Welcome to RVtravel.com, an RV-themed newsletter from the most-read consumer website about RVing in North America. At RVtravel.com, you will learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.
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August 14, 2021
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
“Ignored until they kill you, or at least ruin your trip! How to Avoid Tire Troubles.”
For the week of August 14-20, 2021. Click below to listen.
SPONSORED BY CAMPGROUND VIEWS.
See campsites just like with Google Street View
Why go big? The case for owning a king-sized RV
By Mike Sherman
debate on RV size is almost a waste of time. It’s a question that’s been debated for years. Everyone has an opinion. Go BIG? Go small?
Have you ever wondered when you’re parked next to a huge RV that you may never see the occupants unless they have a dog to walk? For many, that large RV is all they’ve got. There’s no stick home sitting on 5 acres waiting for their return. Everything they own is in that rig. Everything! Some full-timers don’t even rent a mini-storage locker – they got rid of everything except what’s in their RV.
These RVers are probably older, and have no desire to take walks around the RV park or hike nearby trails. They prefer RV parks with amenities, having experienced plenty of primitive state and federal campgrounds in the years gone by.
Occasionally you might spot them coming outside to dump their holding tanks. You say “Hi.” They smile and wave back, then retreat into their private domain. They may stay in one place for months at a time, but sooner or later they will muster up the energy to move on, often to an RV park they visit annually like clockwork.
A REQUEST TO OUR READERS IN THE U.S.
If you have driven into Canada with your RV since it opened to vaccinated Americans last week, did you have any problems crossing the border? Did all go as it has in the past? We would appreciate your observations. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Help spread the word about RVtravel.com
Here’s a great way to help spread the word about America’s favorite newsletter about RVing — yup, the one you’re reading right now! We’d love to send you some cards that you can hand out in campgrounds or at rallies to RVers who may not know about us and want to become readers. Simply send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to RVtravel.com, 9792 Edmonds Way #265, Edmonds, WA 98020. If you place one first class stamp on the return envelope we’ll send you 18 cards; include two stamps for 36 cards. No charge, of course. We’ll even toss in a few of our cool “Blast Off To Adventure” stickers.
Headline stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Are “phantom” campers stealing your campsite? And guess who those “phantom” campers are?
• Marcus Lemonis buys one of America’s best known TV game shows.
• New federal infrastructure bill could be big deal for RVers.|
• Still stuck with DEF sensor issues? Here’s the latest.
• RV sales lot inventories – Part 2: Dealers and buyers say the shortages are real!
And all the latest news that affects RVers.
PLUS: Campground updates • Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…
Listen to this week’s RVtravel.com podcast
Just click below to learn more about what’s on the show (episode 20) and listen. John and Mercedes, the RV Odd Couple, spill the beans on their recent campground purchase, the trials and tribulations of finding a “home base” for themselves and their “RV Odd Squad” followers and, eventually, all of us. They also share the personal crisis that was alleviated by chucking it all to go full-time.
Also on this episode: Colorado governor Jared Polis has a message for RVers.
FOR PODCAST NEWBIES: What’s a podcast? It’s like a radio talk show except you can listen any time you want.
Listen to a 30-second clip of the episode.
Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Never use a concrete block instead of a jack stand!
• Buying an RV? Visit an RV show first. Here’s why
• Avoid fresh water contamination from nasty waste water
• Everything you need to know about cleaning your RV awning
• The importance of tire and wheel balancing
Today’s RV review…
In support of cargo trailers for camping – Part 2
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel writes more about converting cargo trailers for camping. He reports: “The reason for bringing this back up is that my wife, ever the patient soul that she is, sent me a link to Look Trailers, a manufacturer of cargo trailers. But the thing that she specifically sent me is their ‘upgrades’ page, which includes things like work benches, beds, dinettes, refrigerators and bathrooms.” Read more.
Last week’s reviews:
• 2022 Jayco White Hawk 27RB travel trailer
• 2022 EarthRoamer HD luxury overlander
• 2022 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 7 184BS
• 2022 Off Grid Trailers Switchback series adventure trailers
• 2021 Black Series HQ21 overlanding trailer
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
RV kills young boy. Don’t let this happen in your family
By Chuck Woodbury
I wrote this article eight years ago in response to the death of 3-year-old Landyn Keener, who was electrocuted by simply touching his family’s Airstream trailer. I tell readers about this every couple of years as a reminder of how dangerous an RV can be under certain conditions. And those reminders have paid off: a few readers have reported what they learned saved a life of someone in their family. In this case the family’s trailer was experiencing what is known as a “hot skin” condition. It can happen to any of us, and does, in fact, happen much too often (most often it does not kill). I urge you to read this story. Being aware of what causes this potentially lethal condition could save your life or one of someone you love.
