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January 21, 2023
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
The Tom Brady of RVing
By Chuck Woodbury
om Brady, if you don’t know, is the 45-year-old NFL superstar quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s the first cousin, I believe, of the Energizer Bunny: He just “keeps going and going.”
Nobody knows when Tom Brady will quit — he’s twice of the age of many, if not most, of his teammates. He hints at retiring then returns for another season. He’s been playing for 23 years and won 7 Super Bowl rings. He played his first game about the same time I began publishing RVtravel.com.
So, with my tongue in cheek, I hereby declare that I am the Tom Brady of RVing because I, too, keep going and going even though I hint at wandering out to pasture and never returning. I announced in May 2021, in issue 1,000 of this newsletter (this one you are reading now is issue 1,088) that I was slowing down — not quitting, but slowing down (semi-retiring). Maybe that was a little premature of me…
One reason I can’t fade away is that I am frustrated and madder than a puffed toad! The journalist in me is upset at all the bad information being published today about RVing by websites, blogs, videos and on social media. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
It’s bad because we have entered the era of the “content creator” — writers who write to fill space strictly for money. The more sensational or controversial their story (click bait works great), the more valuable they become to publishers. Ka-ching!
We should all be grateful that Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen, Henry David Thoreau and William Shakespeare didn’t aim so low.
Enter the robots
And now, along come the robots — inexpensive online services where writers with only minimal talent and subject knowledge can crank out articles all day long. An article that once took a real writer a few hours to write can be written in a few minutes. The results are sometimes accurate, but they are very often just plain wrong. Read my article about Fishing in Death Valley and you will see what I mean.
The following paragraph was written with artificial intelligence (AI). It’s from an article on an RV website about the costs of full-time RVing.
Did whoever posted this ever step inside an RV? I doubt it!
After much discussion, my staff and I have made a decision. We vow to renew our efforts to write honest, educational, valuable articles. This website and its newsletters will continue to be written by real RVers, real writers and real journalists, not content creators. We will not post articles written by artificial intelligence, even though we could cut our editorial budget in half.
We have never been very successful at selling advertising, which is how most websites earn their income. The ads you see on our site are mostly delivered by Google and, to oversimplify, the larger our circulation, the more revenue we earn. We get one check a month, and none of the advertisers ever contacts us looking for editorial favors.
This past Wednesday, as part of what we are calling our Pledge Week (just like Public Television), we emailed about 9,000 of our most avid readers who are not already voluntary subscribers. We came right out and asked that they consider contributing something to help fund our operation.
If you have never entered a “voluntary subscription” to RVtravel.com, would you please consider doing so no matter what the amount? Of course, if money is tight, please don’t send us a penny. You come first.
Your pledge will help us provide you and other readers with the very best, most accurate information available anywhere about RVing. And we will continue to educate our readers about how to recognize websites with questionable, even bogus information.
Here are two brief articles I wrote today about RVing using AI. One turned out pretty well, but the other … well, you decide. To me, it’s totally ridiculous. See for yourself and then please leave a comment.
P.S. In the essay in today’s paid subscribers’ edition of this newsletter, we feature a fascinating article about one of the most unusual roads in American automotive history.
We want to know
What are your favorite RV YouTube channels?
By Cheri Sicard
After serving as RVtravel.com’s “video editor” for the last 6 months or so, I have probably watched more RV YouTube videos than nearly anyone. I thought it would be fun to come up with picks of the best RV YouTube channels of 2022. BUT, then I thought it would be even more fun to get your opinions too. Click on the button below and tell us, then we’ll do a follow-up of your favorites.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Service center takes RV on joy ride; owners not joyful
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week our readers are split on the service at Camping World (obviously depends on the location). Plus, there’s more high praise for mobile techs and service centers, and a reader relates the nightmare caused by just two screws! Oh, yeah. And the RV that was obviously used/enjoyed by employees while it was at the shop for 10 days. All that and more here.
Everything you need to know about RV insurance – You may not be in good hands
By Dave Solberg
It’s something we don’t like talking about and hope we never need it – insurance for our RV. It may sound simple: Just call your home or auto coverage company and tell them what you bought and they should be able to put together a policy, right? It’s not that easy, and if you don’t get a policy designed for your type of RVing, you will pay too much and probably not have the coverage you need. Learn all about RV insurance here.
