Tuesday, October 3, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1106

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May 28, 2023
Free, non-subscriber edition

In honor of our fallen heroes on Memorial Day

 Cover story 

To those who died serving our country

By Chuck Woodbury

Memorial Day is tomorrow. But we’ll dedicate today’s issue to the holiday, where our audience is much larger.

I came across the paragraph below the other day, and it hit me hard. While many of us will be out and about this weekend, celebrating an extra day off work, we should all pause to remember this holiday came with a huge price — the deaths of countless Americans who gave their lives to preserve our freedom. It is to them that we owe this holiday. It is to them we owe immeasurable gratitude.

“Monday [tomorrow] will be the most expensive holiday on the calendar. Every hot dog, every burger, every spin around the lake, or drink with friends and family…is a debt…purchased by others. This is not about all who’ve served our country…that day comes in the fall. This one is in honor of those who paid in life and blood; whose moms never saw them again, whose dads wept in private, whose wives raised kids alone, and whose kids only remembered them from pictures. This isn’t simply a day off. This is a day to remember — that others paid for every free breath you ever get to take.”

With that, I will step aside and welcome my hero, journalist and World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle (1900 to 1945), who wrote this beautiful essay shortly before he was killed in action in the final days of the war.

The Death of Captain Waskow

By Ernie Pyle

Ernie Pyle photo
Ernie Pyle

AT THE FRONT LINES IN ITALY, Jan. 10, 1944 (by Wireless) – In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Tex.

Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had been in this company since long before he left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

“After my own father, he comes next,” a sergeant told me.

“He always looked after us,” a soldier said. “He’d go to bat for us every time.”

*   *   *

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow down. The moon was nearly full and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley. Soldiers made shadows as they walked.

Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed onto the backs of mules. They came belly down across the wooden backsaddle, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

The Italian mule skinners were afraid to walk beside dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies, when they got to the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself and ask others to help.

The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment. In the half-light, he might have been merely a sick man standing there leaning on the other. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the stone wall alongside the road.

I don’t know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and you don’t ask silly questions ….

We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on watercans or lay on the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about him. We talked for an hour or more; the dead man lay all alone, outside in the shadow of the wall.

Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there in the moonlight in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting.

“This one is Capt. Waskow,” one of them said quickly.

Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally, there were five lying end-to-end in a long row. You don’t cover up dead men in combat zones. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

The uncertain mules moved off to their olive groves. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually I could sense them moving, one by one, close to Capt. Waskow’s body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear.

One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud:

“God damn it!”

Another one came, and he said, “God damn it to hell anyway!” He looked down for a few last moments and then turned and left.

Another man came. I think it was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the dim light, for everybody was grimy and dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain’s face and then spoke directly to him, as tho he were alive:

“I’m sorry, old man.”

Then a solder came and stood beside the officer and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tender, and he said:

“I sure am sorry, sir.”

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the Captain’s hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face. And he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

Finally he put the hand down. He reached up and gently straightened the points of the Captain’s shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound, and then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

The rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep.

(Column courtesy of the Scripps Howard Foundation.)

To read more stories from World War II by Ernie Pyle, buy a used copy of his out-of-print book Brave Men, available in limited supply on Amazon. If you’re lucky, you may also find it at a used bookstore. A newer book, The Final Chapter, is available in a Kindle Edition for $2.49. It’s Ernie’s last columns, from when he headed off to the South Pacific after the war had ended in Europe.

Announcement! It’s back! The Great RV Accessories newsletter is better than ever with gadgets galore! If you love gadgets, gizmos and accessories, this newsletter is for you. Each issue, delivered to your inbox biweekly, includes gadgets that will improve your RVing life and make it so much more fun. We’ll feature tools, books, accessories, kitchen appliances, and much, much more—all tested by our incredible staff! Sign up here to receive the newest issue, coming June 8, 2023.

Thanks a million RVers!

Our staff at RVtravel.com is still stunned at what happened last Monday. We teased about this in yesterday’s newsletter, but here’s what happened. For most any online publication this is a big deal, but for us it was a huge deal!

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

Don’t trust the presale testing; dealer does nothing

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon posts a couple of long rants (nightmares, really) about parts, service, and dealers, plus a couple of short, but very welcome, raves for repair centers.

Read about them here

Reader asks: Can one still go camping with no plans or reservations?

