Welcome to RVtravel.com, an RV-themed newsletter from the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America with more than 148,000 registered subscribers. We support a free press and believe it is essential to a democracy. At RVtravel.com, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. And we’ll explore where this wonderful lifestyle is heading in our ever more complex, crowded and uncertain world. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.
July 3, 2021
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
From our staff to you
In honor of our celebration of Independence Day, we present this stirring tribute to America by the late, great Ray Charles. So please, sit back, turn up the volume and watch. Let this be a reminder of our great country, our great and diverse people, our precious freedoms as granted by our founders … and the limitless promise of the United States of America and, we suggest, the United Peoples of America. May we never take our freedoms for granted.
And, now, Mr. Charles, the stage is yours…
HELP WANTED: TECHNICAL EDITOR
RVtravel.com is looking for a technical editor. Must know RV maintenance and repair inside out and thrive on helping others solve their problems. Good income for a motivated person who loves to write and is good at it. We’ll make you a celebrity in the RV world. Contact email@example.com if you are interested. This is a freelance position.
Run your RV air conditioner with a small generator
When the temperature heats up and you’re boondocking with only a small portable generator for power, you’re out of luck running an air conditioner. That is, unless you have a state-of-the-art SoftStartRV. It’s inexpensive, simple to install, and makes running your A/C possible. RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury explains the product in a short new video. Watch it here or order at a special discount.
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At RVtravel.com we publish more than 700 newsletters a year. Approximately 30% of our funding comes from the 4 percent of readers who support us with a voluntary subscription. It’s fine if you continue to read for free, but if you believe our hard-working staff’s efforts are worth more than “free”, we humbly ask that you chip in to help us be an ever-better resource for you and other RVers. Even $10 or $15 a year is appreciated. Donate here. All major credit cards, PayPal and checks are accepted.
Listen to this week’s RVtravel.com podcast
Kendall and Jennifer Jennings, the “Dashboard Drifters,” outline their personal experiences south of the border – perils, “gringo pricing” and perks of RV living part-time in Mexico. PLUS: A new service matches up RV Park vacancies with travelers looking for a campsite. AND … Sean Lakin helps us maintain our RV roof whether rubber or fiberglass (and can we walk on them?), discusses black water mistakes we make, and offers advice on how and when to get a service appointment. AND MUCH MORE. Listen here.
SIGN UP FOR OUR WEEKLY PODCAST INSIDER NEWSLETTER. You’ll be the first to know about each new podcast, plus participate in contests and other promotions that you will love.
Did you miss last week’s podcast with actor Matthew McConaughey? It’s here.
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• How to take a hike without all the crowds…
• Should you carry water in your RV tank while traveling?
• Roof air conditioner leaks during a heavy rain
• Defeat the slope! RV leveling tips from the experts
• Don’t forget casinos for overnight stays
2nd edition now available!
New free directory lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models
How many different makes and models of RVs are there in America? RVtravel.com has the answer in a new, free, comprehensive 105-page directory that lists every U.S. manufacturer and every brand and model they make. “RVs: Who Makes What” is available free as a public service from RVtravel.com in PDF form. Learn more and/or download a free copy.
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Forest River Wildwood 27RK Travel Trailer. He writes, “Wildwood, a division of Forest River, builds trailers that walk the line between price-focused models and feature-focused models. They’re not the cheapest and they’re not the most expensive. But they do have some great features for the money – some of which are rather innovative.” Read more in today’s review.
Last week’s reviews:
• Grand Design Imagine 2800BH Travel Trailer
• Forest River Cherokee 284DBH
• 2021 Keystone Passport SL 219BH
• 2021 Keystone Passport GT 2870RL “flat fifth wheel”
• 2021 Rockwood Mini Lite 2205S Travel Trailer
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
Plan Your RV Trips Better than Ever!
Make your RV road trip planning easier than ever with RV Trip Wizard! See the route you’re taking, with campgrounds, gas stops and more than 57,000 points of interest. Find the best campgrounds and RV parks based on reviews by real RVers! Don’t worry about downloading any applications or applying updates. It’s all built on the web. Learn more.
Happy (almost) 4th of July!
