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August 13, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
What decades of RVing have taught me
by Chuck Woodbury
This originally appeared in the June 2022 edition of RV Business Magazine
have traveled with an RV for about 40 years. If you count my travels as a wee lad in my family’s 15-foot Field and Stream trailer, then I have technically been RVing for 60 years. As my late-friend Al Kepler might have said, “Dat dere is a long time!”
I bought my first motorhome, a used 18-foot Class C, when I was 33. I can describe it with a four letter word: JUNK! I was so in love with the idea of traveling in a small wheeled home as a “roving reporter” that I barely inspected it before slapping down $5,500. It looked great if you didn’t notice the stains on the ceiling.
“Ah, now I know,” I mumbled at the first rainstorm when a leak in the roof at 3 a.m. delivered an RV version of water torture onto me as I slept on my overhead bunk. And how could I have known the Dodge 360 engine would break down once every three trips, usually in the middle of nowhere? The nice man I bought the RV from was the automotive instructor at a local community college. Surely he would have kept the RV well maintained, right? Wrong!
What that RV taught me
That motorhome, Rest In Peace, taught me what it’s like to be a new, naive buyer in love with the idea of RVing. It’s the dream and the “bling” that counts, I learned later. And if there is no bling, as was my case, then you invent the bling. “Oh, I can go anywhere I want and have great adventures,” I imagined. Being a single male, I would think, “One day I will camp next to a beautiful single woman and we will fall in love” (extreme fantasy bling). Alas, most of my fellow campers then were twice my age with RV bumper stickers that read “Grandma’s and Grandpa’s Playhouse” or “Don’t Tailgate or I’ll Flush.”
COMING LATER THIS FALL: A new weekly newsletter: RV Tech Talk. The nation’s leading experts on RV repair and maintenance will discuss, both in writing and in live online discussions, what you need to know to keep your RV in top condition, and to troubleshoot problems. Edited by Dave Solberg. Sign up.
Where are our website readers visiting from?
Here’s a snapshot of where the last 500 visitors to RVtravel.com were visiting us from as of 7 p.m., Eastern Time, yesterday evening. Dots appear only where a sizable number of readers are located at that moment.
The end of Walmart “camping”?
In tomorrow’s newsletter we’ll tell you about a lawsuit recently filed against Walmart that could mark the end of the retailer’s generous policy of allowing RVers to stay overnight for free in its store parking lots. And not only might Walmart prohibit such stays, but other RV-friendly businesses as well — Cabela’s, Cracker Barrel stores, Sam’s Club, and others.
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. Winner receives 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.)
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Last Saturday we set off on what’s turned out to be a rather ambitious project. We asked about your experiences with emergency road service plans. “Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly.” On top of it, we wanted the statistics so we could provide you and others with some solid numbers to help make a choice. Did we say, “rather ambitious project”? Hoo, boy! The responses have been pouring in like a monsoon rain on the Quartzsite desert. … We’re still crunching the numbers. And as your experiences flow in, they’ve raised a few questions that need answering. Here’s just a sampling of your comments.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “The combination of the very open-feeling interior and materials that felt rather fancy made this really feel like a nice place to spend time. The two completely separate bedrooms and bathrooms make this a very flexible floor plan, as well.”
Help from a popular auto parts store gone wrong—battery bust!
By Dave Solberg
As most of you know, I post an answer to a question from a reader Monday-Friday in the RV Daily Tips newsletter. This time, though, things looked different. Although this is technically an answer to a reader’s question, it did not come in the traditional method via email, it came personally in my backyard. This is nuts! What are the odds of this person ending up, unknowingly, stranded in RV tech expert Dave’s backyard?!
RV Checklists: Campground setup
Gail Marsh has put together this very thorough checklist for setting up in the campground. It’s also available in pdf format so you can download it and use it each time you get to a new campsite. Get it here.
Through the years, we’ve written about a dozen ways to keep mice, squirrels and other rodents out of your RV. Some probably work, some probably don’t. Nobody seems to agree on the absolute best way. Well, could this be it? There’s one way to keep these pests (and even bigger ones like possums and bears) away from your RV according to reader Jeff Schwartz, who outlined his method in a comment to our YouTube video “How to keep mice out of your RV.” Continue reading to see what this has to do with lions. Really.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters
- 7 unusual uses for aspirin as you RV
- Is it safe to camp in a desert wash?
