Tuesday evening, February 16, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific), for Mike’s next “Ask The Expert” YouTube Live Webcast. Danny is SoftStartRV’s lead help desk installation expert. If you have any questions about how to hook up a SoftStartRV to any RV air conditioner, you’ll be able to text him questions in real time. Here’s a link to Mike’s announcement and the link to set a reminder. To learn about what SoftStartRV can do for you, read these earlier posts: RVelectricity: More on how SoftStartRV works and Use your RV air conditioner in low-power situations.

How much battery power is required to make an espresso

Dear Readers,
I’ve had a number of email inquiries about the boondocking power requirement while running on batteries, and one that I found interesting was the desire to run a Nespresso coffee maker without cranking up the generator. As in, “My life would be complete as long as I can make an espresso or latte or some other highly caffeinated drink in my RV from battery power.” Well, I just so happened to have received a new Nespresso coffee maker for Christmas from my kids, so I have a good test subject for a basic test. Continue reading, as you drink your cup o’ joe, for Mike’s test results.

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

How to keep warm in a cold RV

Dear Readers,
I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about how to stay warm in an RV during these cold winter months, especially while boondocking. While I don’t have any simple solutions for keeping your RV furnace running all night from battery power, I have been recently experimenting with various self-warming fabrics that can help keep not only you warm in a chilly RV, but also keep your pet warm and snugly as well. Continue reading (and check out Mike’s HUGE feet!).

RV Tire Safety

What is a “C” tire?

By Roger Marble
There are a number of Class B motorhomes that are being built on van chassis. Some of these vehicles come with European “Commercial” tires (185/R14C). I had a discussion with one owner who wanted to find the Load & Inflation tables for these tires. Continue reading for this info, in case you have “C” tires.

Have a tire question? Sign up for Roger Marble’s new Facebook Group: RV tire news, information and discussion, hosted by and moderated by Roger. He’ll be happy to help you.

The RV Kitchen

Creamy Artichokes

Artichokes for a change. When you need something different for a side dish, go to your cupboard and pull out a can of artichoke hearts. Buttery and mild, this creamy dish goes with almost any meal from the skillet, oven or grill. To make it a vegetarian main dish, add more nuts or a couple of chopped hard-cooked eggs and spoon it over toast or big, pillowy, campfire-baked Russet potatoes. Get the recipe.

The Digital RVer

Need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift? Make a movie!

Do you need a last-minute Valentine’s Day gift but don’t have the time or can’t get to the store? If you use Google Photos, it will take you no more than a minute to make a delightful movie with photos of you and your love. Chris Guld tells you how here.

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“‘Who are you and where are you taking me?’ This is Sassafras (Sassy), our active and energetic Boxer when she was 5 months old. She is now almost 4 years old and travels with us everywhere we go. Sassy loves to stand on the dash (when we’re parked) and watch all of the outside activity. She’s been the subject of many photographs.”

Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
• Monday: Zoey Tuesday: Aria Wednesday: Sophie and Tessa • Thursday: Daphne
• Friday: Daisy


Propane cooking results in lower CO2 emissions than electric cooking. A significant portion of electricity production comes from coal or oil-fired generation plants which release CO2 emissions as part of the generation process. Based on typical cooking usage levels and the emissions which electricity generation creates, propane cooking has roughly 30 percent fewer CO2 emissions.

Joke of the Week

On her first day at the senior complex, the new manager addressed all the oldsters pointing out some of her rules: “The female sleeping quarters will be out-of-bounds for all males, and the male dormitory to the females. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time. Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will cost you $180. Are there any questions?” At this point, an elderly lady named Betty stood up in the crowd and inquired, “How much for a season pass?”

Thanks for the joke, “Boat Nutt”!

Leave with a song from the past

Once again, we have to ask “Why don’t they write songs like this anymore?” In this case, it’s a story that a flower told a passing bird. How’s that for creative? So now, without further ado, here, from 1948, is Arthur Godfrey singing “I’m a Lonely Little Petunia” (in an onion patch!).

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, 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.

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.

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1 year ago

Regarding today’s trivia…I don’t think my electric cook stove powered by my solar power rv system produces any CO2.

1 year ago

Has anyone here used the CaptionCall service? I tried researching for reviews, etc. and all of the sites Google pulled up were sponsored by the vendor. The captioned phone I found had terrible reviews. My mother could certainly use some kind of assistive device, but it is a confusing array of options. Wondered if any of our readers have personal experience?

