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October 1, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Happy Birthday to us. And an invitation to join RVing experts live
By Chuck Woodbury
Founder and Publisher
elcome to the first issue of our 22nd year of publishing. Want to know how long ago that was? It was September 2001. There was no Google, no iPhones, no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no iPods, no iPhones — and Gmail wouldn’t come along for 3 years. Netflix would not offer streaming services for 6 years. Amazon.com was a mere 7 years old and had yet to turn a profit. The word “blog” had not been invented. I still had brown hair (before I began coloring it gray to look more mature).
Articles in websites of the day were written by writers, not content creators and influencers. And us? We were pioneers in Web publishing, building what would become one of the most popular and trusted RVing information sources in the World. Today, we are proud to offer our readers more than 16,000 articles, with another few hundred posted every month.
Tragically, September 2001 was also the beginning of a very dark time in America, when terrorists using hijacked commercial airliners attacked America, with nearly 3,000 innocent lives lost. We delayed our first issue a couple of weeks: Who cared about RVing when we were so shocked, scared and fearful of the future?
NEW LIVE STREAMING VIDEO PROGRAMS
Fast forwarding to today. We are now embarking on a new way to communicate with you with video meetups. Our first one-hour program, “Talkin’ Tech,” debuted last Wednesday and will continue every Wednesday at 4 p.m., Pacific time. In our first episode, our columnists Dave Solberg and Dustin Simpson discussed RV lead-acid batteries. This coming Wednesday, October 5th, they’ll discuss the basics of lithium batteries. The link where to watch each week will be in every Wednesday’s issue of our RV Daily Tips newsletter. You are welcome to join us to comment or ask questions. Other programs will begin in the weeks ahead.
JOIN ME LIVE TODAY
Every Saturday beginning today from 10 to 11 a.m., Pacific time (that’s 1 to 2 p.m. in the East) I will host Chatting with Chuck (how corny a title is that?), where I will be joined by a few special guests to discuss whatever is on our minds about RVing. Please join us via chat, remaining anonymous if you wish. Beginning next Saturday, this live program will only be available to our member-subscribers (other shows will generally be available to everybody) — those of you who have financially supported us with a donation. Without this support the quality of our newsletters and articles would suffer (ask me about this today and I will explain). If you are not already a member and would like to donate and receive an invitation every Saturday to that day’s program, click here.
Like most of America, we have been watching the devastation of Hurricane Ian, which had killed at least 25 people as of yesterday. We wish we had a larger staff to report about how this is affecting the RV community and providing at least some assistance helping those in need. If you are suffering because of this terrible disaster, please know that our staff’s well-wishes and prayers are with you. If you are able, please tell us how you are doing by emailing us at editor (at) RVtravel.com.
And if you able, please consider donating to the Hurricane Ian Red Cross Relief Fund.
I hope to see some of you today, and in the Saturdays ahead, through our live-streamed meetups. —CW
Here is today’s edition of our 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!
Please note: We’ve changed the rules around a little bit. Please read the updated rules here. And don’t forget to submit a photo!
Psssst: Remember, you can vote through next Friday! If your photo is selected, share it with your friends and family. Everyone can vote once per day.
Rant, Part 2: Making Ford’s F-53 chassis safer to drive
By Karel Carnohan, DVM
Last week I ranted about the RV manufacturers’ use of Ford’s F-53 chassis to build Class A gas motorhomes. Many of you shared your experiences and thoughts about the F-53 chassis. I appreciated all the comments—some of you agreed with my opinions, and some did not. Some of you had good experiences with a coach on an F-53 … and some did not. And, as expected, some placed the blame squarely on my shoulders for not having done proper research and not knowing that I would likely need to spend money to upgrade the suspension after I bought it. Read what several of our readers wrote.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “I like this a lot better than the Riverside Retro 135 we looked at before, just because they have addressed more of the things I didn’t like about that trailer, but not all of them. These trailers offer such a very unique style and feel to them and truly are delightful.”
RV Manufacturer Warranty, Part 4: My honest, open letter to the manufacturers
By Dustin Simpson
Over the last few weeks, I have been on my soap box about RV manufacturer warranties and my independent repair facility. It has included the following topics: Part 1: Why I would love to do your RV Manufacturer Warranty repairs; Part 2: Why I refuse to honor your warranty!; Part 3: Why you’re getting the runaround from your RV dealership. This week I am sharing my plea with RV manufacturers. It’s what I truly believe they can do to make this process better. Read Dustin’s letter to manufacturers here. (He doesn’t hold back.)
