Members RV Travel Newsletter Issue 998

    10

    Welcome to RVtravel.com, the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with 144,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe that it is essential to a democracy. At RVtravel.com, 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. Thank you!

    May 1, 2021


    Editor’s corner

    With Chuck Woodbury

    With great pleasure I bring excellent news — the unveiling of our new official RVtravel.com T-shirts and coffee mugs. For now, both will be available as prizes in our many contests. But one day soon they will be available for purchase at prices so exceptionally fair that all of you will want both the shirt and coffee mug. The mug comes with a guarantee that coffee will taste better in it than in any other coffee mug on the market.

    There is no question in my mind that wearing our incredibly attractive, high-quality T-shirt or drinking from our impressive mug will elevate your stature in the eyes of all who observe you with either. The winner of today’s Saturday Giveaway Contest (see below) will win T-shirt #1, and earn lifetime bragging rights for the achievement.

    “RVs: WHO MAKES WHAT”
    A week ago today we debuted our new 73-page report “RVs: Who Makes What,” which lists every RV manufacturer in North America and what brands and models they make. We believe it’s the first time such information has been available. We are offering the report for free as a public service. We could have sold it, but the information is so valuable we wanted all RVers to have access to it. Information about how to get the report is below. I am happy to report that more than 5,500 of you downloaded it in the last week alone.

    We have some exceptionally good stories in today’s issue. Nanci Dixon returns with the newest installment of her popular column “Campground Crowding.” The subject got very personal with her recently, which she explains. Nancy also relays comments from some RVers who say crowding has forced them to “hang up their keys.” One RVer reported selling his trailer only 15 minutes after listing it for sale — illustrating the shortage of vehicles as record numbers of new RVers jump into the RV lifestyle.

    Expect to see more “pick up” locations in store parking lots.

    Mike Gast offers some rare insights into how Walmart’s free overnight stay policy for RVers may be doomed, and soon. In 2010, just shy of 80 percent of Walmart stores allowed overnight stays. Today, it’s closer to 55 percent — and dropping. Walmart’s future will look a lot different than what you see today with present-day parking lots repurposed or smaller. Read Mike’s article.

    And Tony Barthel has a story most RVers will find interesting, a review of his new portable washing machine. How many of us without washers on board dread hoofing it to the RV park laundry to wash our clothes? Tony spent $160 for his machine. Was it worth it? He explains.

    Finally, many of you have expressed frustration navigating this newsletter. After clicking away to read an article, when you return to the newsletter it’s to the top of the page instead of where you left off. We understand the frustration and are working to improve this. Our goal is to make the navigation work well on both desktop and mobile platforms, which is a challenge. I apologize for the inconvenience.

    Be safe. Get your COVID shots!

    chucksignature

    ATTENTION BEGINNING RVers
    On Monday we are resuming our Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, which appears weekdays. This is Volume 2, which will run for approximately five months — long enough to bring newbies up to speed on RVing basics. The newsletter will then pause again and resume later for Volume 3 to educate a new round of RV beginners. Sign up here.


    Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter

    Will gas stations run out of fuel this summer? The news media is running scare headlines. We dig out the truth.
    • The second installment of your responses to our recent question: “What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?”
    • Camping World is getting into the peer-to-peer RV rental business.
    • A review of Living Vehicle. Is it the most capable travel trailer ever?

    PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Free and bargain camping locations • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more …


    Listen to last Sunday’s RVtravel.com podcast

    Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode #4) and listen. Also available on SpotifyPodbeanAmazon/AudibleGoogle PodcastsPlayer FMListen Notes iHeartRadio and coming soon to Apple Podcasts.

    Click to listen on RVtravel.com


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

    A quick, easy way to make sure your RV stays cool at the next campsite
    11 unexpected ways sandpaper comes in handy in the RV
    How to diagnose your RV’s air conditioner health


    Today’s RV review…

    Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Hélio HE3 Series Mini Travel Trailer. He writes, “The Hélio HE3 Series is a slick little trailer that may really work out for some buyers. The build quality and thinking are there – and I’m betting that it’ll last a very long time.” Read more and see how it compares to other mini travel trailers.

