Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter Volume 2, Issue 35

rv travel logoWelcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

This newsletter is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thanks to all of you!

Friday, June 18, 2021

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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

Today’s Tip of the Day: Defrosting the RV freezer correctly

 →  Listen to this week’s podcast

RVing Basics

What are membership campgrounds?

Membership campgrounds are for their members only. Coast to Coast and Thousand Trails are two examples. The advantage to membership campgrounds is they are most often attractive and secure with plenty of activities and member interaction. Members seldom have a problem getting a campsite; some RVers literally travel from one park to another, spending a few days or even weeks in each. But membership campgrounds are not for everybody and unless you camp a lot probably not cost-effective. Costs to join may run from hundreds of dollars to thousands. Most RVers do not join membership parks, camping instead at public campgrounds and private ones like KOA.

There are also membership programs such as Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome, that allow you to stay on private property for a small yearly fee.

Are reservations necessary at public campgrounds?

They are very often required in the busy summer months in all but the most out-of-the-way parks, and especially so on holidays when spaces in popular tourist areas are in huge demand and often booked a year or more ahead, especially as of 2020. Generally, though, the farther you are from a big city or major tourist destination (like Yellowstone or Yosemite), the easier it is to find an available campsite. National Forest campgrounds, usually of the primitive variety, are often the last to fill. While they offer few amenities, their settings in forests — often by lakes and streams — can be peaceful and scenic. Reservations are highly recommended at commercial campgrounds, especially in the prime season and on summer holidays.

How long am I allowed to stay in a campground?

In a private RV park, often indefinitely, but at least for a season. But in public campgrounds, like those in state and federal parks, stays may be limited to two weeks. Stays of up to seven months are allowed on some public lands in the Southwest.

Casino Guide includes RVer info and coupons!
The 2020 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.

Quick Tips

Don’t kill the good bacteria in your RV’s black tank
Reader Mike Buchanan advises: “When cleaning your RV toilet, be careful what you clean with. Any cleaner that contains bleach, peroxide or germicides of any kind will not only kill surface bacteria, but will also kill all the good bacteria that is contained in your waste water treatment. It’s that good bacteria that is eating up and breaking down that solid waste.” He adds, “If you want to kill surface bacteria, use a disposable germicidal wipe such as Lysol and dispose of it in your regular waste.” Thanks, Mike!

What to do with a noisy dryer exhaust flap
If you have a washer/dryer in your rig, as do John and Darla Pereria, you may have an annoying problem along with it: A wind-blown dryer exhaust flap that makes constant noise. Say the Pererias, “Naturally this happens most often when you are trying to get to sleep. The sound is just annoying. To solve the problem, we found a large washer in my bag of bolts, and glued the washer to the outside of the flap. It is just enough weight to stop the wind from causing the noise, yet does not interfere with the operation of the dryer.”

Make towels stay where they belong
Towels fall off towel bars in transit? Get some sticky-back Velcro tape and stick the prickly side up on the towel bar. Towels don’t run away!

How not to run your generator
Don’t run your generator for brief periods of time. Suppose you are boondocking and want to heat up your coffee in the microwave. If you run the microwave on battery power, it will rapidly run down your batteries – not good. While some RVers fire up the generator for a few minutes to do tasks like this – run a hairdryer, coffee pot, electric heaters, etc. – running the generator for those short bursts of time will definitely reduce its life. Thanks to Ron Jones,

Tip for holding down exterior carpet
From Ralph Graner: When camping near a beach or other sandy area, fill ziplock bags with sand to hold down your exterior carpet. No need to search for rocks. Thanks, Ralph!

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

HOME RUN: When maximum profit has been made on a deal or when the sales business manager has sold the customer all the insurance he has available.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?

From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response: 

“If you have no mechanical skills or the ability to troubleshoot problems, don’t buy one.” —Richard

Random RV Thought

If you prefer quiet RV parks, when calling ahead for reservations ask if there are any railroad tracks close by. Same with busy streets. Many RV parks are on inexpensive land, and sometimes the reason is that they are near a busy street or railroad track. If trains run often, it can be difficult to sleep. Checking the aerial view on Google Maps is probably just as effective as making a phone call.

• If you’re a member of Facebook, be sure to sign up for our groups RV Buying Advice, RV Advice and Budget RV Travel. For a list of all our groups and newsletters, visit here.

• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!

Fire-resistant bag keeps valuables safe!
This silicone-coated fire-resistant bag will save your money, documents, jewelry, passport and other valuables from a fire. Its two layers of supreme fire retardant fiberglass material make it resist fire and heat up to 1000 ℉. It’s waterproof, too, so when the hoses arrive, your valuables won’t be harmed. Learn more or order.

RV Travel staff


Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

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.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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Brian Burry
1 month ago

I believe the advice to someone who does not understand mechanical issues or having mechanical ability to not buy an RV, is a poor advice. There are plenty of legitimate motorhome warranties that can do a tremendous amount of good for those of us who are not mechanics. Ours is $100 deductible of uterine [from Diane: Not sure what you meant here, Brian. Let me know and I’ll fix it.] two major components and paid for itself and its first year. That along with peace of mind, having met a wonderful local independent RV repair service center, makes us enjoy our motorhome even more. It would be like telling someone buying an exotic sports car to drive, if you can’t repair it you shouldn’t buy it. The benefits outweigh mechanical issues, of owning and enjoying the RV adventure! I would encourage a new RV buyer, to join quality forums, read up a lot and get involved as much as possible in knowing your RV well!

1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Burry

Agree wholeheartedly!!!!! AND, I won’t buy for the first time until next year … AND I will be a single woman, 80 years old when I start Rving!!!!

Bob Thompson
11 months ago

If you shouldn’t run the generator for just brief periods, how long should you run it? Also, is it ok to turn on the generator while external power is pluged in? Thx.

11 months ago
Reply to  Bob Thompson

Why would you need to run the genny if you have shore power?

11 months ago

Also, if you use an antibacterial dish soap- that too will kill the good bacteria.

11 months ago

Quick Tips – Black tanks are holding tanks not septic tanks so bleach should not be a problem. The black tanks do eventually dump into a waste water plant of some type but the small volume of a black tank will not kill off the plant’s bacterial ecosystem.

Tony Grigg
11 months ago
Reply to  steve

Hey Steve, your understanding of this issue is a little different than mine. I don’t think anyone is concerned with harming the community’s waste water plant with a small amount of bleach. The concern is damaging the bio breakdown process inside of the RV black tank. Adding bio breakdown products to the tank after each dump cycle does provide enzymes and good bacteria to the tank to promote the rapid breakdown of waste and making emptying the tank easier and more complete. Adding bleach or other disinfectants to the tank counteracts the product you added to help the breakdown.

11 months ago
Reply to  Tony Grigg

I’ll agree to disagree. The waste storage in a black tank is usually so short that a bio breakdown process is not necessary. I use a simple mixture of liquid soap and water softener and have no problems with emptying my tank. But, the chemical companies love your train of thought.

Tom Penn
11 months ago
Reply to  steve

I don’t know which of you gentlemen are correct, but it’s nice to see civil behaviour during the discussion. Truly model conduct in a public forum.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Penn


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