By Chuck Woodbury
First of all, I am a little frustrated about this issue, so please excuse me while I hop up on my soapbox for a few minutes. I have been stretched 20 directions this week. So much is going on. My mind is spinning. I feel an energy I haven’t felt in years. We have added some new freelance writers and a new staff member in recent weeks. They are learning fast, but they are not ready to take on projects that we must get going — our reader forum, a program for our members (our voluntary subscribers) with special features, and a campaign to make more “noise” in the industry to get its leaders to do a far better job of serving you and me and not just the almighty dollar.
THESE BUSY DAYS we’re trying to get over a hump to take what we do here to a new level. It’s incredibly challenging, and I must admit that I love that! But, realistically, RVtravel.com is just an itty-bitty blip in the Internet, and we have limited resources to do what we feel needs to be done, most of it revolving around education. Nobody else in the RV media will write anything critical about the industry because they can’t afford to lose advertisers. So you never hear anything but “Isn’t it great that we’re selling a half million RVs a year!” They never say, “So good luck finding a place to stay with it!” or “Sorry that the RV you bought was made so crappy!”
It makes my blood boil when I see ads from Camping World pushing loans of 15 years on entry level travel trailers built to last five years, or 20-year loans on stapled-together motorhomes that will start falling apart in ten years, leaving their owners way upside down in their loans. Nobody writes about this except us! Someone needs to make a lot of noise to educate new RV buyers that, yes, RVers and the RV lifestyle can be wonderful, but if you can’t afford to finance an RV for 10 years or less, save your money and buy when you can afford to do so.
Just wait until the next downturn in the economy when all those impulsive buyers with long, upside-down loans will need to sell their RVs, and learn that they’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars, to pay off those loans. It will be just plain ugly, and sad. . .
I don’t have room to say more. In two hours we’ll click the “live button” on this issue and turn it over to you. There is still work to do, and I need to get back to that.
Anyway, these are just some last-minute thoughts. Thanks to all of you have become members lately with your support. You have energized us like we have never been energized before.
And please understand that I am never whining or complaining here when I talk about all the work we have to do, and our challenges. I am just venting a little frustration that we cannot do more and do it faster.
And, now . . . here’s what I wrote earlier — some business stuff! — CW
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Since we announced our upcoming Stray Voltage Patrol, Mike Sokol and I have received about one report a day from readers alerting us to miswired power pedestals at RV parks. If you did not read Mike’s article last week about this, you should. And don’t miss his article this week and its short accompanying video (recorded at standard definition for readers with limited bandwidth), where he demonstrates three inexpensive devices you can use to check your own RV and power pedestal to see if they’re safe. Our goal is to identify 1,000 dangerous power pedestals in 2019 across the USA and Canada. If we do, I fully expect the RV park industry to realize it has a serious problem and take action. You, me, and other readers can make this happen, and take satisfaction knowing that we probably saved some lives in doing so.
So far about three dozen readers have signed up to participate in the Stray Voltage Patrol (email me at email@example.com and I will put you on a special mailing list for updates). No special training is required for basic level participation, just a non-contact voltage tester which you should have anyway to be safe in your own RV. A small financial reward (to be announced) is involved for locating unsafe situations. We’re funding this program ourselves for now, thanks to the generous support of our members, who have voluntarily subscribed to this newsletter.
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And a reminder that Mike will speak about RV electricity at the Hershey (Pennsylvania) RV Show Sept. 12 to 16, from 9:30 to 11 every day. This is a rare opportunity for you to meet the man who most industry insiders consider the leading authority on RV electricity. Other RVtravel.com speakers will include Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, and our friend and filmmaker John Holod who will present highlights from some of his RVing adventure videos. Gail and I will be there as well. See the lineup of speakers here. If you plan to attend the show, be sure to pre-order your show tickets so you don’t get stuck in a long line and miss Mike’s morning presentation. I will be assisting Mike, so please say hi.