Here’s a letter we received this week from reader Jeff B. We have a feeling you will have plenty of answers for him… He writes: “For years I have only used my truck camper for “camping” on-site at car swap meets and car shows, but there was a time that I could just head off in a direction with no plans or camping reservations. Can a family still do that? …” Read the rest of Jeff’s letter then please comment here.

How to jack up your motorhome safely

By Russ and Tina De Maris
Does your motorhome need a tire change? Do you need to work on the brakes? There are plenty of maintenance and repair items that can call for jacking up a motorhome. But how do you jack up your motorhome safely? Sad to say, not a year goes by where we don’t see news items about RVers who’ve been seriously injured or killed when their rig has fallen on them. If your motorhome has levelers, we have the answers.

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

DID YOU KNOW? Our RV Daily Tips newsletter is our readers’ favorite newsletter! Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss out. Click here.

RV Short Stop: Long-dead blue whale still produces oil

By Chuck Woodbury
I love traveling, and I love traveling with my RV the most. But regardless of how I travel, what I love the most is learning. I have a serious problem passing by a museum without stopping. I always learn something new. Recently, in Massachusetts, I visited the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, where I met a 66-foot-long juvenile blue whale named Kobo. He’s not “totally” there, just his skeleton. Continue reading this very interesting story.

Illuminating the fascinating history of the traffic light

By Gail Marsh
As RVers, we rely on them. They are one of the best ways to prevent traffic accidents and to keep motorists moving smoothly on the roadways today. But did you ever wonder how it happened? How was the traffic light invented in the first place? I wondered about that, too. Here’s what I discovered.

Ghost Town Trails: Don’t be spooked when camping near the ghosts of the Yankee Fork

By Dave Helgeson
Ghosts of the Yankee Fork include the remains of Custer and Bonanza, Idaho, along with the historical Yankee Fork Dredge. All three await your visit and are easily reached. Camping abounds, making the area perfect for adventurous RVers. There’s lots to see and do in this area.

Never lose your cell phone again with these proven methods

Have you ever lost your cell phone? Maybe you left it outside somewhere, back at a restaurant, or maybe you made your bed with your phone under the sheets! Wherever you lost it, never let it happen again. Gail Marsh did the research and shares with you how to never lose your cell phone again. Learn how.

10 advantages of a floating RV (Recreational Vessel)

By Randall Brink
Embarking on an adventure in a Recreational Vessel (RV) presents an opportunity not found on land to blend the comfort of an RV with the serenity and freedom of open water and quiet coves. There are many advantages of this form of RV travel. Read about them here.

Plan now to attend the World’s Longest Yard Sale

By Gail Marsh
If you love shopping for bargains or have some things to sell, you need to plan now to participate in the World’s Longest Yard Sale. My husband and I just happened upon this amazing venture when traveling through Tennessee. What is it? Find out here.

Reader Poll

If you could sell your RV right now for a good price, would you do it?

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

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!

In the RV shop with Dustin

What I recommend to wash and wax your RV

By Dustin Simpson
A lot of people are always asking me: What do you use to wash or wax your RV? There is one particular brand I’ve used for as long as I’ve been driving and it’s always what I recommend to my fellow RVers and customers. I’ve tried just about every wax out there and I can’t find anything as easy to apply or that lasts as long and protects the way this does. Continue reading

It’s questionable whether these sandals are cute, funny or scary. But one thing is sure—when you wear them you will attract a bunch of attention. And, come on, what other sandals come with a pair of buggy eyeballs? Click here and be amazed.

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

The 12 gadgets and accessories that I can’t do without in the RV

By Nanci Dixon
There are a number of gadgets from the RV that we can use in the house, too. They have migrated their way into the house with us over the winter. Being full-time RVers for the last eight years, I never had to remember what to pack. We carried everything with us. This is the first time in that many years that I need to actually pack up the motorhome. The standard items, dishes, pots and pans, towels, blankets, and camping equipment, are still in the RV just counting the days till we roll again. I just can’t forget to pack these 12 gadgets!

Sip in Style: Say goodbye to flat fizz, bugs and spills with these clever can lid gadgets

By Gail Marsh
I sighed as I poured out another fizzy drink that’d lost its fizz. Grandchildren often opened a can of soda or other fizzy drink, took three sips, and hastily slid the can back into the RV’s fridge. If the can miraculously managed to remain upright, it lost its fizziness within hours. Flat soda and other carbonated drinks would then find their way down the RV’s sink. Or, more often, the soda can would tip over and spill. Then I had a really sticky mess to clean up. There has to be a better way, I thought. Continue reading for solutions.

