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October 22, 2022
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
TODAY: Chatting with Chuck. 10 a.m. (Pacific time)
RVtravel.com founder and publisher Chuck Woodbury will be joined by friends today to talk about RVing, and you’re invited to join them. Each weekly hour-long program is like sitting around a campfire at the campground, except no campfire (not allowed in cyberspace). Please join the discussion via chat, or just lurk and learn a little and have some fun. Starts today at 10 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Eastern). Watch on YouTube • Watch on Facebook. Be there or be square!
What I learned writing for the National Enquirer
By Chuck Woodbury
hat I am about to tell you is a secret only a few of my closest friends know. It’s this: I once wrote for the National Enquirer. No kidding! It was back in the early 1980s, when the Enquirer was incredibly popular—its circulation was about six million (it’s now down to about 260,000).
I don’t know how I hooked up with the paper, but I did, and, wow, was it ever a learning experience! I was paid very well, and I badly, badly needed the money. I struggled most months back then to pay my rent (common struggling writer thing…). Some weekends I lived on popcorn, all I could afford. I still believed in my future as a writer so I kept going just like my mentor, the Energizer Bunny. Money from the Enquirer was like a gift from Heaven.
I ended up writing for the tabloid for about a year, as a freelancer, not on the staff. Then I quit. It was just too sleazy. I never wrote dishonestly, but I felt uncomfortable with how I was asked to write—putting words into people’s mouths, for example.
At the same time, I was freelancing for USA Today, covering breaking news. One time my bylined story ended up on the cover. I was proud of that. How different could two publications be! Both experiences taught me a lot.
If you join my Chatting with Chuck live video chat this morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time (Watch on YouTube • Watch on Facebook), I will be happy to tell you some stories about this interesting time in my life.
I bring this up because a few days ago, I spotted the Enquirer at the local Safeway checkout line. It got me thinking about life today as a writer and publisher.
The fact is that most successful news websites today are to some degree modern versions of the Enquirer. Ditto for cable news and even the broadcast networks. Local TV news has been tabloid-like for years: It’s basically crime news, which is always good for ratings. “If it bleeds, it leads.”
Today, if you want to increase your chances of success publishing a blog, website or YouTube channel, model it after the Enquirer. Come up with scare headlines and you’re halfway there. Exaggerate about a new deadly disease that just appeared in Africa. Or if there’s any hint that an asteroid is headed anywhere near Earth, my God, we’re talking Armageddon!
The IndyStar Newspaper (Indianapolis, Indiana) published a scathing look Wednesday at the RV manufacturing industry in Elkhart, Indiana. Until now, the article was only available to IndyStar subscribers. But RVtravel.com has made a special arrangement for our readers to read it without paying for a subscription. We’ll have more about the story in tomorrow’s newsletter, along with the link to read it for free at the IndyStar.
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.
Desert-dwelling RVers find fall colors, and joy
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Autumn’s colors, indeed, move us like no other season’s can. Why is it that we, as humans, are so attracted to those rich colors of autumn leaves as we move toward winter? Nearly two decades ago our family moved from the ever-lingering damp of the Pacific Northwest to plop down in Arizona. We became confirmed desert rats. … Yeah, the Desert Southwest—you just can’t beat it! Well, maybe. There is definitely one thing missing in the land of the Saguaro cactus: A broad spectrum of color.
Today’s RV review…
Tony writes, “I think it would be absolutely worth seeking out an Ember dealer before plunking down your money on a travel trailer right now.
“No guarantees, of course, but these should at least be on your list for towables to consider.”
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: ‘I was overcharged by $10,000… and didn’t know it’
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week we heard from a reader who claims he was overcharged $10,000 by a Camping World for an extended warranty. How did he find out? From another Camping World location! Then he paid out-of-pocket to get the hydraulic leveling system fixed, and then the dryer “installed” by Camping World fell out of the closet. Another reader has a horror story regarding service (or lack thereof) on his Thor Magnitude. But there are rave reviews from an RVer for two excellent RV service centers in Colorado. Read those reports, and more, here.