    Last week’s reviews:
    2021 Shasta 21CK Travel Trailer2021 Chinook SummitKZ RV Connect SE C210MBKSE Travel TrailerImperial Outdoors XploreRV XR22 Bunk Model2021 AntiShanty Overlanding Trailers


    Clintoons • By Clint Norrell

    COPYRIGHT 2021, Clint Norrell

    MORE OF CLINT
    See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!


    DOWNLOAD FOR FREE
    New free directory lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models
    How many different makes and models of RVs are there in America? RVtravel.com has the answer in a new, free, comprehensive 73-page directory that lists every U.S. manufacturer and every brand and model they make. “RVs: Who Makes What” is available free as a public service from RVtravel.com in PDF form. Learn more and/or download a free copy.


    Campground Crowding: “I sold my trailer 15 minutes after listing it for sale!”

    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. This week, writer Nanci Dixon relates their personal, very difficult and ongoing experience with campground crowding after a recent death in the family. A reader considers trip-planning as a hobby, like a “treasure hunt.” (It’s good to have a positive attitude!) But another RVer has thrown in the towel and sold his trailer within 15 minutes of listing it for sale! Read more here.

    What would you do if Walmart stopped allowing overnight RV stays?

    A few weeks ago we asked you what you would do if Walmart totally banned the practice of overnight RV parking in its lots. While the number of Walmarts still allowing RV overnight stays is dropping fast, many stores remain that allow it. Our thanks to the more than 150 RVtravel.com readers who responded to our question. Because of the number of responses, we’ll post half the comments today, and the remainder in tomorrow’s (Sunday) newsletter. Read the first installment here.

    Just how bad is it? Are boondocking locations getting crowded?

    By Julie Chickery
    RV sales are booming and you’ve surely heard that campgrounds are overcrowded. Now you might have heard that dispersed camping is a great way to avoid the throngs of new RV travelers. But is it true, or are boondocking locations getting crowded too? Find out here.

    How to negotiate the best price on your next RV

    An RV purchase is a big deal, and depending on the type of RV you buy, it can come with a substantial price tag. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to negotiate the best price on your next RV. Find out what they are here.


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

    Keep “virus-safe” at the fuel pump
    Yikes! A holding tank pyramid!
    It’s a tank. It’s a trailer. It’s Aussie RV innovation
    Tools for RVers: Two handy screwdrivers


    Reader Poll

    How do you feel about RV parks charging more when demand is high, like airlines and hotels do?

    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:
    At what age does someone become “middle-aged”? See what more than 2,000 other RVers think.

    Also popular: How often do you use a dehumidifier in your RV?

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


    Brain Teaser

    I have a big mouth and I am also quite loud! I am NOT a gossip but I do get involved with everyone’s dirty business. What am I?

    (Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)

    Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.


    All the RV lingo you need to, and should, know

    By Gail Marsh
    RVers have a unique language. Have you ever wondered why? Me too! Maybe RVers have discovered this wonderful way of seeing the world and want to keep it somewhat “mysterious” to others. Or maybe RVers use their unique lingo to demonstrate their level of experience to “newbies.” It might be that the RV jargon is quicker to say, making it faster for the RVer to stop talking and get to fishing, golfing, sightseeing, relaxing, or whatever the reason they RV. The RV jargon is interesting, for sure! Here are a few examples.

    The best gifts for the RVing mom

    Mother’s Day is quickly approaching (listen up!) on Sunday, May 9, 2021. What special thing are you doing for the mom in your life (and yes, fur-parent moms count too!)? If you don’t know what to give to that special mom, we’ve compiled a list that may help.

    “Nomadland,” the movie – Don’t miss it!

