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April 9, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
My incredible Easter present
By Chuck Woodbury
Ialways buy Peeps at Easter. I buy bunnies and chicks, either works. It does not matter if they are pink or yellow. It’s about the taste. I usually bite off their little heads first. That could have something to do with what remains of a primitive instinct deep within me about hunting for my food, which means slaying it. A sure way to do that is to remove its head. Sometimes with bunnies, I go for the ears first, but usually, the whole head is involved.
It’s Friday morning as I write, but my words will not appear until Easter Sunday. Some of you will start the day at church. Others will be in backyards, the adults hiding colored eggs while the children still sleep. The hunt follows — magic to kids, delightful to adults. Sometimes the eggs are real (hardboiled), but they may also be hollow plastic ones with a small toy or maybe a quarter inside.
I did not get an Easter present this year (as I haven’t forever). It’s just as well if it were candy. I am already in a battle with an expanding belly, and abundant sweets within easy reach is a very bad thing.
But I did get a present. It was wonderful, and a big surprise.
Last weekend, we had a booth at an RV show in nearby Monroe, WA. The idea was to acquaint those who attended with RVtravel.com. Most show visitors, alas, walked right by us, afraid we were hawking rain gutter systems, jewelry, home roofing, clothing, or inviting a spin of their prize wheel. Few booths were specifically about RVing. “We have samples,” the woman selling spices across the aisle barked at almost everyone — words that echoed in my head hours later. As a result, most show visitors stared straight ahead to avoid eye contact with anyone who might unleash a sales pitch.
But some people stopped at our booth, and a few subscribed. We brought along about 150 donated RVing books and DVDs to sell for a small donation — a dollar or two for each item, all of it to benefit the local Sky Valley Food Bank.
On Monday morning, I ran the money over to the food bank in Monroe to meet with administrative director Carla Stewart. While I waited, I looked around. Some warehouse shelves were empty. Others contained canned fruits and vegetables, soup, tuna, frozen meats, eggs and milk. All would be so easily obtainable to me, I thought, but to others a precious gift.
Carla greeted me warmly. She told me that the food bank feeds about 1,300 local families, many of them “working poor.” They have jobs but do not earn enough to make ends meet. “It’s getting worse,” she said.
I felt a surge of unexpected joy when I handed the cash to Carla. My work at RVtravel.com is mostly solitary. The various charities I contribute to financially are paid via online banking and are thus invisible to me.
As I left, I felt like I was walking on air. I was so happy in a deeply satisfying way. We do a lot of good here at RVtravel.com, helping readers live their lives better and safer. But I rarely actually see how we help. At the food bank, I saw Carla’s face, and I saw the food on the shelves and I saw volunteers in the warehouse placing it in boxes. I knew this money wouldn’t feed an army, but it would feed many people, including little kids who would not go to bed for a night or two with empty stomachs.
I see so many people living on the streets these days, many of them in RVs, and I’ll be honest, I have confusing feelings, not always positive about why they are there. But I know in my heart that most are good people who have fallen on hard times. I can tell you that if not for a couple of lucky breaks in my life, I could easily be among them.
So that’s my Easter message, yes, somewhat rambling. But it’s what my brain, fingers and keyboard, working in unison, spit out on this rainy Seattle morning. To you and others celebrating this Easter Sunday, may you have a very special day.
If you would like to donate to the Sky Valley Food Bank, I’m sure it would be appreciated.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Reading the owner’s manual, NOT trusting social media, will solve many RV problems
In this column, Nanci Dixon summarizes some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week we hear from a reader who highly praised a very knowledgeable mechanic at Camping World, who just happened to be a retired Navy Blue Angel mechanic! But then one reader complains, rightfully so, that “a decent product at a fair price shouldn’t be too much to ask.” He states that his RV should have never left the factory with all of its problems. But there are several highly rated dealers and service centers mentioned (with links).
Big Rig RV owners! You need this!
If you aren’t carrying the 2023 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas with you in your RV, you’re inviting trouble. This is the atlas that truckers rely on to plan their routes. It helps them get “there” the fastest while avoiding roads where they could get stuck with turns too tight or bridges too low to fit through without shaving off their roofs. Even if you have a GPS, this is an important resource! Learn more or order.
NOW is the time to buy a new RV – Insights from a former RV dealer
By Dave Helgeson
Yes, now is the time to buy! RVs became the preferred way to travel during COVID. Sales skyrocketed, creating such a demand that manufactures couldn’t keep up. … Things began to change midway through 2022. Demand for RVs began to drop as interest rates and fuel prices soared. Manufacturers caught up on the backlog of orders filling RV dealers’ sales and storage lots until they overflowed. … Excess inventory combined with fewer buyers expecting a great deal is certainly causing sleepless nights for dealers, but there is more to this story. Read on to learn why the spring of 2023 is the time to buy a new, in-stock RV from a dealer.
Why would Winnebago produce two identical motorhomes, priced the same, but with different brand names? Is this a trick or a smart marketing tactic? Dave Solberg explains.
Helium-filled frame reduces RV weight – Are they kidding?
