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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May 21, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
The week-long process of creating this newsletter
By Chuck Woodbury
hat you are reading at RVtravel.com is not a “blog.” It’s a newsletter for a website. It’s also a close cousin to a magazine. It’s the efforts of many writers and a few editors. A blog reflects the voice of one person or a couple. Many readers of this newsletter have blogs. In them, they tell where they’ve been and what they’ve done. Most often they do it for themselves, like a personal journal; others share it with friends and family.
RVtravel.com is the voice of many contributing writers including countless comments each issue from readers. We were already publishing when the first “blogs” debuted. Five of us work on the actual staff of RVtravel.com, some part-time and a few full-time. In addition, we have an IT person who keeps our website running smoothly and a bookkeeper who helps us stay solvent.
This issue, number 1053, began last Sunday, when our associate editor (not to mention constant-lifesaver), Diane McGovern, posted the shell of what would become, six days later, what you are now reading. The shell has space for this essay, our stories, ads and our other features. Throughout the week, various writers and editors post their articles. For Sunday’s news newsletters, we all start gathering news items throughout the week. By about midday Friday, the gaps are filled and everything is in place. Emily, Diane and I then polish things up, trimming wordiness, and fixing grammar and typos.
I wake up early Saturday morning and say a little prayer that all is well—that our server didn’t go down overnight or that I didn’t make a major goof (when I do, a few dozen emails will await, telling me so).
BEFORE THE INTERNET CAME ALONG, I spent my working life editing and publishing periodicals in the physical world—those published on paper. Today, I try my best to abide by the rules and ethics I learned along the way, beginning in my college journalism classes. It’s always tempting to cross the line, for example to accept money to write glowing product reviews, which is epidemic these days. We receive such requests every day, and we always say no. It’s tempting, too, when someone offers us thousands of dollars to email their advertising message through our 100,000-strong (and growing) mailing list. I told readers when I started this newsletter more than 20 years ago that I would not do that and I have stuck to that promise.
As you read through this issue, pay attention to the names of the writers and their credentials. They are all experts. We know from letters that our columnists’ advice has not only helped our readers enjoy their RV travels more, but do so safely. For example, our columns on RV electricity by Mike Sokol have saved lives. We know because readers have told us.
RVtravel.com is not merely a hobby. It’s a serious business. We might have fun doing what we do, but we’re here primarily to advocate for and support you as RVers.
The RV lifestyle is wonderful. But there are problems in Paradise, and my staff and I will try our best to influence positive change. The more readers we have, the louder our voice and influence. And that is why we periodically ask you to please tell your friends, club members, Facebook friends and any other RVers or wannabees you know to sign up for this weekly publication.
Help us spread the word!
We’ve made it easier to spread the word about RVtravel.com. If you click here, you’ll see a printable sheet of small RVtravel.com “business cards.” We ask that you print these and carry them with you in your glove compartment, wallet, on your dash… anywhere… and hand them out to fellow RVers. You could pin them to bulletin boards, leave them in campground offices (with permission, of course) or leave them around a popular RV town.The cards also have a QR code so others can scan and subscribe right from their phones. It couldn’t be easier. If you’re unfamiliar with how to scan a QR code, here are simple instructions (both for Apple and other products).
Click here for more information and to download the cards. And hey, thanks! We really appreciate it. Also, we’ll have a contest using these soon, so keep your eyes out for that. We’ll make it a fun one.
That’s all for now. Take care and safe travels.
P.S. I am on the road this week in a car, heading south on I-5 for a family reunion. I am always on the lookout for anything that makes me laugh. The best thing so far came around Salem, Oregon. A truck from Southern Septic Service passed me. Its motto was printed on the back of the truck: “Nobody sticks their nose into our business.” Gail and I got a good laugh out of that. That slogan might even be better than those of many other sewer pumping companies: “We’re number one in the number two business.”
The ABCs of free and low-cost camping
The world of RVing is full of acronyms. Those include: RV (recreational vehicle), FW (fifth wheel), TT (travel trailer), FHU (full hook up), BH (bunk house), and many more. In these days of rising campground costs and campground crowding, there are a host of other acronyms RVers should know about. Those are the acronyms of federal agencies that oversee millions of acres of public land which offer free and low-cost camping. Learn all about what each federal agency offers in this comprehensive and invaluable list.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “In yesterday’s overview of bunk models that are potentially half-ton towables, one that I should have included that I hadn’t written a review of, until today, is the Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 238BHS. With a gross weight of 7,600 pounds, this trailer offers a lot of bunk usefulness in a package that’s relatively flexible.”
