Monday, September 25, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 78

Welcome 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.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

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

RVing Basics

My husband and I want to travel full-time in an RV, but I am very sensitive to chemicals and cannot tolerate strong scents. Does the smell of the propane or smoke from campfires get inside the RV?

You should never smell any LP gas inside your rig at any time, even when running the furnace or generator, unless there’s a malfunction (in which case get your system checked immediately as propane is nothing to fool with). You will have to be selective about your campgrounds, though, as it can be impossible to keep campfire smoke out. Many private campgrounds do not allow campfires, so there will be no problem there. But public campgrounds, like those in National Parks and National Forests, can be terribly smoky on summer evenings, when everyone wants to roast marshmallows by the campfire.

If the evening is warm, you’ll swelter without your windows open (and using the air conditioning for anything but a short burst of time is not appropriate at these places because it involves running the generator), so the smoke will pour right in. The RV itself, too, might be your biggest problem. Chemicals and glues used in materials will linger for a long time in a new unit and there can be other fumes from exhaust, toilet chemicals, etc.

In the answer above, you said it’s not appropriate to run a generator in National Park and National Forest campgrounds. What do you mean? Is this a law?

No, it’s not necessarily a law, but a rule in some campgrounds. In these pristine places, it’s incredibly rude to run a noisy generator (and they all make some noise) except for brief periods during the day. Your neighbors will likely be there on vacation, and forcing them to listen to engine noise rather than the sounds of nature is just plain inconsiderate. In most National Parks and many other public campgrounds, hours will be posted when it’s okay to run a generator.

Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — and perfect for RVers: it pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer, too! Learn more or order.

Quick Tips

Inspect your rig often to avoid “damage” surprises later
Have you ever noticed a dent on your RV long after returning home from a camping trip? Unfortunately, you probably won’t ever figure out how or why it happened since you didn’t spot the damage when it occurred. Just as rental car agencies inspect company vehicles prior to handing the keys to customers, you should perform a quick visual inspection of your rig whether you’re stopping at a rest area or parking for the season.

First, walk around your RV and scan the exterior from rooftop to tires. Ensure all antennae are stowed, windows are closed, and awnings are securely rolled up. Pay careful attention to your tires by checking for bulges, nicks, or items lodged inside treads. Examine the sidewalls and valves for cracking or breakage.

Finally, pay close attention to the bottom half of the rig where damage is most likely to occur. Look for scratches, nicks and dents stirred up by road hazards, bad weather or damage caused by a car that made contact when you didn’t feel it. A complete visual inspection only takes a few minutes to perform. Taking the time to do it can bring peace of mind and save you money on repairs over the course of owning your RV. Tip from Mark Polk, RV Education 101.

Hanging heavy TV on inside wall
Want to hang a TV mount on an RV inner wall? Tap carefully, you may find there aren’t any “studs” to tie into. Now look on the other side of the wall – is there yet another piece of thin paneling or laminate? If you’re dealing with a closet on the other side of your proposed TV hang-out, you may have a sweet set up.

Carefully remove the wall in the closet, and measure the dead space between the two walls. Is there room enough for a 3/4″ piece of plywood? Cut one to fit inside the space, then reinstall the closet wall. Mark the spots for your TV mount screws, and drill through the wall. From the TV side, use BOLTS, not screws, long enough to go completely through into the closet side. Then use fender washers and cap nuts to make a finished, non-snagging way that will securely mount your TV. Using wood screws as attaching hardware may pull out as the leveraged weight of the TV bounces down the road.

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

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

“Once you buy, PRACTICE driving and parking it in a deserted parking lot for several days before you journey out. Pretend you are backing into a campsite, especially if you have a 5th wheel. Be aware that the rear of the trailer or motorhome makes a larger arc than the wheels. You can’t just make a right turn from the right lane without keeping an eye on the car in the next lane and your tail end.

“Your first trip should be to a local campground close to home – learning how to use your new RV and figuring out what you forgot to bring or need to buy.

“Choose larger campgrounds the first few outings – they have the experience to help you. Also, do not be embarrassed to let them help you park, and pay attention – they do this every day and have learned the tricks. They are happy to help you learn how to back up your rig.

“Lastly, be really observant of what and how other RVers, with lots of experience, do it. RVing is like joining a new club: Most everyone is super friendly and helpful. Do not be afraid to strike up a conversation or ask why they did something in a certain way. Most veterans enjoy sharing what took them a long time to learn.

“Have fun and be careful out there.” —George

Did you hear? We published a book!
The third edition of publisher Chuck Woodbury’s book “The ABCs of RVing” is now available. Every question you’ve ever had about RVing is answered in this easy-to-understand book. The book is for RV beginners, those just getting started who don’t even know the right questions to ask about buying or using an RV. It’s quick reading and will get newbies up to speed on choosing the right RV (for them), buying it at the best price, and then using it. Learn more or order here.

Random RV Thought

The more “stuff” you carry in your RV, the more fuel your motorhome or tow vehicle needs to haul it. Once a year, go through your drawers and cupboards and remove things you haven’t used in the last year.

“What’s the best modification you’ve made to your RV?”

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

“I have 2 best mods for my RV: (1) I installed a slide topper – no more climbing a ladder on uneven surface to sweep off the tree debris; and (2) a 5-inch fence post with rain-gutter insert for the sewer hose and attachments – no more stinky slinky in the storage bay!” —Jim Knoch

• 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!

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Editor: Emily Woodbury

Editorial (all but news)
Editorial (news)
Help desk:
 Contact us.

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.

This newsletter is copyright 2022 by RV Travel LLC.


  1. Regarding the hanging of a tv on a inner wall. After removing the opposite wall, how are you going to mount a piece of plywood? You still end up with a thin piece of Luann holding the plywood unless you can find studs and somehow screw the plywood to the studs. Best way is to use a stud finder and mount the plywood to the studs on the TV side of the wall. Stain or paint the plywood.

  2. We have decided to try an 1989 older class c motor home, Not newbies but older ourselves, harder to get in and out of class a to drive. Question here is it’s a 1989 shasta revere, side bed ,very close area to shower and toilet, how can I redo some inside renovations to make it more open? Thanks Ellie

    • Ellie, If you are handy, or know someone who is, you can (if there are only two of you) have the booth style eating area cut back. Set in the booth and determine how wide you would want it to sit comfortable. then have the table cut on the wall side to that length. Once that is done, have the bench portion shortened to the same length. You may be surprised how much that will add to the open area.

  3. We changed out the mattress to a 80″ house type queen and took out the theater seating and installed 2 recliners with a table in the middle. Feels more like home.

  4. Best modification so far in my Airstream trailer concerns the twin beds. Folks keep rolling off the mattresses onto the floor. Hint, the mattress is four inches wider than the bed frame under the mattress .

  5. To the lady with low tolerance to strong scents, I would advise renting a newer unit and take a week or so in a local campground to see how it affects your problem. Good luck, I look forward to meeting you somewhere in this wonderful country.

  6. W/regard to noise discipline, light discipline is very important as well – It is hard to ‘enjoy’ the night wall to wall stars if your neighbor finds that he just can’t live w/o an oversized light show of his own –

    • The ones that use all the rope lights around the campsite are the worst offenders. Those and the ones with the front nose lights on all night.
      I have a motion light for my steps. Only stays on 30 seconds. Long enough to climb the steps.


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