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July 24, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
This should be the summer you save your grandkids from their cell phones
By Mike Gast
et me first admit to a universal truth for most men. We don’t understand a single thing about teenage girls.
I didn’t have a clue when I dated them in high school. I felt like a fish out of water when I had a daughter of my own. And I don’t feel one iota smarter now that I’m in my 60s.
Those old feelings of total confusion came back home to roost recently when my wife and I hosted our three teenage nieces for two weeks. Oh, I was ready for the rolling eyes and battles to get them out of bed. That all seemed very familiar. But I was struck by what I think is a newer – and troubling – phenomenon that I don’t think I’d witnessed in my earlier tussles with young lasses.
While we were busy showing them some of the most wonderful of natural sites, flora, and fauna the U.S. has to offer, their noses were firmly buried in their iPhones. Most times, that was coupled with earbuds, so they were completely shut out of our best efforts at conversation.
I know. Teens and their fixations with their electronics isn’t that new of a thing. But what did seem new was their “lack of excitement” about things that I would have thought would have stirred them with wonder.
For example, while at a Pacific beach that was chock-full of lounging giant green sea turtles, they managed to turn their phones around, take the obligatory photo for their Instagram page, and utter a brief “That’s cute,” before plugging their buds back in and continuing to watch YouTube or Snapchat or voraciously text with their friends back home. I don’t think they’d have been that impressed if one of the turtles had stuck up its head and asked for the time. (I went to look and, yes, there are numerous videos already on YouTube of talking turtles. So, they’ve likely already seen that phenomenon in “real life.”)
Ocean sunsets that bring tears to the eyes of us older folks barely elicit a response at all from our visiting wired youths. After all, they’d actually have to go outside to see the splendor, and it happens every evening anyway, right?
Continue reading. The statistics that Mike gives are fascinating (and sad).
Reader Question of the Week
What do you love about your RV?
Do you really, really love your RV? Is it wonderful? If so, would you please take a few minutes and tell your fellow RVtravel.com readers? What makes you sooooooooo happy about the rig? Is it the floor plan? Is it how easily it drives? Is it because you never have a problem with it? Or is it because it has THE most comfortable bed in the Universe? Or is it because of a whole bunch of things? Here’s a form where you can do your bragging.
In part one of this series, RV expert Dave Solberg walks you through everything you need to know about buying solar panels for your RV. Are they worth it? How does price affect quality? What size and how many panels do you need? What variables affect how they run? How much energy do they generate, and how much energy do you use? Click here to find the answer to those questions and more.
Psst: Look for part two in tomorrow’s newsletter. You’ll be a solar expert by the end of it!
Headline stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Stranded motorhomes. Is Cummins to blame?
• Learn which super famous movie star is selling his Airstream. And you can buy it!
• Good luck finding a new portable generator anytime soon
• Get ready to head back to Canada for camping starting Aug. 9
• Part 2: What is the best solar panel for my RV and how many do I need?
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…
We would appreciate your help
RVtravel.com would not be possible without the financial support of our voluntary contributors. Just look at our staff box below: Most of these people are earning their living in part or full-time from their work here. Please help support them so we are never forced (like so many others) to resort to dishonest sponsored posts. We care too much about you to trick you that way! A donation of $10 a year comes out to less than 2 cents for each issue we publish – that’s all! Learn more or donate.
Listen to this week’s RVtravel.com podcast
Episode 17: Industry news, sales trends, new RVs, plus international RV travel, tips and advice, bucket list destinations, laughs and insider information behind the scenes at The RVers television show, this week on the RVTravel.com podcast. The team behind and in front of the camera, including The RV Geeks, are Scott Linden’s guests this week.
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• You can do laundry even without a sewer hookup!
• Set up your RV with money-saving dollar store finds
• 12 easy RV cleaning tricks with everyday products
• The glowing gadget with many uses. You’ll want it for your RV
• Tips from the experts: Get the most from your AC and heat pump
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the new 2022 Wolf Pack 27Pack10 Toy Hauler. He reports, “Depending on what your toys are, what your life circumstance is, and what you’re hoping to tow with, this might be one of the most logical floor plans I’ve come across and one that would serve so many purposes.” Read more.
Last week’s reviews:
• Hi-Lo Trailer
• Storyteller Overland Beast MODE 4X4 Class B
• 2022 Newmar Essex 4551 Class A Diesel Pusher
• 5 Mars Illusion Minivan Class B
• Wingamm Oasi Class C (or B+), an Italian RV
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
And also from Clint…
A sweet story of remembering what RVing is really all about
Today’s Clintoon is inspired by Clint’s story of finding the unexpected when his plans took him, and his wife, and their kayaks, and their sea-lion-searchin’ selves off-course. Read it and smile.
