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April 16, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
Alaska travel guide available this week
If you’re traveling or thinking about traveling to Alaska, you need The Milepost, the best-selling travel guide to Alaska. It includes mile-by-mile descriptions of more than 15,000 miles of road in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alberta. Its 700-plus pages detail accommodations, camping, fishing, gas stops, restaurants, attractions and services found along the highways and byways of Alaska and western Canada. Learn more or order.
Another milestone reached. Issue #1100!
By Chuck Woodbury
Istarted this newsletter about 22 years ago. I won a case of beer a few weeks later. I had made a bet with my friend and fellow journalist James Raia that I could start an email newsletter about RVing at the same time he was starting one about the Tour de France (which he had covered for a half-dozen years by then) and have more subscribers than him after a month.
I won. Oh, that seems like a long time ago. James and I are still friends. He keeps busy with his website The Weekly Driver.
So now here I am many moons later, at issue 1100, still at it. I have publicly retired several times using this space to say so, the last time in issue 1000. Alas, I have failed each time. The fact is, I love everything about RVtravel.com and its newsletters. And now, my daughter, Emily, who took her first RV trip when she was only a few months old, is editing the website and our many newsletters including our popular RV Daily Tips every Monday through Friday. She has assumed most of my workload, leaving me to do the fun stuff.
And speaking of our weekday RV Daily Tips, it reached its own milestone on Friday, its 2100th issue. Good job, Emily!
Times have changed
The good ol’ days of being the only show in town are over. Today, we do battle with a zillion influencers, brand ambassadors and YouTube creators who churn out articles and videos in search of money and celebrity. Too many of them know little about what they’re talking about. Still, they are damn good at playing the game which is very popular these days with folks weaned on social media.
Alas, at RVtravel.com we continue to stay the course, committed to be old-fashioned journalists, where truth matters, not spewing out gibberish for profit.
Oh, get off your soap box, Charles!
Thank you, all of you
Welcome to the 700 new readers who subscribed in the last week. And a special thanks to you who have supported us financially. Your voluntary subscriptions have been critical in allowing us to do our work without having to kiss the behinds of advertisers, which always compromises honesty. If you’d like to help us grow and serve you better, please cyber-scoot over here and chip in whatever you can spare. We’d be mighty appreciative.
Oh, before I ride off into the sunset, I’d like to thank those of you who donated last week to the food bank in Monroe, Washington, where we had donated $325 last Monday from selling donated books and DVDs at an RV show. You sent in another $275 by using the link I provided in last Sunday’s issue. “That $600 will feed a lot of hungry families,” Carla Stewart of the Sky Valley Food Bank wrote to me.
OK. Enough. Thanks for coming along with us today. Hope to see you again next week (or tomorrow if you subscribe to RV Daily Tips).
Publisher’s roadside journal
Chuck Woodbury writes about whatever is on his mind. He’s been writing these essays for several decades now, amounting to millions of words.
This week, Chuck writes about a discussion he had with his dog, Archie. If you own a dog or cat, maybe you can identify with him.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
The amount of repairs they have to do EVERY trip is NOT worth the RV
This week Nanci Dixon summarizes some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs, including an RVer’s response to another RVer’s suggestion to “read the owner’s manual.” (Most of you can probably identify with this, unfortunately.) There’s some insight from a 20-year RV tech on dealers and service. But there are some good reports (and linked shops) again, which gives us hope. Oh, and you won’t believe one RVer’s horror story about their dream RV and why they’ve decided that if they ever get rid of it, they’ll just build their own!
A guide to trailer brake laws in all 50 U.S. states
By Randall Brink
Last week an RVtravel.com reader, “Tal,” commented, “I’d like to see an article on the legal requirements for trailer brake controllers by state. I’d guess there are many RVers that are violating state laws that don’t know it.” They may be, so we decided to look at the trailer brake laws of the 50 states to clear up any questions about the legal requirements. Learn about them here.
Campgrounds and subdivisions becoming one and the same?
