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January 15, 2022
Non-Members (advertising supported) edition
COVER STORY Buying the “Bling”
Focusing on an RV’s bells and whistles distracts from asking important questions
By Gail Marsh
Just like most folks at the gigantic regional RV show, we had stars in our eyes. Those stars blocked our view, I guess. Or at least they caused our common sense to blur a bit. How is it that when spending tens of thousands of dollars on an RV, our main concern is the bell-and-whistle items that honestly don’t add all that much to the actual RVing experience?
Here’s what I mean: Instead of looking closely at (or asking a manufacturer’s rep) how the cabinets are put together, we took note of the fashionable handle pulls and the cabinets’ soft-close feature. Are the cabinet boxes simply glued together or are nails and screws involved? I wish we would have asked. Rather than inquiring about the grade of carpet used in the RVs and if any carpeted area had an underlaying carpet pad, we allowed ourselves to be blown away with the up-to-date color and style.
While watching in awe at how easily the company rep opened and closed the hide-a-bed, we failed to ask if there was any kind of warranty on the sofa’s fabric. The questions “Will the fabric fade easily?” or “What recourse do we have if the ‘pleather’ peels or chips?” never passed through our lips. Yep! Stars in our eyes for sure!
Headline stories in tomorrow’s newsletter
• Lava inspires new fire retardant that could limit number of RVs going up in flames
• Campground Crowding: “l resent snowbirds for taking over everything”
• Goodbye to RV friends Ford F-150 (diesel), Toyota Land Cruiser
• RVillage Rally 2022 Spirit of the Road has been canceled
• RVers beware: Nation’s truck thefts continue to rise
• 2022 Toyota Capstone debuts soon as new luxury hybrid pickup
• Winnebago debuts new models and floor plans; spotlights award-winning products at Florida RV SuperShow
And all the latest news that affects RVers.
PLUS: Latest fuel prices • Stolen RV Report • Latest RV recalls • AARP Scam Report • Reader survey • and much more…
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Last week’s Tip of the Day highlights in RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• You’ll be surprised by these 19 unusual uses for wax paper
• How can you fix an out-of-kilter RV slideout?
• Why communication is so important while RVing, and how to improve it
• RV Mods: Power visors – Inside shade easily at hand
• Bucking the trend: Heading north for the winter, something you might consider
Today, industry insider Tony Barthel reviews the Jayco North Point 380RKGS. He writes, “I’m going to put the folks at Jayco into the pool of people taking the opportunity to do new things. One example of that is a new, large fifth wheel in the form of the Jayco North Point 380RKGS.” Read more and take a look around.
Chat with your favorite writers on our RVtravel.com Forums
Most RVtravel.com writers are getting their own forums, where readers can discuss their articles with them. Here are some you can visit now.
• Dave Solberg (RV Repair and Maintenance)
Do you have questions for Dave about RV maintenance? Ask them here!
• Mike Sokol (RV Electricity)
Do you have a question about RV electricity? Mike has all the answers!
• Tony Barthel (RV Reviews)
Would you like to see a certain RV reviewed? Submit your request here!
• Roger Marble (RV Tires)
Roger is a national authority on RV tires.
• Dr. Karel Carnohan (Ask the Pet Vet)
Dr. Karel is here to answer questions about your travel companions!
• Gail Marsh (RV Tricks & Tips)
Learn and share tips and tricks for RVing with Gail!
• Nanci Dixon (Crowded Campgrounds)
Join Nanci to discuss the difficulty in finding campsites
CLINTOONS • By Clint Norrell
MORE OF CLINT
See some of Clint’s recent cartoons. They’re wonderful!
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
Want to save space in your RV’s kitchen? Then this is something you absolutely need.
The Frugal RVer: Want cheap diesel fuel? Make your own!
By Randall Brink
Making your own diesel fuel, whether it be biodiesel or synthetic, will not only dramatically cut your RV fuel bill, but you will enjoy a good feeling from recycling waste, reducing reliance on petroleum and reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil. Read all about this do-it-yourself diesel fuel here. Very intriguing!
Heading for Tampa or another winter RV show? Here are a few warnings to consider
The annual Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa each January has long been a stage for RV manufacturers to roll out something “new.” The 2022 Florida RV SuperShow that starts this Wednesday, January 19, will likely be no different. Mike Gast lists 9 things to keep in mind when shopping for a new RV at an RV show. These tips could save you money, time and heartache.
We’re inheriting a house. Can we still be full-time RVers?
By Nanci Dixon
As many of you know and have sent so many well wishes, I last wrote that my father was dying. My family mourns his passing, and yet we know that he no longer wanted the broken life his 98-year-old body had left him. Dying is hard work. I never knew how hard, but there is a lot of difference between dying and being dead. We have inherited his house but we are full-time RVers. Continue reading about Nanci’s dilemma.