Campground etiquette: PLEASE turn off that noisy generator!
By Nanci Dixon
As a campground host, after having camped next to three different campers this week who left their noisy generators running ALL day long and had to be told to turn them off at the quiet, no generator hours, I am hoping that these folks are all newbies and just don’t understand the etiquette of keeping the noise and the gas fumes to a minimum. As more and more people are camping and electric sites are harder to get, I have noticed a significant uptick in generator use this year. Read more.
For RVers, it’s not cool: Coleman a/c fails
Imagine being on a long RV trip. Your travels will take you around the country, through all kinds of weather. In the midst of a heat spell, your RV air conditioner suddenly croaks – leaving you stranded with no way to chill out. That’s the case for one reader, Steve. His Coleman a/c failed – and he says he’s not alone. Continue reading, then please let Russ De Maris know (his email address is in the post) if you’ve had a similar problem.
It’s a bad tick year! Protect yourself from the disease-spreading bloodsuckers!
If your travels take you to tick country, be on the lookout for these biting and often disease-carrying arachnids. Yes, ticks are more closely related to spiders! And just what areas of the U.S. have them? Lyme disease – a nasty tick-borne illness – has now been found in all 50 states. Learn all about ticks here.
What do RVtravel.com readers think?
“What’s the biggest bill you’ve ever received for repair work on your RV?” That’s what we asked our readers. Of the more than 2,000 readers who responded, how many of them would you guess have received a bill for $5,000 or more? Was it about 9 percent, 22 percent or 51 percent? Find out.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Will moth balls repel mice from your RV? Here’s the verdict
• Are you kidding? $400,000 for an RV site? Yup!
• The masked bandit that robbed our campsite and got away!
• Fridge not cooling? Diagnosis of problem may be easy
Is the #1 reason you bought an RV to “be with nature”?
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:
How many RVs have you owned in your life? Have you owned the “typical” number of RVs? Find out here.
This 52-foot RV can be yours at a bargain price!
If you love big rig RVs, as in “the bigger the better,” you’re going to want this 52-foot beauty which has a price tag of $375,000 — about one-third of what it would cost new. And as a bonus, it comes with a 35-foot cargo trailer. So big rig fans: This is about 90 feet of RVing heaven you could be piloting down the highway. Continue reading.
Are Idaho RVers crazy?
By Dave Helgeson
After a recent trip to the wilds of Idaho I find myself asking, “Are Idaho RVers crazy or just more seasoned than the rest of us?” I have always thought of myself as a rather rugged RVer, but after what I experienced I am beginning to think I am a bit of a wimp! … Dave writes about a few of the “surprises” that awaited him and his wife on their recent trip. Read about them here, then feel free to add your thoughts.
Not wearing gloves while dumping? Big mistake!
In this day of fastidiousness and the injection of antibacterial chemicals in nearly every product, there’s a strange movement out there: Dumping holding tanks with your bare hands. A survey at RVtravel.com revealed that nearly one-third of our readers never or seldom use gloves. Our opinion: big mistake. Learn why.
Attention Big Rig RV owners!
This annual Rand McNally road atlas will keep you away from too-narrow roads and low bridges. Learn more or order.
Rig on the shoulder? Move over or slow down! It’s the law
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When a couple in a Jeep rolled down their window and started yelling at us, we took notice. We were rolling down Oregon’s I-84, and their message wasn’t misunderstood: “Your tire is completely gone!” We moved onto the right shoulder “breakdown” lane to eyeball the situation. Despite our hazard lights flashing, and our rather large travel trailer posterior hanging out there “in front of God and everybody,” traffic paid little attention. Doesn’t anybody know about “move over or slow down”? … How about you? Have you ever been in a breakdown situation and felt your rig or your life was threatened by traffic? Read more then let us know here.
Interested in a job as an RV technician? Here’s how to get started
If you or someone you know is looking for a job with a great future, a position as an RV technician might be for you. As most RVers know, there’s an acute shortage now, which can mean RV owners may often wait weeks or even months for some repairs. But there’s good news for mechanically inclined job-seekers: The RV Technical Institute has announced its class schedule through June 2022. Continue reading.
RVtravel.com’s 10 best-selling products at Amazon for last month. Click.
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, August 14, 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 three readers claimed their $25 Amazon Gift Cards: Michael Hampton of Salt Lake City, Utah, Frank Aiello of Danvers, Massachusetts, and Wayne Kinstad of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
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
• Cruise ship condos: Trade in your “land yacht” for a real ocean-going abode
• RV holding tank treatments: What’s best for the environment?
• Campground Crowding: Reader suggests part-timers stay at resorts, full-timers get state parks
• Operating an RV park: Invaders in the park; and Happy 50th, Machelle!
• Is it OK to store an RV with the slide room out?