RVtravel.com readers speak: These are the best burgers in the U.S. and Canada
Last week we asked you for your recommendations for the best burgers from Mom and Pop restaurants (no chains). You love your burgers and did not disappoint! We got a TON of responses. So, in order to make this long article useful, we are going to divide the recommendations alphabetically by state, then by city and town within that state. Here they are. Yumm!
These products are RVers’ “must-haves” while RVing
By Dale Wade
A friend and newbie travel trailer owner asked me what five items he MUST have on his RV travels. Not the usual stuff like sewer hose, water hose, etc., that we all know. He wants those items above and beyond the obvious. I asked a group of Facebook RV friends for suggestions. So, based on this totally unscientific survey, I divided the many responses into two categories. These are interesting.
Around the Campfire: Should RVers be worried about nighttime theft in RV parks?
By Gail Marsh
We were happy to welcome a “newbie RVer” to the campfire last night. His enthusiasm seemed to roll off him in waves! He’s beginning his full-time adventure in a previously loved (pre-owned) travel trailer. … He’s really excited but he has questions… and one big, disturbing question about nighttime theft. One question prompted vigorous discussion. “What do you do with your lawn chairs, coolers, and BBQ grill at night?” Continue reading.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletters
- Dry-rotted floors in RVs and what it would take to fix them
- Keeping spare light bulbs in your RV is a bright idea
- Taking care of RV batteries, high-tech style
- Volunteer: Save on camping, do good, have fun
- Why you should carry an extra hose in the RV
RV Collision Repair: Can you fix my truck camper? I hit an overhead I-beam!
By Dustin Simpson
Last week, our RV repair shop received the following email from Harold: “Hello Dustin,
I am looking for repair options for my Lance model 1120 truck camper with some collision damage. I hit an overhead I-beam yesterday. Is this something you can take a look at? Thanks, Harold.” Join me in this RV Collision Repair video as I sit down with my Service Manager, Zach. We share our initial thoughts on what it would take to repair and if it’s worth it. Watch the video.
20 ways to be the most disliked person in the campground
Here are 20 ways to become the most disliked man or woman in the campground! Obey them, and we guarantee you won’t have a single friend anywhere nearby. We’re sure this list is incomplete, so please add your own rule(s) in the comments. OK. Here’s how to totally annoy your fellow campers.
RV boo-boos: A motorhome, a trailer, and a boat… What could go wrong?
The group that shared this photo may have shot the image in New Zealand. If so, we hope the practice won’t make its way to the U.S. Yeah, we’ve seen “doubles” with a fifth-wheel in combination, but never doubles trouble behind a motorhome, with everything hooked up with hitch balls. Check this out.
The 5 things that scare RVers the most
By Gail Marsh
When I hear someone say “RVing” I immediately think: Vacation! Fun! Relaxation! Emotions include: Joy! Excitement! Happy anticipation! But wait! Turns out many people suffer from fears and phobias while RVing. Fear can dampen happy anticipation. It can squash good times. Fear may even ruin a vacation! Let’s see what scares RVers the most.
Do you buy souvenir magnets on your trips for your refrigerator?
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: Have you ever stayed at a nudist resort/RV park with your RV? Would you? See how more than 2,000 other RVers answered. You’ll be surprised…
RVers’ day touring the incredible Avenue of the Giants
By Nanci Dixon
The Avenue of the Giants is a 32-mile scenic drive winding around the enormous redwood trees. It stretches from Scotia, California, in the north, to Garberville, California, to the south, paralleling Hwy. 101, the Redwood Coast Highway. Our first five miles on the Avenue of the Giants were in our 40’ motorhome towing a car. Not for the faint of heart, but the Avenue of the Giants Campground owner had assured me that was the best way to get to the campground. And what a nicely laid-out and kept-up campground it was! Continue reading about the Giants.