By Dave Helgeson
Can a helium-filled RV frame significantly reduce the RV’s weight? Read on to find out. I have been part of the RV industry all my life and have seen plenty of so-called “greatest advances” come and go. I am always intrigued by the designer’s intentions, but often less than impressed by the implementation. … On a recent Friday an article entitled “Encore Introduces Super-Light Adventure Trailer” showed up in my inbox. Anything new in the travel trailer market is always high on my radar… Read more.
Letter to the editor: RVers take, take, take—and contribute little!
We received this letter in our inbox from reader Karen M. Please read it through and then leave your thoughts in the comment section below the post. “Hello! I love the newsletter and found it several years ago while we were full-timing. I read it still even though I only take shorter trips now. However, I find myself on the cranky side when I read some of your articles. Of course, I am tired of the crowds, expanding costs and questionable manners of my RV neighbors, but when I really think about why I am not taking my motorhome out and why I get upset during discussions in your newsletter, it comes down to ethics.” Continue reading.
Around the Campfire
RV parks, campgrounds, perform background checks on RVers; RVers must pay
By Gail Marsh
“Can you believe it?!” Robin searched the faces of folks gathered around the campfire. “It will cost me twenty dollars for the Florida campground to run a background check on me! Whoever heard of a ridiculous background check for camping!” Have you heard of RV parks performing background checks? It’s happening more and more. Continue reading, then please add your comments.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- Don’t let charcoal go to waste. Use it around your RV!
- A look at the best portable ice makers for RVs
- Maximizing the efficiency of your camping cooler
- Boondocking: A comprehensive how-to guide for a great trip
- 7 tips for keeping a happy marriage while RVing
DID YOU KNOW? Our RV Daily Tips newsletter is our reader’s favorite newsletter! Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss out. Click here.
To avoid a nightmare or save your life, consider ‘fly-out’ insurance
By Randall Brink
RV travel is all about having fun and relaxing on the road while exploring new destinations and immersing yourself in nature. Worrying about a possible medical emergency while traveling takes some of the enjoyment out of it. However, there are ways to prepare for the unexpected while on the road. One often-overlooked aspect of RV travel planning is fly-out insurance. We’ll explore the importance of fly-out insurance, its costs, and some popular providers to help you make an informed decision. Continue reading.
You may be breaking a state law and not even know it!
By Lucinda Belden
Beware! While you are driving your RV in a few states, there are some laws you will be interested to learn. Here are a few I came across that were very surprising! You won’t believe some of these!
Why you should consider taking your RV back ‘home’
By Gail Marsh
“You can’t go home again.” That’s how the old saying goes. Recently, when my grandchildren asked about my childhood, I couldn’t help but smile. My years spent growing up on a small Iowa farm certainly had their share of heartaches. I still look back with gratitude and a genuine fondness for this wonderful area that, for 18 years, I called home. Questions about my “old stomping grounds” sparked a sudden longing inside me. I wanted to go home. Continue reading. Does Gail’s story spark a desire in you to “go home”?
Here’s a kinda weird way to spend a night on the road if you can give up the comfy one in your RV. Due to popular demand, the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise is offering guests a chance to stay overnight. Sleepless in Stripes is a simulated prison experience, beginning with check-in, mugshots and even a souvenir “uniform” shirt! Guests will enjoy chowtime in the yard and inmate “rec” time activities, a ghost tour of the site with Behind the Scenes exploration, and an overnight stay in one of the historic cell houses. Registration begins Tuesday, September 4, 2023, for the Oct. 7 event. There’s a fee, but it hasn’t been announced yet. Info.
RV parts and accessories at Amazon. Huge selection, great prices.
Readers share their odd RV hobbies
By Cheri Sicard
We recently asked about what hobbies you bring along in your RV. We got SO MANY responses that I broke the follow-up into two parts. Today, we are going to look at odd hobbies that some of you take along that are not as common as the ones in part one but are interesting nonetheless. In some cases, only one person sent in the hobby. In others, a few of you share the same interests. Read more for tons of fun hobbies.
Visit the sweetest graveyard in the U.S. (and eat a treat while you’re at it!)
By Gail Marsh
“I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!” Did you cheer these words as a child? I did. In fact, I still love ice cream, don’t you? No matter what, I save space in our RV’s freezer for a pint or two of Ben and Jerry’s. It’s the perfect treat after a day of sightseeing, hiking, fishing, or simply relaxing. I thought I knew all about ice cream until I discovered Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard. It’s a strange (but entertaining) place to visit. Check this out.
Campground Characters: The Boston family shares joy through books
By Gail Marsh
Usually when I write about someone we’ve met while on the road RVing, it’s a person with whom I’ve actually spent time getting to know. Past “campground characters” have featured an RVer with a story to tell. But this time, the “campground characters” are actually people I’ve never met (though I’d love to meet them sometime). I’ve never spoken to these two RVers in person. So how do I know that the Bostons (Jen Lynn and Scott) are notable campground characters? Read on!
Would you pay $20 to stay overnight at Cabela’s with an electrical hookup?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
Is this your RV?
Win a $25 Amazon gift certificate if today’s RV photo shows your rig
Every few days we post a photo of an RV either submitted by its owner or by our editors and writers as they move about the country.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Is the Schwintek slide mechanism any better now?