Gene Bjerke
1 year ago

The song by Arthur Godfrey brings back memories. I used to listen to him when I was a child. What I mainly remember was his reading letters he had received, including ones from “A Nony Moose, he’s moved again.”

Sink Jaxon
1 year ago

Re; Guest Essay…Great Story and outstanding writing! Thank you sir.

1 year ago

Thank you, Jerry Shea not only for your touching story and your act of kindness, but your service as well. Still serving.

Judy Wiemer
1 year ago
Reply to  Deborah

I so agree. What a wonderful tribute!

Tom Mason
1 year ago

Great joke ! Thanks

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago

I remember Arthur Godfrey. “How ah ya, how ah ya, how ah yah”. He would always say that at the beginning of his show. My mom liked the show – I was just ‘there’ because I was a kid.

1 year ago

Jerry, thank you for your service…both for the military and along our highways. My son and brother both made a career out of the Air Force and Army, respectively.

You know, we all are assuming that it was an angry father that threw the toy soldiers out but it very easily could have been a father who had just lost a son or daughter in the service or a wife who had just told her husband that it was time he grew up and accepted responsibility. While I truly appreciate Jerry’s appropriate burial of the toy soldiers, we have to remember there are two sides to every story and we will never know the other side of this story.

Last edited 1 year ago by PennyPA
1 year ago

What the guest essay writer did with the toy soldiers is a class act and having served I do understand it. But… his assumption on how they came to be there I will not follow like the other sheep here. We do not know. What if I wrote the story and my assumption was that the guy was having his last go at being a man, last cigs, last ‘manly’ six pack and threw out the toy soldiers he grew up with, playing with them for many hours in his youth. So then he hopped back in his boss truck and drove himself to the clinic, where his {bleeped} change operation was to take place.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
1 year ago
Reply to  WEB

What an imagination, WEB! 😆 —Diane at

Steve Bayless
1 year ago

Jerry, first, thank you for your service, both to your Country and to your community. I appreciate your compassion to the unknown child and to the symbolic toy soldiers.

Gregory Brott
1 year ago

Loved the well written and touching Toy Soldier essay!

Denny K
1 year ago

TT campground crowding in FL – left home end of December and had no problem getting reservations in 3 different TT/Encore RV parks. So far plenty of empty sites in 2 of the parks.

1 year ago
Reply to  Denny K

Cool! What’s the day rate (not monthly) for non-members? Have rents begun to go down?

Timothy Nowak
1 year ago

Now that song will be stuck in my head today!!!

1 year ago
Reply to  Timothy Nowak

My mother sang this to me many, many years ago. Now I’ll be singing it all day. Watch out hubby! 😉

Last edited 1 year ago by Galeyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Timothy Nowak

Just like B- I – N – G – O, and BINGO was his name oh.

Last edited 1 year ago by Impavid
Bob P
1 year ago

Thank you for the story about the toy soldiers, some people don’t have enough brains to be parents, I know as I have a few in my family. As a veteran and father I felt I wanted to reach out to that child and hug him and tell him it would be ok. At the same time I wanted to reach out to that father and attempt to beat some sense into him. People like that should be castrated at 10 before they can father a child.

John Whitney
1 year ago

This members edition is supposed to be free of ads, but when I clicked on the readers poll, up popped an ad bi had to click out of it, then click again on readers poll.

1 year ago
Reply to  John Whitney

Wondering the same thing myself. I hate the ads.

Mike Sherman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Whitney

Once you leave the ad-free page, they will appear on subsequent pages.

Bill T
1 year ago

Thanks for the guest essay and thank you Jerry for sharing it. I am retired Air Force and appreciate you taking the time to give those “soldier friends” the burial they deserve. My heart goes out to the child who lost his “friends” through no fault of his own. I hope they both made their destination safe despite the evidence of the drivers consumption and state of mind.

1 year ago

Reference the Slowdown sign. Spent a week diving off of Caye Caulker a few years back. The motto there is Go sloooow. Or as the guy in the golf cart who drove us from the airport to the hotel said, “We got no hospital, and two cemeteries. Go slow.”

Brad G. Hancock NH
1 year ago

Very nice story about the toy soldiers and very thoughtful of the writer.