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March 19, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
From the editor
I’m worried about visiting two of the most popular National Parks
By Emily Woodbury
Next week I’m braving the spring break crowds and heading south to meet some friends (alas, without an RV on this last-minute, whirlwind trip). We’ll start in Phoenix, head up to Sedona, Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, then through Page, up into Zion National Park for a few days then return home from Las Vegas. Now is when I take a deep breath and ask for your wishes of “good luck!”
I know what the parks were once like. I remember camping with my dad, Chuck, in Bryce Canyon National Park years ago. We arrived in the afternoon and pulled into a campsite practically hanging over the hoodoo formations below. No problem. Peace, quiet, open campsites and no crowds. And it wasn’t just like this at Bryce… Death Valley, Yellowstone, Arches… it was all the same back then.
See what I’m expecting this trip.
From the publisher
A broken ankle and question for you
By Chuck Woodbury
It’s now late Friday afternoon. I thought until a few minutes ago that I would need to write the opening essay for this issue, but then my daughter, Emily, rescued me with her notice about her last-minute spring break trip to two of our most popular National Parks. Still, I have something to say, and a question (poll) to ask of you. So here goes:
First, I need to tell you that my partner in life, Gail, broke her ankle skiing late last month (she still believes she’s Superwoman) and is grounded for at least another five weeks, which is driving her nuts (me, too). I am spending lots o’ time helping her move herself and her stuff around our two-story home.
What if we were on the road?
We have discussed lately what would have happened if she had broken her ankle just before a major RV trip or while we were on the road. Like many other RVers we would likely have had reservations booked one after another months ahead. Has this ever happened to you? Answer below and then please leave a comment in our forum.
Does Camping World refuse to repair older RVs?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
You’ve heard of RV age discrimination before. There are some RV parks that simply won’t allow a rig on the property if it’s older than 10 years. But here’s a twist: How about a Camping World that would refuse to repair a motorhome on the same basis? … You need to read this account of one of our readers’ exasperating experiences attempting to get service from Camping World. Our hard-working consumer advocates get to the bottom of it.
Today’s RV review…
Today instead of a review of a specific RV, industry insider Tony Barthel presents Part 1 of a 3-part series: RVs that use the least fuel. Tony says: “It’s no secret that we’re all frustrated by the price of fuel. One of the common threads in many social conversations is if people are actually planning to curtail their travels for the season because of the cost of a gallon of fuel.
“In fact, many of you responded to a reader poll stating that you would make changes to your plans based on the price of fuel. But we also know, based on the popularity of these daily RV reviews, that a lot of you are shopping for new RVs. So I thought I’d look at a few RVs that offer the lowest cost to operate from the standpoint of fuel economy.”
NEW! Would you like to see a certain RV reviewed? Submit your request to Tony at his new Forum on RVtravel.com.
Snowbirds, it’s time to change your RV’s water filters
By Nanci Dixon
Snowbirds are beginning their yearly migration to cooler climates. If this is you, it means that now is a good time to change your RV’s water filters, particularly if you’ve spent extended time in the desert areas of the Southwest. Read why here.
This is what we were talking about last week with “obnoxious outdoor screens.” Yikes!
Last week, Nanci Dixon wrote about obnoxious outdoor movie projectors and big screens coming to a campground near you. Some of these setups are being sold online for as low as $89. The photo she used in her story even showed users at their campsite sitting around a campfire, projecting a movie onto a screen on their van. Yikes! Commenters on her story had quite a few not-so-great things to say. Read some of them here.
Visiting California’s beautiful Paso Robles wine region with Harvest Hosts
By Cheri Sicard
For wine-loving RVers, Harvest Hosts memberships make great sense. No need to limit yourself, or designate a driver. Just sip your wine, enjoy the day, take in the scenery, then retire to the comfort of your rig. Harvest Hosts offers plenty of winery hosts in California’s popular Paso Robles wine region. In fact, you could visit winery after winery and just move a few miles down the road each night. On a recent trip to Northern California, I checked out several of these hosts.
Are “nomad nannies” a good idea? Are they legal? Safe?
By Gail Marsh
There’s been an interesting conversation on one of the RV blogs I follow about “nomad nannies.” Newbies to the world of RVing have been wondering about the possibility of special services, specifically childcare. It began with a gal kicking around the possibility of becoming a nanny (offering her childcare services) to fellow RVers. Continue reading about this interesting concept.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
• Make the most of your travels: Do these things to research an area before you go
• Replace or repair RV’s window glazing seals to prevent glass damage
• Here’s how having an “outside bin” keeps your RV’s interior cooler
• A place you probably haven’t thought of to store shoes in your RV
• RV Mods: Improve your fire escape-ability
Finding little pieces of true, old-school Americana soul
By Gail Marsh
It was like jumping into a time machine set for the 1950s. While winter traveling in our RV, my husband and I learned that a county rodeo was scheduled for Saturday night. A rodeo? We’re in! We extended our stay in southwestern Florida for a bit longer. And I’m so happy we did! Find out why in this heartwarming story.
Ghost Town Trails – Bonnie Claire
By Dave Helgeson
Bonnie Claire is the featured ghost town in this month’s installment of Ghost Town Trails. The last two installments, Ballarat and Tumco, CA, were for those snowbirds wintering in the Desert Southwest. With the arrival of spring and warmer weather, we will begin heading north with those returning snowbirds visiting ghost towns along the way. Read about Bonnie Claire here.
RV boo-boos: And it says, “No RVs beyond this point” (Video)
There’s always that road we want to travel. Sad to say, not all roads are suitable for RVs, as this unfortunate fifth-wheel pilot discovered. After passing by the sign that warned “No RVs,” we’re told he encountered a non-forgiving tunnel, which removed some of his accessories. That was just the beginning of his troubles. Learn from this RVer’s painful mistakes.
