More from the editor, Issue 851

By CW
More from the editor, Issue 851It’s Friday evening and I’m still at the computer, in dangerous territory; I always try to finish up my writing for the newsletter on Thursday at the latest so I have at least one night to sleep on what I wrote and then come back and clean up my writing and fix my mistakes. As is, the newsletter goes live in less than four hours, which makes me nervous. Oh well, I’ll just carry on and hope for the best.

Here are a few things that have occupied my thinking since last week.

More from the editor, Issue 851
Overnight parking spots like this would be located along major highways, 100 miles apart, with only an electric hookup. Stay a night then move on. The price: cheap!

• I have made progress on my idea of starting a chain of inexpensive, fully automated RV overnight stops. The only amenity would be a safe, quiet, level place to park in a self-contained RV for one night with 30- or 50-amp service. These barebones parks would be located roughly 100 miles apart along major highways. They could be stand-alone places or located in existing parking lots — chain stores, closed up shopping malls, motels, etc. Electric pedestals could be placed much like what you see in the photo to the left I took at a Kansas casino.

More from the editor, Issue 851
Tesla is installing electric charging stations in 100 Target stores. Why can’t Target or Walmart install electricity pedestals for overnight RVers?

Reservations could be made 24 hours ahead using an app, so you’d know a space would be waiting for you. There is far more to this idea than what I have written here. I’ll just say I have talked with several business people who are interested in getting involved. If you are interested in joining us, let me know (chuck@rvtravel.com). And for the record, if someone beats me to this, that’s fine with me. I just think it’s something that a lot of RVers will need as RV parks get even more booked up, making it hard to find a place to stay en route to another destination that offers an electric hookup without reserving months in advance. Also, in my opinion, before long Walmart will ban free overnight stays, making the need for what I’m proposing even more important.

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• I may be the last RVer to know this, but I learned this week that those of us with 50-amp rigs should not be using a dog bone adapter to plug into 30-amp service when 50-amp is not available. I became aware of this issue when I read this posting on a forum: 

For the first time ever, I was told by a campground when we were making reservations that they would not allow me to plug my 50-amp cord into their 30-amp pedestal using my adapter. She said they have problems with the 30-amp being overloaded and burning up the plug on the post. I argued and explained that I understood the issue that I can’t run both air conditioners or the microwave and coffee maker at the same time, but she was insistent.

I spoke with both Mike Sokol and Wade Elliott of RV Power Outlet about this, and both are well aware of this issue. So does this mean if 50-amp service is not available, those of us with 50-amp rigs should not use a dog bone adapter to plug into 30-amp service? Wade said, “Yes,” and while Mike would not say “No,” he did advise against it.” Mike will write about this soon.

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• I came across another electric-related issue this past week, and it concerned me. Camping World mailed a sales flyer that advertised a $299 portable gas generator. Once again, I consulted with our RV electricity expert Mike Sokol. I had a feeling this cheap generator was not especially quiet. Mike explained it this way (after some research): “If you were in the next campsite, it would be like camping next to an operating chain saw.” My thought was, “Why would Camping World sell such a noisy device, knowing that some people will buy it simply for its low price (far less expensive than a whisper-quiet Honda with the same power output), and then disrupt the rest of the campground when they ran it?” Watch my 45-second video where I encountered such a noisy generator in a campground in Yellowstone National Park. 

Mike decided after talking with me to write about generators and how to understand their decibel levels in his RV Electricity Newsletter that comes out tomorrow (June 24) (sign up here).

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More from the editor, Issue 851Finally, for now (I’m running out of time), a bit of insight into the problem many of us know too well — the acute shortage of RV technicians, often making for unacceptably long waits to get repairs made, leaving RVers without their rigs for weeks, even months at a time. According to RV Daily Report, “the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the number of RV repair technicians at 13,520, meaning the average technician is responsible for servicing an estimated 658 RVs.” Read this comment originally posted on RV Daily Report from one technician. We will continue to write about this technician crisis. The RV industry is, finally, taking action to train more techs. Will it help? Maybe. But I wonder how the industry can recruit and train enough techs: The average wage is less than $19 an hour, not impressive.

There is more to write about, but time is running out for me, and me ol’ brain is pretty fried. So see you next week when my noggin is firing again on all cylinders!

Return to RV Travel Newsletter Issue 851.