This week on Tony and Peggy Barthel’s StressLess Camping podcast they interview author, hiker, boondocker and adventurer John Soares and get some great tips from him. Also, there’s potentially the most innovative RV layout they’ve seen. All that and more here.
Break in your new generator the right way for long service
By Randall Brink
The small, efficient gasoline generator is a practical necessity for extended RV boondocking or any time spent away from a source of alternating current for energizing appliances and battery charging. I recently switched from a Class A coach with a hefty 7.5 kW Cummins Onan generator to a tiny towable with a single marine deep-cycle battery and no generator. My boondocking plans would require a generator. I wondered what the best way was to break in a new generator so it had a long life. Here’s what I found.
Around the campfire: How fast do you drive when towing your RV?
By Gail Marsh
What is your speed when you’re towing your RV? This was the question posed to the campfire crowd a few nights ago. A robust discussion followed. My husband told the others that we usually stick to the speed limit or a bit below, depending on road and weather conditions. Read what the other RVers said, then feel free to add your two cents’ worth in the comments.
Gorgeous 1962 Streamline Countess trailer has vintage style but modern amenities
This 1962 Streamline Countess trailer is one of a fleet of restored vintage trailers or “mobile mansions” in the backyard of Craig and Diana Thomas. It was designed and built by the owners. The restoration pays respect to its mid-century design and incorporates modern amenities. This truly is gorgeous!
RV boo-boos: Rip off rear wall for ventilation?
If you need more air-flow ventilation through your RV, we recommend power vent fans. Don’t do as this poor fellow did. Oh, my!
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters
• Tips from professional RV detailers to keep your RV looking good-as-new
• 29 ways to use baking soda while RVing
• Easy tip for draining fresh water tank: Add a hose end!
• The best tips and advice for surviving the family RV road trip
• It’s roll-out time for your RV awning. Is it ready?
Installing Safe T Plus and KONI shocks. Is it worth it?
By Nanci Dixon
Today we had Safe T Plus Steering Control and KONI shocks installed on our 40’ Tiffin Phaeton motorhome. Is it worth it? The jury is still out, but so far we haven’t bottomed out on the potholes, and my husband didn’t feel the sway when the semis passed. Continue reading.
This man’s injury is proof you don’t want to camp near a hawk’s nest
When you are camping on their land, nesting animals, including hawks and other birds, view humans as predators, making attacks much more possible. Here are some tips so you don’t get injured like this man did.
We met a celebrity while waiting for our RV to be serviced
By Nanci Dixon
Stars RV, too! We were in the service lounge at Tiffin and my husband struck up a conversation with the family next to us. They were talking about all the stuff RVers talk about: how long you’ve been RVing, how you like it, what kind you have, where are you going next, etc. For them, the next stop is on tour! Who was it? Find out here.
Have you ever met a celebrity or other well-known public figure on an RV trip?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
We asked our non-human staff member Johnny Robot to write an article titled “Why finance an RV for 20 years.” In less than 3 minutes, “Johnny,” spit out an article based on artificial intelligence (AI). Read it here. Ask yourself, how many newbie RVers would read this if published on another website and assume it was written by a human and that the information was accurate?
How it happened: How Buc-ee’s convenience stores got so famous
RVers see a fair share of roadside pitstops. But one stands above the rest. Far above. That’s Buc-ee’s roadside stores. First, realize that your Buc-ee’s visit will not be your ordinary “fuel-quick-and-get-back-on-the-road” kind of stop! Instead, this roadside mega-store will cause your jaw to drop. Your eyes will go wide, and you may even forget your urgency to locate the restrooms! No, really. “Go big or go home” might be an apt motto for the Buc-ee’s brand. They’ve certainly upped the ante among convenience stores. Read on and you’ll see what Gail Marsh is talking about.
Newport Car Museum owners’ private collection is a joy for the public
Major automobile collections are available in massive museums throughout the United States. And there are also plenty of smaller, equally impressive private offerings, with rare openings to the public. The Newport Car Museum is a hybrid. Approaching its fifth anniversary, it’s the largest automotive museum in New England and it celebrates seven decades of modern industrial car design represented in more than 85 vehicles. Ready for a little trip down memory lane?
Many more adventures are covered in this week’s “On the road again”
By Nanci Dixon
On the road again! Readers share their travel stories. Join us for some armchair travels and share yours too! At the time of writing this, my husband and I are not on the road yet. We’re still having the motorhome worked on in Red Bay, AL…. Read about their trip last week which awed and saddened Nanci, along with more adventures reported by our readers as well as more favorite travel songs, 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.
