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June 18, 2023
Campsites suddenly available. Are RV parks too expensive now?
By Nanci Dixon
arlier this week, RVtravel.com publisher Chuck Woodbury emailed me a video discussing the status of camping over Memorial Day weekend. It was a commentary about empty RV parks over this traditionally packed camping holiday. I have to agree. I watched the video and share a lot of the observations after traveling this last month. Campgrounds may be empty again… but what does that mean?
Empty campgrounds on Memorial Day
We were at an RV park on Memorial Day and there were a lot of empty sites. I was so surprised. I hadn’t hesitated to pay $70 a night to get a spot because it was Memorial Day weekend! I was too late planning and figured that the high price was my just due. Little did I know that $70 has become the new $40!
A few of our staff members nodded their heads in agreement at a recent staff meeting where we discussed this. They had the same experience over Memorial Day weekend.
I have found the expensive parks are, at most, half full, and some are only 10 percent full. We stayed at a huge lower-cost “Mom and Pop” RV park across from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park in June. School is out and while there was a row of full-timers, dozens of sites were empty.
In more than a month of traveling, we have only been turned down once and that was near a major city on a weekend. This is so different than our trip north last year. The state, regional and COEs are still hard to get into without advance planning, but it isn’t as hard as it has been over the last three years. We got in at a state park in Colorado on a weekday… but it was $46!
The prices at campgrounds are outrageous! I felt like I was getting a deal if I could find a private RV park under $60.
A special shout out (another one!) to our fabulously fast-fingered friend Tommy Molnar, who reached another RVtravel.com commenting milestone this month: 4,000 comments! As we said before: You like us, you really like us! (And a personal “Thank you” from Diane, who hasn’t had to delete, or bleep, any of Tommy’s comments – they’ve all been 100% approved! That deserves another star in and of itself, or maybe a hug. Thanks, Tommy! 🤗)
We love our commenters—so many of you have become friends and you keep the RVtravel.com community alive and strong and real. We always welcome your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and advice. Thank you!
WHERE ARE THE WILDFIRES AND SMOKE? Find out here:
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
‘Something is wrong with the ENTIRE RV industry’
In this column, Nanci Dixon summarizes some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week she shares more service horror stories (don’t know what else to call them), including one from James J., who is disgruntled with the poor workmanship of the entire RV industry and wants better regulation. You won’t believe the ordeal he has been through! Joseph T. warns of bad information on social media, and Dan M. relates his experience with the poor craftsmanship on his new trailer. Oh, and Jerald D. sends kudos to this “top notch” RV service center.
Letter to the Editor: RV parks and campgrounds are NOT the same!
This week’s Letter to the Editor came in from Gary, who writes, “In an article about campground rules, Nanci uses ‘campground’ and ‘RV park’ interchangeably. …” When we read Gary’s message at a recent staff and writers’ meeting, we found ourselves in the middle of a lengthy conversation. Some of our staff said, “Yes! Campgrounds and RV parks ARE the same!” while others said, “No, they’re different!”
If our small staff has so much to say on this topic, surely you, our readers, do too. What do you think? Are campgrounds and RV parks the same or are they different? What’s your definition of both? Read more and answer the poll here.
RVers spark debate about homelessness and homeless ‘campers’
By Gail Marsh
A couple of weeks ago, my “Around the Campfire” article entitled “RVers discuss homelessness in campgrounds” received a lot of attention. In the comments section following the article, many readers offered their opinions about homelessness and its effect on campgrounds. … As I reviewed all of the comments, it solidified my belief that our society’s homelessness is an extremely complex issue. No two situations are exactly the same and so finding “one solution for all” has not and will not work. I also found that homelessness evokes quite strong emotions, and I appreciate those folks who took the time to voice their opinion clearly and succinctly without rancor. Here are just a few of the many, many comments we received.
“Overlander” rigs for the apocalypse – or just fun off-road RVing
By Randall Brink
The world is a scary place. There are natural disasters, man-made disasters, and even the specter of a looming apocalypse. If you’re among the many RVers looking for a way to survive it all, you might want to consider an “overlander” RV. These rugged vehicles are designed to take you off the asphalt and into the wilderness, where you can seek safety and solitude. Here are some of the best overlander RVs for the apocalypse—or just fun off-road RVing.
