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July 10, 2021
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
RVers who retired early during the pandemic to hit the road
By Mike Gast
ast week, we asked RVtravel.com readers who retired early due to the pandemic to tell us their stories. The request was triggered by a recent New York Times story about how COVID-19 had suddenly reversed the longtime national trend toward delayed retirements for many Americans.
We wondered how the pandemic may have changed plans for RVers. Several readers were kind enough to share the details of their altered plans.
Mark Griesbeck decided the risks of continuing to work outweighed the benefits, Leon Worthy and Greg Bryant bagged their long law enforcement careers in order to take an early pandemic retirement, Karen Wickersham’s city school district job offered retirement incentives, Jim Warren retired in a round-about way, former blackjack dealer Linda Blaney didn’t want to work in a mask all day surrounded by cigarette smoke and plexiglass, and Stephen Scroggs decided he enjoyed spending time with his wife too much to return to work (cue: awww).
Read these fascinating, heartfelt stories and many more here.
What has been your best guest service experience at a campground or RV park?
Let’s face it. There have been quite a few things not to like about RVing and camping in the past few months. … So, we’d like to turn the tables a bit and ask readers to share their best campground or RV park guest service experience. Tell us what a particular park did right here. We’ll share some of the responses in next weekend’s newsletter.
Stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Will a DEF head problem ruin your trip?
• Tornado tears through Georgia campground
• Dodge planning Ram 1500 electric truck
• More competition on the way for boondocking
• Get paid to camp
• Fuel prices should peak this month
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…
Are we worthy of your support?
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 the RVtravel.com podcast
In this week’s episode: Scott talks with Mark and Julie Bennett of YouTube’s ”RVLove,” who share what they wish they knew before they went full-time, and they talk about their new book RV Hacks. Then Jim and Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour discuss must-have mobile apps that make planning, driving, camping, boondocking and RVing in general better. This and more in our latest episode.
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Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Why didn’t I think of that?! An easy trick to keep your sewer hose clean
• Secret tips to make sure thieves won’t steal your RV (this is important information!)
• Pack backwards before heading off on an RV trip
• Corps of Engineers parks are RVer favorites
• Scout for the perfect boondocking site and claim it!
Remove ticks easily from people or pets!
This Tick Twister Remover Set will remove ticks, large and small, without squeezing it, reducing the risk of infection. It does not leave the mouthparts of the tick in the skin. It’s the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and in just a few seconds. Helps prevent Lyme Disease. Keep one of these in your RV during this tick season! Learn more or order. And read more about tick prevention here.
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the 2021 Beauer 3X Caravan (travel trailer). He writes, “Beauer has created a really unusual travel trailer that literally expands to three times its original size. This makes a lot of sense in Europe, where cars and streets are smaller than the big diesel duallies and larger roads you might find here in the U.S. But, also, there is a huge number of people looking to buy a camper they can tow with a smaller car such as a Subaru or Jeep Wrangler.” Read more.
Last week’s reviews:
• Forest River Flagstaff 28TSCSE pop-up trailer with front rack
• Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB with office
• Rivian Truck Camp Kitchen
• Grand Design Imagine 2970RL travel trailer
• 2021 Venture Stratus SR231VRB couple’s trailer
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some more of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
Are campground early check-in fees a new trend? It seems so…
A week ago we received a note from a reader questioning the use of early check-in fees at campgrounds. The RVer said he had been charged $25 for checking in two hours early to his reserved site. “In my eight years of RVing, this has never happened to us,” they wrote. Read what Mike Gast learned when he asked a few campground owners about early check-in fees, along with how and why they are used, here. Then please let us know if you’ve run into this situation in our poll, and feel free to comment.
Campground Crowding: Old newsletter shows crowding was an issue long ago
RV sales have skyrocketed and more people than ever are taking up RVing. The result is campground crowding like never before! (Or, maybe it’s been around for at least 50 years!). Also, in this weekly column, RV Travel readers vent about crowded campgrounds, how to avoid them, and the need to adjust and “deal with it.” Also, we received a newsletter clipping from 1971 wherein the Trailer Coach Association stated: “The RV can be built and sold but even now it is difficult to find a space to park them.”(!) Read more.