How would you like to win a Collapsible Kettle?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (May 21, 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.”
I installed new batteries and now they need more water. Why?
I took out the two 12-volt batteries and added four 6-volt golf cart batteries—two in the original spot under the step in series and two in the compartment right behind the step. Next, I wired them in parallel and then connected them to the inverter. I have solar attached to the two in the compartment. The new batteries seem to need more water. Should the solar be connected to the under-step batteries for a more even charge? —Alan, 2018 Winnebago 29VE
Who publishes 700+ RV newsletters a year? Only us!
RVtravel.com would not be possible without the financial support of our voluntary contributors. Their support helps us avoid relying on advertising, and keeps our resource-rich work unbiased and free for all RVers to enjoy. Every contribution makes a difference. A donation of $10 a year comes out to less than 2 cents for each issue we publish. That’s all! And when you contribute, you’ll receive a special member-only ad-free version of this newsletter forever as one way for us to say thank you. Learn more or donate.
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This is such a wonderful idea. You’ll wish you had started doing this years ago! Your kids and grandkids will wish that, too.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
MeanFun ladder: A silly name for a great gadget for RVers
By Tony Barthel
This week’s gadget is something I’ve gotten more use out of than I thought I would. It’s the MeanFun telescoping ladder that I bought on Amazon. The main reason I bought this is to do some roof and skylight repairs on our vintage Aristocrat trailer. Also, it’s never a bad idea to have a ladder when RVing and, with our new trailer being equipped with a slide room, I wanted to be able to get up there and make sure the roof was clear before I brought that slide room in. … So, what does Tony think about this MeanFun ladder, including the name? Find out here.
Cook with the ingenious Jetboil camping stove and keep the heat outside
By Nanci Dixon
Keep the heat outside with the ingenious Jetboil camping stove and cookware. Wow! I am impressed with this little stove! Our friends came to visit and camped near us. They are avid boondockers and were just taking a break from a couple of months out in the desert. They invited us to dinner, and it was not just any dinner. It was a gourmet dinner, with steak, corn, rice, salad and dessert. What impressed me was that it was all done at about the same time and they kept most of the heat outside of their motorhome. Continue reading.
with Mike Sokol
The self-charging EV (There’s no free lunch)
Wow! There are a lot of people interested in EV charging and driving costs. My article last week on putting a generator in the back of an EV to boost mileage has had more than 87,000 views already! Plus, there have been 34 comments and questions. I guess the skyrocketing cost of fuel is the main factor behind all those questions. … Read some of the questions and Mike’s updated report here.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: New no-splice SoftStartRV install video
RV Tire Safety
RVer complains, “I have too much tire pressure gain”
By Roger Marble
Here is a post on an RV Forum with a question about too much tire pressure gain: “I’ve often wondered why the tires on my travel trailer will gain about 10-12 psi on a trip, and the tires on my tow truck only gain about 4-5 psi. …”
Operating an RV Park
Store updates and a noise ordinance!
Here we are, one week from Memorial Day weekend, and our store is finally coming together. We just passed drywall inspection and that means AJ can install the metal roofing that we are using as siding. We are using the roofing material on the lower half of the walls and thin rough-cut wood panels for the upper. … Continue reading to find out about Machelle and jake brakes. (Hint: Don’t mess with Machelle!)
Recipe of the Day
Member’s Choice! Creamy, tangy, and cheesy. If you like chicken enchiladas, these need to be on your weekly menu. Green chilies in the sauce add just a hint of spice. Pick up a store-bought rotisserie chicken and these can be thrown together in no time.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Sprinkles is a spunky 10-year-old rescue pup. She’s the expert squirrel hunter at every campground and is always up for an adventure. Hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, she wants to do it all! This picture is from the top of the Fisher Towers Trail just outside Moab, Utah.” —Tessa Miller
I am heavy and hard to pick up, but backwards I am not. 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.)
The Xerox 914 was the first commercially successful copy machine. It revolutionized the industry when introduced in 1959. It weighed 650 pounds—Wow! Although this wasn’t Xerox’s first model, it was its most popular and the one that put the company on the map. It was fast, easy to use, cheap to operate and was readily available to all. But there was a big problem: If the paper jammed, it did so near the fuser and if the jam wasn’t cleared fast enough it would start a fire. With every purchase of the model, Xerox included a small fire extinguisher which it referred to as the “scorch eliminator.”
Smile 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, Gail Marsh. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld, Machelle James, James Raia, J.R. Montigel, Clint Norrell, Randall Brink, Chris Epting, Karel Carnohan, DVM, Cheri Sicard and Dale Wade. 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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