    By Adrienne Kristine
    I have a recommendation for the movie “Nomadland.” If you haven’t seen it, please do. The film reflects a view of the RV lifestyle seldom seen by outsiders. Fern, Frances McDormand, relaxes outside her van in the campground at Badlands National Park. Like Fern in the movie, as you travel down the highways you see the beauty in the bleakness of the desert, the scrub brush, the sagebrush, the cactus, the bright snow-covered mountains and hills, and the dirty snow on the side of the road left by the snowplows. Continue reading this interesting review by someone who has “been there, done that.”

    We tested tons of black tank treatments; this is the only one that worked

    By Kate Doherty
    Recently I was privileged to meet Doctor Poop! This entrepreneurial inventor, Don Zimmerman, has a passion for all things poop! For the past 20+ years, he has traveled the globe analyzing bacteria. You know, the nasty stuff that creates sludge, clogs black tanks, stinks to high heaven, and makes dump day a poopy one! Continue reading.

    Italian RVYou just missed the chance to buy this rare Italian RV restoration

    By Russ and Tiña De Maris
    If you were looking for a unique RV restoration project, you just missed it. A French automotive auction house, Benzin, just closed an auction on an Italian-made 1980 Paguro camper built by Laverda. Guess we’d call this classic a Class C, the chassis manufactured by Citroën. This wild Italian RV must have been hot in its day. Check it out!


    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 time today, May 1, 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 cards: Jan E. of Port Orchard, Washington, and Rick K. of Kendallville, Indiana.

    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

    MOST POPULAR:
    Campground Crowding: When living in an RV is cheaper than a house or apartment

    PLUS:
    Proposed Texas law could limit overnight RV parking in entire state
    Moving from a “house RV” to an “apartment RV.” How do we downsize?
    AirLight insulates your RV – Keep the cool or warm air inside!
    RV Tire Safety: Which tire expert is correct about tire inflation?
    Can you RV camp at a military campground?
    13 surprising ways to use Windex
    Expedition Boondock: A journal of adventure and extraordinary danger
    Campground and RV Park News, April 24, 2021
    2021 North American Camping Report finds 2.6 million new camping households
    Good News: Things to smile about this week, April 25, 2021
    Color my pickup truck green! You bet – in fake grass


    Saturday Giveaway!

    Win an official RVtravel.com T-shirt!

    Wear this proudly around the RV park for the instant admiration of all who see you. Available in all sizes (except extra humongous) and several colors.

    How to win
    We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (May 1, 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.

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


    Resources

    NEW: AAA Map of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (U.S. and Canada)

    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.

    Great websites. 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.

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

    Why do my RV batteries only last a year or two?
    How to replace and reseal RV windows


    RV Gadgets and Gizmos

    Portable washing machine saves weight for RV. YUP.

    By Tony Barthel
    This is going to sound strange, but I bought a washing machine to save weight on our long journey to the middle of this country. It sounds nonsensical, but I think my math works out. Continue reading to see how it saves weight, and how well it works.


    RVelectricity

    By Mike Sokol

    Don’t fall for it. This is NOT a generator!

    In the last few months I’ve had perhaps a dozen readers contact me about these so-called “solar generators” that are being marketed by companies like Jackery and Bluetti. Several readers have gone so far as tearing out their existing RV batteries and charger, and hoping to use one of these “solar generators” instead of a traditional gasoline generator or an inverter powered by their RV house batteries. Read why this is not a good idea.

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

    How to Neutral/Ground bond parallel generators

    Dear Mike,
    I have a Honda 2000i generator. When I plug in your bonding plug, everything works great and my EMS does not complain when powering my travel trailer. But if I plug in a second Honda generator using the parallel wire kit, do both generators need the neutral ground plug? Or will one suffice since they are now wired together? Thanks. —Jon

    Read Mike’s response.


    RV Tire Safety

    Are ST-type tires better because they have a higher “speed rating”?

