Saturday, September 30, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1110

Welcome to, America’s longest continuously published RVing newsletter. Be sure to check out all our other RV-related newsletters.

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Page Contents

June 25, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition

 Cover story 

How a coat of paint can warm a child’s heart

By Chuck Woodbury

This has nothing to do with RVing. What it’s about is how some red paint and a good imagination can improve the world, one person at a time — in this case, one child.

But first, like many people, I spent much of last week glued to the news about the desperate deep-sea search to rescue five men trapped in the Titan submersible exploring the wreck of the Titanic. For days, news updates counted down how much oxygen remained in the small capsule, which had lost communication with the surface. Then on Thursday, debris from the vessel was found. All lives were lost.

The Buddy Bench

Later that same day, I happened upon the story and photo of a special red bench. See it above. I felt myself smile, my dark day suddenly brightened.

I learned it was at an elementary school. Apparently, a father who saw it asked his son if all the school’s benches were painted red. “Oh, no,” the young boy answered. “This one was special.” It was the “Buddy Bench.”

The idea, he explained, was that a student who was feeling sad or lonely could sit on the bench. Another child who knew the significance of the bench could join him or her to offer comfort. Oh my, I thought, what a wonderful idea! I recalled times long ago when I was a child, when I might have sat on such a bench and how comforting it would have been to have another child join me. Couldn’t such an experience have a beneficial effect on some lonely, depressed or perhaps unpopular children?

More Buddy Benches?

If you have children or grandchildren, tell them about the Buddy Bench. Suggest they discuss it with their schoolmates and teacher. Maybe they can get permission to designate such a bench at their school. It would just require a small can of red paint, which I would be very happy to furnish.

If you can help make this happen, please send a photo of the bench to me at chuck (at)

What do you think?
What do you think of this?x

RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

RVer quoted $30,400 for repair, looked elsewhere, got it done for $1,200

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon summarizes some of our readers’ comments which include, again, more RV service nightmares and more rave reviews. Wendy D. says her trips wouldn’t be possible without her mechanic and his honesty because her restored Class A is too old to be repaired in a shop. Bill and Margaret B. had totally opposite results from two different Camping Worlds (“It’s hit and miss.”). And Mark S. suggests the RV service centers provide customer service training. (We bet you’d agree.)

Click here to read all that and more

Related story from yesterday’s rescues reader from maddening Sprinter repair issue!

Campground prices have hit an all-time high

As Nanci Dixon travels from Arizona to Minnesota, she is noticing a big difference from years past: campground prices are at an all-time high! She notes that large chains are running around $70+ a night, and even Mom and Pop spots have caught on! What was once $25 to $35 a night two or three years ago is now $55 to $60. After additional campground fees, gas, maintenance and repairs, there’s no way RVing is less expensive than hotels! Read more.

If you can’t answer these questions, you shouldn’t be towing

By Dave Kendall
Dear RVtravel,
I’m writing this about trailer towing because it has become dear to my heart, and is probably the most important issue for RVers who tow. What really stimulated my thinking is my experience towing a travel trailer for 22,000 miles and towing a 5th wheel for about 15,000 miles, all in the past five years. … Even more, I am writing because I have become aware that various organizations offer towing classes that only teach people how to back up a trailer. That’s good, but it greatly concerns me to think that once someone is given instructions on how to back up an RV, that they are now “trained” to tow. … Here’s a quiz. If a driver cannot answer these basic questions, they are at risk for problems. Read more and take the quiz here.

Nighttime tornadoes and RVs—not a good combination!

By Gail Marsh
Did you know that almost half of all tornadoes strike at night? I read that startling fact on The Weather Channel’s website this week. Nighttime storms are often the cause of higher fatalities simply because folks are sleeping and don’t realize that a tornado is coming. I think we’d all agree that nighttime tornadoes and RVs are not a good combination! Learn what to do here.

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

Visit the Independence, Montana, ghost town—Just in time for the 4th of July

By Dave Helgeson
In honor of Independence Day next month, I thought a visit to Independence, Montana, was an appropriate entry for June’s edition of Ghost Town Trails. … If you are an overlanding type, Independence, Montana, is for you! Read all about it here.

