Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 990


    Welcome to, the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with 140,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe that it is essential to a democracy. At, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 20th year of continuous publication, is increasingly made possible by the voluntary subscription contributions of our readers.

    March 6, 2021

    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury

    After five months of self-isolating in my RV in Arizona, and then eight months of doing the same in my Seattle home, I’m going stir-crazy. When I come across a photo like this, my wanderlust meter flies off the charts. I want to be on that road, and I want to be on it right now!

    I took the photo six years ago while heading north on lonely U.S. 95 about halfway between Las Vegas and Reno. There are only a few small towns along most of the way — Beatty, Goldfield, Tonopah and Hawthorne. Most of it is wide open space — a lonely expanse of America’s Great Basin Desert, covered with sagebrush with free-range cattle, wild horses, burros and jackrabbits every which way. If you drive the U.S. in the summer, you’ll see snakes, maybe a rattler or two. You can easily drive 60 miles on this two-laner without encountering a gas station. The air is clear and sweet, especially after a rain shower when the scent of the sagebrush is so fragrant your nose wants to jump off your face for a happy dance.

    I’m almost sure I stopped my motorhome right in my lane to take this photo. As you can see, there is nobody coming toward me, and I bet there was nobody in sight behind me. Most of the time, I can step outside on a lonely road like this for five minutes without another vehicle even coming close.

    Some people who have traveled this route will tell you it’s boring, “endless desert.” I disagree. It’s stunning, especially in the winter, when the mountains (and there are plenty of them) are dusted with snow. And on a cloudy day, the landscape may seem a beautiful work of art.

    It’s painful for me to dwell on this photo. It’s painful because the pandemic “all-clear” buzzer has not yet sounded and I am still stuck where I am. When it does sound, I’m gone — pronto — outta Dodge and the Land of a Starbucks on Every Corner to the wide open spaces. I’m headed to back roads and uncrowded places, and hopefully a few greasy spoon cafes (if there are any left) for ham and eggs in the early morning with the local cowboys, who are usually sitting around a table jawing politics, cattle and women.


    P.S. Many members of our staff (including me) have now had their second COVID shots and are breathing a sigh of relief. We urge you to get your shots as soon as you’re able!

    On April 4, we will debut a weekly RV Travel podcast. I can tell you now that my bets are it will be the most informative and entertaining program of its kind about RVing, and one of the most popular. If you would like insider information about the podcast and a chance to be invited to special live recording sessions, promotions, etc., sign up for our RV Travel Podcast Insider Newsletter.

    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    • California to roll out mandatory motorhome emissions testing
    • KOA campground creates solar array to power entire park
    • Tony Barthel reviews the Cruise America Standard Class C
    • Some campgrounds at Yellowstone NP are now reservation-only
    • Motorhome tire failure causes death. Would you know what to do?
    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 highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters

    Use your RV for business? What expenses can you deduct?
    Is interest on an RV loan tax deductible?
    Time to replace those cabinet carpets! Do it for under $15
    9 helpful ways to use pool noodles while RVing
    Block window glare with movable sunshades

    Today’s RV review…

    Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the SpaceCraft Semi Trailers. He writes, “SpaceCraft focuses on full custom residential towable RVs where the occupants are predominantly full-timers. Among the cornerstone features are four-season rigs including whatever a customer wants, as long as it’s legal. That means you can get a custom semi-trailer from 40-57 feet in overall length. If you want a model with two bedrooms, that’s no problem. Want a big office space or a garage that’s actually capable of hauling your passenger car along? Not an issue.” Check out these huge trailers here.

    Last week’s reviews:
    Grand Design Solitude 390RK-R Fifth WheelBushwhacker Plus 17 BH Teardrop2021 Keystone Cougar 24RDS Fifth Wheel2021 Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL Fifth WheelEverbright EB-RV Tricycle Motorhome

    Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

    COPYRIGHT 2021 by Clint Norrell

    Campground Crowding: Demand pricing is more common than we thought

    crowded campgroundsMore 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. In last week’s installment, we talked about demand pricing in campgrounds. Reader Donald explained it as, “This is when the flat rate no longer applies and as sites fill up the reservation system automatically increases the price!” Read more comments from readers about this, and many other relevant campground topics, here.