That’s just not true! 13 common myths about RVing
By Gail Marsh
A myth is a common statement or belief, widely known and even accepted as truth, but based on false notions or supposed ideas that have not been proven to be factual. Now that’s a definition mouthful! But I think you’ll agree that the following statements are RV myths (or at least partial myths). This is very interesting.
Where do you carry your RV sewer tote?
If you’re a serious boondocker – or want to be one – you know that one of the more difficult issues can be caring for waste water. If you’ve found that delightful place to park the rig and you want to just stay there for a while, who on earth wants to break camp to go back and dump gray water. Enter the “blue boy” sewer tote, that allows you to dump your waste water in a portable tank, then tote the tank – not the rig – to a suitable dump station. Here are some tips on where to store the blue boy when you’re on the road.
Make sure your fridge stays cool all summer
It’s important to check on your fridge – you don’t want it to stop working in the summer heat! Consider purchasing a digital thermometer like this one. This will enable you to check the inside temps of both the fridge and freezer without having to open the doors – letting all that nice cold air escape. (This is especially important if you have medications that must be stored at a specified temp.) Read more tips on keeping your fridge cool here.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Is this fifth wheel towing setup legal? Is it even safe?
• Disaster at the dump station. Warning: This is disgusting
• YOU DO NOT (repeat: DO NOT) want to drive on this road
• Which state has the worst drivers? This new report ranks them all
How far away do you store your RV when not using it?
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:
Where do you spend the night most often in your RV? 53 percent of people said… Well, you’ll have to click here to find out.
Stop guessing! This water meter won’t let you overfill tanks
Kate Doherty has found a way to make sure you won’t accidentally overfill your tanks. She uses the Save A Drop P3 Water Meter to add water to her black water tank with precise measurements each time. Read more about it here, then you’ll surely want to order one for yourself.
I am as round as the sun and the moon
I can be shallow or deep
I come in many different sizes and colors
People use me in the summer
but not very often in the winter
What 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.)
Thanks to Scott Hunter for submitting! Do you have a brain teaser you think we should use? Send it to us here.
How do you use your ATV or off-road vehicle?
Do you own an ATV or other off-road vehicle? This was a question recently asked in an RVtravel.com poll. Surprisingly, nearly 40% answered “yes”! This leaves the editors of RVTravel.com wondering: How are the 40% of you utilizing your off-road toys while RVing? Read all the ways Dave Helgeson and his wife use theirs, then feel free to add your ideas here.
Run two air conditioners on 30 amps!
When the temperature really gets sizzling and your 50-amp rig is stuck with a 30-amp hookup, you’re out of luck if you want to run two air conditioners. Now, thanks to Softstart RV you can! The devices are simple to install, and work just as promised. Learn more or order at a special discount.
A historic home run: Road trip stops across the U.S. for baseball fans
By Chris Epting
For as long as I can remember, I have loved the idea of mixing baseball history with travel. I’ve written a number of related books, most notably, Roadside Baseball, the locations of America’s baseball landmarks. Throughout the summer, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite baseball landmarks across the country. Whether you are a big fan of the game or not, I think you’ll agree, the history is interesting no matter what. Continue reading.
Photograph spectacular sunsets!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Traveling through any “tourist trap” you’re apt to find postcard racks. Many will be filled with those wonderful “vacation pictures” – often a big sky filled with a huge orb of fire, descending into the sea or to a distant horizon. Save that pocketful of paper money. You, too, can photograph spectacular sunsets. It just takes a little forethought and some tips from experienced sunset photographers. Let’s go through the alphabet of sunset photography – here.
Airplane lovers, you’ll love this! Half RV, half DC-3 plane = one RVer’s dream
Since Gino Lucci was 12 years old, he dreamed of making a roving airplane camper. In the summer of 2020, the culmination of that dream came true. Learn how this one-of-a-kind RV was built and take a video tour here.
