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September 3, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Make your voice heard: Ways you can take action against the RV and camping industry
By Nanci Dixon
n email came in this week from reader Will K. Will wrote, “I read your article about advocating for more places to RV/camp. I just paid $86 for ONE night up the hill from Denver! One night! $86! I am really feeling this in Colorado. Don’t get me started lol. But anyhoo, how do we save this piece of Americana? I hate getting old and seeing things that mean so much just fade away. What do we do?”
Will, camping as we have known it IS fading away. I am old enough to remember just driving to Custer State Park in South Dakota and getting a campsite for a few days, no reservations needed. Last year we were in South Dakota and passed many South Dakota State Parks. “Campground Full” was the sign out front and online on every single one.
Skyrocketing prices, greedy campground owners
There are too many campers and too few campsites. When a campsite is available, the cost may well be out of reach. Prices are already beyond belief in some areas. I spent $128 a night for a KOA in California last year, and when we had to cancel due to a death in the family, there was no refund. I feel the pinch and the pocketbook squeeze too.
How do we stop greedy campground owners from capitalizing on the current explosion of RVers? Well, isn’t that what capitalism is built on—supply and demand? One reader suggested in our weekly Campground Crowding column that we band together and refuse to go to the campgrounds that are price gouging. I love that idea, but desperation to find a campsite for the night could easily override people’s best intentions.
Street and permanent “campers”
There are too many dilapidated RVs on city streets, housing those that can’t afford a decent place to live or a high-priced campground. More and more campgrounds are taking in permanent RVs, to the dissatisfaction of a number of traveling RVers. That is limiting the number of campsites for overnight campers, and our readers comment frequently on how junky those campgrounds have become.
Many people have already turned to boondocking without hookups on federal lands, or pavement camping in parking lots of Walmarts, Cabela’s, rest stops, truck stops. Some have even turned to stealth camping. Is that the answer? Maybe, maybe not. Some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and National Forest Lands have been shut down because of overcrowding and people trashing the areas. Can Quartzsite, Arizona, even continue to support the sheer numbers of RVers that descend to the desert boondocking mecca each winter?
Continue reading to learn ways you can take action and demand that the RV industry, including campgrounds, do better.
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’s 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.)
Something is fishy here!
BET YOU CAN’T GUESS: We asked our readers earlier this week this question: Have you ever eaten a fish you personally caught? What do you think: How many have done that? 22 percent, 57 percent or 86 percent. Find out!
Around the Campfire: Some RV dealers and campgrounds sell your personal information
By Gail Marsh
The campfire conversation a few nights ago introduced a topic I’d never even considered, let alone feared. This may be “news” to you, as well. It started with Penny complaining, “I don’t like that some RV dealers, organizations, and camps sell my information. It’s an invasion of my privacy.” Wait! What? RV dealers sell personal information? Learn more.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “While I’ve seen a few towable manufacturers touting offices or places to work, this is the first, and one of the best, designs I’ve seen in an RV that incorporates an office.”
Welcome, new writers!
This month, we’re welcoming two (well, three) new writers to our team. If you read our RV Daily Tips newsletter, you may already be familiar with Dustin and Ashley Simpson, who own California RV Specialists, a successful RV repair shop in Lodi, California. Dustin and Ashley have years of experience, know just about every RV inside and out, and will share their perspective from “the other side.”
Jeff Clemishaw is a traveling freelance writer, passionate RVer, and snowboarder. He and his fiancée travel in their truck camper, chasing powder and seeking adventure. His first article for us (we hope of many) is directly below. (Please leave him a welcoming message in the comments!)
More power, more problems: Life on the road with just 100 watts
By Jeff Clemishaw
I’ve met a lot of people in my travels with massive solar setups—sometimes more than 2,000 watts. Every time I hear these astounding numbers, I can’t help but wonder if that level of solar power is truly necessary. They tell me how they can run their air conditioners and microwaves while boondocking. This always leaves me, with my 100-watt panel, in awe. Continue reading.
RV repair shop owner laments, “Why I would love to honor RV manufacturers’ warranties but can’t!”