Road Trip: Places in the Northeast to celebrate your independence
By Chris Epting
Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite times to visit some of those places that help define the freedoms we enjoy in this country. If you’re traveling along the East Coast this summer, there are several key places that really help you appreciate what makes this country so special. Especially after what we’ve gone through in the last year, I can’t think of a better time to stop and reflect upon how the whole idea started. Continue reading.
On this patriotic weekend, the history of Old Glory is important to remember
By Kate Doherty
What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than to proudly display our flag? It represents all things America. Its iconic stature has been a symbol of freedom and liberty to the rest of the world for hundreds of years. Continue reading to learn the history of our flag throughout the years.
IS YOUR RV BED UNCOMFORTABLE? Get a new mattress. Big selection at Amazon.com at great prices. Check ’em out.
Stupid RVer Tricks! Oh, what some of them do! Watch and [maybe] weep!
We want to hear from you! Our question for RVtravel.com readers is this: Have you recently decided to call it quits and retire early?
Please click here and fill out the short form and tell us if the pandemic caused you to retire early. Thanks.
Campground Crowding: “The industry is taking full advantage!”
RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! In this weekly column, RVtravel.com readers discuss their experiences. This week, writer Nanci Dixon admits even she is getting tired of crowded campgrounds and unruly neighbors. One reader reports an extremely high price for a one-night stay, even after a senior discount. And another camper reports campgrounds with all campsites reserved but no one using them the majority of the week. Read more.
10 tips about how to live together full-time in an RV
Do you think you and your spouse or partner can live together 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a few hundred square feet of space? Put that way, it seems daunting. Yet thousands do so happily in an RV. Here are some tips to help your marriage (and your sanity) survive and even thrive under those conditions.
Dessert like a park ranger – no s’more wildfires!
As the summer heats up (literally), the National Park Service reminds visitors to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires, heat-related illnesses and stay safe around wildlife. With record-breaking heatwaves and drought conditions, national park rangers invite visitors to follow new insider tips and Plan Like a Park Ranger to have fun and stay safe during park visits. Read, and heed, these important tips from the NPS.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• What’s better for you: Class C motorhome or Class B van conversion?
• Slide-outs for your galley make storage a snap
• How to keep your RV’s fresh water tank fresh
• Full-time RVing: Learning how to “just roll with it”
Do you plan to attend a fireworks celebration on July 4th?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. CLICK HERE.
The most popular poll in this past week’s RV Daily Tips newsletters:
As a student, did you do better in math or reading/writing classes? See how nearly 1,800 other RVers responded.
I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. What number am I?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
You should consider buying a truck camper. Here’s why
By Gail Marsh
We happened to be in a Florida RV park during a big fishing tournament. Anglers from all over the United States seemed to have one thing in common: Each competitor had a slide-in truck camper. Many of these folks travel and fish for a living, so they live in their RVs much of the year. That made me wonder, with all the nice, big fifth-wheel RVs and some equally large travel trailers available, “Why would a person choose a slide-in camper over a roomier travel trailer or fifth wheel?” So, I asked. Here are some of the responses I got, and the owners’ reasoning makes good sense!
Florida RVers still have some open camping options in July
If you’re an RVer in Florida who hasn’t yet found a place to camp in the days leading up to the July 4th weekend [OK, it’s too late for that], you still have a few options according to Bobby Cornwell, director and CEO of the statewide travel planning website CampFlorida.com. Cornwell said many RV resorts across Florida still have “plenty of vacancies” for the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, and throughout the rest of July. … Cornwell said several park owners have reached out to him in recent days to report that they still have July vacancies available. Here are several of them.
The definitive guide to services along the Interstate
Since 1991, the Next Exit has been THE “go-to” directory to locate what businesses and services are at every Interstate exit in America. In this 2021 edition, learn what’s ahead, not behind you — fuel, food, campgrounds, rest areas, shopping, motels, hospitals, etc. Sometimes a GPS or smartphone isn’t best for this. Often, this is! Learn more or order.
The load mis-taken: A hilarious story on what NOT to bring RVing
By Rod Andrew
At last, I’m an expert! Virtually every issue of RV Travel teaches me something about the RV lifestyle, as experts add their advice on all of the systems and behaviors that we need to know about. A frequent topic of advice concerns the important items that we should carry with us. I nod in agreement with almost every list. Wisdom! This story will make you chuckle, if not laugh out loud!