    Is it safe to bring a propane tank inside an RV?

    By Dave Helgeson
    Is it safe to bring a propane tank inside of an RV? The answer is a resounding NO! “Never use, store, or transport propane cylinders or liquid fuels in the passenger space or living area of your RV.” So says RVer James Callow. The issue of whether it is safe, or not, to bring and use a propane tank inside your RV seems to have become as controversial as “Is it safe to travel with my propane turned on” lately. Continue reading this important safety message.

    Readers say THIS is the worst kind of road to drive. We offer tips

    By Nanci Dixon
    A couple of weeks ago we asked our readers “What kind of roads do you dread driving down the most?” Of those who voted in our poll, the highest percentage answered that they dread driving down icy/snowy roads the most. But what were the others they named? Read this very thorough article with comments from our readers and important tips to safely drive on all types of roads and in different conditions.

    RV jacks won’t retract? Try this

    By Kate Doherty
    It’s time to pick up and move to a new adventure! The weather is perfect, it’s mid-week, there’s little traffic. Time to bring the slides in and raise the leveling jacks. The panel lights kept blinking and not switching to “travel mode,” I went outside. “Hey, the @#$& jacks aren’t coming up! They started, but stopped short.” Continue reading for a solution, in case this happens to you.

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

    What is this truck?
    RV batteries more important than anything else in the rig? Yup
    RV Horror Story for March 7
    Towing in the dirt – Be careful of your “fog”

    Reader Poll

    Have you ever spent the night in your RV in a free casino parking lot?

    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:
    Do you ever pay to get your RV’s exterior professionally cleaned?
    See how nearly 2,300 other RVers responded.

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

    Brain Teaser

    What common English word is 9 letters long and each time you remove a letter from it it still remains an English word, from 9 letters all the way down to a single remaining letter?

    (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter.)

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

    An important guide to getting medical help while on the road

    One thing many RVers don’t plan for is getting sick while traveling. So, what happens if you or a travel buddy need medical care while on the road? How can you find a good doctor or get the quality medical help you need? Find out here.

    Are remanufactured RV parts any good? Do they carry a warranty?

    By Kate Doherty
    Remanufactured parts, or more commonly called “remanned parts,” are products made by a manufacturer that have been returned for various reasons (e.g., defective or failed, cosmetic blemishes, or plain old returned for unknown reasons). If this product is returned directly to the OEM (original equipment manufacturer), then this may be the first time this part/product/equipment will be thoroughly inspected, dissected, and tested to find the failure. Continue reading about what you might have to go through if a remanned part fails.

    Triple towing: Is it legal? Is it safe? Should you do it?

    By Gail Marsh
    The good news? We planned to travel to a warmer climate for the winter! The bad news? The transporter who had agreed to take our motorcycle to Florida backed out at the last minute. We really didn’t have the time to investigate another carrier, but we did consider triple towing. If you aren’t familiar with the term triple towing, you’re not alone. Everything you wanted to know about triple towing and then some … 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, March 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.

    Last week one reader claimed their $25 Amazon gift card: Debra L. of Cincinnati, Ohio.

    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


    Campground Crowding: A secret reservation system code that’s costing you $$$

    New film “Nomadland” worth viewing and pondering
    Campground and RV Park News, February 27, 2021
    RVelectricity: How to install a 30-amp RV outlet at home
    Tiger Woods’ mystery wrecked vehicle? High-towing capacity new Genesis SUV
    FMCA does the right thing for its members
    Husband is extroverted, wife introverted. How do they differ at the campsite?
    Block window glare with movable sunshades
    New USPS “duck” mail truck will deliver safely and in style
    Truck drivers take note: Cooper Tires faces recall; also, Goodyear buying Cooper
    National Park visits – Surprising statistics about last year’s visitors
    Good News: Things to smile about this week, February 28, 2021

    Saturday Giveaway!