Does anyone believe RVers living on the “streets” are going away?

Does anyone who studies the RV lifestyle believe that the legions of America’s poor and disadvantaged who live in dilapidated RVs on city streets will suddenly find better housing and move on? Those of us who observe the RV industry and are honest about it say “no.” The ranks of these people are growing, and the efforts of most communities to deal with the problems that occur boils down to getting them to pack up and move to another town. It’s the game of RV Hot Potato. The tokens are junkyard RVs. Read more from Chuck Woodbury (and take our poll).

RV Prospector: Try “mossing” for gold

By Randall Brink
RV travelers looking for ways to expand their prospecting possibilities without carrying more heavy tools and equipment might consider “mossing” for gold. What is “mossing”? It was a favorite method of meticulous Chinese prospectors who successfully worked the streams of the West after the Gold Rush ’49ers were gone. The technique remains a good choice for gold seekers today. Learn about it here.

Summer’s favorite treat: The history of the popsicle

By Gail Marsh
It’s something a kid likely invented. That was my first thought when recently serving our grandkids this iconic frozen treat. Turns out, I was right! Read on to see how it happened: the popsicle! This is interesting.

19 dumb complaints from clueless tourists

Get ready to laugh, or at least shake your head in wonder at these actual complaints tourists made to Thomas Cook Vacations about their trip. While these are not related to RV travel, they illustrate a couple of things: 1. You cannot please everybody; and 2. Some people are stupid or, at the very least, clueless. Here are the complaints.

Reader Poll (and article)

Have you formed long-lasting relationships through RVing?

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 eat more or less red meat than five years ago? See how nearly 1,800 other carnivores (some not) voted here.

Travel Destinations

Short stop at Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Yard, the biggest rail yard in the world!

By Nanci Dixon
This week’s short stop on our trip back north was at Golden Spike Tower and Bailey Yard, the biggest rail yard in the world! Every day, 10,000 railway cars are sorted out, put on the right track and dispatched to their destination. You can see the Golden Spike Tower for miles on the flat plain. That flat land is one reason that North Platte, Nebraska, was chosen as its location.

Learn more 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!


Our staff agrees that this book has had THE most influence in inspiring people to take up RVing. Our publisher is one of those people whose desire to buy his first RV was fueled by reading this.

In the RV shop with Dustin

Drain valve lubricant explained: What it’s used for and why

By Dustin Simpson
Let me introduce you to the product of the week. Has anyone ever talked to you about adding a drain valve lubricant by Thetford into your black or gray tank system? This is something you should be doing!

Learn more here

DID YOU KNOW? Dustin writes three other articles each week, posted in the Monday, Wednesday and Friday editions of our RV Daily Tips Newsletter. Make sure you’re signed up.

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” ―George Burns

RV Gadgets and Gizmos

By Cheri Sicard

Magic silicone dish scrubbing gloves make RV dishwashing easy

When it comes to great RV accessories, I always love items that can multi-task, in other words, accomplish more than one thing and/or replace more than one item you would otherwise need to carry in your RV. These amazing silicone gloves do just that. Read all about them here.

Camping journal and RV log book perfect for RVers to keep track of campgrounds and more

This little camping journal and RV log book makes a thoughtful gift for the RVers in your life. It’s also a great way to journal about all your own adventures and keep track of important RV and camping information in one convenient place. Continue reading.

DO YOU ENJOY READING ABOUT GADGETS? Then you absolutely must read the latest edition of our Great RV Accessories Newsletter! Read it here, and if you like what you see, sign up for it (delivered to your inbox every other Thursday).

Do you think maybe they gave up their home and lawn mowing for full-time RVing?

 NEW! Mystery article

What’s one very dangerous thing about being a snowbird? THIS! You do not want to get this, and, unfortunately, snowbirds have a higher risk of it. Read more here.

Think you’re ready for the 4th of July? Not until you have this!
What’s more patriotic than an RV-themed 4th of July shirt? Nothing! Wear this to show off your RV pride and your country pride! The shirt comes in both men’s and women’s sizes and styles and a variety of colors. It’s 100% cotton and machine washable. Learn more or order here. And if you want to see other 4th of July RVing shirts, click here.