    By Roger Marble
    I recently saw an RV forum post about better durability of trailer tires. The poster said: “Old trailer tires were rated to 65 mph. Newer tires are rated to 81 or 88 mph. That is a big difference. Since I upgraded to Load Range D and Speed Rating M (81 mph), my trailer blowouts have disappeared.” Here’s Roger’s response.


    Building an RV Park

    Still waiting on the bank, but lots of progress on the RV park

    Machelle updates us on progress with the bank, in part thanks to suggestions from a lot of you folks(!); AJ and Machelle attending a Campground Management Conference and what they learned; and getting ready for the Fourth of July, including the anvil explosions. (Huh?) She also reports that they will soon have a HUGE announcement and adds, “I can hardly contain myself!” (Something about an upcoming event? Hmmm.) She also updates us on all the progress being made on the campground. Wow! Read all about it here.


    Synchronous fireflies at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (firefly.org)

    RV Short Stop

    Synchronous fireflies put on magical shows

    By Julianne G. Crane
    I’ve been tracking synchronous fireflies activity for a number of years. … Catching fireflies on warm summer evenings is one of my fondest childhood memories. While I’ve not been lucky enough to sit among thousands of enchanting creatures flashing in unison – it’s on my Bucket List. Read about these fascinating critters, as well as how you can help fireflies make a comeback, along with the dates for 2021 public viewings, here.


    RV Fire Safety

    Know your location and get help in case of fire

    In case of fire, and after you get people away from the fire, get help. Adults and older children should know how to dial 911, and how to get emergency help on any CB, VHF or ham radio available. It’s crucial to know your location so firefighters can find you.

    Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy


    Recipe of the Day

    Tex-Mex Chicken and Corn Chowder
    by Michelle Pitts from Bakersfield, CA
    This chowder is perfectly thick, creamy, and has a ton of flavor… without being too spicy. Very easy to make, it’s definitely hearty enough to serve on its own as a meal, and your kitchen will smell wonderful for hours as a result.

    Yummy! Get the recipe here.

    Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
    Cherry Lime MojitoCheesy Parmesan Potato PancakesUpside Down Blueberry Pie CheesecakeBroccoli Shrimp CasserolePulled Pork Nachos

    Watch short cooking videos: But don’t watch near mealtime or you could get terribly hungry. If you love to cook, you will love these videos, most a minute or less.


    Photo Credit: The Walmart Museum Facebook

    Museum of the Week

    The Walmart Museum

    Bentonville, Arkansas

    Visit the very first location of Walmart, then Walton’s, and, as the website says, “Take a journey through Walmart’s heritage.” You’ll first walk into a replicated five-and-dime store before moving into the back rooms of the museum. The museum is so well done and so well laid out, you’ll have fun exploring. If you’ve ever been fascinated with the company’s history, or find yourself shopping or “camping” at Walmarts often, you’ll surely want to stop. Visit the museum website here to plan your visit, or take a virtual tour of the museum (almost as good!).


    Readers’ Pet of the Day

    “Meet Chewy (ginger) and Kuchie (tabby and white), who we adopted from our local shelter in August 2019. As far as we know, they had never been in an RV before, or worn harnesses. So our first trip with them in August this year was a dive into the unknown. They have exceeded our wildest hopes, and want to go outside to explore all the time. Here they are sitting in the stairwell asking to go out – one of the rare opportunities for a photo of them together!” —Sally Gilbert

    Pets featured in this past week’s RV Daily Tips:
    • Monday: Billy Tuesday: Copper Wednesday: Tito • Thursday: Izzy (and cat)
    • Friday: Myka and Katies (and Levi)


    Vintage Postcard of the Week

    Postcards owned by Colleen and Ed Weum, Pacific Northwest Postcard Club. Read more about their 90,000 postcard collection here.


    Trivia

    Every minute, 2 million searches are performed on Google. Now that’s hard to believe!

