Tuesday, December 6, 2022



Page two of editor’s remarks for Issue 859



Gail poses on our way home by the World’s Largest Prairie Dog near the Badlands of South Dakota.

Welcome to page two of my opening remarks for Issue 859.

First, Gail and I are back in Seattle for awhile after a three-week drive from near Madison, Wisconsin, where we stayed two months. We had our first staff meeting yesterday to better plot RVtravel.com’s course for the weeks and months ahead. Our current projects will take us well into 2019 to complete. There are only so many hours in the day, and our small staff simply can’t immediately get onto every project full steam.

Here are the projects we are working on:

•Launch our new reader forum this month.

•Redesign the RVtravel.com website to make it more readable.

•Launch RVelectricity.com, which will be edited by Mike Sokol. Development is well on its way but we have some loose ends that may take us a month or two to complete considering we have so many other things on our plate.

stray voltage patrolFinish up organizing our Stray Voltage Patrol, where some of our readers will test RV park pedestals across the country to determine if the electric hookups are safe and not dangerously miswired. So far, 130 readers have signed up to participate. You can learn more and signup here.

Continue to promote our idea of a chain of inexpensive overnight stops for RVers, where electricity is provided. This is a big project and it’s doubtful we can do it ourselves, but we know it must happen to accommodate RVers with rigs that are electric-dependent as well as other RVers who can’t find a place to stay for the night, or who can’t afford to pay $50 to just sleep 8 hours and move on. Also, more Walmarts every week are banning overnight stays in their parking lots, creating a problem for many RVers. We will continue to try to stir interest in this project: It’s a great opportunity for a visionary businessman.

•Find new ways to educate RV buyers about the right and wrong ways to buy. I am working on two books that will help. Although we have posted NewRVer.com, where we can do the most good, we have not yet had time to develop it into a valuable resource. We will continue to harp on our displeasure with Camping World for pushing 20-year loans on cheap RVs.

Continue to pester RV industry leaders to do a better job of building their RVs. Too much junk is being turned out, and too many RVers are waiting weeks, even months, for the defects on their just-purchased RVs to be repaired before the RV can be used. We have just posted a page where we list as many resources as we can find to help RVers get their complaints in front of RV executives. And if they won’t respond we have lemon lawyers to refer them to. Our belief is that if we make enough noise, the industry will be forced to do something. So far, we’re barely creating a whisper, but that MUST and WILL change!

Do more for our members, those readers who have voluntarily subscribed to RVtravel.com. We must do more to show them how much we appreciate them, and that will mean special newsletters, videos, and access to content not available to non-members. Serving our supporters properly is at the top of our priorities. It is only because of their generosity that we are able to undertake many of our important projects. Yes, advertising helps, but it’s not enough. If you are not yet a member, please check out the many options.

* * *

Meet us at Hershey. If you plan to attend the big Hershey RV Show, September 12-16, consider coming Thursday to join some of our staff in the Locker Room at 11:30 a.m. Gail and I will be there along with the RV Doc Gary Bunzer and electricity expert Mike Sokol. Get tickets to the show in advance to save time in line. Both Gary and Mike will conduct daily seminars.

* * *
We continue to seek a part-time, freelance news writer. He or she must have excellent journalism skills, deadline writing experience and a good knowledge of RVing. Contact me at chuck@rvtravel.com if you are interested. Please do not apply if you do not have this level of experience. 

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Mark B
4 years ago

Paving lots, supplying electricity and patrolling are intensive investments. It may be difficult to get sponsors on board. If I had the property and were making the investment, I’d pave a lot and charge hundreds per month for an RV space that would require little maintenance from year-to-year and no nightly turnover. Oh yeah, they are everywhere (storage lots/facilities).

I am not saying the overnight lot is not a noble effort, but let’s look at what we already have.
1- A surprising number of small towns that have 1-30 spaces, sometimes with hookups and hot showers.

2- There are little known overnight rest areas and small campgrounds. Some of those campgrounds focus on seasonal campers and don’t advertise the open nightly spaces to a national crowd (brochures, word of mouth, etc).

3 – There are local, state and national properties that have “no reservation: first come, first served” spaces set aside that can range from 10-100% of the area. (Let’s include dispersed sites in this category, too.)

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive way find those, and no way of knowing if a space is available for the night.

A crowdsourced real-time information app that let us know along our Waze, where there is a space for the night would help. Along with the crowd feeding information, campground & park owners and state/federal camp hosts (where they had cell signal) could easily update their status with the right app – if it was easy.

Harvest Hosts is an example of one of the apps that tried to organize and broker a category of overnight spaces.

Other apps have tried, but this is a massive undertaking that requires an innovative and very comprehensive approach. This is a big country, and Canada should be included, too.

Let’s figure out how to use the spaces/stops that exist! But we also need the ‘esprit de corp’ organized so we have a force that will help ensure overnighters leave the stops as nice or better than when they came.

No one wants to drive 50 miles on the chance there might be space, based on 5 year old information and no GPS coordinates. What we need is a real-time and precise location approach to 4 million square miles.

Eric Meslin
4 years ago

The need for electric service at overnight highway parking spots depends on time of year and location. I get what folks are saying about battery power, but when very hot we need a/c or at least a fan in the bedroom, and when very cold need heat for us and plumbing. Plus windows shut help with noise and security issues.

