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August 6, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Shirley Wallace and her amazing two-story trailer
By Chuck Woodbury
lthough it’s been eight years since I met Shirley Wallace, I’ll never forgot my visit with her and her one-of-a-kind two-story Spartan trailer.
On a visit to my aunt’s home in Lindsay, California, she told me about a friend who owned the unusual trailer. Shirley Wallace’s father added the second story when she was a child — bedrooms for Shirley and her sister. Shirley lived there until she went off to college.
“Would you like to see the trailer?” my aunt asked. A couple of hours later, we were on our way.
Shirley gave me a tour, which I recorded with my iPhone. That video has now been viewed by more than 1.5 million people on our YouTube Channel! It is, in fact, the most popular video on the channel (by far). What’s interesting is that I shot the entire thing with my iPhone and edited it with my Mac’s free, easy to use video editing software, iMovie. Never could I have imagined the response it would get: try to imagine 1.5 million people — that’s 15 Rose Bowl crowds!
Now, years after filming and posting Shirley’s story, she has become a celebrity. People recognize her from the video. “Oh, you’re the one with the two-story trailer,” they say. Some want to see it. Some want to buy it. How could Shirley or I have imagined when I stopped by that day years ago that a simple video recording on a phone could gain such widespread popularity?
EIGHT YEARS AGO, I was playing around with YouTube to see if I could earn any money there. RVtravel.com was earning me a living, but as a self-employed business person I was always looking for other sources of income to help pay the bills.
Which brings me to an idea for you: If you can figure out how to make a simple video (your smartphone is all you need) and would like to earn a few dollars to pay your gas bills or campground fees, set up your own free YouTube channel. Once it gets some traffic, YouTube will permit you to monetize it. You may only make $25 a month. Or you could make thousands (we make hundreds because producing videos isn’t a priority). You’ve likely seen monetized videos. In most cases, a commercial runs at the beginning (which you can usually skip after a few seconds if you choose).
Here is today’s edition of our twice-a-week photo contest. Please vote for your favorite. Once you’ve voted, please submit your own photo for consideration. Winners receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Good luck!
(And remember, this contest appears every Saturday and Wednesday, so don’t forget to check back for five more photos from our readers this coming Wednesday! Sign up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter if you’re not already getting it. If you’re not sure if you’re on the list, sign up again. You will still only get one issue, not two.)
Take our emergency road service survey: Tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RVers rightly depend on emergency road service providers, and there are a number to choose from. But how do you know which one to sign up with? That’s why we’re asking you, if you’ve signed up for an emergency road service program, to take a survey of your experiences and tell us your recommendations. We’ll publish the results in a future newsletter, and share some experiences from readers. Our efforts will allow you to personally rank who you think is truly the best road service for your needs. Read more and help your fellow RVers out by participating in our survey(s) here.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “Today’s RV review is of the Backwoods Camper, a camper small and light enough that the company advocates that you can stick it on a Jeep Wrangler. They say that because they’ve done it with their own Jeep Wrangler. ”
How bureaucracy changed the character of a state park
By Randall Brink
I boondock a lot. However, like with most RVers who do, sometimes I prefer or need the amenities of a campground. Over the years, I developed a pattern of avoiding commercial campgrounds as much as possible, gravitating toward those operated by the U.S. Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and Bureau of Land Management. I tend to avoid campgrounds run by the various state park services for several reasons, e.g., poor reservations systems, arbitrary high surcharges for non-residents, no senior- or annual/lifetime pass discounts, poor management, and weird, nonsensical rules. Continue reading.
Around the Campfire: RVers debate: Are RV warranties worth it?
By Gail Marsh
Another evening sans campfire, due to the heat. We gathered around a cooler instead. After a bit of griping about the hot temperatures, someone brought up RV warranties, and suddenly “heat” wasn’t the hot topic anymore. Grab a camp chair and listen in…
Visiting the new Airstream Heritage Center and taking the Airstream factory tour
Airstream trailers are known the world over for their high quality and sleek designs. But did you know that every Airstream anywhere in the world is made in a small town in Ohio? It’s true. Jackson Center, Ohio, population 1,500, is the home base, or the “Mothership” as the folks at Airstream like to call it, for all Airstream production. Learn all about Airstreams, the Heritage Center, the factory, and some Airstream oddities here.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters
- Watch in horror as this semitruck slides down the highway. Know these safe driving tips
- 10 ideas for smart, out-of-the-way RV shoe storage
- How to know if your RV fridge is leaking ammonia
- 12 simple ways you can make fellow campers happy
- Find RV roof leaks? Here’s what’s next
RV boo-boos: Which came first—the extended slide or the accident?