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: Lots and lots (and lots) of nightmares this week
By Nanci Dixon
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. We tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. This week many readers shared their almost-unbelievable horror repair (or not) stories. But there are also several readers with rave reviews about their great experiences with repair centers and mobile techs. Learn about the good and the bad from them here.
Ever wonder what a $198-a-night RV site looks like?
By Nanci Dixon
Ever wonder what a $198-a-night RV site looks like? I didn’t want to ever find out but here we are, booked at the West Glacier KOA Resort. Not planning ahead and booking spur of the moment to go to Glacier National Park, we were lucky to find one site for three days at the end of the season. KOAs are usually not my first choice, but it was five miles from the entrance to Glacier National Park and it was available. It was also $198 a night. Was it worth it? What does that kind of money get you? Well, find out.
Around the Campfire: Which to purchase first, the truck or the RV?
By Gail Marsh
It’s an age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Folks around the campfire changed the question to this: Which comes first, the truck or the RV? When a person decides to take the plunge and begin an RV lifestyle, should your first purchase be the truck or the RV? As you’ll see, the conversation was lively!
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- A suspension upgrade called SumoSprings won’t break the bank
- Ways to make your RV feel more like home
- RV roof replacement tips
- How to help prevent winter RV roof damage
- Front cap removal and replacement from start to finish
My Weirdest RV Moment
In this new column, readers tell about their weirdest (strangest, funniest, most unusual, etc.) experiences as RVers. Here is today’s installment.
Werewolf shows up after dark at campsite. Scary!
Now, this is definitely a weird (and very scary) RV moment. After you read about this couple’s experience at a New Hampshire campground, please tell us about your own weirdest RV moment. Click here.
How to stay free overnight in your RV in a small town
By Gary Jefferson
My wife and I have become pretty good at finding places to stay in our van for free. Early on we learned about the Walmart, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel and fitness gyms that everyone uses. We’ve used all of those. However, we are on the road right now and at the end of two weeks, we’ve not stayed in any of these, and have only paid for one night ($15 for spot, dump and shower). We paid because it was like paying for a dump and shower and staying for free. In other words, it was a bargain we couldn’t let pass us by. Continue reading.
Why fall is the best time to vacation in your RV
By Gail Marsh
Summertime! The word itself evokes visions of vacations. After all, the summer months are the time when most folks venture out for travel and exploration. Just because the summer is traditionally vacation time doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best for everyone. If you can travel in the fall, you may find more enjoyment than you ever imagined. Here are a few reasons why fall just may be the best time to vacation in your RV.
These Midwest corn mazes are a great way for RVers to be a part of local fun
By Gail Marsh
If you’ve been waiting for the summer’s heat to subside, waiting for school to resume and the vacationing crowds to thin, or waiting for an entertaining and unusual autumn adventure—your wait is over! It’s time to get out on the road and discover some amazing Midwest corn mazes. Learn all about them here.
How far do you travel in a day? One man’s perspective
By Gary Jefferson
I have three modes when it comes to traveling in our Sprinter. When we traveled in our SUV, I didn’t do it like I do today in the van. In our SUV, the location of a good motel usually determined how far we were going that day. I knew we’d be stopping for photographs, meals, and before dark, so I’d factor all that in when I looked on the map for a probable destination. It was usually between 125 and 250 miles; more often closer to the 125 number. Continue reading.
In general, do you believe RVers are friendlier than the general public?
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: If you could RV around one of these countries, which would you choose?
Know Your RV: Take care of your stabilizer jacks
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
RVs, being built light for easy (and economical) travel, are not “rock solid” in camp. The longer they are, the more they tend to rock and shake as folks move about inside. To that end, most travel trailers and fifth wheels are equipped with stabilizer jacks. How do you “care and feed” them? Find out here.
RV boo-boos – Broken tongue sidelines trailer
Here’s a sad tale pictured from Williams, Arizona. This poor little guy was left, not beside the road, but in a truck stop parking lot. The victim of a broken tongue, we’re thinking the proud parents may have gone off to try and get help. Owners of these little “egg campers” are recognized for the fondness they develop for their trailers. Check out this poor broken egg (camper).
Camping at this Montana campground was a pleasant surprise
By Nanci Dixon
Downstream Campground near Fort Peck, Montana, is a great out-of-the-way campground right on the banks of the Missouri River. When we turned off Hwy. 2 onto a smaller road and the sign said eleven miles, I was beginning to doubt my trip scheduling. It had been a long day of driving through North Dakota and I knew my husband was tired. We checked in with one of the friendly camp hosts and proceeded to our amazing site. Continue reading.
