Friday, June 9, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1092

rv travel logoWelcome to, the home of expert RV writers and intelligent readers. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.

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Page Contents

February 18, 2023
Non-Members (advertising-supported) free edition

 Cover story 

The story I blew: The flyswatter repairman of Needles

By Chuck Woodbury

I wrote this story about 25 years ago, and posted it on three years ago. But I love it so much I am bringing it back for those of you who missed it the first go-round or who read it then but forgot about it. 


would like to tell you a story from many years ago that, alas, I didn’t write about when I came upon it. It was back in the day when I was just beginning my life as a writer. It was before I could come upon practically any situation and feel compelled to write about it.

It happened in Needles, Calif., a desert town along Route 66 best known for its sizzling summers and Snoopy’s mustached brother, Spike, who lived there among the cacti. I now call my non-story “The flyswatter repairman at the Texaco station I never knew.”

I was on a car road trip to the Midwest from my home in northern California. My gas tank was low so I pulled in to the Texaco station to fill up. It was unbearably hot — a day when you want nothing to do with sunshine (or Needles). As folks sometimes say in and around those parts, it was so hot “you could fry an egg on the hood of your car.”

THIS WAS A LONG TIME AGO, when an attendant would pump your gas. While my tank was being filled, I stretched my legs. In those days, gas stations did not have mini-marts, only coin machines that dispensed a bottle of Coke for a quarter (before that, a dime).

So, in telling you that I was an adult in an era when Coke was a quarter, you know that I am of a generation that is commonly referred to as “old people.”

Quarter in hand, I walked toward the machine, which was near the big window of the gas station’s greasy, cluttered office. Inside, an old man sat quietly on a chair. I couldn’t tell what he was doing. But then I spotted a handmade cardboard sign taped to the window: “Flyswatters Repaired.” Sure enough, he was repairing a flyswatter.

For you youngsters reading this, I should tell you that flyswatters were not always made of plastic. They once had a wire mesh webbing that was superb for obliterating a fly. I cannot remember now exactly how the man repaired his flyswatters because I was not curious about everything then like today, so I didn’t ask him. But I do recall thinking that a person could buy a brand-new flyswatter for less than a dollar. So how could anyone earn any money repairing one?

Old-fashioned flyswatter

I watched the man for a minute then went back to my car, paid for my gas and drove off, heading east on the Mother Road. About 20 miles away I realized that I should have talked to the flyswatter repairman. But I was too lazy to turn around.

A couple of years later I passed through Needles again. I stopped at the Texaco station, hoping to see the old man at work. But he was gone and no one had ever heard of him.

I am still mad at myself for not talking to him to learn more about the business of repairing flyswatters. I blew that story, for sure…

motorhome with suitcases on topTHIS NEWSLETTER IS MOVING

Beginning the first weekend in March, our weekend newsletters will swap places. The one you are reading now, currently published on Saturdays, will move to Sunday. Our current Sunday news edition will move to Saturday. Publisher Chuck Woodbury will explain in our member’s edition of tomorrow’s newsletter why we felt we needed to make this change.

We want to know

Tell us about a crazy small-world experience you had while RVing

What’s your craziest small-world experience while RVing? What do we mean by this? Here are some examples:

  • Have you ever run into someone you knew when you were traveling far from home?
  • Have your campground neighbors ever been from your hometown, even though both of you were nowhere near there when you met?
  • Have you ever “coincidentally” met the friend of a friend while traveling?

Tell us here 

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

Reader’s RV security cameras tell the real story behind service and repairs

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 with complaints of repair delays and major frustration trying to get straight answers from repair shops. Also, one reader describes his use of security cameras in his RV to catch service people in lies. Uh oh. But there is also very high praise for some repair shops and service techs, and even a Camping World shop that receives a five-star rating from a very happy customer.