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Gail and I are headed back to Seattle for at least a couple of months. There is simply too much going on with this business now and I need to be back in town to meet with our staff and others on a regular basis before heading back out on the road.
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Our project to establish low-cost overnight stops with electrical hookups continues, but it’s a long haul. There is buzz that others are considering the same thing. I frankly do not care who picks up the ball on this, I just want to see it happen. Many people have already approached me about helping with the startup.
Our efforts on other fronts continue: Put pressure on the RV industry to build higher quality RVs (and quit turning out junk), teach beginning RVers to buy intelligently, and do everything we can to alert buyers to avoid financing an RV for 20 years. Camping World, in particular, pushes this financing option, which I believe is just plain wrong and will cause many of those buyers financial heartache later.
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FINALLY, I hope you are having a wonderful summer. Please, don’t text while you drive, don’t tailgate, avoid potholes, be kind to your fellow motorists, don’t play your music too loud in campgrounds, don’t feed cute little chipmunks, and if you’re tempted to drink and drive, make it root beer (nothing stronger).
Your pal on the road,
Phoenix Cruiser’s low rate of construction shows in the quality of work by their skilled long term work crew. No spec built coaches either. Going to the factory and actually seeing them made is an eye opener.
My 2552 model is exactly what we needed and wanted for our rolling rv adventures.
The idea of low cost parking for transit RV’rs seems like it could be an opportunity for the Walmarts and the like to monetize this and make it worth their while to continue to provide this service. Yes it’s free now, but more and more of them are discontinuing the practice. Monetizing it gives them the capital to continue the practice and also control it by providing dedicated areas for RV’s and the personnel to manage it.
We rely on the Good Sam Travel Guide for RV Parks to go to. A well rated park will have no electric problems for us since another camper was there just a few hours ago.
If you can afford an RV you should afford a decent RV Park…….or conversely, if you can’t afford the gas or the parking, you should not have an RV.
One would think so, but Chuck Woodbury and I have received many emails over the years detailing the electrical problems that have occurred in well maintained and brand new campgrounds. Many of these problems have been caused by actual electricians, many of whom have a lot of experience in residential wiring, but not the special requirements of campground wiring for RV power. It’s still best to test…
Joel and Betty — we have had reports of three KOAs with defective power hookups in the last month or two. You’d think a KOA would be on top of this sort of thing. One was a park where I stayed. And, yes, someone stayed there before and before and . . . But they likely did not check the pedestal. If circumstances were just right, any of those campers could have been shocked, even fatally. The assumption you make about good parks having good pedestals and crummy parks having bad ones is wrong. Even the best parks have problems with pedestals that are often not caught until someone reports the issue.
I bought a non contact electrical tester through your site on Amazon on July 9th. Or should I say I tried to buy one. As of this date I haven’t received anything other than excuses. It was an Amazon Prime item.
BuzzElectric, contact Amazon. Maybe you bought it from a third party seller, and if it did not meet Amazon’s requirements for speedy service, it will be dumped. Amazon always bends over backwards on its customer service.
I would be happy just for safe place to pull over – doesn’t even need electricity for just a safe overnight stop.
I remember one time in the mid-west we took an exit where there appeared to be an old Burger King with a big empty parking lot. There was nothing else at that exit. We found the most level spot we could and went to sleep. Woke up in the morning to find ourselves surrounded by trucks (must have been tired cause this light sleeper never heard a thing).
I am new to the hobby but your comments about Camping World really hit home. I let the stars in my eyes blind me to what I know was the wrong thing to do. I let them talk me into a 10 year loan on a 5 year old class c. I later found out that it was originally made for CW as a rental (they did not tell me this). But as soon as I came to my senses, I made several large principal only payments and then refinanced at my local credit union. My plan is to have it paid for by Dec of 2018. One year after I bought it. In the meantime I am fixing or upgrading things as I find them. Looking forward to enjoying this for a number of years. Thanks.