It’s a shame that when we run across some of these “dilly” RV accident photos, we don’t have access to eyewitnesses. In this week’s boo-boo, we’re faced with a “chicken or egg”-type incident involving a slide-out accident. Check this out.
One of America’s best road trips: Drive the beautiful Great River Road
Three thousand miles. Ten states. Amazing cultures and rich history. That’s saying quite a lot. And yet an RV trip along the Great River Road is all that and so much more! Continue reading about all the adventures available on the Great River Road.
Every RVer knows the feeling: You’ve left something behind
By Gail Marsh
It never fails. We arrive at the campground, get the RV unhitched, and hook up water and sewer lines. We extend the slides, lay out the outdoor mat, and set up the lawn chairs. That’s when it usually happens. One of us—either my husband or I—realizes that we’ve left something important behind. To our surprise and dismay, a critical item that needs to be with us at the campground is safely back inside our stix-n-brix garage. Or it’s still sitting on the kitchen counter. Or it was never pulled out of the cupboard or cabinet in the first place. Sound familiar? Read more then weigh in.
How many U.S. National Parks have you visited in your lifetime?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
Know Your RV: Use your water heater on gas or electric—or both?
Nearly all RV water heaters operate on LP gas; there are rare exceptions. But some RVs offer an option on their water heater: an electric heating element. How do you know if you have the optional electric element? If you do, how can you get the most advantage from either fuel option? Learn all about RV water heaters here.
How to find farmers’ markets while RVing
By Gail Marsh
Who doesn’t love fresh vegetables? Peas, green beans, sweet corn and tomatoes… they taste like summertime to me! Then, too, there are cucumbers, squash, and melons. Yum! When’s the last time a freshly picked peach oozed its sweet juice down your chin? If you can’t remember, it’s time for you to find the nearest farmers’ market! Continue reading.
The long, long RV trip, Week 9: Circus Graveyard; Taste of Chicago Festival
By Cheri Sicard
This week’s stops: Still in the Chicago burbs, and downtown Chicago
Thanks to all who are following along on my long long RV trip. This week I put last week’s Chicago food explorations into high gear at the Taste of Chicago Food Festival. We boarded one of those famous CTA trains and went from the burbs into the city for the fest, a summer staple of Chicago’s Grant Park for more than 40 years. This would conveniently allow us to sample a bunch of iconic Chicago favorite foods and restaurants all in one place! However, my friend Craig and I made an interesting, if somewhat macabre, stop along the way first. Continue reading.
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.
This week we’ll select 3 separate winners who will each get a set of 4 tickets to America’s Largest RV Show, September 14-18 in Hershey, PA!
How to win
We’ll select 3 winners at random out of all entries we receive today (August 6, 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”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- I want to remodel my RV. How do I know where I can drill?
- How often should I lubricate my RV’s slide mechanism?
- I’m looking for a cold weather RV. What do you suggest?
- Is there anything I can do to improve gas mileage?
- Replacement awning motor failed; dealer can’t determine why
- Can I increase my RV’s axle capacity to haul more?
Visit Dave’s forum on RVtravel.com. Ask him a question or help answer one from another reader. Click here.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Game-changing RV power is here with the Mastervolt Power Package
By Tony Barthel
More and more RVers are looking for more and more power in their rigs. As lithium batteries and the technology that surrounds them improves, we’re getting better systems. I have been participating in a prototype with my 2022 Rockwood Mini Lite. This camper has an option called the Mastervolt Power Package, which truly has changed the way I have been camping. … Could this change the way you camp? Find out here.
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We’re not horsin’ around when we say that this made us laugh. It’s not really quite our style (is it anyone’s style?), but somehow it still made us crack up.
with Mike Sokol
Is towing a camper trailer with an EV truck practical?
There have been a lot of reports about attempted trailer towing with an EV truck, specifically a Ford F-150 Lightning. And the big question is this: Is it practical to tow any kind of travel trailer with the available EV trucks?