Learn how to own and operate a campground at workshop
Interested in owning and operating a campground? Learn how to do it by attending the latest Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA) Buyer’s Workshop April 31 and May 1 at the San Antonio KOA Holiday in Texas. Learn more.
Clintoons • By Clint Norrell
Do you find National Parks to be busier than they ever were before?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
“Batman” to “Back to the Future”: Celebrity car stars galore at LA museum
By James Raia
Automobiles have long had starring roles in movies and television programs. The Petersen Automotive Museum, among the country’s most well-known vehicle shrines, is now honoring many four-wheel icons from Hollywood. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the museum’s new exhibit, “Cars of Film and Television,” which opened March 12, expands upon a former display called “Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy.” Holy Hollywood Dream Machines, Batman!
No, no, not Putin… poutine! And the most drool-worthy places to find it
By Karel Carnohan, DVM
As most of our Canadian readers know, there is one culinary masterpiece that is distinctly Canadian—poutine. There has been a bit of confusion about poutine lately. One restaurant in Dublin was boycotted because people thought the restaurant was serving a dish named after Putin. Just to set the record straight—poutine is a glorious, to-die-for comfort food. Read all about it, including where to find it, here.
How it Happened: The cheerful Life is Good Company
By Gail Marsh
You’ve undoubtedly seen the T-shirts. You may even own two or three, like me! No one captures the simple pleasures of life, especially camping life, like The Life is Good® Company. You might be surprised to learn that a road trip was the catalyst for a company that now boasts well over $100 million in sales. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Encounter a moose in the wild? Stay away
Most of us are thrilled when we spot a moose in the wild. But, whatever you do, keep your distance from the animal. And do not feed it! If you encounter a moose, give it space and time to move. Do not attempt to move the animal. Not only is it dangerous, but it’s considered harassment and is illegal. Read more.
Psst: Did you miss Gail Marsh’s column Around the Campfire today? If so, tune in to Monday’s RV Daily Tips newsletter for a surprise! Make sure you’re subscribed.
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.
How would you like to win a set of Collapsible LED Lanterns?
These handy little lanterns are bright, lightweight, weatherproof and collapsible for easy storage!
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (March 19, 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.
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.
Does my RV’s furnace have an air filter? Should it?
Is there an air filter on a fifth wheel’s gas furnace? If not, should one be installed? —Gary
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
This isn’t just for homeowners—RVers can take all this advice too. And trust us, you’ll be so glad you did!
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
You need a jump starter. Seriously.
By Tony Barthel
You should have a portable jump starter. Seriously. But why, you ask? Many reasons. I have had a portable jump start device that lives in my truck for years. The most obvious reason to have one is to jump start a vehicle with a dead or weak battery. But it can serve a lot of other purposes as well.
with Mike Sokol
Honey, they shrank my SoftStartRV…
One of the fun things I get to do in my FunkWorks Lab is play with prototype products long before they’re released to the general public. However, I’m generally under a media embargo with most of these products (essentially a gag order), so I’m not allowed to disclose what I know to my readers before a certain date.
This leaves me busting at the seams sometimes, because there are occasionally new products I really want to write about and review for you but can’t. And this is one of those times….
Read all about the new and improved SoftStartRV™ (SSRV) controller here.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Lightning safety around water and boat docks
RV Tire Safety
Another post on cold inflation. Is there just TMI?
With Roger Marble
A few times each week there are posts on various RV forums asking about tire inflation. There continue to be many readers confused by the words “Max Cold Inflation” on the sidewall of many tires. This wording, while confusing, is mandated by regulation from DOT, so don’t blame the tire companies.
NEW! Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his new RV Tires Forum.
RV Short Stop
Women at Valley Forge
By Julianne G. Crane
Alongside Gen. George Washington’s brave fighting men at Valley Forge, at least 400 women, 700 Blacks and many Indigenous Peoples served. Women’s History Month is a time to reflect briefly on a few of women’s contributions to the American Revolution. Learn about the Valley Forge National Park and women’s contributions here, including “Molly Pitcher”—remember learning about her?
RV Fire Safety
Keep your RV’s engine clean
Grease, oil, and road dust build up on the engine and transmission, making them run hotter. The grime itself usually doesn’t burn, but if combined with a fuel leak or short-circuited wire, a fire could start. Keep your coach’s underpinnings clean, and it will run cooler, more economically, and longer. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
This beer bread may replace cornbread when serving chili. It’s super easy to make. Once baked, the top is crunchy, but inside is tender and buttery. The combination of garlic and onion complements the overall flavor. There’s a slight sweetness in this beer bread. Serve warm, with a little bit of butter, alongside a bowl of soup or chili. Yum!
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Punkin is our ‘Guard Cat’! She loves to catnap in the storage shelf above the entry door. Beware all who enter her domain.” —Mark & George Ann Nelsen
What is black when you get it, red when you use it, and white when you are all through with it?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, but do you know how he wanted us to answer his beloved invention? If Bell had gotten it his way, we’d all be answering our phones, “Ahoy-Hoy!” Thomas Edison thought that was silly, and suggested a simple “Hello” instead. Edison might have won, but until his death, Bell answered his phone, “Ahoy-Hoy!” If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, you’ll note how Mr. Burns always answers his phone with “Ahoy-Hoy!” as a nod to Bell.
Laugh of the Week
“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.
The Best RV Trip Planner Apps and Tools. Everything you need to help plan your trip is here.
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, Karel Carnohan, DVM, and Cheri Sicard. 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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