    Joke of the Week

    A heavily pregnant woman hobbles painfully into the hospital with one hand on her back. A nurse comes over to her and asks her what’s wrong, but the woman just shouts, “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Didn’t!” The nurse shakes her head and says, “Sorry, I don’t understand.” The woman screams, “Can’t! Won’t! Don’t!” The nurse is terribly confused and turns to a doctor, who says, “Admit her. She’s having contractions.”


    Leave with a song from the past

    Here’s an oldie but very goodie — from the 1941 Abbott and Costello movie “Buck Privates,” it’s the Andrew Sisters singing the hit song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”


    Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

    Read it here | Back issues


    If you have not contributed to RVtravel.com 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, Mike Gast, 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.

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    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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

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    10 Comments
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    rvgrandma
    4 days ago

    When reading articles, I right click the link to open in a new tab. That way when I go back to the newsletter it is always where I left.

    Roger Marble
    4 days ago

    Always interesting to see the women in the postcards always seem to be wearing high heels when camping. Wonder why my wife doesn’t?

    WEB
    4 days ago
    Reply to  Roger Marble

    Oh, you noticed there was a woman in it too!

    Tom
    3 days ago
    Reply to  WEB

    You mean there’s something else in the picture?

    Tommy Molnar
    4 days ago

    Speaking of museums (someone was, right?), we finally stopped to see “The Thing” on I-10 in AZ a couple of days ago. After passing this ‘attraction’ several times and laughing at it, we decided this was the trip when we threw in the towel and stopped. It actually turned out to be very interesting. They have lots of tourist stuff in the store, but the museum itself was $4 for seniors and veterans. $5 for everyone else. It’s a walkthrough setup where they ‘chronicle how aliens were here during dinosaur times and how two opposing alien groups (one evil and one good, of course) affected the evolution of man. All fantasy but the presentation is based on “what if” with every part of the story. I found it fascinating! Well worth the $8 wifey and I shelled out. I took a ton of pictures which I will probably put up on Facebook. So, next time you get within a hundred miles (which is where the billboards start showing up!), make time to visit this attraction. You may be as surprised as we were.

    Marie Beschen
    4 days ago

    I do think they are getting serious about not having “us” stay there! We are in Oklahoma City and near our cg is a Walmart along a small shopping center and all the entrances have 9′ beams around them! That sure tells you they don’t want us even coming in to shop, let alone park for the night!!

    WEB
    4 days ago
    Reply to  Marie Beschen

    So then please, please, please stay away from them for good. That shopping center is telling you they do not want yer business, so reciprocate by not giving it, at any time. But notify them with a phone call, email or snail mail to that effect otherwise it will be ‘lost’.

    Ray
    4 days ago

    Thanks for bringing the Walmart Museum to attention. It was indeed much more of a pleasure to view than I had first envisioned. Sam Walton is a study in humility. He never let his extraordinary wealth go to his head, choosing instead to live simply and on his own terms, much to the chagrin of some of those around him. It suffices to say he was not your typical billionaire or even millionaire. Go see it.

    Will (DirectionWideOpen.com)
    4 days ago

    I have seen a lot of discussion about “campground crowding”. The truth is, I’ve had a couple of places we try to reserve indicate they’re full, but not nearly as much as many articles would have you believe. Why are we experiencing something to the contrary? Simple: We’re not staying in 5-star “resorts”. We pick a campground in the area we’d like to visit, reserve for a month, and either work in our rig or get out on the motorcycles or in the truck and explore what the area has to offer. The campgrounds we stay at aren’t generally fancy, but they are affordable. Maybe if one is looking for a pool, and other fancy amenities, sure, those campgrounds are crowded. But most of the time I see a spot or ten waiting for your rig.

    Tony Grigg
    4 days ago

    Will, we certainly agree. We spent Nov – Mar taking our 5ver throughout Texas and Arkansas and never spent over a week in any one place. We typically made a reservation a week or less in advance and rarely found a full campground. The Corps of Engineer sites are wonderful and we found county and city campgrounds that were true gems with plenty of open spaces. The secret is getting off the beaten path.