How it Happened: A church choir is to thank for Post-it Notes
Chances are you have some in your desk drawer right now. Or perhaps there’s one on your refrigerator reminding you of needed grocery items. Post-it® Notes are so common that it’s hard to envision a time without them. But this accidental invention was originally “a solution without a problem,” according to its inventor, Dr. Spenser Silver. Continue reading this fascinating story.
The long, long RV trip
Week 17: Camping in Minnesota—Three great spots
By Cheri Sicard
This week’s stops: exploring Niagara Cave, lots and lots of Aronia berries, and camping in St. Paul. Thanks for following along on my long, long RV trip. This week I go camping in Minnesota by putting my Harvest Hosts membership to good use with three great, yet very different, stops. I love the diversity of options available with Harvest Hosts. In this week’s Minnesota camping adventures, I explored an amazing limestone cave, picked a whole lot of delicious and healthy Aronia berries (don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either), and did some more urban RVing by camping in St. Paul. Read all about Cheri’s ongoing adventures 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 set of 4 collapsible food storage containers?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (October 1, 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:
- My RV’s decals are cracked on only one side. Can I restore them?
- How do I clean my slide room seals and topper on a permanently parked RV?
- My cable slide motor won’t start unless I push it manually. Why?
- Can we just open RV’s drain valves to winterize?
- House air conditioner blows air but it’s not cold. Why?
Visit Dave’s forum on RVtravel.com. Ask him a question or help answer one from another reader. Click here.
with Mike Sokol
These additions to your RV make it a vital “escape pod”
What would you do if you were forced to evacuate your bricks-and-sticks home ahead of a hurricane, wildfire, flood or other disaster?
From watching interviews of Florida residents this week, it appears that some people choose to ride out such disasters simply because they have no place to go, and they don’t want to take a chance on living in an auditorium on a cot for weeks on end. Also, the specter of COVID and flu exposure while living in a shelter is a real possibility. But what about using your RV as an escape pod? Would it work? Find out here.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: Is generator bonding really necessary?
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Happy October! It’s officially the season to start planning your visits to places like these. (We are!)
Video of the day
How to waterproof fabric: Turn old sheets into waterproof tarps
Tarps and especially waterproof tarps are common multi-tasking items to have among your camping and RV supplies. But did you know you can make waterproof tarps easily by recycling old sheets? The video below shows how to waterproof fabric. Most any kind of fabric.
RV Tire Safety
RV weighing worksheet and selecting the PSI for your RV
Tire expert Roger Marble explains in detail about RV weights, where and how to get your RV weighed, and what to do with the information regarding your RV’s tire pressure once you get the weights. Learn all about correct tire inflation. It’s all spelled out for you here.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
RV Short Stop
Spooky in Savannah
By Julianne G. Crane
Halloween is the perfect time to be Spooky in Savannah (GA), with its Spanish moss, abundance of cemeteries, and haunted antebellum houses. “With Savannah’s long history, it is no wonder the city has her fair share of ghosts and ghost stories. Savannah has thousands of eerie tales to tell,” according to the Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Read more about spooky and fun activities in Savannah for everyone here.
RV Fire Safety
Only fight small fires on your own
Always leave large fires to the fire department, and only fight small fires that are contained, within reach, and that you can fight with your back toward a safe escape. If you have the slightest doubt if you should fight the fire, don’t attempt it! Instead, get out and away fast. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
by Donna Thiemann from Mansfield, TX
If you’re staring at boneless pork chops and not sure what to do with them, make these baked pork chops. Made with only 4 ingredients, you probably have them all in your kitchen right now. Once baked, the pork chops are tender and juicy. Mustard makes them slightly spicy and sweet and the bread crumb coating crisps up. A simple dinner recipe.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“This is our Lab mix, Buck. We lost him to cancer earlier this year. This was during our inaugural voyage in our first RV—a 1996 Itasca Passage. Buck and his brother were such good boys and enjoyed all the new things vacation had to offer. All of those adventures wore them both out, and Buck loved a nap like no other. Yes, that is a vent insulator, but it was better used as a pillow that day!” —Brianna McGraw
There’s a girl walking down the road with three friends. One friend is vegetation, another a mineral and the third an animal. What’s her name?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
What animal has the best sense of taste in the world? Is it a dog, human or maybe a cat? Well, if you guessed cat you’d be half correct. Surprisingly, the animal with the best taste is a catfish. Not only do catfish have taste receptors in their mouth, but their entire body is covered in them. A typical catfish has upwards of 100,000 taste receptors on its body. For reference, we humans only have about 9,000. Maybe this is why catfish taste so good… mmm…
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.
Dustin Simpson RV Repair and Maintenance Articles: Incredibly helpful!
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, 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, Linda Brady. 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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