One helpful clue about RV quality…not foolproof, but possibly indicative of more confidence in their product. Look for RV manufacturers that offer a two year warranty. And research reviews about how well they honor their warranty.
Hi Chuck, here we are in the middle of 2018 and your business is putting out an “E-Newsletter.” My question for you is “what is it that you need to physically see, touch, hear or smell that makes you have to fly back for business?” Because of today’s internet technology I would think that texting, emails or if you need to see someone or something, a video call could take care of that. A weekly (or whenever) video conference just might save you hours of travel time. Many businesses do video conferencing, why not you?
Jerry, there is something about sitting in the same place with your staff for hours on end so you can be spontaneous in your discussion. Also, I am long overdue for a bunch of routine doctor’s appointments, can’t do that by video chat or online meetings. Part of “going home,” too, is just being in a familiar place for awhile. We’ve moved around now for the better part of two years and I feel a deep urge to get back to things familiar for awhile, and then head out again afresh.
The RV Daily Report when it was owned by Greg Gerber used to tell it like it is. Then he stepped into it with Forest River and there were threats of lawsuits from FR. Gerber soon sold out. RV Daily Report is now nothing more than a central location for RV industry insiders to read regurgitated press releases from their fellow RV insiders. You will find not a hint of criticism on the RV industry over there.
After Greg left, I dumped that useless rag. Nothing but a collection of thrown together news articles and pro industry slanted stories. I checked back one time just to see if it had changed but it hasn’t. That story about the “master RV tech” who actually had no formal training or mention of any professional certification was nonsense. Congrats to the school student for writing the article but it was nonsense non the less.
Thought you might like to know, if you don’t already, that RV Daily Report this article this week:
“RV Daily Report invites you to take a survey designed to help us learn more about your experiences with service and maintenance on your RV. Please take a minute to take this quick survey. We will publish the results next week!”
And on The RV Show USA they are going to start using the second hour of the show to air quality issues of RVs…
It’s good to hear more voices begin to speak out! Maybe you won’t be the lone voice, and the industry will have to start listening!
Barbara, I doubt hugely that RV Daily Report will join with us. It is solidly pro-industry and won’t discuss anything that could be perceived as negative about it. Since Greg Gerber left, it’s just a collection of press releases. They never, and I mean NEVER, even mention RVtravel.com, so I am not holding my breath that it will ever put the needs of RVers ahead of those of the RV industry.
Our 1994 Dutch Star with over 200,000 miles is not any more expensive than owning a house. We fulltimed for 12 years in this DP(Cummins). Our camping fee was less than $2/day. Love those solar panels and inverter.
I know what I am about to ask may be to involved a task but a simple list of travel trailers and motor homes that at stapled together rather than constructed for the long haul.
My most recent travel trailer was built on a metal frame. It was built in 2001 and is as solid today as the day it first hit the road.
That company is no longer making travel trailers but the parent company is still making deluxe custom motor homes.
I am currently without any RV but I am inclined to buy a small class C motor home over a travel trailer. The process of investigating each possible new or used motor home to determine how they are constructed is a daunting task.
I’d love to see a quick reference chart of the various manufacturers method of construction would make the task much easier.
Considering the mountain of junk RV currently in production I am leaning toward buying used.
Keep up your good work on this issue.
You might find https://rv.org useful.
JKC. Some people believe in RV.org, others think buying its information is a waste of money. Its reports are not cheap. I do not believe any organization with only a few employees (if that) can possess the resources to be a Consumer Reports for RVs.
Check out Phoenix Cruiser. Do the factory tour. Our 3100 is wonderful and problem free.
Robert, I have toured the Phoenix Cruiser. It’s one RV I would consider well made. The problem is the company makes only a handful of RVs a week and is therefore just a tiny drip in the sea of RVs being sold.
Look at Coach House in Nakomis, FL. One piece fiberglass shell. We bought a used one recently and found it’s craftsmanship way above average.
Your statement about waking up each morning and not knowing where you’re at reminds me of the old saying about a goose wakes up in a new world everyday. Lol