By Andy Zipser
It’s gotten to the point where the notion of a “campground” is becoming indistinguishable from that of a subdivision. True, the housing units at so-called campgrounds and RV parks are—mostly—smaller than their suburban counterparts. And their settings may be more “rustic,” perhaps with gravel roads instead of asphalt, and with such camping flourishes as outdoor fire pits or communal swimming pools. But commercial campsites, whether for RVs or dwellings, also tend to be more closely packed together than the houses in most subdivisions, and the inexplicable fondness of many campers for lighting up their sites means starry nights at a campground will be as elusive as in any Levittown. Continue reading.
RVers desperate for more places to stay
We’ve had a couple of good reasons in the last few weeks to conclude that RVers are getting increasingly concerned, even desperate, about finding places to stay with their RVs. Learn why we say this.
RV Fact or Fiction?
Never plug in your RV with a 20-amp extension cord
By Dave Helgeson
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 monthly 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 our experts.
So tell us, is this… Fact or Fiction: Never plug in with a 20-amp extension cord.
Around the Campfire
A wanderin’ widower lives out his RVing dream
By Gail Marsh
One of the best things about RVing is the people you meet along the way. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Willie. I first met Willie while on a walk around the campground. Later that evening, Willie joined the community campfire. He sat right next to me.
Willie lost his wife and decided to put off retirement and RVing for a few years while he continued working… until it was finally time to live out their dream.
Continue reading Willie’s inspiring story
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- Home is where the campsite is, so make it home-y!
- 9 ways to make the most of your RV travel time
- Taking RV inventory: Does everything in our RV need to stay?
- Readers say THIS is the worst kind of road to drive on. We offer tips
- Hey, RVers! Watch out for road hazards!
Reasons to visit a hot spring, and the best ones in the Midwest
By Gail Marsh
I’ve been wanting to visit a hot spring for a while. The problem? My husband isn’t thrilled about my idea. So, to help convince him, and maybe you, too, I’ve come up with five great reasons to visit a Midwest hot spring and the best ones to visit (they all look so beautiful!). Here they are.
This RV is shaped like a USB flash drive
If you’re laughing, well, you might want to change that expression to one that’s more like “Wow!” This trailer really does look like a USB drive and it’s pretty darn attractive! And talk about clever! Check out the story and take a short video tour.
Dog flu is spreading. Is your dog at risk?
By Karel Carnohan, DVM
“I’ve heard that dogs are dying from the flu. Should I be worried about this? Is there a vaccine to protect my dog?” Find out here.
How the timeless game of shuffleboard slid into hearts and across generations
By Gail Marsh
Grandpa’s game. That’s what I used to think about shuffleboard. I avoided the game’s allure for as long as I could. Then, after just one game, I was hooked! Move over, Grandpa! Or prepare to be skunked! I got to wondering: How did this game originate? When did shuffleboard games become a common sight at parks and campgrounds all across America? Here’s what I discovered.
Have you ever loaned your RV to a close friend or family member?
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 Sunday, Wednesday and Friday 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.
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 it better to have the front of the trailer a bit too high or a bit too low?
- A 3″ hole for a 1″ wire? Why are RV manufacturers so careless?
- Does using ice cubes to unclog an RV’s black tank really work?
- Can I swap my gravity toilet for a macerator toilet to help with dumping?
- How often should I repack my RV’s wheel bearings?
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!
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
This will give your RV a cool effect, but make sure the fire department isn’t called on you! See why it might be, here.
In the RV Shop with Dustin
Gadgets help with hand strength, grip on sewer connections
When it comes to RVing, one of the challenges we all face is when it is time to install or remove your sewer connections. Having enough hand grip and strength to twist can become a challenge.
Having the leverage required to remove the sewer cap and the dump hose or stinky slinky can be difficult to remove or install at times. We all could use a drain helper, so here are two helpful tools that can make the job a little easier.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Finally, new hose quick connectors stopped all the leaks!