NEW Our favorite RV camping guidebooks. Our staff uses these excellent books for research and on our trips.
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 10, 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 $20 Amazon gift cards: Sarah Stranz of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and Bruce Wallace of Wilsonville, Oregon.
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
• You should consider buying a truck camper. Here’s why
• Roadside Assistance gave us the wrong tire – on purpose!
• Campground and RV Park News, July 3, 2021
• Campground Crowding: “The industry is taking full advantage!”
• Video: Trailer blows 3 tires on 800-mile trip. See dashcam video from car behind
• The load mis-taken: A hilarious story on what NOT to bring RVing
• RV Tire Safety: Tire life – Why can’t I get a straight or consistent answer?
• Motorhome sideswipes truck. Video captures it all. Ugly!
• National Parks reaching capacity limits by 9 a.m. Visitors turned away
• Cutting it close: Lawnmower blade comes through windshield
• Defeat the slope! RV leveling tips from the experts
• Ram goes wild with 2022 Limited Edition 10th Anniversary truck
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Ohhhh, this is punny. This is real punny. Click.
How would you like to win a 2022 Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas?
“While I always travel with a dedicated GPS or use Google Maps on my iPhone, I find this atlas to be incredibly valuable if, for nothing else, peace of mind. I can simply look at my intended route in the atlas and see far ahead to determine immediately if are there obstacles along the way. If so, I’ll plot another course.” –Chuck Woodbury
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (July 10, 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.
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.
S’mores scented citronella candle… a lifesaver!
Every camper and RVer appreciates a good mosquito-scaring citronella candle, but this one is s’mores scented AND has a wood crackling wick so that makes it pretty special and fun. The wick makes a crackling wood sound, so even if you don’t have a campfire going it will make it sound like you do. The candle also comes in campfire and pine scent, or you can get a variety pack of all three. Learn more or order for a good price.
Tip #10: Finding the best editing app
Welcome to Tip #10 in our series of “Getting The Most From Your Smartphone Photos.” Each week we are bringing you an easy-to-use tip that will take your “unshareable” smartphone pictures and turn them into photos you’ll be proud to hang on your RV wall.
This week, we’ll talk about what phone apps you can use to make your pics even better, and have a little fun along the way. Continue reading.
Cause of 30-amp twist-lock failure
Our plug melted at a Wisconsin State Park campground. We thought someone was burning plastic plates. We could smell it. No idea it was our plug. Image our surprise when we saw this. So lucky we didn’t burn down our camper. Everything still works in our camper. The only thing that got damaged was our decorative outside lights (we use Christmas lights). The questions I have for you: Can my husband fix our cord with a new end, and what do you think caused this meltdown? FYI, it did pour rain on us that weekend. Could it have been a surge, or something else? Any answer would be really helpful. I am really paranoid now of what could happen to us. Our camper is a 2012 FunFinder, 30amp. Thanks. —Carlotta
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Avoid a dangerous 15-amp outlet overload
By Mike Sokol
I was recently asked to help figure out why an outlet overheated that was feeding a 30-amp RV. I was confused at first until I asked for and received some pictures of the subpanel and outlet involved. And once you see it all, the answer is pretty clear. Continue reading.
Sewer fitting grip help! Gadget to the rescue!
If you find the bayonet mounts for your sewer hose connections are getting a bit hard to twist off and on (hate to say it, but it sometimes comes with age), here’s a tool that might help. An adjustable oil filter wrench, made to get a grip around automotive oil filters, can also provide a handy grip and plenty of leverage on the bayonet fitting of your sewer hose, and the termination cap as well. Here’s one we recommend.
RV Tire Safety
Should you inflate your tires to what’s listed on the sidewalls?
By Roger Marble
Many RV owners do not understand the inflation and load information that is molded on the sidewall of the tires they own. As a tire design engineer, part of my responsibility was to specify all the words, symbols and numbers on the tire sidewalls. Continue reading to learn about the terminology on tire sidewalls, and why Roger says in some cases you shouldn’t use the inflation molded on the sidewall.