Letter to the editor: “I’d like to see an app that shows specific RV site specs”
Reader Earl B. sent this to our inbox earlier this week and we thought it was worth sharing. His idea about RV site specs is great! Read Earl’s idea and then add your thoughts in the comments.
Upcoming winter festivals RVers will love
By Gail Marsh
I’ll admit it. I’m itching to travel. Our RV has been parked for almost two months and I’m certain it’s eager to get back on the road, just like me. “But it’s winter,” you might argue. I know it’s winter and I also know there are amazing winter festivals and activities that await. … Grab your electric blanket or heated mattress pad. Find the space heater. Pack your boots and winter coat. Then get out there and visit these winter festivals for yourself. Winter won’t last forever, you know! Read more.
Tired of loud heavy smelly “Portable” gas generators?
Stop lifting that heavy generator and messing around refilling gas or propane tanks. CarGenerator is 11 pounds and has zero extra maintenance hassles. Just start your engine and you’ve got 1000 watts of power any time day or night. Learn more.
Around the Campfire
Traveling with an RV refrigerator—Leave it on or off?
By Gail Marsh
Off or on? That seems to be the question RVers face when it comes to travel days. Do you keep your RV refrigerator on or off while traveling down the road? This was the latest topic for discussion around the campfire. Read what these RVers had to say, then feel free to weigh in on this hot topic.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- In memory of Martin Luther King Jr.—A historic visit tells an important story
- Tips for optimizing and organizing your RV refrigerator
- “To sleep, perchance to dream …”—but not behind the wheel
- Ways to make your RV sewer hose last longer
- Don’t leave a trace…
7 advantages of a solar generator over installing solar on your RV
By Cheri Sicard
Did you know there’s more than one way to add solar capabilities to your RV? I am continually amazed at the number of campers and RVers I have encountered who have never heard of a solar generator or know what it can do. While on my long, long RV trip, I quickly lost count of times neighbors asked “What’s that?” or came over to check out my portable solar panels, not knowing that such a thing was possible. Read all about their advantages here.
Can RVers buy in bulk? While in an RV? Really?
By Gail Marsh
We know that buying in bulk can save money. With the ongoing inflation, saving money is on almost everyone’s mind. But how do RVers buy in bulk? We barely have enough space for the few things we pick up at a convenience store. Where would we ever put a giant package of paper towels? Or a family-size pack of chicken breasts? I’m all about saving money, but is buying in bulk even an option while living inside an RV? The answer is yes! And here’s how to do it successfully!
RVtravel.com readers’ RV New Year’s resolutions for 2023
By Cheri Sicard
A couple of weeks ago we asked you about your RV plans for the upcoming year—your “RV New Year’s resolutions,” if you will. Not surprisingly, more travel is in the cards for many of you, as it is for me. This year I hope to find a decent popup camper for my truck, for those times I don’t need to haul the whole trailer along. I also plan to travel more in Baja California, Mexico, where I live part-time. I got started on that resolution last week (stories coming soon). Read about many of our readers’ resolutions (or not) here.
Did you buy your present RV new or used?
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 often do you stay at a KOA campground? (lots of reader comments)
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.
How would you like to win a set of LED Emergency Road Flares?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (January 21, 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.
Visiting the very cool Airstream City in San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico
By Cheri Sicard
As the gates to Airstream City swung open to allow me to drive in, the dusty San Felipe street behind my truck seemed a world away from the gorgeous oasis that spread out in front of it inside the “city’s” walls. Baja California, Mexico, in general, and the San Felipe area, in particular, have a lot to offer RVers, especially snowbirders and adventurous van lifers. And I will talk more about this in other articles. But this time I wanted to focus on one of the most unique places to stay, especially for Airstream lovers. Check this out!
Take an RV break and stay at the historic Red Bay Hotel in Red Bay, AL
By Nanci Dixon
Our motorhome is in the shop in Red Bay, Alabama, getting repaired from a disastrous mistake. We could have stayed with it in the shop, but the paint and fiberglass dust was too much for my husband. Red Bay, Alabama, is a small town and home of Tiffin motorhomes. There is one hotel, two small grocery stores, one McDonald’s, a Jack’s, a Subway and a dollar store. Oh, and a dog food plant. … Read about the historic, and very clean, Red Bay Hotel here.