Campground Crowding has moved! Look for this popular column in Sunday’s newsletters. Nanci will see you there tomorrow!
Is expecting good customer service in the RV industry too much to ask?
By Gail Marsh
I remember my dad’s parting words as he dropped me off for my very first paying job. I was hired to babysit my cousins for the summer. Even though I was just 12 years old, I still remember Dad’s words as clearly as if he was speaking now: “Do your best.” Those three simple words have helped form my work ethic ever since. If my dad could talk to the RV industry today, I’d love to hear what he’d say to the designers, manufacturer line workers, salespeople, service mechanics, and everyone else who has a hand in cranking out and repairing RV after RV. Continue reading.
Reader charged extra money at campground for kids. Could this happen to you?
Steve wrote, “Have you ever heard of a campground charging you extra for your own kids? Recently we went camping with our local group. We had 50+ campers attend. Upon check-in, I was asked the usual, ‘How many adults, kids, and pets?’ We have five girls. This was a prepaid campout through the group. I was told it was an additional $20 for the two extra kids. Campgrounds can dictate your family size?…” Read the rest of the letter and please participate in our poll, here.
Detailed tips on how to plan for an RV trip when you’re not a planner
By Nanci Dixon
We often get suggestions, comments and requests from our readers. We received an email from one of those readers, Walter B., asking for help with trip planning. … Well, Walter, I am glad to go through some of the things that I do to plan our trips. RVtravel.com readers are all such a well-informed group of RVers that I think all of them could provide some great advice. Read Walter’s letter and Nanci’s excellent tips here. Then please share your favorite trip-planning tips.
Be cool this summer!
Now use your RV air conditioner when you could never use it before (like with only regular 20-amp household power!). No kidding!
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Couple sues Jayco, claims new RV was infested with wood-boring beetles
• Ancient weapons endanger drivers on Texas freeway – Watch out!
• Chased by bison, woman successfully “plays dead” – Video
• Marriage advice from a hand-signalin,’ RV backer-upper
Are you watching the Tokyo Summer Olympics?
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:
What’s more important to you at an RV park: lots of space between sites or good Wi-Fi? What do you think most people said? Find out here.
Stupid RVer Tricks! Oh, what some of them do! Watch and [maybe] weep!
What do RVtravel.com readers think?
Last Saturday, we asked readers if they used a special brand of toilet paper designed for RVs or just a standard brand from the supermarket. Maybe you’ll be surprised at the results. We weren’t.
Customize your RV’s interior to fit your lifestyle. Here are some examples
By Kate Doherty
This is the second installment in a customizing series focusing on custom and functional cabinetry. Hopefully it inspires you to update your own rig! In our last column, we looked at LED lighting fixtures and accent ceiling molding. Today we’ll take a look at customized entertainment centers, televators, and hidden fireplace storage. Some excellent, and beautiful, ideas here!
Keeping your home safe while you are away
We all take steps to keep ourselves and our RV safe while on the road. But how many take extra steps to deter burglars from our homes while on the road? Pages have been written here and elsewhere about staying safe from crime while RVing. However, little has been written about how to deter burglars from burglarizing your home in your absence while RVing. … That is, until now. Dave Helgeson, veteran RVer, “studied up and doubled down on the steps I take to deter burglars from my home” after his home was burglarized twice while he was on the road. Learn how to safeguard your home in this very informative article.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
We LOLed at this! How many home cooks want this in their kitchen? We bet every single one of you!
An excellent resource: Important info to know about wildfire evacuation
By Gail Marsh
As I write this, there are more than 80 large, extremely dangerous wildfires burning across 13 states. Persistent drought, ongoing heatwaves, and high winds have produced a very dangerous wildfire situation, just as many RVers take to the road for summer fun.
This raises important questions: How can we find out about potential wildfires that may threaten our camping location? Will someone tell us when to evacuate our campground? What if I’m boondocking and have no cell service to receive emergency alerts?
Find the answers to these questions as well as tons of incredible resources in this article.
Got a bad travel itch? How to deal with poison ivy
“Happiness,” wrote the poet Ogden Nash, “is having a scratch for every itch.” We daresay Nash never ran into a patch of poison ivy. He’d have been so busy with the scratches he’d never have time to lift his pen. Poison ivy rash, and the resulting itch, can literally last for weeks. What a way to spoil an RV trip! How can you deal with poison ivy and its creepy cohorts, poison oak and poison sumac? Find out here.