    How would you like to win these Happy Camper Wine Glasses?

    Kick back and relax with this set of 4 stemless Happy Camper Wine Glasses!

    How to win

    We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (March 6, 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 education you can trust from RV Education 101: Get instant access to RV Online Training.

    RV Repair and Maintenance

    with Mark Polk, RV Education 101

    Time to de-winterize and sanitize the RV water system

    March is a safe time to start RV spring preparation checks for some RV owners. A good place to start is de-winterizing the RV plumbing system. Depending on how the RV was winterized, the RV water system needs to be de-winterized and sanitized. Note: Make sure the freezing temperatures are over for the season before you do. Continue reading.

    Tire pressure gauges lose accuracy over time. Here’s how to check them

    I talk about the importance of checking inflation pressure in the tow vehicle and RV tires all the time, but is your tire pressure gauge giving you accurate information? … A tool every RV owner uses is a tire pressure gauge. But did you know a tire gauge can lose accuracy if it gets banged around in your tool box? Mark explains how to check for accuracy, and recommends the best type of tire pressure gauges here.

    RV Gadgets and Gizmos

    Clear2O water filtration system: Clean water, compact size

    With Tony Barthel

    A few years ago I was camping in Quartzsite and the water was so horrible we bought a three-stage water filtration system for our RV. Our travel trailer has a “whole house” water filter, but the filters themselves are difficult to find and expensive so we have stopped replacing them. Like so many RVers, we basically had been using the typical blue in-line filter that we attach to the spigot. Clear20 (pronounced “clear two oh”) offered to send me one of their two-stage water filters to compare to what I bought in Quartzsite, so I decided to give it a try. Continue reading and see how this system compares to others. Oh, and watch Tony’s wife, Peggy’s, impressive blindfolded taste test results in the video!


    A tale of solar generators and sock puppets…

    Dear Mike,
    Someone on the RV Quilter FB forum asked about using a solar generator and sewing with a Singer Featherweight sewing machine. It’s 100-110 volts, 25-75 cycles and DC 0.4 Ampere. Doable with a solar generator? —Terry B.

    Dear Terry,
    You know I can’t answer a technical question with a simple YES or NO answer. This is a great opportunity to continue the discussion on just how much energy (not just watts) each appliance uses. …

    Continue reading Mike’s response, including his explanation of “solar generators,” and how many sock puppets you could sew on that sewing machine from a single charge of this solar generator (yes, sock puppets!). Oh, and he’ll be doing research for all of us RVers as he’s been offered an electric-powered SUV that could tow a small RV trailer. He’s expecting to take the combo cross-country this summer. Electric vehicles are coming soon, and his exhaustive (pardon the pun) findings will help you decide if one is in your RVing future.

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

    Another electric space heater fire

    Dear Readers,
    This mobile home fire caused by an electric space heater happened just last week less than a thousand feet from where I live. … There’s a small mobile home court in Funkstown, and one of the trailers was completely burned out in the middle of the night. The brief version of the report from the Fire Marshal indicates the cause was an electric heater. A further read of the expanded report revealed there was no operational smoke detector in the house trailer. That’s a recipe for disaster. Learn how to avoid a similar tragedy here.

    In case you missed it Monday, Mike has a treat for you – a special edition of his popular Road Signs series. You won’t believe the beautiful music from “Saxsquatch,” filmed in – where else? – the mountains (well, except when he heads to the beach). Check this out for a calming respite (and a fun distraction) from your “cabin fever” in these isolated and depressing times.

    RV Tire Safety

    Are “China bomb” tires built that way on purpose?

    RV tire expert Roger Marble shares a letter he received from a reader about a defective tire, specifically inquiring about so-called “China bomb” tires. Roger explains why people previously jumped to the incorrect conclusion that China-made tires must somehow be “defective” even while never being able to identify any specific “defect.” Read more.