Ghost Town Trails: Visit easily accessible old mining town, Eureka, Utah
Eureka, Utah, is the featured ghost town in this month’s installment of Ghost Town Trails. While Eureka still has inhabitants, it is ghostly enough to warrant an entry in Ghost Town Trails. It is also extremely easy to visit as a paved state highway (Main Street) runs through the middle of town. Since the majority of businesses lining Main Street went out of existence decades ago, feel free to bring the RV along with you as street parking is plentiful. Read more.
It’s spider season. Know which dangerous spiders to avoid across the U.S.
When you’re outside exploring, there’s always a chance that something will bite you. It might be a mosquito. Or a horsefly. Possibly ants. Or you might be unlucky enough to be bitten by an arachnid! Even its scientific name sounds ominous: Spiders! Eek! Nobody wants to be bitten by a spider. It’s been said that no matter where you are, there’s a spider within six feet of you. Continue reading all about spiders.
Final thoughts on the F-53 chassis…
By Karel Carnohan
The final rant, Part 3: These F-53 upgrades should be standard, not expensive add-ons!
I have heard from many of you about your experiences, good and bad, with your gas chassis motor coach on the F-53 chassis. I appreciate all the opinions and suggestions. This is why I write. I am taking delivery of my newly upgraded Newmar Canyon Star from Jose today. … I love Jose. He revamped my Canyon Star so that I can now enjoy a two-week ramble to Oregon to visit family. He did all of the following: … Continue reading.
Could LiquidSpring be the answer to the F-53 chassis problem?
If you’ve been following my story, you know I bought an RV sight unseen with terrible suspension nightmares. Further investigations into upgrading a gas F-53 chassis have revealed that change is a-comin’ in the form of LiquidSpring technology. Several manufacturers now offer LiquidSpring® as an option when you order a new rig. LiquidSpring is a suspension/steering enhancement that significantly improves the ride and handling of your gas chassis motorhome. Learn more.
The long, long RV trip
Week 20: South Dakota RVing – Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood
By Cheri Sicard
Hello again! When last we left off I was exploring South Dakota tourist attractions. This week includes visiting two more classic South Dakota destinations: RVing to Mt. Rushmore and exploring Old West history in Deadwood. Continue reading about Cheri’s ongoing adventures.
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 3-pack of Bugs Off Pads?
The best product to remove bug residue. Reusable over & over again. Read Tony’s review here.
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (October 22, 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.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
If there was one thing that you needed to get you through a chilly winter, this would be it. We can’t believe these actually exist!
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Good RV water pressure with city connection, none from onboard pump. Why?
- Quick RV Tech Tip: Do I need supplemental brakes for towing a small Chevy?
- What advice would you give to someone buying a used RV?
- Quick RV Tech Tip: What should I do with anode rod and water drain valve after winterizing?
- Dealer says my RV’s air shocks aren’t adjustable. What?!
Be sure to watch Dave’s Wednesday evening video talk show, Talkin’ RV Tech. Join the audience and ask Dave and his guest Dustin Simpson questions or just lurk and soak up all the helpful information. The program begins every Wednesday at 4 p.m. Pacific time. The link to it is listed in every Wednesday’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
This gadget review is of the MORryde motion-activated step lights. MORryde has been offering more and more interesting upgrades for RVs. The MORryde motion-activated step lights are a simple addition just about anyone could make to an RV. Essentially, they’re battery-powered motion lights that hold onto your RV magnetically. Done. … There are three settings on the lights. You can have them completely off, have them stay on, or use the motion activation. They come on if they sense someone about five feet away.
The easiest shoes you’ll ever put on. Seriously.
Kizik shoes, based in Utah, is changing the way we wear our shoes. Really. They are. Kizik® shoes, mostly athletic/sneaker-style, don’t have to be tied, Velcroed, or anything of the sort to be put on. Nope. All you do is slide your foot in, and the back pops up on your heel. Read: You don’t have to bend over to put on these shoes. You simply step right into them.