Class A demolished in freeway crash – Lessons learned? (Video)
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Picture yourself on busy Interstate 5 in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. The seemingly normal flow of traffic is suddenly interrupted as a Class A motorhome careens from the “slow lane side” of the pavement and into the center barrier. The impact basically demolishes the fiberglass coach body. From the windshield, a dog is ejected. This freeway crash is not just a scenario, it really happened last February 15. What lessons can be learned? First, look at the heart-stopping video.
RV Fact or Fiction?
New RV refrigerators are not designed to operate on propane above 5,500 ft. altitude
By Dave Helgeson
Is the following statement fact or fiction? Newer major brand RV refrigerators are not designed to operate on propane above 5,500 ft. altitude.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- Brilliant tip to keep your pet(s) safe at the campground
- Practical tips for reusing plastic containers while RVing
- Paperwork organization: Keep your owner’s manuals, receipts, warranties in check
- The best ways to make use of a toy hauler’s “garage” space
- Time to replace those RV cabinet carpets! Do it for under $15
You won’t believe this ‘mobile toilet’!
Think of all the attention you would get (not to mention the smiles) in the campground or RV park, or just driving down the road, if this mobile toilet were your RV?! We can just imagine an “upstairs” bedroom in the tank, maybe enclosing the area below the tank and putting a “bathroom in the toilet”… The possibilities are endless, not to mention very interesting. Check this out.
Ice cream? Get your licks on Route 66
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Route 66, “The Mother Road,” makes a climb out of California and into Arizona. If you make the pull heading for Flagstaff, there’s a must-stop if you’re into ice cream. Get off the interstate and pick up Route 66 at Seligman. You can’t miss Delgadillo’s Snow Cap. Is it a restaurant? A café? A burger joint? If you’d been around in the days of founder Juan Delgadillo, he’d tell you, “None of the above.” Learn more.
The fascinating history of Father’s Day
By Gail Marsh
Pops, Daddy, Papa, Dad, Father… No matter what you call him, today is the day we celebrate our fathers and the important father figures in our lives. Dads deserve to be recognized, but did you ever wonder about the history of Father’s Day? Read on and you’ll see.
Riding (or walking) the incredible cross-country, 3,700-mile Great American Rail-Trail
By Gail Marsh
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Appalachian Trail and perhaps the Pacific Crest Trail. You may have even hiked the Colorado Trail or the Teton Crest Trail. But did you know that there’s another trail—an amazing trail that will eventually connect our nation’s capitol in Washington, D.C., to the far western coast of Washington state? Yes, this is the Great American Rail-Trail. Learn all about it here.
Canyons of the Ancients and Hovenweep national monuments: Historic short stops worth a visit
By Nanci Dixon
Today’s amazing travel stops were at Canyons of the Ancients and Hovenweep national monuments in Southwestern Colorado. While it was a lot of driving on some gravel and some long stretches of curving, twisting roads, it was memorable. Read more.
Do you like your first name?
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: Have you ever ridden a horse? What percentage have never ridden a horse: 4 percent, 15 percent, or 37 percent? Find out here.
“Emily, Chuck, and the rest of the RVtravel team—Rewind to 4/22/23. I was reading the Saturday edition and saw this: ‘There is still time to volunteer as a campground host at a National Park. A minimum commitment of two months is required.’
“My wife and I had talked about it but had never been campground hosts. I clicked the link and found an interesting opportunity. I asked my wife if she wanted to go to Zion to camp host. Short answer? YES!
“We leave home (GA) on 6/22/23, exactly two months after initially applying for the position. We are so excited and thankful to all of you at RVtravel for the incredible information and advice you provide. If you’re in Zion from July 1st through Labor Day, stop by and say hello! Yes, it’s going to be hot. With thanks, Joe & Marj”
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Campground limits generator usage to 8 hours a day. Will that keep batteries charged?
- Can I replace my RV’s two 6-volt batteries with one Group 27 12-volt?
- How do I get rid of mold in and around my RV’s toilet?
- Do’s and don’ts when replacing RV batteries
- Why did my RV’s microwave stop working through the inverter?
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 ??
OMG! We love this! This is BY FAR the best one of these we’ve ever seen—we didn’t even know they made them like this! Even if you don’t buy one, you’re going to love seeing this! (Instead of a … it’s a Bug!)