- 10+ tips for using carabiners while camping. These are nifty!
- How well do you know your putty tape?
- The buzz on wasp elimination: Keep ’em away from your RV!
Can you afford to snowbird?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Are you an RVer tired of the cold winter weather and ready to become a snowbird? Wondering how you can afford to snowbird? Here are a few things to help you figure out whether or not you can fit the snowbird lifestyle into your financial limits. Read more.
This is, hands down, the stupidest tourist trick we have ever seen. It happened at Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park. The tourist came within inches of falling to his death in what is perhaps the stupidest tourist trick so far in 2022. The video is only about 10 seconds long. Watch it and thank your lucky stars you were born with a fully functioning brain.
Spill the beans: Do you love your RV?
By Gail Marsh
I may have hurt some feelings in a recent article I wrote. In it, I referred to an RV as “basically a tin can or cardboard box.” I was trying to emphasize the difficulty many RVers have in keeping their RVs cool in the relentless summer heat. My words hit a nerve and I certainly didn’t mean to disparage any RV in particular or in general. So many people today complain about their RVs: poor construction, lack of attention to detail, constant repairs, etc. Perhaps it’s time to give folks who really love their RVs a voice. I’ll go first… (Then it’s your turn.)
Dunedocking—RVing in sand!
By Dave Helgeson
Sand dunes exist throughout the Western states and offer great camping opportunities for boondocking, er, dunedocking. While most of us associate sand dunes with the ocean, there are extensive inland sand dunes located throughout the West. … The majority of these dunes permit free camping and the use of off-road vehicles. Learn more.
How many RVs have you owned 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.
POPULAR POLL FROM THIS PAST WEEK.
We asked: How old were you when you met your current spouse/partner? What do you think? Roughly how many them met before they were 20 years old? Was it a quarter of them, a third of them, or less than a tenth of them? Find out.
Roadside Geology: The Missoula Floods and the wonders of North Idaho
By Randall Brink
An RVer traveling on US-95 in Northern Idaho from the town of Athol to Sandpoint, or eastbound on State Highway 200 near Clark Fork, Idaho, will see sweeping and dramatic evidence of a geological event dating from the Miocene Epoch of geologic time: The Missoula Floods. Continue reading about the fascinating history of this region.
The long, long RV trip, Week 10: Circus World, Wisconsin Dells and gearing up to go again!
By Cheri Sicard
This week’s stops: Wisconsin Dells, Baraboo, WI, Chicago Burbs
Welcome back to the continuing journey of my long, long RV trip. … My friend Craig suggested we take a day trip about three hours away to Wisconsin to visit Circus World Museum and the Wisconsin Dells. It sounded good to me. Especially as I have some old circus friends who live in Baraboo who I had not seen in decades. Read much more, including about her 91-year-old retired circus friend she caught up with and who came out of retirement last year to do an unbelievable fiery motorcycle stunt with her grandson Hunter on America’s Got Talent.
Is a 12-volt refrigerator right for you?
“Boondocking with Confidence” is boldly proclaimed by an advertisement in a popular RV trade magazine for a 12-volt compressor refrigerator, followed by the tagline, “Keep more food and drinks colder for longer, even off grid”. The ad fails to mention what it is comparing its product against when it states, “colder for longer”. … Learn all about 12-volt fridges from Dave Helgeson 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 Digital Solar NOAA Radio?
Special features include: AM FM Radio, Emergency Phone Charger, Led flashlight,reading lamp, clock, NOAA Weather Alert Radio, Shortwave Radio.
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (August 13, 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:
- What water pressure should I have at the campground?
- Should adjustment brackets on a slide rail be adjusted?
- Why is my Norcold freezer cold, but fridge hot?
- Having RV axle issues. Should I change my 6K axles to 7K?
- Why does my absorption fridge only work intermittently?
Visit Dave’s forum on RVtravel.com. Ask him a question or help answer one from another reader. Click here.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
No gadget reviews today, but make sure you read yesterday’s brand-new edition of Tony’s Great RV Accessories newsletter. There are gadgets galore inside! Click here to read.