Take your RV back in time along these historic trail routes
At one time or another most of us long for “the good ol’ days.” The call of a simpler time often echoes in an RVer’s mind. Why not answer that call? Yes, your RV can serve as a time machine if you take it to the many places where history was made. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
A strange, hidden landmark at a gas station
There’s a strange landmark in Huntington Beach, CA: a black granite tombstone at Springdale Street and Warner Avenue, in the bushes behind the ARCO station. Its text reads: “In recognition of Lloyd Wright’s 94-foot-high sign tower that was to have been erected on this spot. Its defeat is symbolic of the democratic process in which we live. The people did not wish this sign tower to be erected as they felt it was not needed and would blight their community. Their wishes were heard and adhered to by the developer, Stanley Fann. 1970″ Continue reading this interesting story.
Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
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 24, 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: Kate Wence of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Juan Camacho of Garland, Texas.
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
• Readers have spoken: These campgrounds and RV parks have the best customer service
• Campground Crowding: Campgrounds are splitting sites. So much for personal space!
• Alibaba’s blank canvas DIY motorhome. It’s weird, all right!
• Tips from the experts: Get the most from your air conditioner and heat pump
• Campground and RV Park News, July 17, 2021
• Invest in the RV industry? Two news breakouts from this week
• I went to the Tiffin Allegro Club Rally. There wasn’t a display RV in sight
• The “other Grand Canyons” are worth a stop too. Check these out
• RVelectricity: Do you always need to use a generator bonding plug?
• RV Tire Safety: Airless tires – Reality? Or just a pipe dream for RV owners?
How would you like to win a WFan?
These portable cooling devices really work! They have a rechargeable battery and quiet, posable fans with five speeds. Wear it around your neck. They are a great way to stay cool on a hot day! We know. Our staff uses them!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (July 24, 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 preparing dinner.
Book is a must-have for state park campers!
This book, “50 States: 500 State Parks,” is a must-have for all state park campers and explorers. The book is a beautiful visual journey through America’s best state parks. Whether you’re looking for stunning vistas, rare wildlife, a dose of history, or an enjoyable hike, the state parks offer an array of experiences. Learn more or order.
UPDATED MAY 20 (2nd edition): “RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a new free directory from RVtravel.com which lists every U.S. RV manufacturer and their makes and models. Learn more and/or download a free PDF copy.
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.
Camping activity and puzzle book perfect for summer fun
Even though this activity and puzzle book is meant for children, we bet you’ll have fun with it too. All the puzzles are camping-themed. It’s perfect to bring along in the RV to have fun around the campfire or at the picnic table. Inside you’ll find word searches, mazes, scavenger hunts, animal tracks, hidden pictures, word scrambles, hiking logs and much more! Learn more or order.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
Silence your RV’s noisy air conditioner with this nifty gadget
Necessity is the mother of invention, and many of us who have an RV air conditioner find ourselves thinking about ways to make them quieter. We can’t discuss this with our fellow occupants of our RVs because it’s nearly impossible to shout over some of these units, they’re so loud. See what Tony says works to shut those things up!
Why are eBikes so popular? And a new model from Rad Power Bikes
Aside from golf carts, one of the things I saw a lot on my recent road trip was electric bikes. So many people seem to have these bikes now, and why not? You can choose to pedal as far as you’re able or willing and then let the electric motor take over from there. The largest electric bike seller in the U.S., Rad Power Bikes, has debuted a new model in their line that just might be the model for you. Check it out.
By Mike Sokol
So, does my RV use 120 or 240 volts?
I just taught my first RVelectricity seminar in 16 months at the Airstream International Rally in Lebanon, TN. The question of whether an RV uses 120 or 240 volts kept coming up over and over again. I was in the parking lot showing off my Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid truck with the built-in 7,200-watt generator. Expect a full report after my two weeks of playing with the cool loaner truck. But right now I’m just focusing on how the generator works. Continue reading. (Folks watching him were afraid he was going to blow up the Airstream. Someone even suggested that he should ask “that No~Shock~Zone guy how to do it.” Wait … What?!)
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
Cybertruck pop-up camper?
I saw this custom pop-up camper late last night that’s mounted on a Tesla Cybertruck. Do you know anything about it? —Sleepless in Sacramento
Easily check the tire pressure on your inner dual tires
Do you have trouble reading the tire pressure on your RV’s inner duals? This dual head tire pressure gauge with an extension steel shaft will reach where a standard gauge won’t. Be sure you know the pressure of all your tires, or risk a potentially dangerous blowout. No batteries required. Learn more or order at a discount.
RV Tire Safety
Is better tire wear AND better fuel economy possible?