In the RV shop with Dustin
How to clean the roof sealants before resealing the roof
By Dustin Simpson
If you find yourself asking: How do I clean and prep the roof sealants and surface before resealing with Alpha or Dicor self-leveling sealant?—I have answers.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos (and more)
The perfect electric mixer for RV kitchens
By Cheri Sicard
When I am on the road for extended periods, which happens frequently, I really miss my electric stand mixer. Without an electric mixer, otherwise simple tasks like whipping cream or egg whites, or mixing cake or cookie batters, become far more of a chore. So I set out to find a good handheld mixer. My search led me to what just might be the perfect electric mixer for RV kitchens. Read about it here.
Color-changing marshmallows? Garlic marshmallows? Don’t get them confused!
By Gail Marsh
I can’t wait to make the next batch of s’mores (these are my favorite s’mores hacks and recipes)! That’s because I recently discovered Jet-Puffed Color Changers. These are marshmallows that actually change colors! When I told my husband about my discovery, he surprised me with marshmallow news of his own, but we hope we don’t get these marshmallows mixed up! Continue reading.
Generator grounding and bonding
By Mike Sokol
We originally posted this four years ago, but are spotlighting it again for those readers who missed it the first go-round.
I purchased a generator for the RV. It is a 3500-watt unit and came with an RV 30-amp outlet. I thought that it would tie the ground and neutral together but upon doing a continuity check on it all three poles are open. The generator does have an earth ground connection. Do you recommend using the earth ground connection with a grounding rod and would a foot deep be adequate for a copper rod? Or should I just tie the ground and neutral together, and where would be the best place to tie together? Your help would be greatly appreciated. —Gary
NEW! Mystery article
You chew it, you put it in a cocktail, you cook with it sometimes, but this leafy ingredient could also keep those pesty rodents at bay…. but does it work? Find out here.
RV Tire Safety
Tire info on the internet: Who you gonna trust?
By Roger Marble
A lot of information is out there on the internet. A lot of “influencers” are self-appointed experts on dozens of unrelated topics or products. While some are pretty good writers and probably have a good background on a topic or two, hardly a day goes by without seeing some forum post offering advice on a topic the writer has, in my opinion, no functional knowledge about. While I do know a lot about tires, I don’t know it all. … I am writing this to remind everyone to check the background and qualifications of the person you are listening to. …
Click below to read more, including about Roger’s very impressive credentials and why we can trust him!
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:
• Will the Camping World acquisition spree spell an end to local RV shows?
• More campers embracing artificial intelligence, says KOA. How about you?
• RV park industry comes up short in disaster planning
• Campground Crowding: Reservations: ‘These days, you get what you’re willing to pay for’
• Camping World to offer exclusive RV brands at some stores
… and much more
Our favorite RV camping guidebooks
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite guidebooks that will help you find great campsites on state and federal lands. Cheri Sicard writes, “I know I personally can’t live without the Army Corps of Engineers Camping book. They have some of the best campgrounds in the country, often with electricity and sometimes full hookups, and always at bargain rates.”
“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” —Mark Twain
Recipe of the Day
by Kitchen Crew from Nashville, TN
Strawberry shortcake is a quintessential summertime dessert. The next time you prepare this delicious treat, try grilling the strawberries and the pound cake. Rolling the strawberries in sugar and grilling them caramelizes the strawberries and creates a yummy glaze. Spoon them over slices of grilled pound cake and the dessert tastes similar to a strawberry cobbler. It’s a fun play on strawberry shortcake and is guaranteed to become a family favorite.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Auggie, our 1-year-old Cairn Terrier, wants to drive our Class A rig.” —Kathleen Ince
• RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.
The Panama Canal isn’t the only body of water that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. At Parting of the Waters, deep in the Wyoming Teton wilderness, you’ll find a stream that splits in two and does, indeed, connect the Atlantic to the Pacific. Read more about it here.
An RVer named Ray travels with a talkative but foul-mouthed parrot. One day in a campground outside Denver, the bird swore non-stop. Frustrated, Ray grabbed it by the throat and told it to shut up. Moments later, the bird was swearing again.
The next day, the parrot swore so loudly the RV park manager demanded its silence. Desperate, Ray locked the bird in a cupboard. Alas, no help. The next day, the bird was worse. So, as a last resort, Ray tossed it into his refrigerator. After five minutes, all was quiet. Worried the bird might be freezing to death, Ray took it out. “I’m sorry,” said the suddenly-polite bird. “I promise to never swear again.” Ray was astonished. He couldn’t understand the change in attitude.
“By the way,” asked the parrot, “what did the chicken do?”
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 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.
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