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February 4, 2023
Non-Members (advertising-supported) edition
Life expectancy calculator gives me sobering number: 16.9 years left to live. What to do with that precious time?
By Nanci Dixon
ack in 2021, I wrote an article about using a tape measure as a metaphor for measuring my life. It examines how much time I have spent living and the statistics about how much time is left. Using the Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator, it looks like I have 16.9 years left. That is pretty sobering.
I am always first to wake up in the morning and I use the first peaceful hours to myself. First, I catch up on the RVtravel.com newsletters, then I read the news of the day, go through other emails, read the NY Times COVID deaths (I’m still on that email list from 2020) and check out houses for sale in our area. I look at price reductions, how much they are downwardly spiraling in cost, and remodeling ideas.
What do I want for the next 16.9 years?
That is NOT a lot of time. What matters
the most during that time?
This morning after re-reading my tape measure article, looking up housing costs, COVID and even world news falls away. My interest fades and the question tugs at me: What do I want for the next 16.9 years? That is NOT a lot of time. What matters the most during that time?
What do I want to do? Also, what do I want to see? Where should I go in the increasingly little time we have left? My father’s death, who was invincible and defied dying until 98, brought home to me the reality of my death too. But the 16.9 years in the Social Security chart brought clarity. My husband’s estimated 15 years also brought a bit of reality shock.
I have been on a quest to go to every national park, historic monument and battlefield. But how much can we really do while health and money hold out? And does it matter? What does matter?
I don’t feel that old or so close to the end. Again, it’s pretty sobering.
The next 16.9 years’ resolutions
So it seems like I need to make some really important resolutions, not the fading-by-February New Year’s ones. Life ones.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Former repair and manufacturing worker shares dirt: ‘Here’s what’s really wrong with the RV industry’
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 several RVers with high praise for their service shops and mobile techs, some complaints (of course), and some advice for RV owners. Also, we hear from Donna C., who worked in manufacturing and repair and has an idea of what might be wrong with the RV industry.
Hilarious RVing photos created by Artificial Intelligence. OMG! Get ready to laugh!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
With the sudden surge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the news, it got us to wonder. What does AI know about RVing? It’s been a serious topic among RVTravel.com writers and staff—after all, could we all lose our jobs to some “Brain-O-Vac” AI computer? So far, the consensus is that AI can “write,” after a fashion, about some RV topics. Like, AI may be able to tell you “How to dump your holding tanks.” … [But] is accuracy in the “eye” (or “I”) of the AI world? We set out to find out. This is interesting and fun!
Our staff writer gets stuck in a Texas ice storm. The result: not pretty!
Nanci Dixon found herself, along with her husband and their motorhome, stuck in the scary Texas ice storm… and without warning! See what the ice and cold temperatures did to their RV (it’s not pretty!), how they handled it, and the lessons that they learned. Yikes! Read all about it here.
Should you carry LP cylinders lying down?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The propane attendant readied to sling our seven-gallon cylinder in the back of the car. “Would you mind setting it upright, please?” we asked. He shrugged his shoulders, and said, “You know, it really doesn’t matter. It’s safe whether it’s standing up or lying down.” But he put it upright, as we asked. It begs the question: Is it safe to carry LP cylinders lying down? For that matter, is it legal? Find out here.
Slow cooker to Instant Pot conversion: Recipe adaptation
By Cheri Sicard
One of the comments that came in on our recent RV kitchen gadgets questionnaire asked for us to PLEASE run more pressure cooker or Instant Pot recipes instead of slow cooker/Crock Pot recipes. But, did you know that you can convert slow cooker to Instant Pot® recipes easily? I’ll teach you how so you can convert any slow cooker recipe to a pressure cooker recipe! Continue reading.
Around the Campfire
RVing-with-kids rules, and should-be rules, discussed
By Gail Marsh
A recent topic around the campfire began when Stan asked, “Remember back when TV news anchors would announce: ‘It’s ten o’clock. Do you know where your children are?’ Well, I wish RVers with kids would think about that and keep track of their children.”
Yogi Berra WISDOM: “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- 18 smart ways for RVers to use paper towels
- Yikes! There’s a freeze warning. Tips to keep the water flowing
- Beware of flood damage when buying a used vehicle
- Awning tear? Don’t despair—fix it yourself
- RV Mods: Stretching your basement storage
Half of RVers feel lonely. Here’s what to do about it
By Gail Marsh
Many people go RVing to get away from the stress of everyday life. They long for solitude and quiet. They revel in the open expanse that Mother Nature provides in her isolated, off-the-beaten-path spaces. And then, there’s Lindsey. Lindsey recently lost her husband to cancer. They’d been married for less than four years. No children. Just Lindsey. Continue reading for great tips to fight loneliness anytime, anywhere.
Is pet insurance a good idea?