Mike Sokol(@mike)
4 years ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

While it may not offer enough power to run multiple air conditioners and a microwave oven, I’ve often thought that offering only 30-amp hookups for overnight parking spots would be a reasonable compromise. The cost to run a 200-amp, 120/240-volt drop would be reasonable and have enough power for up to fourteen 30-amp pedestals at 95% of full amperage. I don’t think we can use the standard de-rating numbers for house circuits suggested by the NEC since you KNOW everyone will be pulling as close to 30 amps as they can get without tripping breakers, that’s why I’m going with the 95% rule. And if the parking layout was done properly the wiring installation could utilize a centralized service panel which would minimize the length of copper wire runs needed to reduce voltage drop. We should probably also factor in a few super-charger stations for e-car charging and I’ll bet there would be some tax incentives to make this happen.

I’ve never designed a setup like this, but it seems like a reasonable project.

mark b
4 years ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

Walmart sells a fan for $15 that takes D cell batteries or plugs into 120 volts. You can also find a 12 volt cord to power that fan. Finally, you can plug that fan, or any small 120 volt fan into a 100 watt inverter. There’s a silent 100 watt inverter (has no cooling fan) sold under Energizer and other brand names.

Of course there fans built for standard roof vents (14×14) with names like Fan-tastic.

Mark B
4 years ago
Reply to  Eric Meslin

If we separate wants from needs, and prioritize the needs, proposals might be more realistic.

We need a safe rest area to prevent driving fatigue on our journeys. This should allow for overnight.

We would like (want) electricity. Some locales have high temps after dark, and we should be prepared with 12 volt roof fans and 12 volt (or inverter powered) personal circulating fans. We should also be prepared for supplemental heat by having a working propane furnace with a 12 volt blower.

It would be nice if very convenient roadside, like augmenting the roadside rest areas which mostly allow truckers a free sleep pass, but shoo along RVs.

Electricity, trees/shade, picnic tables, fire rings…those are nice-to-have, but this campaign will fail if every proposal has a baseline of electricity. If somebody says they NEED to power 3 air conditioners, they NEED to plan their trip with sufficient drive time and reservations at RV parks that can support their desired lifestyle.

4 years ago

Reading the comment about your upcoming guide to buying an RV made me wonder…Is there a federal oversight of manufacturing and safety on RVs like there is for cars? Then is there one for cars?

There appears to be more oversight on installing an electrical outlet in our house that doesn’t fly down the road at 65 mph than over the RVs being built.

4 years ago

Add me to the supporters list! I value the honest reporting and content you provide. Just this week we recommended your newsletter to three people, including the Region 2 Directors of the Newmar Kountry Klub, who had never heard of you before. Keep up the great work!!!

Lisa Cantrell
4 years ago

Honestly, I am happy to support you and get way more than my money’s worth in return. I don’t need special gifts. Save the time to do all the other valuable work you do. I have been able to use the advice you and other give on here SO MANY TIMES . I always recommend your site and suggest people join so making it worth their while is the best “reward”I can have.

4 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Cantrell

X2 for us! Well said!

Roy Ellithorpe
4 years ago

I love the idea of cheap spots near the highway to overnight. I’m just not sure why you think you need power. We’re all electric and I use an oxygen machine and we certainly have no problem getting through the night on batteries, and if we do, we still have the generator. RVs are self contained. If you can’t get by overnight, you need to plunk yourself in a park and stay there.

Don G
4 years ago
Reply to  Roy Ellithorpe

I agree with Roy…I don’t see the need to provide electricity at a stopover sight. These rv’s are self-contained. They should be able to get through a night on battery power.

Steve Barnes, Kamloops, BC
4 years ago

I haven’t even read the toilet survey. I know it will be zero or close to.
Good point though. All you would have to do is put flashlight down hole and look.
Perhaps your new readers forum, when launched, will encourage readers to post the manufacturers defects including design defects. Who ever thought of looking for toilet elbows before buying.
Chuck’s publication expected soon on how to buy will help. Perhaps one should ignore the bling and wasted space of things like double bathroom sinks and first look at frame, springs, axle size, tires, etc.
Have you noticed more recent sales brochures are giving less space to specifications and construction. If absent, phone the manufacturer directly. Grand Design were particularly helpful. They even sent me frame plans showing important things like tank location so I would know where could safely drill a hole in the floor. You will regret impulse buying.
In order for Chuck’s efforts to be successful we readers should encourage friends and parks to PROMOTE RVTRAVEL.COM so that he will have more clout and maximum credibility.
Final note, please thank Walmart managers for your stay. Then write a thank you to the store and ask them to forward a copy to head office. Maybe someone can provide us all with a direct head office email address. Please, no whining and no complaints, just appreciation for what Walmart does for us.
Steve Barnes
Kamloops, BC

4 years ago

Make sure you aren’t ratting out the store manager when you tell corporate how greatful you are for the overnight parking.

4 years ago

Thank you for the newsletters. I am a regular subscriber and even though we have owned an RV for 20+ years we are always learning tips from it. Last week’s electrical help info about the silicone cleaning spray to ease pulling electrical cords apart from posts and plugs was one of those helpful tips. I ordered some right away and we saw a big difference! Thank you for being an advocate for RVers.

Kenneth Pratt
4 years ago

On our last trip across the country, we noticed that Ohio has RV overnight stops along the turnpike as you travel across the state. We found them to be very useful and the cost was $10.00 a night for power. I see they have changed it to $20.00 per night for power, water and a sewer dump. Still it was convenient to just pull off and have one of their turnpike plazas close with just about anything you might need.

4 years ago

Just wanted to say that I don’t need any special newsletters or content for donating to your site. I do it to help keep this site going because I enjoy it and learn so much from it. Hope you can keep up all the good work you do and that you and Gail can continue to enjoy rv’ing for a long time to come!

4 years ago

Definitely in favor of safe reasonable cost electric only overnight stop sleep and move on plan. Will watch for updates.

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