?????? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??????
These always make you smile when you’re driving down the road, don’t they? Well, now you can have one of your own! Just what you’ve always wanted!
with Mike Sokol
How many lithium batteries are needed to run two CPAP machines?
Yesterday I ordered a new Lance 1985 trailer with the 190-watt solar panel on the roof and 1500-watt inverter. I plan to install lithium batteries so my wife and I can use our CPAP devices all night if we are boondocking for a few days. If we are staying in an RV park hooked up to 30-amp service, will the manufacturer’s supplied onboard converter charge the lithium batteries to 14.4 volts or just 13.6 volts? Does it matter, since the solar panel will top them off during the day? Also, can you recommend a preferred lithium battery? Thank you in advance. —Johnny [Editor: No relation to our “writer” Johnny Robot.]
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Important! Don’t take shelter under a tree during a storm.
Video of the day
Understanding RV screws, RV screwdrivers, and specialty bits
By Cheri Sicard
If you have ever gone to your RV toolbox in search of screws for a repair or found a repair needed a special screwdriver or driver bit that you didn’t have, you need to watch the video below. I know I have been there many times and I am not alone among RV owners.
RV expert Mark Polk of RV Education 101 does a terrific job of breaking down some of the most common replaceable hardware RV owners should keep on hand along with the tools needed to use them.
RV Tire Safety
Uneven wear on trailer tires may not be due to defect
With Roger Marble
If you have one shoulder of a trailer tire showing more wear than the other, as seen here, you probably have camber wear. [From bridgestonetire.com: Camber: This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle.] Unlike the front end of your car or truck, few RV trailers have alignment that can be adjusted with hand tools. BUT the first thing you need to do is confirm you are out of alignment.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Operating an RV Park
The weather is changing; and we discovered a leak in our RV!
By Machelle James
Well, AJ and I are pleased to say that our campground has definitely been noticed in the RV world. We are full almost every weekend and we have calls daily for those last-minute drive-ins. You know exactly what I mean, those nights that you’re exhausted from driving and you need to pull over NOW! We are that place to rest your head for the night and let you go on your way the next day.
Stinky sewer dump? This will do the trick!
If a sewer hose doesn’t fit tightly, sewer gases will escape and make the odor when dumping almost unbearable. It’s embarrassing and disgusting! This sewer adapter hose seal plugs the hole. No more stink! Read more about it here or order one here.
Our non-human staff writer answers your questions. “Johnny’s not always right, but he works cheap!”
Johnny takes a break this week from answering questions and instead writes about how easy it is for an algorithm like him to write articles. (Johnny is not a real person, in case you didn’t know.) He explains that people are not even necessary to write articles about RVing, whether for websites, blogs or even newsletters about RVing.
Recipe of the Day
A delicious recipe if you’ve been having a craving for fish tacos and want to make them at home. The marinade for the fish is seasoned perfectly and the fish soaks up all the flavor. Mahi Mahi is in the ingredients, but any mild white flaky fish will work. We love the fresh chipotle crema. It’s tangy and has a little kick that’s the perfect complement to the fish. This is a fabulous twist to taco night.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Ringo is new to the RV life. He is adjusting to travel days. His favorite part is our final destination. He loved looking out onto the Mighty Mississippi.” —Yvonne Mills
Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Do away with mosquito bites!
What if we told you we had a solution for all those mosquito bites and bee stings? We do! This weatherproof LED lantern (and flashlight) lures mosquitoes and other flying bugs and zaps them as soon as they fly up and touch it, providing a 16×16-foot mosquito-free zone. Neat, huh? Never swat away a bug again! It’s waterproof, non-toxic, and harmless to humans. Learn more or order.
According to Friends of the Earth, a typical 3,000-person cruise ship produces the equivalent of ten backyard swimming pools of sewage every week. The harmful waste can then be carelessly dumped into the ocean with little treatment, contributing to the destruction of native habitats.
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 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?
Meet Earl and Burl Squirrel, from the mind of RVtravel.com friend R.L. Crabb.
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, Gail Marsh. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, Dave Solberg, Mike Gast, Dave Helgeson, Julianne Crane, Machelle James, 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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