• Campground and RV Park News, August 7, 2021
• Winterizing the RV’s water system
• Satellite broadband internet becoming a reality? Maybe!
• Truck and Towing Trends: The latest truck news for RVers: August 8, 2021
• Ask Dave: I have constant problems with my Schwintek slide out. Help!
• Schwintek slide out system problems – Part 2
• What to do when your RV breaks down: Everything you should know
Win a set of Happy Camper hand towels!
ATTN: Bonus contest far below
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (August 14, 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 shaving or putting on your makeup.
TODAY’S SPECIAL DEALS AT AMAZON! Click here to save.
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.
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.
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.
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.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This is one of those things that everyone should have and use often, but, alas, doesn’t. Trust us, you’ll like the outcome.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club, a one-stop go-to online resource for RV enthusiasts. He is also the owner of Passport Media Creations, which has developed several RV dealer and safety training programs.
What’s the deal with tire pressure monitor’s radio frequencies?
I have been using a TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) that operates on a frequency of 434.1 MHz FM, with tire sensors that screw on to the valve stems of the tires. Now I have a new truck that has a built-in TPMS that operates on a frequency of 433 MHz. Is there a company that sells TPMS sensors that screw on to the valve stems of the tires that operate on 433 MHz? Thanks in advance for your reply. —Wally
Other questions Dave answered this week:
• Options to stabilize a parked 5th wheel
• Is it OK to store an RV with the slide room out?
• Schwintek slide out system problems – Part 2
• Advice needed about devices that repel rodents
• Winterizing the RV’s water system
Dirty contacts? DeoxIT!
Here’s a comment from our electrical specialist, Mike Sokol: “I’ve used DeoxIT for decades on my pro-sound gear. We use it on speaker connectors, power connectors such as cam-lok and twist-lock plugs (just like RV power), volume controls, gold-plated circuit boards (like in RV refrigerator control boards), etc. There are several different versions of DeoxIT depending on if you want built-in lubricant for potentiometers, or gold contact refurbishing or simply oxidation removal.” Learn more or order.
Meteor showers. Magic from the heavens. Schedule of upcoming “shows”
One of the great benefits of traveling by RV is the ability to find wide-open spaces away from city lights so you can truly enjoy stars, planets and galaxies the way they were meant to be enjoyed. That becomes even more special when meteor showers roll around. Thankfully, each year you can pretty much set your watch when they will take place. Read more.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
With Tony Barthel
Product review: Jackery Solar Generator 1500
One of the most common questions I read on the various forums that I troll about RVs is about the use of CPAP machines overnight while boondocking. There are also a lot more folks on the road with their various “confusers” and other electronic whiz bangs and, of course, those need to be refueled, as well. Of course, you could always get a traditional generator but they’re noisy, smelly and require maintenance. Furthermore, few places allow you to run them at the time of night when you’d want to use a CPAP machine. So that solution is a no-go for many circumstances.
Enter a device that has come on the scene called a solar generator. The solar generator is, quite simply, a battery, a way to plug things in to utilize that battery’s power and a way to refuel or recharge that battery. It’s that simple. So when Jackery offered to send me their latest and largest model, the Jackery Solar Generator 1500 (Jackery 1500 + 4 x SolarSaga 100W), I thought it would be a great opportunity to see if this could really do the job many want from it. … Find out what I concluded here.
Don’t swelter in your RV anymore!
At RVtravel.com we don’t see too many products that we go nuts over, but the SoftStartRV is a game-changer. Here’s what it can do:
• Run two air conditioners (with two SoftStartRVs) on a 30-amp hookup.
• Run one air conditioner using only a small portable generator or 20-amp household current.
• Run an air conditioner or two using your onboard inverter system. Read more.
The reasons for bonded and floating neutral generators
By Mike Sokol and Mike Zimmerman
After a few more go-rounds on my RVelectricity Facebook group about how bonded and floating neutral generators work, our head Administrator and Code Guru Mike Zimmerman offered to write a piece on just why generators have a bonded or floating neutral to begin with. I offered to throw in my own 2 cents to the article to make it as accessible as possible to even beginner RV owners, but still have definitive information for technicians and electricians who have to work and install them. Continue reading.
This week’s J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session
“Ball of Confusion” – new USB-C connectors in cars
I know you’re a computer guy in addition to being an electrical guy, so here’s a quick question for you. I just bought a Volkswagen ID.4 Electric Vehicle exactly like the one VW loaned you, so perhaps you’ve figured this out already. How do I plug in my Apple cell phone to charge? I’ve asked the sales guy at the dealership and he seemed clueless. I did find a cigarette lighter port all the way in the back by the hatchback, but my cell phone charger won’t reach. So how do I make this work? —Larry the cable guy
Make those wheels sparkle!
