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January 14, 2023
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
A hot frog, RVtravel.com and how things change
By Chuck Woodbury
ave you heard the story about the frog in the saucepan? It’s an urban myth about if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will instantly leap out. But if you put it in a pot filled with lukewarm water and gradually heat it, the frog will stay there until it boils to death.
To me this is about change. It’s about our world and it’s about you and me.
I HAVE WONDERED what would happen if we humans aged in a way that our appearance changed only in 10-year increments. On the first day of the 11th year when we looked in our bathroom mirror, we saw our new, “older” self. Can you imagine looking in your mirror tomorrow and seeing yourself 10 years older than you are today? I, for one, would be horrified. This sort of thing happens to me every time I get a new driver’s license. I look at the old photo and the new “me” and, beneath my breath, I utter words that I best not print here.
Lucky for us, we age so slowly we never see ourself grow older so dramatically.
Now, to my point
I have been publishing this newsletter for more than 21 years. Until two years ago, RVing changed very little from year to year. Most RVers still spent most of their time camping, not living in their RVs as permanent homes. Far fewer RVers worked remotely from their RVs like so many do today. Even a few years ago you rarely heard of “houseless” people living in old, beat-up RVs on city streets, their only affordable shelter.
In 2020, along came the Pandemic. Suddenly, the safest way to travel was with an RV. Young adults, who only a year before had considered RVs to be “Grandma’s and Grandpa’s Playhouse,” suddenly viewed them as very trendy. They were “cool.” RV sales soared; manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand.
And hundreds upon hundreds of those new RVers began publishing blogs, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, etc., offering advice to newbies about what they had learned so “you don’t have to make the same mistakes.” They offered educational courses: “For only $179, we will teach you everything you need to know.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, quick to realize the wind was at its back, cranked commercials that showed Millennials and Gen Zers with their RVs in incredibly appealing locations. There they were, young, loving couples, standing on a vista overlooking an incredible red rock canyon, arms around each other, seemingly without a care in the world. “Ah, the RV life!”
Okay, let’s get real! How often is that what RVing is all about? Yes, there are such times! But, come on… How long can you stand at a beauty spot before you get bored?
No longer a lone voice
My life as a publisher of RVing news, information and advice, RVtravel.com, is no longer a relatively lone voice in RV Cyberland, but suddenly one of hundreds, if not thousands, of information sources about RVing that purport to do the same thing.
And today, out of nowhere, comes inexpensive technology that permits anyone, even those with marginal writing skills, to create articles on any subject using artificial intelligence (AI) in minutes instead of hours. “Content creators” and unethical entrepreneurs are quickly populating new websites and blogs on just about any topic using the technology. As a writing aid, AI is not necessarily a bad thing. But it’s already being exploited, with inaccurate information being passed off as legitimate. Read this article where I critique the results of an article I wrote using artificial intelligence about fishing in Death Valley. A “content creator” who wrote this story with AI, who had never been to Death Valley would probably not recognize that the content was almost entirely wrong.
And so, in a matter of a couple years, we at RVtravel.com have had to battle to keep our “honest” voice in the public eye, not lost in the crowd. It will not get easier for us, but we are up for the challenge. For the 4 percent of you who support us financially with your voluntary subscriptions, you matter more than ever. Thank you.
P.S. Be sure to check out our new column from Gary Jefferson. You will love his weekly essays. And don’t miss his “RV People” photos, featured in RVtravel.com’s newsletters every Saturday and Tuesday.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
RVs are: ‘holes you shovel funds into,’ ‘earthquakes on wheels,’ and ‘crap’
By Nanci Dixon
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week we hear from readers who have something go wrong with their RV on every trip, uncooperative repair shops, lessons learned the hard way, and much more. (We’re not sure how, but it seems like these reports get worse every week.) Read this week’s horror stories here.
The numbers you should memorize as an RVer
By Gail Marsh
There are certain numbers that you’ll come to recognize the more you travel in your RV. Here is just a sampling.
1/2 to 2/3. Fractional numbers like these indicate how full your water tanks are at any given time.
3 to 6. Number of years generally recommended between RV tire replacement. (Of course, it depends on how much you drive in any given year and how the tires wear.)
Continue reading. Can you think of other numbers not on the list? (We personally like the last one.)
RVer’s anxiety: Worrying is just a part of the lifestyle
By Jeff Clemishaw
In no area of life does Murphy’s Law apply more succinctly than with RVing. As the saying goes, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” While RVing is often associated with a carefree, wanderlust life, the actual day-to-day of it all can be starkly different. Continue reading about RVer’s anxiety. Do you agree?