Building an RV Park
We had our Grand Opening!
Machelle and AJ (barely) survived all of the last-minute preparations to enjoy their Grand Opening on July 1. Read about their frantic activities and how their opening went. Did they have lots of guests? Were they happy campers? Was all of this work for the past two years worth it? Find out here.
RV Short Stop
Toppenish Murals attract art lovers, Old West buffs
Who would think a small, rural agricultural town could entice hundreds of artists to paint murals? Toppenish, a community of only 10,000 in south-central Washington state did just that. … Today 78 historically-accurate murals adorn walls and buildings across town. “Some murals are ‘small,’ some 200 feet long,” according to the Mural Society. Others “show the cultural diversity of the area and still others reflect the city’s theme of ‘Where The West Still Lives.’” Read about the murals, and more to see and do in Toppenish, here.
RV Fire Safety
Check fire extinguishers’ gauges monthly
During your monthly inspection, check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Keep mice out of your RV
The positive reviews on this product from Earthkind make it the best bet for keeping your RV mouse-free. It’s the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 90 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets, too. 98% biodegradable. Learn more or order.
Beef Stroganoff Sandwiches
by Peggy Kriebel from Wilmington, NC
Beef stroganoff is typically served over noodles and we loved this recipe twist. This sandwich has all the flavors and creaminess of beef stroganoff but it’s served on buttery toasted French bread and topped with cheddar cheese. Yum! It’s a hearty, hot sandwich that is a very easy weeknight meal your family will love. Double or triple the recipe if serving a crowd.
This is an interesting twist on a favorite! Get the recipe.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Watermelon Summer Salad
• Parm Crusted Chicken My Way
• Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cappuccino Cookies
• Club BLT Dip Brandy’s Way
• Taco Pasta
Museum of the Week
Horse-lovers, velvet-lovers (the velvet on some of these carriages is gorgeous!), transportation and old-car lovers unite, this museum is for you! This adorable little museum in Raymond, WA, holds the finest collection of horse-drawn vehicles, including buggies, work wagons, coaches, and sleighs, in the country. In addition to 60 vehicles, the museum also has an old schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop and a very unique gift shop. It’s a unique experience, and the adults and kids will all enjoy it. Plan your visit on the official museum website.
The wildest multi-tool gadget…
This wild, elusive, totally unique multi-tool carabiner is perfect to keep on your key ring or backpack. When someone asks you for a screwdriver, wrench, can opener, bottle opener, cord-cutter, or ruler, tell them Sasquatch can help! Every camper and outdoor enthusiast needs one of these! It’s cool, but it will also come in handy at the campsite! Learn more or order. (Hurry, before he disappears again!)
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“Our rescue cats, Fred and Souixsie enjoy traveling with us. They’ve bonded well and keep us company as we go.” —Mark and Holly Anderson
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.
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.
A recent Harris Poll survey found that 61 percent of U.S. adults’ weight fluctuated in the past year during the pandemic. Among those who put on weight, the average gain was 29 pounds.
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
fall in love. “So fare I–falling into love’s dance” wrote a man smitten back in 1423, the first recorded use of the expression. It took over a century more for falling in love to detach itself from falling into love’s dance, but since then the phrase has been indispensable, suggesting so simply and well the dizzy loss of control of the love-struck.
Laugh of the Week
A panda walks into a bar and gobbles some beer nuts. Then he pulls out a gun, fires it in the air, and heads for the door. “Hey!” shouts the bartender, but the panda yells back, “I’m a panda. Google me!” Sure enough, panda: “A tree-climbing mammal with distinct black-and-white coloring. Eats shoots and leaves.”
Leave with a song from the past
The First Lady of Country Music, Tammy Wynette, co-wrote this anthem that countered the women’s movement, yet she herself blazed an independent trail that modern Country artists still follow. Considered by academics to be the greatest country song ever written or recorded, here’s Tammy singing Stand By Your Man.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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, Darian Armer, 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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