    Building an RV Park

    The construction crew arrived and the real work begins!

    By Machelle James
    The anticipation is building and AJ and I are pacing the property. We are excited and nervous and OH SO READY for this moment. The underground and septic crews are pulling in today. We have waited for this moment for months and it is finally coming to fruition. The construction will begin as soon as the crew arrives! Continue reading about the progress, and their most expensive week yet. (Yikes!)

    RV Short Stop

    Some fun, and safe, ideas for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

    Nationally, most of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parades and events have been canceled because of COVID 19. However, there are places across the USA, even in times of very active COVID infection rates, that are finding ways to adapt and celebrate. Read some ideas for safely celebrating St. Patrick’s Day around the country, or virtually, here.

    RV Fire Safety

    An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 11 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.

    It’s also a good idea to make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. You’ll also want to make sure your travel companions know how to unhook electricity (screw-on cords can be tricky) and how to close propane valves, in case either of these measures is called for.

    Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

    Museum of the Week

    Eastern State Penitentiary

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tour the Eastern State Penitentiary, a ruin of what was one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world. When it opened in 1829, the prison was the largest building in the U.S. The Penitentiary has always drawn curious tourists, and in 1971 was forced to close its doors due to overcrowding. For 20 years it sat abandoned. Now, this spooky tourist attraction draws history buffs, paranormal investigators, and of course a whole lot of people on Halloween to explore its ruins. See the cell where Al Capone spent time incarcerated (it’s still “decorated” exactly as he left it) and keep an eye out for ghosts. They’re around. Oh, and if ghosts aren’t your thing, let your partner do the tour while you stay behind and explore the gift shop (it’s spook-tacular!). The museum has been closed due to COVID, but is due to re-open this month. Plan your visit… if you dare.

    Readers’ Pet of the Day

    “This is Licorice, whose 50,000 miles (and counting) of RV travel started when she was about 4 weeks old. She’s a feral cat who was the runt of her extra-large litter and consequently wasn’t at the ‘dinner table’ when Animal Control swooped in and carried off the rest of the family. I took her in and almost immediately put her in the RV and headed off on a 1,500-mile journey. We have been traveling together happily ever since. She’s a full-time indoor cat and has her own upstairs apartment in our Coachmen Freelander Elite.” —Judith Roales

    Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
    • Monday: Bonnie & Sheba Tuesday: Sophie Wednesday: Maggie Mae • Thursday: Westerlee • Friday: Andy


    Ninety percent of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart.

    Joke of the Week

    (Read this one out loud. You’ll laugh harder.)

    I bought myself a locket today and I put my own picture in it. I am now independent.

    Leave with a song from the past

    Here’s a song from 1936 that offers some advice about how a particular vegetable can help your love life. Enjoy Mae Questel, “The Betty Boop Girl,” singing “You’ve Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby.”

    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.

    WRITERS WANTED: We are always looking for new writers. Freelance, part- or full-time, it’s up to you. Good pay for the right person. Must have professional news writing experience. No beginners. If interested, let us know here.

    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

    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.


    Thanks to our partners and advertisers for helping support this website and its many newsletters. This support, while important to us and much appreciated, has no influence on editorial content.

    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.

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    Joe H.
    1 month ago

    What a great Article about the China Bombs story-best tire research I’ve seen after going into Roger Marble’s site and blog posts, Refreshing and Informative. 

    Gary Stone
    1 month ago

    The COVID vaccine rollout is coming along fairly good. Not in all places, but generally good and getting better. In our area the call is going out to 65 and older folks. That means most of the folks hitting the road in the early spring are going to be seniors…but what’s new about that? We’re always the first ones out there.

    Dave Helgeson
    1 month ago

    Chuck, Regarding your comment, “Some people who have traveled this route will tell you it’s boring, “endless desert.” I disagree.” In addition to the enjoyable reasons you listed for traveling this length of highway another is the plethora of historic sites along most of its route. Substantial remains of ghost towns, mining camps and ruins of Pony Express stops (All Covid safe!). My wife and I have traveled the route a couple of time spending days exploring the side canyons barely scratching the surface of all the interesting sites lurking just off the highway. The route is very boondocking friendly too!