Survey says nearly 40 percent of RVers have named their RV
By Gail Marsh
We didn’t intend to name our RV. In fact, we’ve had three previous RVs and none of the three were christened with any type of moniker. As we’ve traveled, I’ve noticed that many folks do name their rigs. In fact, some even display their RV’s name on the rig itself. … Continue reading, then tell us if you’ve named your RV.
NEW! RV Fact or Fiction?
Outside temperatures can be too cold for an RV refrigerator to cool
Is this statement fact or fiction? Test your knowledge and see if you’re right.
Around the Campfire
Readers debate: What’s the best time to pack food and consumable supplies into your RV?
By Gail Marsh
Packing for an RV trip can be stressful in and of itself. You want to make sure to take along everything you’ll need. A packing list like this one can certainly help. That’s just the beginning. There’s food and other consumable supplies to be purchased and packed, too. When is the best time to put those things into your RV? Read some options, then let us know what you do, here.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- My 11 favorite RV cleaning products
- Pull tabs and five ways to reuse them while RVing
- When is it time to hang up the RV keys for good?
- What if disaster strikes and you can’t get back to your RV?
- A reminder to perform these basic RV maintenances often overlooked
Amazing 20-year dream 1935 Bowlus restoration is completed
By Paul Lacitinola
In the current issue of the Vintage Camper Trailers Magazine, we featured two of Monte Osborne’s vintage vehicles: his King slide-in camper and his rare 1935 Bowlus Road Chief. Anna Scribner of Flyte Camp shared the following builder’s notes about this trailer’s restoration. Check this out!
Be aware of critters on your RV travels … or else!
Be aware of critters on your RV travels or else you could end up like Gary Jefferson and get swarmed by flies or have a too-close encounter with a moose! Read three stories by Gary where he learned some important lessons, and maybe you will too.
Keep little kids from falling out your RV’s door
Here are two great safety tips from our long-time reader and RVer George Bliss in Saskatchewan, Canada. George wrote: “I’d like to pass along these ideas to other RV Travel readers. From personal experience I found it necessary to incorporate two new safety measures.” Read about these easy but important safety tips here.
Make your toilet “rise” to the occasion—Install a riser!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Don’t know if it’s age, or if earth’s gravity is somehow getting stronger. As an example, whenever we’re called on to do work at floor level, our bones groan with the thought of having to get back up. Answer: Just avoid floor level work! But that doesn’t help “when nature calls.” Sometimes getting up from that toilet seat is a groaner on the throner! There’s a way to make trips to the terlit easier. Make your toilet rise to the occasion by installing an RV toilet riser. Learn how to do it here.
How often do you use physical guide/travel books to plan your trips?
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: What bothers you most, a neighbor’s loud music or barking dog? See how almost 2,000 RVers answered.
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 and writers as they move about the country.
RVer musings: It’s why, not how, we go camping
By Gail Marsh
I stumbled across a Facebook post a while back and took a screenshot of it. I wanted to save the post because it struck a nerve with me. See if you agree. The post was from a fellow RVer, Duane F. He must have been in a campground at the time he posted his musings. I envision him walking up and down the rows of RVs as he recorded his thoughts. I don’t know him or his situation, but I do know that I’d like to meet him and other RVers that share his unique thoughts. Here’s what Duane wrote.
Ghost Town Trails: Castle Dome City, Arizona—Perfect for nearby snowbirds
By Dave Helgeson
This month we will travel to Castle Dome City, Arizona, a more temperate place to visit this time of year than November’s featured ghost town of Silver City, Utah. I chose Castle Dome City for this month’s entry as snowbirds roosting in Yuma or Quartzsite can easily visit the site. It is a great place to visit if you are interested in Western history, ghost towns, or are a shutterbug looking for photogenic weathered old buildings to photograph. Continue reading.
RV Prospector—Winter planning for spring prospecting
By Randall Brink
Last year, many RVtravel.com readers showed interest in prospecting while RVing about the country. The focus then was on essential equipment needed for mineral prospecting, places to sample, regulations to follow, and some great tools to make the work easier and more fun. As the new year opens, many of us are using the winter months to plan for spring and maybe venturing a little deeper into gold country while on the road. Get some good tips here.
How would you like to win a pair of Walkie Talkies?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 14, 2023) 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.
Check out Winnebago’s lineup of 2023 Class C motorhomes. Click here.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
Join Dave at the Florida RV SuperShow
Planning to attend the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa this month? Then you will want to join Dave for seminars, a Live Uplink Q&A, and a special meet and greet. Learn more.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- What is the best jack, and where to put it, to change a tire on a travel trailer?
