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June 25, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
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.
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) RVtravel.com.
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.)
Related story from yesterday’s issue: RVtravel.com 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
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
- Moochdocking 101: How to score free camping and get invited back
- Tips for a lighter, brighter RV bathroom
- Shoes all over your RV? This couple built custom shoe storage; you could too
- Using ketchup to clean your RV’s BBQ grill, plus other tips to keep it like new
- Gray water tank can smell more than black. Here’s why and what to do about it
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.
POPULAR POLL FROM THIS PAST WEEK
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.
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.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Soft spot on RV’s roof from broken vent seal. Can I just leave it?
- Will a tripod help to stabilize my 5th wheel RV?
- My RV’s roof has black mold. How do I get rid of it?
- It’s 89 out and my RV’s air conditioner only “cools” it to 86. Help!
- RV’s step doesn’t retract when I close the door or start the engine. What to do?
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form. He’ll get back to you!
WHERE ARE THE WILDFIRES AND SMOKE? Find out here:
- Current Wildfire Report. (Includes map and details of fires.)
- Current smoke and fire report for where you live or where you’re traveling.
- Canadian Wildland Fire Information.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
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!
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.” ―
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).
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.
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?
• RVtravel.com 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
Recipe of the Day
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.
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.
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?
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
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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