By Nanci Dixon
We love quick connector hose fittings. I use them everywhere we have a hose going anywhere… one on the water faucet pressure valve, one on the hose going to and from the water filters, another on the water softener, one on the flush hose and even on the water sprayer! We travel a lot in the RV and if we have a park water hookup we will usually connect to water. Quick connectors make it so much quicker… except when they don’t. And when they don’t, they leak.
NEW! Road Trip Playlists
10 great road-tripping roadside America songs
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to the latest installment of Road Trip Playlists. The United States has long had a love affair with cars and road-tripping, so this week we look at songs that celebrate the great American road trip, and roadside America. In other words, some of the amazing sites and attractions you can find on an American road trip!
Dr. Karel’s Krazy Kritter Korner
Hilarious safety tips from the NPS, the world’s shortest dog, and ghosts!
Do you need your spirits lifted? This week’s feature from Karel Carnohan, DVM, will do just that, guaranteed! She includes tips that will crack you up from the National Park Service, a little pip-squeak of a dog, and all about ghosts and dogs and how to tell if you have a ghost in your RV.
RV Tire Safety
Important info on tire pressure increase—Don’t believe everything you read
By Roger Marble
This topic seems to never die. I just ran across a post from an enthusiast in Europe who has the “hobby”(??) of worrying about tire temperature and pressure. He started out a few years ago by developing his own Load and Pressure formula, which is fine if that is what he finds interesting. But he then published the results of this new equation. Now, if someone wants to play around with the established worldwide tire industry standards, that is up to them. The problem I have is that it is hard enough to educate RV owners on the importance of using the established tables. We do not need to add confusion from an individual, no matter how well intended, who is not a tire engineer.
Ask Roger anything about RV tires on his RV Tires Forum.
Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?
If so, stories you missed:
• Disingenuous Department of the Interior Public Lands Rule will jeopardize access to BLM’s public lands
• Walmart announces addition of thousands of EV charging stations
• Unprotected wiring in RV catches on fire. Is your RV next?
• Thor offering $10,000 rebates to ramp up RV sales
• Update: Settlement reached in long-running RV park battle
• RVers abandoning RV parks, saying they don’t need ‘amenities’ or ‘folks just stopping by to say hi’
… and much more
NEW! RV Recipe Challenge
Spanish Tortilla make-ahead recipe, easy and delicious for RVers
By Cheri Sicard
Welcome to this week’s RV Recipe Improv challenge, where I take three random ingredients suggested by an RVtravel.com reader and turn them into a delicious small-space-friendly recipe. This week we are going to make a Spanish Tortilla. Thanks go to reader Janet L. for this week’s ingredient suggestion. Janet challenged me to come up with a recipe using these three ingredients: leftover ham, red bell pepper and cheddar cheese.
Check out, then try out, this delicious recipe!
Recipe of the Day
Cobb Potato Salad
by Linda Bonwill from Englewood, FL
Soooooo good! Dressing is great, toppings are de-lish… What’s not to love?!
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Eddy, our Corgi, got thirsty here in our winter home in the Rio Grand Valley. He decided my Diet Coke looked like it would do. He’s such a good boy making good use of the straw, better than his bowl. Smart and intelligent are mixed in with being precocious and cute.” —Randal Weber
Every driver needs to keep this nearby in case of emergency
This little gadget, less than $9, could save your life. This emergency keychain can be used in case of emergency situations such as vehicle rollover, electrical system failure, car fire, floods, sinking and more. The razor-sharp seatbelt cutter will free you within seconds, and the tempered glass window breaker will easily break your vehicle windows. Keep this where you can reach it while you’re driving. At all times.
New Mexico state tax rules have an interesting twist for the elderly: Those who are over 100 years old and not claimed as a dependent don’t have to pay income tax. So that’s one good thing about growing very old!
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, 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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HIGH THEIR FRIEND RVers. I just wanted to pass on a great tip to all you travelers, remember to have on your person an emergency contact list of everyone with you and were you are staying while you are on the road. update it as you relocate. also people back home just in case something bad happens. tape the info. on the frig as well. Have that list carried with everyone in your party. This happened to someone when his wife went to the store and had an accident just a few miles from where her husband was and emergency personal had no idea who to contact.