Add RVing on Nevada’s wacky Extraterrestrial Highway to your bucket list
By Cheri Sicard
The sun had no sooner set on Nevada’s remote Extraterrestrial (ET) Highway when the previously silent sky suddenly roared to life with aircraft. Or more precisely the sounds of aircraft. Lots of them. The dark and cloudy early night sky provided no clues as to who or what was creating the din. But the noise continued uninterrupted, with a few window-rattling booms occasionally punctuating the steady drone. Continue reading about this intriguing encounter.
Engine heater failure: What we learned when the temps dropped
Gail Marsh and her husband were heading south, trying to outrun the cold weather. But they encountered overnight lows of 19 degrees F in Mississippi. Her husband plugged in the engine heater on their truck so they could continue on their trip first thing in the morning. But, nope. The truck wouldn’t start. What happened? And what lesson did they learn? Find out here, so the same doesn’t happen to you.
Last year at this time, these were the most popular articles
• Check out the funky Tropiclassic – the Ford Super Duty/sedan mashup
• Electrical problems? This tip may save you an RV service call
• Here’s why diesel pusher radiators overheat… Don’t let this happen!
• Be careful where you put your satellite dish or this can happen
If you bought your RV from a dealer, then…
How comprehensive was the walk-through on your new RV?
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:
Does your RV have a permanent ladder to the roof? See how nearly 2,800 other RVers responded.
Every RVer needs a good set of pliers
An RV toolbox is not complete without a good set of pliers. These fit the bill. The channel locks are ideal for any plumbing connection or nut/bolt where you need more leverage. Needle nose are great for wiring. Electricians’ pliers and wire snips are essential for electrical work. General-purpose pliers help in many other ways. Learn more or order.
By Cheri Sicard
We pulled into Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge to set up camp in the late afternoon. It took an hour or so to set up house. When I finally emerged from the RV’s front door at about sunset, the idyllic view took my breath away. Red more about this idyllic and free camping spot here.
Turn your RV into a coffee shop or log cabin—smooth jazz, crackling fire and all
By Emily Woodbury
I recently came across these incredible “ambiance” videos (is that what I should call them?) on YouTube and thought I’d share them with you. I have to admit, I left the first one, “Snow Night on Window at Coffee Shop,” on in another browser window while I was working, and it really sorta kinda felt like I was there! Not bad! … Check these out.
What even is Pickleball, anyway?
Pickleball is the sport that increased in popularity from 3.4 million participants in 2019 to a whopping 4.2 million players in 2020 just in the United States alone. … Up more than 20 percent again last year, Pickleball’s unprecedented rise in popularity makes it the fastest-growing sport in the country. And no wonder! Pickleball is played and enjoyed by folks of every age and competency level. Read all about it here.
Is this your RV?
Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Every day we post a photo of an RV either submitted by its owner or by our editors as they move about the country.
Popular articles from last week
How would you like to win a LEGO RV Set?
Spend a relaxing afternoon by yourself or with the kiddos building this fun LEGO RV!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 15, 2022) 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.
Doctor’s order: Coffee!
This coffee mug is hilarious! It’s perfect for yourself or the coffee-lover in your life who just cannot live without coffee. This high-quality mug is made from ceramic and painted to look like a prescription pill bottle – it’s just what the doctor ordered! You can’t order this from a barista, but you can order one here.
“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.
RV Show Directory: See if a show is coming soon to your area.
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.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
Why does hot air come out of my furnace exhaust?
Why does really hot air blow out the outside of my propane furnace? —Chiara
Other questions Dave answered this week:
• What maintainer do you recommend for my RV’s batteries?
• Owner’s manual says I can run roof AC on 110-volt power. Shouldn’t it be 30 amp?
• Should the battery disconnect switch be off during storage?
• Can I run both roof AC units on 5200 Onan?
• My engine battery is dead in 3 days. How do I find the parasitic drain?
NEW! Visit Dave’s new forum on RVtravel.com. Ask him a question or help answer one from another reader. Click here.
RV GADGETS & GIZMOS
This RV toilet doesn’t require water—It makes the process cleaner, easier and freeze-proof
By Tony Barthel
What is the best portable toilet on the market? There’s a lot of debate over that and it’s a popular topic of discussion. Since everybody goes, we all have some thoughts on this. Recently we had a chance to look into the Laveo™ toilet by DryFlush and came away with an interesting take on that device. I mentioned this toilet a few months ago when I reviewed the Imperial Outdoors XploreRV XR22, which has no black tank since it has the Laveo. Continue reading. (You know if it’s by Tony, it’s entertaining reading. And what does Bigfoot have to do with this?! )
Electric space heater power, safe usage, and an alternative
RV newby here, with a (used) 2017 Pleasure-Way Sprinter. It gets icy cold inside at night, due to lack of insulation in walls and floors, and like many old folks, we “run cold.” The built-in propane heater is adequate, but its roaring noise and frequent cycling on and off wakes me up many times in the night. I’d like to be able to plug in a very small, low-wattage space heater to maintain a steadier, quieter warmth. Keeping the rig at 60 inside would be just ducky! Even 55 would probably be good enough. My question is two-pronged (ha ha), having to do with wiring. …
JAM (Just Ask Mike) Session: Can I connect my 30-amp RV to a 240-volt generator?