My name is Dustin Simpson and I am the owner and operator of California RV Specialists, an independent RV repair shop located in Lodi, CA. A few years ago my wife quit her job elsewhere and joined me at the shop full-time. Working with your spouse is rewarding; however, it comes with its challenges too—especially when you don’t agree on certain operations of the business. For us, the crux has been and will always be an RV manufacturer warranty. I want to offer it; she is vehemently against it. We want to share our honest perspectives on this hot topic. Continue reading.
New column looks at RV service centers and repairs. Readers speak out on experiences
By Nanci Dixon
Last week we asked you to tell us about your experiences with RV service centers. You came through with hundreds of responses. Thank you! My inbox is stuffed! I had expected a long list of complaints, exorbitant waiting times, and issues with low-quality work. But the number of comments about great service work and great service centers really surprised me. In this new column, we’ll summarize some of your emails and comments. We’ll tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. Continue reading.
Stupid Yellowstone tourists show unusually stupid behavior
Here you go, fellow (intelligent) readers: another episode of Stupid Tourists. By stupid people, we do not mean those with limited intelligence due to their genetics or birth circumstances, but those who are stupid because of their stupid behavior and/or purposeful lack of education. These Yellowstone tourists earn a straight-A for this behavior.
Dear inconsiderate campers, know your check-out time!
By Nanci Dixon
What check-out time?! That seems to be the question going through many inconsiderate campers’ heads these days. Please look at your reservation and know your campsite check-out time. Inconsiderate campers are the ones that don’t check out on time, won’t follow directions or rules, or just don’t care about their fellow campers. Twice now in three days we have waited and waited for our RV site to open up. Check-out time at this campground was at 3 p.m. and check-in time was 4 p.m. No one was even at their RV at check-out time. Ugh. Continue reading.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters
- Uneven cooling in your RV? Simple trick might help
- Why you need a second shower rod in your RV’s shower
- What’s In The Shop? RV suspension inspection and upgrade
- Keep your RV drinking water safe
- Ways to “winterize” the plants in your RV
Think you’ve been there, done that? Find new perspective by going back again
By Gail Marsh
One of the gifts we received after bringing home our very first RV was a United States sticker map. … The idea is to place a sticker on every state you visit. It’s a “bucket list” of sorts. It’s an unspoken challenge to see how many states you can visit in your RV. … Our sticker map looks nearly the same as it did a month after I fastened it to the RV’s wall. I’m coming to realize that we must not be “bucket list” people. Instead, we seem to have adopted a new motto: “Been there, done that. Go back again!” Read more.
RV boo-boos – Refrigerator fire ruins the whole day
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Flat tires. “Check engine” lights. Full-up campgrounds. There are plenty of RV-related tricks that can make a road trip a challenge. But an RV refrigerator fire can ruin your whole day. Check this out.
Roadblocks to RVing: What stops us from getting out more
By Gail Marsh
When you think about roadblocks you probably envision the highway division’s series of cones, giant barrels, or wooden barricades. These are, of course, physical roadblocks. But what I’m talking about are the “roadblocks” to RVing, the things that keep RV owners from using their rigs more often. Learn about some roadblocks and possible solutions. Then please add your solutions in the comments so we can help each other out.
The long, long RV trip, Week 13: Virginia camping on a Civil War battleground, Montpelier, Monticello, fried chicken, and more!
By Cheri Sicard
For those who have been following along on my Long Long RV trip, getting OUT of West Virginia’s Battle Run campground was thankfully a lot easier than getting in and I had smooth sailing to Virginia camping. For the next week or so I would be moochdocking at my friend John’s estate. John had told me about his unique property, but nothing prepared me for the lush green beauty and expanse of it. Continue reading.
How many years is (or was) the loan on your present RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
By Gail Marsh
NEW: Everything you should pack
There’s almost nothing worse than arriving at your campsite only to realize that you’ve forgotten something. That’s where RV camping checklists can help! A checklist is an invaluable tool when preparing for your camping trip. Here is a packing checklist in pdf format that you can personalize and make your own.
This is a 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.
Everything to do before leaving the campground
Here is an extensive checklist of things to do before leaving the campground. It’s also available in pdf format so you can download it and use it each time you are getting ready to leave a campsite.