New 2022 truckers’ atlas can be huge help to RVers with big rigs
The 2022 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas is hot off the press, barely a week old now. This is the atlas that truckers rely on to plan their routes. It helps them get “there” the fastest while avoiding roads where they could get stuck with turns too tight or bridges too low to fit through without shaving off their roofs. Continue reading this review by RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury, who has used this guide for years.
Is this your RV?
If it’s yours and you can prove it to us (send a photo for comparison), tell us here by 9 p.m. Pacific time today, July 3, 2021. If it’s yours you’ll win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.
If this isn’t your RV, send us a photo of your RV (if you haven’t already) for a chance to win in future issues.
Last week two readers claimed their $25 Amazon gift cards: Warren May of Tallahassee, Florida, and Scott Kosa of Sedro Woolley, Washington.
We’ll have another photo in tomorrow’s newsletter (sign up to receive an email alert so you don’t miss the issue or those that follow). Some of these photos are submitted by readers while others were taken by our editors and writers on their travels around the USA.
Popular articles from last week
• Roadside Assistance gave us the wrong tire – on purpose!
• Ram trucks hurting with bad wheels, faulty cameras
• Campground Crowding: State park policies holding RVers “hostage”
• Defeat the slope! RV leveling tips from the experts
• Part 2: The New Dynamics of Pricing Your Next Campsite
• Customize your RV: Start with the lighting
• Stupid, stupid towing technique. Watch short video and weep
• “If the RV industry was driven by pride instead of corporate greed…”
• Useful RV applications of Google Earth, Part 4: Dump stations
• RVelectricity: How do I set my meter for 120 volts?
• Matthew McConaughey seems to be a nice guy, even when he’s wearing just a towel
• Good News: Things to smile about this week, June 27, 2021
• RV Tire Safety: UV protection for RV tires
How would you like to win a set of Happy Camper Wine Glasses?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (July 3, 2021) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via RVcontests@gmail.com that you won, you have 24 hours to respond or we’ll give the prize to someone else.
Idea: Listen to the RVtravel.com podcast while traveling on a boring Interstate. Just download a few episodes to your smartphone and play through your vehicle’s radio speakers via Bluetooth! The trip will go faster!
AAA Map of COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (U.S. and Canada)
Stolen RVs — Help us recover these stolen RVs. The more eyes we have searching for them, the better chance of getting them back to their rightful owners, and maybe putting the crooks who stole them in the slammer! See the stolen RVs.
Great websites. Check out our favorite websites of the day! We compiled a list of (almost) all the websites we’ve ever posted, and we update it weekly.
Where to complain about bad RVs, dealers, service, RV parks. This is an ever-expanding list of resources where you can report, share or discuss your problems with RV manufacturers or dealers.
Best Club for RVers: Escapees. Click here to learn more or join. Endorsed by RVtravel.com.
Directory of RV parks with storm shelters
In case you’re on the road with your RV and the weather report is showing a tornado headed your way, have this list handy.
What does financing an RV for 20 years REALLY mean?
In case you missed this article the first time around, here it is again. Important! Click here.
Stuck with a lemon RV? Contact Ron Burdge, America’s premier RV lemon law attorney.
RV education you can trust from RV Education 101: Get instant access to RV Online Training.
Tip #9: Your flash isn’t really a flash
Welcome to Tip #9 in our series of “Getting The Most From Your Smartphone Photos.” This week, we’ll tell you why you’re seldom happy with your smartphone’s flash pics, and what you can do about it. Read more to learn a secret about your phone’s flash.
By Mike Sokol
Under the category of “be careful what you wish for,” both of my loaner EV and Hybrid vehicles from Volkswagen and Ford are arriving in the next two weeks, so my GoGreenRV towing and generating experiments will begin soon. Here’s a brief outline of what I have planned for the next two weeks. [Editor: You won’t believe what all Mike has on his agenda! Well, unless you know him personally, that is.] And did Mike say something about powering two RVs with one Ford F-150 PowerBoost?!
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
How do I set my meter for 120 volts?