RV Tire Safety

Important information on tire maximum inflation

By Roger Marble
I am going to do a series of shorter posts that will each be focused on one aspect of the tire inflation question. “MAX PSI” is a hot topic on various RV forums I monitor, so let’s jump in.

Read more

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:
California generator “ban” fizzles – Cummins new generators coming
A “common law” of outdoor recreation? rescues reader from maddening Sprinter repair issue!
Slab City – Will sale shut down legendary RV boondocking spot?
Campground Crowding: It’s time to “extend the camping season” and “build more campgrounds”!
and much more

Read it here | Back issues

Recipe of the Day

Grilled Chicken and Tortellini Salad

by Peggy O’Brien from Avon Lake, OH

The ingredients in this recipe combine to make one fabulous summer dish. With the grilled chicken and tortellini, it’s hearty enough to be a light summer dinner. The frozen tortellini adds just enough cheese to the salad. Sun-dried tomatoes and Italian dressing give the salad a ton of flavor. It’s a universal meal everyone will love. Leftovers make a great lunch.

Get the recipe here

Readers’ Pet of the Day

“Teddy, a German Shepherd/Beagle, was 2 when this picture was taken. He’s 10 now and has been traveling with us since he was 5 months old. He’s been the best companion and loves being retired.” —Susan Stratford

RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.


Mount Rushmore cost just $989,992.32 to carve and erect; however, today that would be about $17 million.

Sunday funny

I’ve always enjoyed spending time outside. As a kid, my brother would roll me down hills in old tires we’d find in the junkyard. Those were Goodyears.

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

 Roadside Journal 

Random Act of Kindness: The young man at McDonald’s

By Chuck Woodbury
In a world that is often depressing, reading this made my day. This story will warm your heart.

RV Parts and Accessories at Amazon 
Just about anything you could want or need for your RV All Star Team

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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 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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2 months ago

The reason campgrounds are so high is because of the irresponsible nature of the people who make more then one rsvp at a campground because they cannot decide where they want to go to and so at the last minute cancel the ones they will not go to and this cost the campgrounds major expenses and loss due to the irresponsible nature of people like this. I heard one tourist on a bus mention this to another tourist and I was totally disgusted. So if you want to know why things are high? Might want to look around at the campground you are staying at and go where are the people and think to yourself that camper decided to ruin it for the rest of us. IMO not yours.

Pierre Schexneider
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Great idea

Dale Gilbert
3 months ago
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a very good story

EJ Canary
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

What a great idea! Need more down to earth healing ideas like this.

Jack Koning
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Love it!!

Great idea – we’ll try it!!

Steve Minor
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Chuck. that is wonderful idea (not to mention heart warming idea) I too would help with the cost of the paint!!

3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Great story

3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

I like the idea, but it could be badly subverted by bullies. Once a bully knew he could always find a vulnerable victim on the bench, it would stop being a refuge for a sad or lonely child. I think schools should identify kids who seem to be having a hard time being accepted by peers and provide some remedial education on social skills and managing emotions, because the kids aren’t learning this at home. It would save these kids a world of grief all through school.

3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

It’s a good idea. Every town needs one too.

Shirl Koop
3 months ago
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I think it’s a simply amazing wonderful idea that could heal a lot of hearts….in fact the whole world could use a lot of “Buddy Benches” ….especially now 💞

George Pennington
3 months ago
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It’s a great idea Chuck and it is a great offer you have made!

3 months ago

The thought is great, just hope someone appreciates them.
We have made a few real friends through RVing, we lost two during the pandemic.
We keep journals of RV Parks, noting ones to go back to and ones never go back to. We also do the same with Fuel stops, places to stop like Cracker Barrel and places we see as we are traveling or someone else has mentioned, but don’t have the time this trip.

Pam Horstman
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Fantastic! More friendship ideas are needed and to be carried out considering the times in the World.

Lucy roylo
3 months ago
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You are a good and compassionate man Chuck. Our world needs more people like you.

Becky Neilsen
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

Thank you for the reminder of this special bench. It could change someone’s life.

3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

A grade school near me has one, I never knew the significance… Thanks Chuck

michael boncheck
3 months ago
What do you think?" Read more »

I think that is a excellent idea. AS a child I would have appreciated something like this

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