Read it all here

Serious consequences await those without proper RV insurance

By Randall Brink
Do you have proper RV insurance? The question is not as simple as it sounds, and the answer depends to a great extent on what you have told your insurance company. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard RVers admit that they have deceived their insurance company. The dialogue usually goes something like this: “Which insurance company do you use?” Full-time RVer: “We just switched to ACME.” “What’s ACME charging for full-timers?” Full-timer: “Oh, I never told them we’re full-time…” Continue reading this very important information, whether you full-time RV or not.

The dealer won’t tell you about these hidden RV expenses

By Cheri Sicard
What are the actual RV expenses you can count on when embarking on an RV lifestyle? The short answer? It depends. It depends on a lot of factors. And what about all the hidden expenses the dealers never tell you about? Find out what some of them are here. And if Cheri missed any hidden RV expenses in her very thorough list, please add them in the comments.

RVs vs. hotels: We put affordability and convenience to the test

By Nanci Dixon
Which is better: a hotel or an RV? Which is more affordable these days? If staying in campgrounds is so expensive, why not just stay in hotels? These are some of the questions that have come up in some of my recent weekly Crowded Campgrounds columns. Many commenters say they’re thinking about hanging up their RV’s keys for good and will travel by car instead. They mention that it would be easier to get a room at a hotel than it is a campsite, not to mention hotels are less expensive in the long run. We put it all to the test to find out. Read more.

Alaska 2023 RV & Camping Guide essential for Alaska travelers

By Randall Brink
If you are planning an Alaska RV trip for this spring or summer, you may find that gathering the information necessary for trip planning and selection of stops and campgrounds can be a bit daunting. That’s why having a copy of the Alaska 2023 RV & Camping Guide is essential. Continue reading.

 NEW!  RV Fact or Fiction?

Doing THIS is the number one cause of RV fires on highways

RV blogs, social media groups and YouTube videos have exploded over the past couple of years. Some provide great information, others questionable information and some downright bad information. Can you tell the difference? In this regular column, we will post a question based on information we find online. You can then test your RV prowess by seeing how your answer compares with the facts.

Fact or fiction? Driving with your RV refrigerator on propane is the number one cause of RV fires on highways.

Around the Campfire

Yes, RVers need to follow proper campground laundromat etiquette

By Gail Marsh
Woweee! Who’d ever think that a conversation about laundering clothes could elicit such strong emotions? Yep, a recent campfire discussion focused on RV campground laundromats and laundromat etiquette. It was quite a conversation!

Read more, and feel free to comment

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

The joys of snowbirding in Baja California, Mexico

By Cheri Sicard
As miles of nearly deserted pristine sand beach stretch before me, accessed from directly outside my RV’s door, I can’t help but wonder at the appeal of setting up RV camp in a dusty desert town in Arizona for the winter, as so many snowbirding RVers do. Give me Baja California, Mexico, any day. Find out why here. You may just be convinced to head even farther south…

Half a billion pounds of litter weigh heavily on our roadways; lasting repercussions ahead

By Gail Marsh
Growing up, it was “Don’t be a litterbug!” As a teacher, I taught, “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.” Even today, the mantra continues: “Keep America beautiful!” But is anybody listening? On a recent Sunday drive, I couldn’t help but notice all the trash along the highways. Maybe you’ve noticed it, too. What’s with all the litter? Continue reading.

Sophisticated metal detectors, now capable of discovering gold, are changing the game

By Randall Brink
We’ve covered a lot of RV travel-friendly light, compact prospecting equipment over the last few months. Prospecting is an activity that can be enjoyed profitably with very simple tools—a shovel and a gold pan. In this newsletter, you have read about sluice boxes and hand-held nugget finders. But there is one very effective piece of electronic gadgetry that we haven’t covered: metal detectors. Learn about gold detectors here.

This sticky Seattle location is a very strange place to visit

By Gail Marsh
My husband and I are traditional, regular folks. We generally enjoy taking our RV to “normal” places, like the mountains or the beach. We like visiting historical venues, museums, and natural wonders, too. Like I said, “normal.” Most of the time, that is. But once in a while, we’ll take a break from normal. Read about this strangely sticky (not to mention colorful) place to visit in Seattle.