 NEW! Mystery article

We’re not rude people. Nope, not our staff. We’re nice, we’re friendly, and we’re absolutely hilarious! (If we do say so ourselves.) But you know who is rude? These people! All these people are so dang rude! How could they be this rude?! Click here.

RV Tire Safety

“What tire should I buy?” Find out here

By Roger Marble
“What tire should I buy?” I get this question almost every week. I have hesitated on giving an answer as there are so many variables and unknowns. However, there are a few suggestions on things to consider when shopping for tires.

Continue reading

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

FACEBOOK GROUP YOU MAY LIKE: RVing Fulltime. Check it out.

Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?

If so, stories you missed:
KOA’s new king-sized campsite perks include a ‘fire experience’
National Parks among worst places to work, survey says
Starlink: The latest news updates for RVers
Keystone RV perk affords camping on private lands, ranches
RV shipments continue to drop, down about half from last year
Campground Crowding: Military campgrounds more accessible, changed rules
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

Recipe of the Day

Crock Pot Chicken Pot “Pie” & Dumplings

by Rene Palmer from Shreveport, LA

Never has comfort food ever been so easily done! This “pot pie” requires adding ingredients to the slow cooker, turning it on, and letting it simmer for the day. Chicken thighs add a richer flavor to the dish. It has all the flavors of a chicken pot pie, but instead of a pastry crust, diced refrigerated biscuit dough is sprinkled on top. They plump up into delicious little dumplings.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pets of the Day

“These handsome boys, Roscoe and Rowdy, our Rat Terriers, love to hike, bike, and kayak. When they are not being adventurous they love to cuddle.” —Michelle Harrah

Send us a photo of your pet with a short description. We publish one each weekday in RV Daily Tips and in our Sunday RV Travel newsletter. No blurry photos, please! Please do not submit your photo more than once. Thanks!


How old do you think the world’s oldest surfer is? Surely your bones and joints have to be in good shape still, right? And oh, those knees…

Well, we bet you wouldn’t guess he’s this old! Click here to find out and read his inspiring story.

Truck parts and accessories: Huge selection. Browse or order.

Sunday funny

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

RVtravel.com 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, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Karel Carnohan DVM, Cheri Sicard, Dustin and Ashley Simpson, Dale Wade, and Paul Lacitinola. Moderator: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. 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.

RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com. 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)
: editor@rvtravel.com
Editorial (news)
: chuck@rvtravel.com
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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Larry s Campbell
4 months ago

Ernie started as a cub reporter here in my hometown of LaPorte, Ind. He wasn’t here long but has been a source of pride for us.

4 months ago

Memorial Day is the hardest for me because a year ago last week I came up for a seasonal job with 2 dogs. One died the week after I was here. I guess I missed the signs and well it happened. Now with his sister and a lot of love the family bringing up her other brother, who has issues, got her thru a summer that we thought wouldn’t happen. Now a year later and another dog adopted. Its been a tough year but got thru it. All three are with me in Maine and think this is going to be a great summer. Happy Holidays everyone.

4 months ago

I lost my older brother in Vietnam in 1970. I was a sophomore in high school. 53 years ago this year. 53 years of what ifs. No sister in law, no nieces and nephews, no grand nieces or nephews. Just a flag, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a letter from Nixon. Yes, he was a hero, but I’d rather have a brother and all that comes with it. God Bless all the heros….

Diane McGovern
4 months ago

So sorry for your loss, Denny. We honor and thank your brother, and all other service men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedoms. We are forever grateful.🥲🤗 Take care. –Diane at RVtravel.com

Sven Yohnson
4 months ago

Ernie Pyle was is a National Treasure.

Craig Seitz
4 months ago

My heartfelt thanks and salute to those brave souls who literally gave their lives for people they didn’t even know. “Hero” gets tossed around a lot but should be mostly reserved for them.

Roger V
4 months ago

Excellent Memorial Day tributes. Well done.

4 months ago
Reply to  Roger V


Gary W.
4 months ago
Reply to  Irv


Mario N.
4 months ago
Reply to  Roger V


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