When was the last time you actually noticed your wheels and hubcaps? Probably not recently because we’re guessing they’re covered in dust, dirt, oil and grime. This amazing Sonax Wheel Cleaner will make them sparkle again. Its acid-free, ph-balanced formula won’t damage a thing. Just spray it on, watch it clean right before your eyes, and wipe it off. It’s that easy! Learn more or order for a great (and worth-it) price.
RV Tire Safety
Consumer Reports on RV tires. Helpful or fear mongering?
By Roger Marble
I had someone point out that the September issue of Consumer Reports (CR) had a couple of pages on RV tires and wondered if I could offer my opinion. I do not subscribe to CR, as I have been less than impressed with some previous articles over the years. But I went to the local library and borrowed a copy. Read Roger’s review of that report here, then let us know what you think in the comment section.
The Digital RVer
Are you happy with the quality of your travel photos?
By Chris Guld
We’ve been traveling in our RV this summer and we’ve seen a lot of beautiful sights. I’m taking pictures with my phones (both iPhone and Android) every day! When I take a good picture, I always tweak it, just a bit, using the free Snapseed app. I think it takes the photos from good to great. See some examples and learn how to beautify your photos here.
A suggestion: I read your newsletter daily but I always skip the podcast. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to take the time to sit at my computer and listen to something for 20-30 minutes when I can just read it in a few minutes. I see some topics that I’d like to know more about but never have listened to them. Is it possible to have some in a written version or at least a synopsis of the topics? Read more.
Recipe of the Day
When wondering what to make for dinner, give this Alfredo sauce a try. It’s a very simple recipe with only four ingredients. It’s easy to make and does not take a lot of time. The end result is a rich and creamy sauce. You can put this on a big bowl of pasta or even homemade pizza.
We love a good Alfredo sauce! Get the recipe here.
Use handy silicone lids for cooking & storage
Use on the stove or to seal containers instead of using plastic wrap or foil. They’re BPA, Phthalate and PVC free and heat resistant to 440 degrees. Press down gently in the center of lid for an airtight seal. Use to replace missing or broken lids. Use on leftovers and to keep salads and fruits fresh! Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Sundance is a 5-year-old rescue. We believe he’s a Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix. I’ve nicknamed him Mr. Cooperation because he always follows orders. Well, almost always. Six months after rescuing us he traveled to Alaska for the summer. He did wonderfully and loved the trip. We have a truck camper and he’s made the floor under the dinette his kennel. He enjoys traveling and meeting new friends. Here’s Sundance in front of Mt. Rainier.” —John Nowicki
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.
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.
A girl has as many brothers as sisters, but each brother has only half as many brothers as sisters. How many brothers and sisters are there in the family?
(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.
The 33rd reader to email us before 7 p.m. (Pacific time) today, at WinAswellPrize@gmail.com with the correct secret phrase from last Monday’s RV Daily Tips newsletter (look carefully, it’s there!) will win an official RVtravel.com coffee mug, the most awesome coffee mug ever created, where your coffee will taste better than ever before in your life! We guarantee it! If you disagree after receiving this incredible prize, then return it, no questions asked. We’d gladly offer your money back, but, then, you didn’t pay anything. So, too bad.
The Hubble Telescope is responsible for the deepest images of space and the universe ever taken. Recent images from the telescope contain more than 5,000 galaxies – some of which are as distant as 13.2 billion light-years away. The telescope is so strong that it could spot the light from a single firefly up to 7,000 miles away.
Word and Phrase Origins
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
Jumbo. “P.T. Barnum purchased the fabled elephant Jumbo from the London Zoological Society in 1881 for ‘The Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth.’ Jumbo, captured by a hunting party in 1869, was one of the largest elephants ever seen in West Africa; the natives called the six-and-a-half ton beast by the Swahili word jumbo, meaning ‘chief.’ He became a great favorite in the London Zoo, giving rides to thousands of children, and his sale to the American showman caused quite an uproar. Within six weeks the incomparable P.T. had reaped $336,000 from the $30,000 investment, and he made Jumbo’s name a synonym for ‘huge’ throughout America and the world.”
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.
Laugh of the Week
Reader Robert Yeo sent this photo to us and wrote, “Is this one of the reasons Walmart is discontinuing allowing overnight RV parking in their lots?”
We groaned at this, but we also got a good chuckle from it. Yes, Robert, using windshield wipers to hang your laundry out to dry could be one reason why.
DON’T GIVE UP!
Get notified when a sold-out campground has availability.
Leave with a song from the past
Here, live (at the time in 1964) from London, the Fab Four perform “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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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.
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Associate editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editors: Russ and Tiña De Maris. Senior writers: Nanci Dixon, Tony Barthel, Mike Gast. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Gail Marsh, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Darian Armer 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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