TRIVIA: Alfred Mosher Butts, the inventor of Scrabble, is a distant relative of publisher Chuck Woodbury. Local lore has it that Butts, an architect, created it while renovating the Community United Methodist Church in a neighborhood of Queens, New York.

For Lovers Only…

To: SilverFox
From: TishtheDish
“Love traveling with you in our little RV. What fun we have had! Looking forward to many more adventures with you. 2023 is going to be a great year!”

To: Lefty 14206
From: Sweetheart
“33 years together and 18 years of full-time RVing and counting! You still make my heart go pitter patter. ❤️

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, we’ll continue this feature throughout the month since we got so many submissions. No more new submissions will be accepted, though.

Reader Poll

How easily could you live in an RV as your only “home”?

Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.

Tell us here

We asked: Do you prefer an RV park that allows or does not allow dogs? Learn how more than 2,000 other RVers answered 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 and writers as they move about the country.

Click here to see if your RV made it into today’s issue.

Saturday Giveaway!

How would you like to win a pair of LED Flashlight Gloves?

Make your maintenance jobs so much easier with these rechargeable, waterproof, flashlight gloves!

How to win
We’ll select a winner at random out of all entries we receive today (February 18, 2023) by 7 p.m. Pacific time. Remember, you can only enter once and after we notify you by email via 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!

Ask Dave

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.

This past week’s questions that Dave answered:

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!

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

Our favorite unusual RV kitchen gadgets you may never have heard of

By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to Part 3 in our favorite RV kitchen gadgets series, based on our reader recommendations. In this post, we’ll cover unusual RV kitchen gadgets you might not have heard of before. We’ll also cover some unusual uses for some things you may already have. These are cool!

Video of the day

Check out this amazing Class C mobile RV garden!

By Cheri Sicard
Robin Barrett, from Creativity RV, did something a lot of RVers, especially full-timers, only dream about. She created an RV garden in her Class C motorhome that actually produces flowers, food, and culinary herbs even while she’s traveling down the road.

Since she was not using the over-cab bunk in her Class C motorhome, Robin decided to turn it into a multi-level garden.

Wow! Check this out  

 NEW! Dr. Karel’s Krazy Kritter Korner

Introducing Dr. Karel’s Krazy Kritter Korner: Animal stories galore!

By Karel Carnohan, DVM
I love funny, touching, wacky and even sad stories about animals: Anything animal, I adore. A meme or a short video can sometimes make me laugh and smile on what would otherwise be a gloomy day. I asked Publisher Chuck if I could write a weekly column in which I would post animal stuff I love—useful tips, stories about traveling with pets, stories about people and wildlife, stories about people and the pets they love. And here I am. Oh, and do you have a pet or animal story to share? Please use the form at the bottom of the post.

We ALL use these on a daily basis (most likely). There’s a good chance yours have seen some lovin’ and aren’t as prominent as they used to be. These will help.

RV Tire Safety

‘Defective’ tires: Just what is the ‘defect’?

By Roger Marble
I have heard people claim they had a “defective” tire when they post about a tire failure. I have even addressed claims from lawyers and supposed “experts” that a group or even thousands of tires had “a defect” that caused tires to fail. However, for some reason, they can almost never point to or identify the specific component or material that contained said “defect.” I spent the majority of my 40+ years as a tire design engineer looking at and investigating tire failures. I can say that I have identified a few tires that contained a “defect.” Learn about so-called tire “defects” here.

Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.