- Is there room to upgrade 1000-watt inverter in Mercedes floorplan?
- Can I mount a backup camera on RV’s ladder?
- Does RV’s fresh water tank need to be full for water heater to fill?
- Is a 12-volt compressor refrigerator best for me in my RV?
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Bless you! Gesundheit! Salud! Got the sniffles? Crying? Sun make your eyes water? This will come in handy many times for sure!
In the RV Shop with Dustin
In this new column, head into the RV shop with Dustin Simpson and his wife, Ashley, of California RV Specialists. Each Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dustin and Ashley will walk you through what’s going on in and around their shop. They’ll share their favorite tools, gadgets, DIY maintenance projects, RV tech talks, what they receive in their inbox, and much, much more. (Not signed up for our daily newsletter? Sign up here.)
Navigating RV roof replacement through insurance
One of our readers, Ty, recently asked: “We have roof damage due to hail. Insurance has agreed to replace it, but I think it is a lowball settlement with labor cost being quoted at $125 per hour. I called major companies and their going rate is $160 – $180 per hour. Questions:
- What are the current rates?
- What is involved in a roof replacement?
- Is it really replacing or just total epoxy covering?
- I see mobile roof repairs. Are they reliable and good? Or do I need to take it in? I am living in the unit full-time, so taking it in takes planning. Thanks for your time.”
By Gary Jefferson
RV People are RVers I meet along the way. I always ask permission to take a photo, let people pose themselves, and take a shot quickly. The only information I include is general information about the location. If license plates show, they have been doctored in Photoshop. The photos are always in black and white. They are featured Saturdays and Tuesdays at RVtravel.com
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Under the Weather pods: A stylish way to stay warm and dry outside
By Kate Doherty
What may look like the individual spacecraft from “Men in Black” that flies off to the planet Dartha is a patented individual pod-like tent that mitigates cold, wind, rain and bone-chilling damp weather. You might have wanted to watch your grandchild’s soccer game or another outside event, but inclement weather kept you from doing so. These pod-tents may be the answer to enjoying more outdoor events without braving the weather. Learn more.
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.
Video of the day
RV glamping—6 ways to turn your campsite into a stylish retreat
By Cheri Sicard
In the video below, Randi from Randi’s Adventures is here to help you add a little style and flair to your campsite with 6 terrific but simple RV glamping ideas.
Some of the tips are easy and seem like common sense, but they add way more function and style than you would think. Other tips are just plain fun. And, after all, RVing should be fun or what is the point?
RV Tire Safety
How much air should there be in my RV’s GY Endurance tires?
By Roger Marble
My TT came with cheap tires from China. I did a few short trips and one long one, NJ to FL. I had no issues but decided to change to Goodyear Endurance. The old tires had 65 psi on the sidewall, but the Goodyears say 80 psi. I did use the TT with the tire psi at 80 but I have seen it suggested that even though it says 80 psi, I should have deflated them to 65 psi. Which is correct?
My answer to Denise is: It depends…
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Recipe of the Day
by Susan Din from Houston, TX
Most pasta salads are a side dish but this salad is hearty enough for a meal thanks to the chopped chicken. It’s filled with Mediterranean flavors like olives, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. There’s no mayonnaise in this pasta salad recipe. It’s dressed with fresh pesto and a zesty Caesar dressing. Serve with an extra sprinkle of fresh chopped basil and grated Romano cheese. A great salad for summer cookouts.
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“D’Argo and Lyra are our constant companions. They really enjoy traveling with us. Both are avid hikers and have their own backpacks. When not traveling and hiking, our dogs enjoy sheep herding and dog agility. D’Argo is a Rough Collie, like Lassie. Lyra is a much more rare Smooth Collie with short, coarse fur.” —Michael Vorkapich
Brand-new National Park book has everything you need
We all know that National Geographic puts out beautiful, thoughtful work, so it’s no surprise that their brand-new book, “Complete National Parks Of the United States,” is no exception. This 3rd edition is a travel guide to 400+ parks, areas, trails, historic sites, seashores, campgrounds and much more. Learn more or order.
Can you write down eight eights mathematically so that they add up to one thousand?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin. They were wooden flippers he wore on his feet when swimming. He had earlier devised lily-pad-shaped wooden palettes to wear on his hands while swimming.
Laugh of the Week
Studies show that cows produce more milk when the farmer talks to them. It’s a case of in one ear and out the udder.
“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.
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?
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, Gail Marsh, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, 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. 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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