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 (September 3, 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:
- The toilet leaks from underneath when cleaning black tank. Why?
- Jacks quit working. Can I use a drill to manually override them?
- What RV batteries do you recommend for both chassis and house?
- Indoor lights only work when ignition is on. How come?
- Can I use my inline water filter as a pressure regulator?
Visit Dave’s forum on RVtravel.com. Ask him a question or help answer one from another reader. Click here.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
No, this really IS a mystery! Can you solve it? Good luck!
with Mike Sokol
See you at the Hershey RV Show, September 14–18
Guess where I’ll be hanging out and teaching seminars in two weeks? Yup, the sweetest place on Earth. That’s where the Hershey RV Show (America’s Largest RV Show®) is happening from September 14 to 18. I’ll be teaching my RVelectricity seminars in the Champions Club from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Read all about it here.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: How many kWh in a gallon of gasoline?
Video of the day
The best eBike for RVers: Electric Bikes 101
By Cheri Sicard
I have been seeing loads of eBikes in my recent cross-country travels. This accessory’s popularity among RVers is self-evident anywhere such creatures gather and camp, but what is the best eBike for RVers? How do you begin to even research the topic?
RV Tire Safety
What are the letters and numbers on the tire sidewall?
By Roger Marble
Many times I am asked what seems like a simple question, such as “How much air should I run in my 16″ tire?” Or “What load can my trailer tires carry?” Or “I have 8-ply tires. How much load can they carry?” Or “Can I replace my 235/70R16 tires and carry more load with a 245 tire?” Complete tire size information is needed to get a correct answer on load and inflation. While I want to answer your questions, I do not want to guess what tire you have as I may guess wrong and give you incorrect information.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Our non-human staff writer answers your questions. “Johnny’s not always right, but he works cheap!”
Today, Johnny tackles these questions:
- RVing woman wants to marry Johnny
- Family of 14 wants to take a motorhome trip
RV Short Stops
Autumn festivals are popular RV family destinations
By Julianne G. Crane
Cooler weather and brilliant blasts of color play host to hundreds of local autumn festivals across America. Pick one of your favorites, pack the RV and have a fun-filled family weekend. Here are great suggestions of festivals all around the country.
RV Fire Safety
Extinguishing a fire
There is a simple way to remember the steps to using your extinguisher to fight a fire—it’s called the P.A.S.S. procedure. These are the four steps to follow:
- Pull the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the contents of the extinguisher.
- Aim low: Point the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge.
- Sweep from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until flames appear to be out.
Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
by Debbie Rohan from Boerne, TX
Dubliner cheese has a more sharp taste to it than traditional cheddar cheese. It adds a great flavor that enhances the simple dinner. Panko crumbs, mixed with the cheese and butter, make the crust perfectly crunchy. Cod or any other type of white fish would work in this recipe.
COMING THIS MONTH
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 on Wednesday evenings, what you need to know to keep your RV in top condition and to troubleshoot problems. Hosted by Dave Solberg. Sign up.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“We rescued Luna, now six, three years ago after she had just birthed puppies and was suffering from heartworm. She’d been scheduled to be euthanized until a local pet rescue made her available to us. She is the sweetest, best-behaved, loyal companion who took immediately to our RV-traveling lifestyle—so much so that when we pack the tow, she makes sure she is never left behind. She loves joining her brother Riley and sister Jessie, also rescues, on adventures in our Jayco Greyhawk. Normally all three travel to the RV in the tow’s middle seat, but Luna apparently wants to be sure she’s not forgotten.” —Robin Newcomer
What English word has three consecutive double letters?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments. [It will get deleted.])
Clean your floor with Listerine? Don’t laugh! Listerine was invented in the 19th century as a powerful surgical antiseptic. It was later sold, in distilled form, as a floor cleaner and cure for gonorrhea. But it wasn’t a big success until the 1920s, when it was pitched as a solution for chronic halitosis, a then-obscure medical term for bad breath. In the next seven years, its annual sales jumped from $115,000 to more than $8 million.
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?
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, Dave Helgeson, Mike Gast, Julianne Crane, Machelle James, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola, Jeff Clemishaw 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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