    1 month ago

    Chuck, we have had the pleasure of driving that road and agree that it is a special place.

    I remember one time we were approached by a Toyota Prius that appeared to be travelling slowly. As he got closer I could see that a guy on a bike was “drafting” him as they traveled toward Reno. Ya just never know what is going to be seen on those lonely country roads!

    We too are anxious to be headed out again!

    Donald N Wright
    1 month ago

    I admit I am worried about someone trying to bring their “spacecraft RV trailer” into a campground.

    Martha Goudey
    1 month ago

    Chuck, don’t wait. We live in an RV park in Arizona half the year, you can guess which half, and there are travelers coming and going out of here all the time. People are out and about and this next two months would be a good time to travel. We have had no issues. People wear a mask in the stores and are respectful for the most part. Cafes and Restaurants often take temperature and the waiters wear masks and distance people at tables. And when you think about the roads you like to travel… Wide open spaces, you’ll be fine. Happy travels.

    Linda H
    1 month ago

    Love kitty Licorice! My kind of furry travel companion!

    1 month ago

    Hey Chuck. We’re all getting anxious to travel again……You can always go to Texas! They just opened up the whole state and no restrictions!

    Donald N Wright
    1 month ago
    Reply to  Ran

    Chuck, don’t come to Texas yet. Our Gov is still blaming everyone else for the electrical power failure.

    Stephen C
    1 month ago

    Chuck – Don’t wait for the “official buzzer.” Those that control the button will never press it. Get out now and enjoy. Those roads don’t know what a virus is……………………..

    Tommy Molnar
    1 month ago
    Reply to  Stephen C

    Yup . . .

    I SO agree with you Stephen. And even if someone DOES give the ‘go ahead and enjoy life again’ signal, many many will continue to wear masks, stay away from others, or not even leave their houses. This whole thing has ruined life in our great country for years to come.

    And for what?

    Last edited 1 month ago by Tommy Molnar
    1 month ago

    Re: being stuck at home, I have to disagree, Chuck. Once you’re double-vaxxed and have given it a couple of weeks to settle in, you are essentially immune from this crud. Yes, you should continue to mask and distance, as a nod to those who are NOT immune, but there’s no reason for you to stay home. We’ve been taking weekend trips with appropriate precautions all Winter, and fully intend to start serious travel next month (yes – we’re double jabbed too). So should you!

    Diane Mc
    1 month ago

    Hope you can get out soon, Chuck. We made the decision to do our annual Ca to FL trip & left 1/19. Every RV park had protocols in place for Covid. I would call ahead & ask. Many said they could come out to give info or we could come in. In Florida, contrary to what you may hear or read, most everyone is wearing a mask. Business staff all wore masks. We probably ate out less than normal, but still went to our favorite spots. We attended Speedweeks in Daytona, 4 races over 4 days & another the next Sunday. Limited attendance, temp checks, hand sanitizer, even sanitizer “tape” on restroom door/toilet handles. We start our trek home Monday. We are glad we went. Nice to be “normal”. Ps, we loved highway 50.

    Ron Holly
    1 month ago

    The high % of campers that have not stayed in a Casino lot is really hard to believe. Even if u don’t want to donate, at the games, they usually have pretty good and decently priced food. Lots are most often well lit. Have u done this same survey on Wal-Mart an other box stores?

    Brad G. Hancock NH
    1 month ago

    Can someone recommend a good quality brand tire pressure gauge with dual heads? I just read Mark Polk’s article on tire pressure gauges and I think it may be time to step up my game.

    1 month ago

    Tire gauges are a crap shoot. No 2 read the same. Get the TST tire pressure monitor system. Not cheap, but accurate, and you can read your temps and pressures while driving!