Recipe of the Day

Cinfully Good Chili

by Cynthia Creamer-Pirtle from Lufkin, TX

Now, this is a good all-around chili! It has a Tex-Mex flair without being overly spicy. Having meat and beans makes this extra hearty. Serve a bowl of this super flavorful chili with a little cheese, sour cream, and cilantro. Perfect for everyone to enjoy.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pets of the Day

“Lady and the Prince are our 6-month-old Cockapoo siblings. They are going to be introduced to RVing this spring and are anxiously awaiting warmer weather to learn about the adventures of camping. They already love going for a ride in the truck and visiting new places.” —Dennis King

Brain Teaser

Walk on the living, they don’t even mumble; walk on the dead and they loudly groan and grumble. What are they?

(Answer in tomorrow’s Sunday news newsletter. And please don’t spoil it for other readers by posting the answer in the comments.)


Who is the woman in this photo? Hint: If you have an Apple iPhone you know her well. Click here to learn her identity, and then watch the accompanying video to hear her tell you her fascinating story.

Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices — flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes we can’t tell how much life a battery has LEFT so we toss it. This inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to a battery’s condition, saving you money from tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.

Laugh of the Week

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

Meet Earl and Burl Squirrel, from the mind of friend R.L. Crabb. All Star Team

rv travel logoPublisher: 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, Janet Groene, Machelle James, 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 or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

Editorial (all but news)
Editorial (news)
Help desk:
Contact us.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2023 by RV Travel LLC.


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3 months ago

“Laugh of the Week” is not a joke — several banks and carmakers have openly said they fully intend to use self-driving as a self-repo as needed. Don’t pay timely, and your car just isn’t there in the morning.

3 months ago

As the old adage goes. Why put off tomorrow what you can do today. The dogs, one on the right reminds of my Teddy Grams, he was chihuahua poodle. He passed over the bridge a year ago May. He was 15. I sure miss him. As for insurance? We have progressive and boy the stuff they don’t miss is incredible. Hate to think of Flo watching my RV. Especially after watching some of those ads. As for living out of my RV full time? I tried 6 months and said I am done. So 6 months in Maine and 6 months in NC staying warm. As for laundromat etiquette? Never knew there was one. I just go when I know its going to be empty or no one there. So thats my etiquette. As for Alaska? I have a cruise in mind for that bucket list.

3 months ago

Chuck, had you turned around that day to talk to the old man at the gas station, you may have found a mundane or non story rather than now revealing a past where we actually repaired things.”Buy a flyswatter for less than a dollar” I am sure much much less than that, AND the flyswatter may have been free in the first place. As in the one pictured, it has the name of a store on it. Remember when flyswatters and yardsticks were free because of the advertisements on them? Go to any hardware store today and you will PAY for the yardstick with their name and advertising on it. Today we gullible people pay for caps and t-shirts just to advertise for the company that just made a profit off us for buying it. Remember small appliance shops where you could get your toaster repaired? I remember one with a moto “If we can’t fix it, it ain’t broke”. Then later you went back and no one remembered the old man and his repair business? On the first visit did you have a passenger named; Rod Serling?

3 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

I broke my 35 y.o. Revelstoke hardware yard stick a few weeks ago and I’m still upset about it. Fine quality for a yardstick that was free.

3 months ago
Reply to  Cancelproof

I feel your pain.

3 months ago

Looking forward to Dr. Karel’s articles and stories. I love all things animal too!

3 months ago

Love the cover story today Chuck. I submit that not a single one of us does not wish for at least one ‘do over’ similar to your flyswatter repairman story. That little bit information for another 3 minutes of investment is where the real story could have been found.

Derrick Smith
3 months ago

Be aware of the good Sam ads for your true value of your RV.
Once into the site they switch to your true trade in value.

3 months ago

Laugh of the week at s something my husband would say about country music🤣. We are full timers , ten years going on 11, so this is our only home. Thank God we have a washer and dryer. Last time we went to Laundry mat was first year of RVing. While sitting waiting for our laundry, we watched a women try taking our clothes, after I reminded her that they weren’t hers, I told my husband we needed our own. Still have out set and would go without. Enjoy your day, hope the move works out for you.

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