Read Mike’s answer, explanation and prediction here.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Why does the 30-amp plug burn up with two ACs?
Video of the day
Top 10 amazing, impressive motorcycle camper trailers
Have you ever thought about trading in your diesel- or gas-guzzling RV or tow vehicle and downsizing to a camper? No, not a truck camper. Smaller. Think two wheels. Motorcycle campers are a thing and they’re better than you imagined.
OK. Of course, a motorcycle camper is not the same as a huge luxury motorhome. But, that being said, some of the motorcycle camper trailers in the video below have some surprising amenities such as stoves and cooking space, and entertainment centers. One even has a king-size bed!
RV Tire Safety
Importance of reporting defective tires
with Roger Marble
I have asked RV owners who had tire failures if they reported the failures to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or to the dealer that sold them the RV. Almost universally they said they didn’t bother or were told by the dealer “it’s not their job.” … It is my opinion that if you have a failure or suspect failure and can’t bother to file a complete report and include a picture, you really have lost much of the right to complain about tire quality.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
RV Short Stop
Ray Charles on piano and Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, Ga.
By Julianne G. Crane
If you’re Looking for RV Short Stops between Florida and “up north,” consider Albany, Ga., hometown of Ray Charles and the Flint RiverQuarium. Read about those interesting places to visit and more in the area here, and you’ll have Georgia on your mind for an upcoming trip.
RV Fire Safety
Maintaining your fire extinguishers
Once you’ve determined that you have the right type of fire extinguishers, the next priority is to keep them properly maintained by checking them periodically. Check the fire extinguisher gauge to determine if there is pressure in the extinguisher. If the gauge indicates empty or needs charging, replace or recharge the extinguisher immediately. To test non-gauged extinguishers, push the plunger indicator (usually green or black) down. If it does not come back up, the extinguisher has no pressure to expel its contents. If you need help testing your fire extinguishers, check with your local fire department. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Our non-human staff writer answers your questions. “Johnny’s not always right, but he works cheap!”
Today, Johnny tackles these questions:
- RVer wants to teach his dog to drive
- RVer travels with dairy cow. Okay to stay in RV parks?
- Women breaks out in hives when RVing, says she’s allergic to hubby
Recipe of the Day
Wow, this shredded beef is rich with flavor. We opted to use the slow cooker and after the chuck roast simmers it’s tender and just melts in your mouth. There are a few simple ingredients and the Crock Pot does all the magic. The beef and juices have a rich flavor that has a hint of smoke. Serve on a bun for an easy Crock Pot meal. Everyone will love these sandwiches. We had an issue finding onion buns, but these were delish on a regular bun. We served it with a little bit of the juices from the slow cooker.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Miss Buffington the Cockerpoo has traveled from the East Coast to Arizona for 13 years, bringing laughter and smiles to many. As a therapy dog, she also helped animals as well as people. The photo shows her being very calm and making friends with a donkey that didn’t like dogs because of an attack by a dog pack earlier in her life. Angel and Miss Buffington became good friends! At 15 years of age, she still hikes, kayaks, and rides on the back of my bike … and continues creating smiles wherever she goes.” —Jeanette Dickson
If you drop me I’m sure to crack, but give me a smile and I’ll always smile back. 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.)
A DEET-free mosquito and tick repellent … that works!
If you’re one of those people that mosquitoes love (we all know at least one person like this), this product is for you. A very impressive number of five-star reviews. This awesome DEET-free insect repellent works for mosquitoes, ticks, black flies and fleas. Keep this one handy, folks. As RVers, there’s a good chance you’ll probably need this. It’s safe for kids and infants too! Learn more or order here.
The smell just after it rains is called petrichor. But what makes that smell? A very specific organic compound called geosmin, which is produced by microbes living in the soil. During rainfall after a dry day or a dry spell, geosmin is released into the air along with a natural “additive” of sorts, an oil that is exuded by certain plants during dry periods. Geosmin is also found in beets (so that’s why they always smell like wet dirt!) and bottom-dwelling fish like catfish.
Laugh of the Week
Current smoke and fire report for where you live or where you are traveling.
“RVs: Who Makes What” – This is a 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?
RVtravel.com All-Star Team
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, Julianne Crane, Machelle James, James Raia, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Johnny Robot. Special projects director: Jessica Sarvis. Moderators: Gary Gilmore, 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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