- Can I sanitize RV’s fresh water tank without running solution through water lines?
- No power is coming from my RV’s onboard generator. Why?
- My RV’s roof air is so noisy I can’t hear my husband 15 feet away!
- My RV’s black tank flush valve leaks, and the tank valves are labeled wrong!
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!
Bag grips make carrying things much, much easier
This 2-pack of durable, padded carabiner hand grips make carrying things like grocery bags, tote bags, and much more so much easier! Clip the bags to the carabiner, turn it sideways, and you have a comfortable way to distribute the weight. In addition, you can use these in many ways around your RV. Check them out.
In the RV Shop with Dustin
RV roof replacement from start to finish; the worst roof we’ve ever seen!
By Dustin Simpson
Let this post be your reminder to keep up on routine maintenance, especially when concerning your roof. You do not want to have to do a full RV roof replacement, so be sure to keep up with its maintenance. This includes keeping up with your roof sealants, side seams and insert moldings at the roof line. The below videos show the dangers of not keeping up on RV routine maintenance. Watch the videos.
NEW! Road Trip Playlists
9 great born-to-roam road songs
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome back to Road Trip Playlists. In this installment, we are going to look at born-to-roam songs. In other words, songs that celebrate the nomadic lifestyle. As an RVer, you likely have this wandering spirit to one degree or another, but some of us are simply wired to wander. I fall firmly into this category myself. I often hear people saying how great it is to get home after a trip. Not me. I’m the one who never wants to go home. In fact, I am not even sure where “home” is anymore.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
We’ve seen a lot of novelty socks, but these are the absolute funniest! We are not kidding. You need to see these to appreciate them. So funny! We ordered a couple of pairs for ourselves! These are so clever.
Dr. Karel’s Krazy Kritter Korner
Having pets lowers children’s food allergies, and a sneaky animal that says, ‘I don’t know how I goat here!’
Our favorite vet, Karel Carnohan, DVM, writes this week about a goat who took over a Canadian family’s workshop while they were on vacation in Mexico, and he didn’t want to leave. Then there’s the heartwarming story of Cinnamon and Felix, a goat and pit bull, respectively, who are absolutely inseparable. And did you know that children living with cats and dogs have a lower risk of developing allergies? Interesting! Also, Dr. Karel shares another of her all-time favorite cat videos.
RV Tire Safety
Is inflating tires with nitrogen a good idea?
By Roger Marble
I saw the following question about inflating tires with nitrogen on an RV forum: “Has anyone researched the cost, etc., of replacing the air in our tires with nitrogen? It’s more stable and does not change pressure with temps. I hate checking my pressures every trip.” Obviously, this person does not read RVtravel.com info on maintenance.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Did you miss yesterday’s News for RVers?
If so, stories you missed:
• RVers find roof bubbles on new RV. ‘Normal,’ says RV dealer. RVtravel to the rescue
• Record snowfall to bring dangerous, high, fast rivers and streams this spring
• New RV parks coming to the Pacific Northwest, aimed at long-term residents and helping to address housing affordability
• Visitors rank top 10 national parks – Have you been?
• Trouble with Starlink V2 Mini satellites
• Campground Crowding: The ‘nomadic lifestyle’ has finally come to an end
… and much more
NEW! RV Recipe Challenge
Wild rice salad with chicken and mangoes—an easy, make-ahead meal for RVers
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to week three of our RV Culinary Improv Challenge. Each week I take three random ingredients readers submitted and turn them into a delicious recipe that’s small-space cooking friendly. I have to send a big “Thank you!” to Val C., who suggested this week’s challenge ingredients. That’s because the rice salad recipe I created from them is SO GOOD it’s now in my regular rotation! Continue reading for this delicious recipe, plus lots of variations!
Recipe of the Day
by Joanne Bellezza-Loughlin from Bridgewater, NJ
An Italian recipe that’s made with love and takes a little longer to prepare, but the end result is worth every minute. The outcome is beautiful and delicious and it’s not hard to make. We opted to make the traditional dough when testing. It’s similar in texture and taste to pizza dough and holds in all of the Italian meats and cheeses. Inside the Easter pie is a savory and rich flavor that’s mellowed slightly by the crust. A fabulous dish with a beautiful presentation that will “wow” everyone. Serve slices with a little bit of marinara for dipping… yum! Also, this is even better on the second day!
Readers’ Pets of the Day
Okay, we admit it. These aren’t any of your dogs, but they’re just way too cute not to share!
It’s said that 60 percent of parents give their children Easter baskets each year, but it’s also said that 81 percent of parents steal candy from their children on Easter every year. I guess they stock the baskets with the candy they like, huh?
One Easter, a father was teaching his son how to drive when out of nowhere a rabbit jumped into the road. Slamming on his brakes, the son said, “I nearly ruined Easter! I almost ran over the Easter Bunny!” His father replied, ‘It’s okay, Son. You missed it by a hare.”
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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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, Janet Groene, 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. Artificial (AI) contributors: Johnny Robot and Milly MacWilly. Canine 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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