By Karel Carnohan, DVM
Is pet insurance a good idea? The short answer is yes, but it comes with a few qualifications. Much like two-legged health insurance. … There are now many pet insurance companies to choose from, and the best one for you will depend on your pet and your tolerance for financial risk. Read all about pet insurance here.
These activities will beat the RVing winter blues
By Dale Wade
Well, it’s winter. A lot of RVers winterize the rig and put it up until spring. Others don’t do that, opting for traveling to a warmer clime or hangin’ tough with the white stuff. So, I asked some of my RVing friends what they do during those cold days to keep from going stir-crazy. Most of them replied with activities that seem, well, normal. However, a few came back with things, if not unique, are perhaps limited amongst us. Read more.
Thinking about renting an RV for a special adventure? Here’s advice
By Janet Groene
Owning an RV is no reason not to rent an RV. Thanks to rentals, I’ve explored RV life in Australia and New Zealand. I can fly to Alaska when vacation time is short and do a two-week rental instead of making the long drive from Florida. Rentals not only save time, but they also give me a chance to try different rigs, gear and layouts. The downside is that rental RVs are furnished with bare-bones essentials. Continue reading for 20 essentials to take along when renting an RV.
Messages from our readers to their Valentines
For Lovers Only…
“Thank you for a great life for the past 55+ years. The mother of our two sons and Mamaw of three grandkids. I still see you as that sixteen-year-old beautiful high school girl.”
To: Driving Miss Daisy
From: Miss Daisy
“I had a dream of traveling and you said that you would come along. We survived a whole summer in a 16 foot trailer and now we are selling our home and moving up to a 30 foot home on wheels. I can’t think of anyone else I want to share this adventure with (or who would share it with me… lol). Keep driving, Miss Daisy!”
Listen up, romantics. Valentine’s Day is coming up. If you have a special someone you’d like to surprise with a secret message right here on this website (could be your wife, husband, partner, child, neighbor, friend, etc.) submit it to us here. Don’t use their real names, use a special name that only they’ll recognize. Oh, how fun it will be when they read it! You’ll make their day! We’ll feature these in our upcoming newsletters, so check back often and see if yours has been featured.
INTERESTING FACEBOOK GROUPS: Electric Bikes for RVing • RVing Over 60
Have you ever stayed overnight in your RV at a Sam’s Club store parking lot?
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 gamble at a casino? How do you think our readers responded? Find out.
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.
Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Ummmm… this could be great, but it could also be really, really bad. We’re genuinely curious as to what you think about this. Take a look then leave a comment at the bottom of this newsletter.
How would you like to win some Vintage Camper Wind Chimes?
How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (February 4, 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.
Click here to enter or see last week’s winner!
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Can solar panels charge batteries in storage with disconnect applied?
- Can I flat tow my Honda CR-V?
- RV plugged into garage outlet. What can, and can’t, I run?
- Why do four new 100 Ah lithium batteries only charge to 13.6V?
- How can I add an inverter to power my refrigerator on 120-volt while on the road?
Click here to see more questions for Dave.
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!DID YOU MISS LAST WEDNESDAY’S TALKIN’ RV TECH webcast with Dave Solberg and Dustin Simpson? If so, you missed out on a lot of great information. Watch this live, hour-long program every Wednesday and in a year you’ll be saving a bundle on professional RV repairs because you’ll know how to fix things yourself. Watch last Wednesday’s episode.
Sign up for our RV Tech Tips Newsletter and receive a notice every Wednesday with a link to that day’s program.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
RV appliances: Readers share their ‘must have’ small RV appliances
By Cheri Sicard
Last week we asked you about your favorite RV kitchen gadgets, and boy, did we get a TON of responses! We know that cooking in small spaces can present challenges. So we wanted to know what makes RV cooking easier for you and what is the one RV kitchen gadget or RV kitchen accessory you just cannot live without. Read what your favorite small RV appliances are here.
5 nifty gadgets that make RV life easier
By Gail Marsh
Who doesn’t love a great gadget? And a gadget that helps you RV is even better! During the past holiday season, I made a short wish list of things that I thought might be useful as we RV. I happily received a few of the items on my list. I plan to purchase the others in the days ahead. See what you think and then offer your own suggestions for nifty RV products in the comments that follow this article.
Video of the day
DIY RV window insulation WITHOUT ugly foil showing
By Cheri Sicard
One of our favorite YouTube RV channels, RV with Tito DIY, is here to show you how to install RV window insulation that does NOT involve that ugly foil a lot of folks use. Host Brian shows you how to do the full DIY RV window insulation build from start to finish.
Brian’s goal with this project was to replace his whole valance setup with a slim, functional, low-profile, and good-looking window covering.
CAN YOU GUESS: ATTENDING CHURCH WHEN ON THE ROAD
According to a recent poll of RVtravel.com readers, approximately what percent of them attend church services at least some of the time when on the road? One-third, one-half or two-thirds of them? Find out.
RV Tire Safety
How much air pressure is too much in RV tires?