I just bought a cheap meter and want to know how to set it to check my outlet voltage. I’m paying an electrician to hook up a 30-amp outlet on my house. But I’m a little paranoid to plug my trailer into it without checking first. I asked the guy at the store and he said to set my meter to the ~200V AC scale and and that would work. Is he correct? —Diane
Mike Sokol explains, in layman’s terms, how to correctly set a volt meter to check your outlet voltage here.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
You’re going to wish you had this for tomorrow. Isn’t this what we wish we could say at every party?
RV Tire Safety
Tire life – Why can’t I get a straight or consistent answer?
By Roger Marble
I’ve seen a number of posts on RV forums and Facebook asking why there are different answers to the question of when to replace tires in RV application, i.e., tire life. Some are told, “Replace at 5 years.” They may hear that as, “You will die if you drive on a 6-year-old tire.” Continue reading Roger’s explanation of what determines the length of a tire’s life.
The Digital RVer
Setting appointments in different time zones in Google Calendar
Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour, explains in step-by-step directions how to set an event or appointment in different time zones in Google Calendar. There’s also a helpful video attached. Learn more.
Recipe of the Day
4th of July Strawberries
by Neely Alexander from Chickasha, OK
These strawberries are too adorable for words. Chocolate dip strawberries are always a treat. Making them with a patriotic theme for summer is adorable and tasty. These require a little skill to dip and get the sugar right, but it’s not hard. A great project for kids to help with.
These are so festive! Get the recipe.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Strawberry Shortcake Red, White & Blue Bites
• Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles With Blueberry Sauce
• Bruschetta Pasta Salad
• Texas Peach Sangria
• Slow Cooker Applesauce
New Our favorite RV camping guidebooks. Our staff uses these excellent books for research and on our trips.
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“Chester and Morty enjoying 4th of July in Santa Fe, NM.” —Jim and Cynthia Shute
Pet food at Amazon. Big selection, great prices!
ATTENTION NEW RVers!
Are you planning to buy an RV or just getting started? Then you should be reading our Monday-Friday newsletter Beginner’s Guide to RVing. You will learn a lot! Check out yesterday’s edition.
Vintage Postcard of the Week
Postcards owned by Colleen and Ed Weum, Pacific Northwest Postcard Club. Read more about their 90,000 postcard collection here.
Paint nick or chip on your RV? Easy fix!
Writer Nanci Dixon recently wrote about how to easily fix a paint nick or chip on your RV. The manufacturer showed her how to touch up the spot with mini automotive paintbrushes. “Merely wipe the damaged area clean, dip the paint stick in the touch-up paint, wipe off excess paint and dab the nick.” See the difference and buy the brushes here for about $10.
If you love visiting ghost towns, head to Texas. The Lone Star State has 511 ghost towns, the most in the country.
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
high horse. “In the royal pageants of Medieval England nobles and others of high rank customarily rode ‘high horses,’ great chargers a hand or so taller than the average mount. Riding such a high horse naturally came to be equated with superiority and the arrogance superiority often breeds. To ride the high horse came to mean to affect arrogance or superiority, and this phrase gave us the still common to get up on one’s high horse, to scorn what we consider ‘beneath us.'”
Laugh of the Week
While fishing off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a tourist from Maine capsized his boat. Petrified, he yelled to an older gentleman standing on the shore, “Are there any gators around here?!” “Naw,” the man hollered back, “they ain’t been around for years!” Feeling safe, the tourist started swimming toward shore. Halfway there, he asked the guy, “How’d you get rid of the gators?” “We didn’t do anything,” he said. “The sharks got ’em.”
Leave with a song from the past
Wow! They don’t make songs like this anymore. Or bands. Or singers. Here, from 1942, is a young Peggy Lee with the legendary Benny Goodman and his orchestra performing “Why Don’t You Do Right.” Ya gotta love it!
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
RV Travel staff
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Mike Gast. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink and Chris Epting. Podcast host and producer: Scott Linden. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
Honorary Correspondents: Loyal readers who regularly email us leads about news stories and other information and resources that aid our own news-gathering efforts.
Tom and Lois Speirs • Mike Sherman • George Bliss • Steve Barnes • Tom Hart + others who we will add later.
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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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