A fun part of traveling: Finding silly business names
By Gail Marsh
As we’ve traveled the country in our RV, we’ve seen many, many cleverly named businesses. You probably have, too. I love seeing how resourceful people can be when it comes to naming their businesses. Whether it’s alliteration, rhymes, or a play on words, shop owners want to name their businesses something that will catch your attention and be remembered by potential shoppers. Here are some of the silliest shop names we’ve discovered so far on our travels. (We bet you can add to this fun list.)
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
If you are at the Florida RV SuperShow this weekend, do not miss Dave’s seminar at 1 p.m. both days.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- My RV’s water pump doesn’t work, but I can’t even find it!
- What sealant should I use on my RV’s exterior?
- Quick RV Tech Tip: Black tank still smells after trying EVERYTHING
- Five short Q&As with Dave
- Dave answers three more short Q&As
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!
Video of the day
CampersCard – Exciting new Harvest Hosts program
By Cheri Sicard
The video below from Woodall’s Campground Magazine brings exciting news of a new program from Harvest Hosts, the CampersCard.
To be sure, the video was produced for owners of RV parks and campgrounds, but as a consumer, it can give you insight into this new RV consumer program, scheduled to launch in the spring of 2023.
RV Tire Safety
How much air pressure do my motorhome tires need?
By Roger Marble
This is another version of the basic and recurring question about how much air pressure RV tires need, so let’s look at the facts. Previously I answered a question on how much inflation is needed on a smaller RV trailer. Similar questions for air pressure in motorhome tires need a slightly different answer.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Imagine this working its magic while you’re driving down the road, especially as a passenger. Or, maybe you’d need this after a long day of driving. How nice!
RV Fire Safety
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
Part 7 of 13: For your fire drill, start by rolling out of bed and crawling low on the floor where the air is clearer. Proceed immediately to your pre-determined safe meeting place and make sure no one is missing. If you are worried about a pet, know your animal’s instinct will be to escape the fire. Although it may seem callous to think through how you’d react if your pet were trapped inside your burning coach, make a decision now whether your pet’s life is worth risking your own. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
by Nancy Clemens from Carpentersville, IL
Enjoy these cheesy spinach bars when they’re still warm or at room temperature. This is a super simple and versatile dish. They can be an addition to a brunch buffet, served as a side dish, or eaten as an appetizer. You can jazz these up by adding different types of cheese, such as pepper jack or smoked cheese.
At last! A directory of where to camp on public lands!
The 2021 edition of the Bureau of Land Management Camping book describes 1,273 camping areas managed by the BLM in 14 Western states. Details for each camping area include the number of campsites, amenities, facilities, fees, reservation information, GPS coordinates, and more. You’ll want this book if you camp or are interested in camping on BLM land. Learn more or order.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Our Calico, Dolly, adopted us at the BCSPCA in Campbell River, B.C. She is very small— only 7-1/2 lbs. full grown—but she rules the roost! Since moving from an apartment to a fifth wheel RV, she is more than happy. She has so many windows to look out, and the wildlife that she sees!” —Barbara Wyatt
Sometimes I am born in silence. Other times, no. I am unseen, but I make my presence known. In time, I fade without a trace. I harm no one, but I am unpopular with all. What 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.)
Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly forward and backward.
‘Earthquake Putty’ keeps stuff in place
Do you have items in your RV you like to keep in place — on a table, bedstand or counter? You need this. Quakehold Museum Putty is designed to keep items secure in earthquakes! Hey, a moving RV is a constant earthquake! To use this, pull off what you need, roll until soft, apply to the base of the object then lightly press it to the surface. Later, it comes off clean. RVers love it! Cheap, too! Learn more or order.
Laugh of the Week
If you ever get locked out of your RV, you must talk to the lock calmly. Communication is key!!!
“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?
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, Gail Marsh, Dave Solberg. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Julianne Crane, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, Paul Lacitinola and Jeff Clemishaw. 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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