Tire expert Roger Marble received a question from a reader about tire pressure ratings and his concern about the numbers reported on his Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Roger explains tire pressure ratings and how temperature and speed affect the numbers reported by the TPMS.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
RV Fire Safety
An emergency fire plan that can save your life
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 8 of 13: Your motor coach fire escape plan should incorporate the needs of all the occupants, including the young, elderly, and disabled. Remove any barriers that might hinder a disabled person and install extra handles on window escape hatches. Also arrange for a family member to assist those who may need help, and have disabled or elderly people sleep close to a safe exit. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Recipe of the Day
Bacon Mushroom Noodle Casserole
by Jessica Silva from East Berlin, CT
Warm and creamy, this bacon mushroom casserole is pure comfort food. In each bite, you get little bits of bacon and hearty mushrooms. The mushrooms absorb the flavor of the bacon and add so much to this easy casserole. Serve this bacon mushroom noodle casserole with a side salad for an easy weeknight meal. It would make a nice side dish with baked chicken too.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Buster the Yorkie is a 12-year-old rescue but he rescued me! He’s been traveling with me for 10 years and the two of us have even made the trip to and from Alaska three times by ourselves! He does great, even looking out the window at the bison and bear when traveling through Canada!” —Debbie Christianson
Sewer fitting grip help! Gadget to the rescue!
If you find the bayonet mounts for your sewer hose connections are getting a bit hard to twist off and on (hate to say it, but it sometimes comes with age), here’s a tool that might help. An adjustable oil filter wrench, made to get a grip around automotive oil filters, can also provide a handy grip and plenty of leverage on the bayonet fitting of your sewer hose, and the termination cap as well. Here’s one we recommend.
When Ashley was 15, her mother was 37. Now, her mother is twice her age. How old is Ashley?
(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)
When someone tells you to RSVP, do you know what that stands for? RSVP is short for “Repondez, s’il vous plait,” in French, which means, “Respond, if you please” or simply, “Please respond.” Now you know!
Laugh of the Week
This isn’t meant as a joke, but we know you’re laughing after trying it!
“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.
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.
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.
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, 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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I LOVED the crock pot/ IP. Article. Thank you
17 years left to live. Uh huh. I just turned 60. I plan to live another 40 and be a pain to my if I ever get any grandchildren.
We are newbie full timers. Your articles are very informative and interesting, good and bad news . We also survived the last Texas ice storm because of fellow rv’er who informed us of #10 east closings. Very grateful as 2 days later it was littered with torn up 18 wheelers . Big thanks to him . Keep up the good work .
My wife made Bacon Mushroom Noodle Casserole the other day and it was excellent.
There is a healthier way to make this. Fry up some mushrooms, make a white sauce, mix with the pasta, skip the artery clogging american cheese, use cheddar or other cheese mix bake and serve. Planning on making this for dinner some time this week.
“Repondez” not “respondez”
Thanks, Warmonk. Taking Russian in high school (60+ years ago!) didn’t help at all when proofing French words. 😆 It’s been corrected. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com
oops it does work was rotating my foot the wrong way.
Try drawing the 6 backwards by starting at the tale end. Worked for me.
More “Doom & Gloom” from this publication. $7.00 gas prices, Life expectancy numbers what’s next, oh, I know why not let everyone know that the moon is pulling away from the earth 1.5 inches a year, or the next ice age is around the corner. None of these pieces of information make for “Happy” reading. It looks as though it is impossible for you folks to keep on subject and be a “Source for RVing Information” not one of impending disaster. Please try harder to be the latter and not the former.
Gene, we have posted 18,000 articles on this website. I’d say 95% would be considered positive in nature. We don’t post “happy stories” exclusively like 98% of all the other RV websites that just run the same generic “how to dump your holding tanks” stories (and the like) over and over and over and use “content creators”and artificial intelligence to fill their space. If you want 100% happy reading material you might want to consider finding another website, blog or video channel where happiness abounds. Don’t mean to be blunt, but how many of our 18,000 articles have you read??
Well, then keep up the good work. I guess the ones I have read were too close together.
Hoping for 40 more good years, will settle for 30 and will be happy with 20. What a beautiful day it is today. RVT Rocks.
I like the Doom and Gloom articles. It’s good to know what’s going on both good and bad.
Didn’t work no change in direction
Sorry to hear about staffers TX trip tho they are lucky it wasn’t the year before, no electricity either in many places. We always carry extra heaters too. We have our fireplace but have couple more. Weather is the biggest factor in RVing, both for this issue and being out on the roads, not just freezing but tornadoes too. We adjusted our last trip west due to weather, always have a back up plan.
Interesting fact brought up by the cartoon – the rocks thrown by vehicle tires don’t actually travel that fast, and often move in the same direction as the vehicle that kicked them up. It is YOUR speed that makes them hit your windshield so hard!
Bad idea. There’s enough road rage. If you flash the middle finger to the wrong person behind you, it can get you hurt.
Bad idea. A road distraction and bad example for kids.