We all see posts from people wanting better tire wear and better fuel economy. Here is some information from a friend of Roger Marble, “Dr. Joe”. Joe Walter is an authority in the field. While his article is aimed at the passenger and light truck vehicle market, you can be assured that as new technologies are developed in one sector of tire design the features and advantages soon spread to other product lines. Learn more.
Operating an RV Park
We are officially campground owners and operators!
By Machelle James
WOW! What an amazing past two weeks we’ve had! As we navigate the transition from building a campground to actually operating a campground, it is quite eye-opening. We are still learning the reservation system, how to give refunds, camp credit, and even helping our campers set up their RVs. We’ve had two females that were brand-new to camping stay here. They both had smaller RVs and they pulled them up the hill with no problems. Continue reading Machelle’s report of the trials and tribulations, and wonderful experiences and people, from their first two weeks in operation.
RV Short Stop
Festivals and Fairs popping up across America
By Julianne G. Crane
Festivals and fairs are bouncing back after the pandemic closed most fairground gates last year. Just type “festivals and fairs” into your search engine and marvel at the thousands of events that pop up. An endless variety of music, art and country festivals are taking place across the country. Here are a few that caught my eye.
RV Fire Safety
Have three fire extinguishers
You should have three fire extinguishers for your coach – one in the galley, one in the bedroom, and one outside of the coach in an unlocked compartment or in your tow vehicle. Make sure family members know how to use the extinguishers and understand which extinguishers are effective on various fires.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
The best kitchen sink strainer – no more odors or clogs!
If you’re unfamiliar with the revolutionary Kitchen SinkShroom, you’ll want to introduce yourself. This popular sink strainer prevents anything from going down your kitchen sink’s drain (in your house or RV). Say goodbye to odors and clogs – the SinkShroom won’t let that happen. Read more about it and its partner, the TubShroom, here, or order one here.
Recipe of the Day
This casserole is fabulous and full of so much flavor. At first glance, we thought this would be great for brunch or as a side dish. But once we tried it, we realized it would be hearty enough to be a meal by itself too. Rotel tomatoes give a little punch of spice. The grits are creamy and the sausage gives a nice smoky flavor. There’s a lot of yumminess in this jambalaya grits casserole recipe.
We are drooooooooling. Get the recipe here.
Fix it in Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix it in Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Museum of the Week
National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum
Bubble Top Cars of the Future
At the National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame Museum, you’ll find Darryl Starbird’s collection of futuristic cars. In the 1950s, Darryl was a designer for Boeing but felt the job was pulling at his freedom and creativity. He quit and opened a tiny garage where he started building custom cars. In 1959 he transformed the hulk of a Ford Thunderbird into a blue jet-fighter-on-wheels. He called it “Predicta” and told Car Craft Magazine it would be the car of the future. Indeed, The Grand National Roadster Show later named the Predicta the “Car of the future.” At Darryl’s museum, you’ll find his amazing car creations. This is a fun one. Learn more and see some of his cars on the museum website.
Fire Extinguishing Aerosol, Two-pack
The First Alert Tundra Fire Extinguishing Aerosol Spray is easier to use and discharges 4 times longer than traditional fire extinguishers. With an aerosol nozzle and portable size, it’s suited for the kitchen, car, garage, boat or RV. The formula wipes away with a damp cloth & is biodegradable. Learn more or order.
Susan and Lisa decided to play tennis against each other. They bet $1 on each game they played. Susan won three bets and Lisa won $5. How many games did they play?
(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.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Here is our Golden Retriever, Gem, watching a campsite visitor at Custer State Park in South Dakota.” —Cathy Wittke
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.
Firearms laws guide updated for 2021
The 2021 updated edition of the Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has recently been published. The book is always a best-seller among RVers, many of whom carry a firearm. The annual guidebook helps ensure they stay out of trouble when crossing state lines. What’s legal in one state may be a felony in another. More than 100 updates from last year. Learn more or order.
Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, might not be the birthplace of the hamburger, but it is the first restaurant to ever serve a hamburger. In 1900 Louis Lassen made and served the very first hamburger on two slices of toasted white bread with no “catsup.” The burgers served today are still cooked on the 1898 cast iron grill that cooked that first burger and they are still served on toasted white bread without “catsup.”
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
bacteria. Bacteria means little sticks, from the Greek bakterion, the diminutive of baktron, staff or stick, because the first bacteria observed by scientists under the microscope (in about 1847) looked like little sticks.
Laugh of the Week
Deals of the Day on Amazon. Click here.
Leave with a song from the past
From the beloved movie “The Sound of Music,” actor Christopher Plummer sings “Edelweiss” to the von Trapp family.
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, Clint Norrell, Darian Armer, Chris Epting and Dave Solberg. 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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