The most patriotic RVing shirt of all time!
If you’re going to be patriotic, why not do so with an American flag made out of motorhomes? How cool is this shirt? It comes in men’s, women’s and children’s sizes, so you can match with the whole family. And it’s 100% cotton so you know it will be soft! This is so neat! Get one for yourself here.
RV TIRE SAFETY
How old is “too old” when it comes to tires?
Tire expert Roger Marble explains what causes different types of tires to age out at different rates, and factors that can have a significant effect on tire life. Learn about tire life here.
NEW! Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his new RV Tires Forum.
OPERATING AN RV PARK
Ongoing progress, and a visit from RVtravel.com readers!
Machelle James updates us on projects she and AJ are working on in the campground, finally locating the source of their water leak, deciding to be open for Spring Break, and a special stopover visit from some RVtravel.com readers who have been following AJ and Machelle’s journey. All that and more here.
RECIPE OF THE DAY
One of our favorite things to order for takeout is orange chicken. Cathie’s easy recipe means we can make it at home anytime a craving hits. Using corn starch helps to make the chicken extra crispy. The sauce is sweet, but not too sweet, and the chicken soaks up all its delicious orange flavor. Serve over steamed rice for the perfect at-home “take-out” dish.
For a meatless option, try making this with cauliflower—it’s delicious that way too! Get the recipe.
Other recipes featured in this week’s Daily Tips Newsletters:
• Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Sausage
• Happy Tummy Chicken & Noodles
• Connie’s Pork Chops Over Rice
• Crock Pot Mexicali Chicken
• Grilled Chicken and Tortellini Salad
PET OF THE DAY
“Our cockatiel, Joe, enjoys traveling on the dash of our Class C. His favorite spot is on our heads, which is funny because my husband is 6’2″ and the ceiling height is about 6’5″.” —Cheri Stillar
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.
We recently asked you to submit a secret message to a special someone in your life for us to feature. We asked that you refer to them by nickname so only they knew it was for them—it makes it more fun! Here are a few responses (more to come).
“I will climb the highest mountain for you! I will fight the fiercest lion for you! I will swim the English Channel for you! I will walk across the desert for you! I will be over tonight if it doesn’t rain.”
To: Cajun Queen
“Who knew when we said forever it would mean over 50 years. OMG, and here we are still discovering the country and who we are and what rings our bells. May it never stop… PASSION.”
To: Phoenix NASCAR Canadian Princess
From: Just Awesome
“To the love of my life, partner in travels and in my wedding vow to take you on an epic road trip to the Daytona 500. I love you, hon, and look forward to many more RV vacations together in our GD Reflection.”
If you’d like to submit your own secret message, here.
Test the RV park water before you drink it!
How pure is the water at the RV park you just entered? Is it pure enough to drink or full of contaminants? This TDS meter provides an inexpensive and convenient way to instantly check your overall water quality. Don’t risk drinking bad water! Use this hand-held device to check the condition of your water filter, too. Every RVer should have one of these! Learn more or order.
Two mothers and two daughters went out to eat. Everyone ate one burger, yet only three burgers were eaten in all. How is this possible?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
The genetic mutation that causes red hair also causes a resistance to anesthesia. People with red hair have a significantly increased resistance to pain blocking meds and anesthesia. Hundreds of surveyed dentists in this research reported that their most anxious patients were, indeed, redheads.
WORD AND PHRASE ORGINS
From the book, Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson:
sayonara. “Sayonara has become part of America’s vocabulary since after World War II, when thousands of G.I.’s were stationed in Japan. But few knew that this is one of the most poignant words for good-bye, it’s literal translation from the Japanese being ‘If it must be so.'”
LAUGH OF THE WEEK
In honor of today’s Pet of the Day, Joe, we thought we’d share this funny bird compilation video. You’ll laugh at these silly little feathered creatures!
By far the coolest bottle opener for RVers!
Look at this adorable vintage trailer bottle opener! You’d be the star of the campground if you opened everyone’s beer or soda with it! It’s a magnet, so you can always find it on your fridge, and it comes in two colors. It would make a great gift too! Learn more or order.
Leave with a song from the past
Here’s an oldie but goodie (and appropriate for the season) — The Cascades singing Rhythm of the Rain. There’s many memories attached to this one for some of our older readers. Enjoy.
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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, Scott Linden, James Raia, Kate Doherty, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting and Karel Carnohan, DVM. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, Linda Brady, Mark Gorrie. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. Special Reports: Bradford Geer. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
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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