Your hands won’t be tired or in pain with this caulking gun
Completing repairs and maintenance is a whole lot easier when you have the right tools on hand. Reseal your RV with the BEST caulking gun! This one is favored by RV technicians. If you’ve ever had to reseal any part of your RV, you know how tired your hand gets. This relieves that hand pain and makes the job easy. Learn more in this article, or buy one here.
with Mike Sokol
Get the right tool for the job!
It’s been a fun week at the old homestead. A steam pipe buried under the cement floor in the basement of my 99-year-old house developed a significant leak. It was losing up to 100 gallons of water a day under the foundation. Yikes! I used a few interesting tools to find where the leak was located, and dig up the pipes for replacement.
While not exactly an RV problem, these types of tools and troubleshooting techniques might be helpful to you, no matter if your house is on wheels or a foundation. Continue reading about Mike’s new toys … er … tools.
Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.) Session: How many batteries are in a tank of propane?
Video of the day
How to build your own DIY mattress: What mattress companies don’t want RVers to know
Regardless of whether you buy a mattress or build your own DIY mattress as this video suggests, you will learn a lot by watching it. The folks from Arizona Premium Mattress do a great job of going into the different types of foam and different grades of firmness of each that can be used to build a mattress.
You will be well-acquainted with the various options, which in turn will make you a more savvy mattress consumer.
RV Tire Safety
Is there an “optimal inflation” for RV tires … or not?
By Roger Marble
Is there an “optimal inflation” for RV tires? Many think the number in an RV sticker (aka tire placard) or in tire Load & Inflation tables is an “optimal” inflation or pressure. In fact, it is oftentimes just the MINIMUM pressure needed to support the GAWR (gross axle weight rating).
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Operating an RV Park
Winding down from our first full season; lessons learned
As Machelle and AJ are winding down from their first full season operating AJ’s Getaway RV Park (which they built from the ground up, BTW), Machelle discusses some items they would have done differently while building their park, and some plans for the future.
Recipe of the Day
by Jessica Taylor from Beaumont, CA
Your family is going to love Jessica’s chicken casserole. It’s filled with Mexican flavor. For our taste buds, it was not spicy. So if you like spice use the hot tomatoes and chiles. We love the layers of tortillas and creamy chicken filling. Cheese on top is ooey gooey good. Serve with refried beans and Spanish rice, for a fun fiesta-themed dinner.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Chaka loves RVing in our Class B. Still a kitten, she loves to be right up front with us. Soon she will outgrow her ability to sit anywhere, but we love her just the same.” —Rachel Clermont
I am a fruit. Take away my first letter, I am a crime. Take away my first and second letters, I am an animal. Take away my first and last letters, I am a form of music. What fruit 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.)
Most RVers share a pet peeve about dog owners who don’t properly dispose of their pet’s poop. Interestingly, dog poop wasn’t a problem in the mid-19th century, at least in London. Back then, a dog mess was called “pure” and considered a sort of “brown gold” because of its properties for softening leather by tanneries. “Pure” finders would roam the streets, collecting their product (some with gloves, others with their bare hands) and selling it, some earning a very good living. Today, “pure” is history.
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!
Thetford’s toilet seal isn’t crappy!
Nobody wants to talk about a yucky toilet, but nobody wants to actually have to deal with a yucky toilet either… Enter Thetford’s Toilet Seal Lube and Conditioner. It works on all RV and boat toilets and protects the seal from drying out. If your toilet’s seal dries out, it can prevent it from sealing and holding water. You don’t want that! This is one of those products you should really use, even if dealing with your toilet isn’t your all-time favorite thing to do. Check it out.
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, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Mike Sokol, Roger Marble, 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. Mascots: Archie and Astor (the Disaster)
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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