Late afternoon notes – August 3, 2018

The front of our RV with traffic speeding by on I-90.

By Chuck Woodbury
Hello from Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s 6 p.m., Mountain Time, and Gail and I are parked about 75 yards away from I-90 in the overflow area of the Americas Mailbox parking lot.

It’s always dangerous for me to write at the last minute (I can make some really stupid errors), but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. So here goes (my fingers are moving really fast!).

A few miles west of here, Bike Week has kicked off in Sturgis. Promoters say a half million motorcyclists show up each year for the 10-day event. I think that’s exaggerated, but the number, whatever it is, is huge. Right now, typing with my window open, the sound of big rig trucks and motorcycles speeding by at 65 miles an hour is way too loud. But it’s okay for a few days: I just tune it out. Gail and I are headed to Mount Rushmore tomorrow, and our current parking spot is a great launch point for a day trip.

Don and Barb Humes, the owners of Americas Mailbox, are very welcoming to their customers. They have a small full-hookup RV park on the premises (maybe a couple of dozen spots) and then a large dirt lot for boondocking, with some electric-only spaces, which is what we’re in. We stopped here to visit with Don and Barb, who continue to be big supporters of this website and our efforts.

I worked my fanny off all week on a special email message to our RV Travel Members, the approximately 2,800 readers who have voluntarily subscribed to this newsletter, and in doing so empowered us to take on projects we could never (ever) do otherwise. But in the end I came up short of time to write what I wanted, and to record an accompanying video. Alas, it will have to wait until next week. We have purchased a special add-on for our website that will make it easy for us to offer premium content and other material especially for the readers who support our efforts. You can learn more here about options to do this.

I am happy to report that the syndicated radio program, The RV Show USA, has been inspired by our efforts to right some wrongs in the RV industry, and is beginning to book guests who aren’t afraid of controversy. Be sure to watch last Wednesday’s show (taped live on Facebook) with RV dealer Kevin Frazer, who is on a one-man campaign to expose some of what he thinks (and I agree) are shady practices by Camping World. The week before, the show interviewed Lemon Law attorney Ron Burdge. I will be the guest this coming Wednesday for one hour beginning at 6 p.m., Pacific Time. You can call into the show ahead of time (right now if you want) at 855-296-7469 and leave a recorded question for me to answer on the show. Watch the show Wednesday on Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

The September 12-16 Hershey RV Show, billed as America’s Largest, will feature a host of contributors and friends. Everybody’s favorite RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, a regular contributor to our website and newsletter (and my Seattle buddy) will be back again. Mike Sokol, our RV Electricity expert, will speak every day beginning at 9:30 a.m. (I’ll be in the back of the room, so please say hi.) Our favorite RV filmmaker John Holod will preview many of his RV Adventure videos including those about travel to Alaska and along Route 66. Finally, Don Humes, my host in Rapid City right now, an expert on establishing a residency in South Dakota, will also be on the podium. See the entire lineup here.

Can you figure out what the item is in the photo in today’s issue? Gail and I found it at an antique store. Be sure to click the six-second video to see it in action. You could win a prize.

Please print out the PDF checklist from Mike Sokol that he provides in this column this week. It offers step-by-step instructions about what to do before hooking up to electricity in a campground — or anywhere else. Following his instructions will keep you safe from a serious (or even fatal) shock, and it will only add a few minutes to your setup time. Read Mike’s article and download the printable checklist.

All right. It’s time to wrap up and scan the issue one more time for obvious typos or other mistakes. Then Gail and I will enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate another outstanding newsletter, thanks to the efforts of our entire staff (spread all over the country), especially our managing editor Diane McGovern back in Seattle, who saves everyone else from embarrassment with her eagle-eye for typos and grammatical errors. 

UPDATE: 10 p.m.: A thunderstorm is headed our way. It came out of nowhere. Odd, it’s been so nice. Gusty winds are slamming us. Rain is coming sideways. We’re rocking. I feel like I’m in a boat. I can see lightning flashes in the distance. In the screen shot to the left, we are where you see the blue dot to the right.

If we survive I’ll be back next week.