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July 23, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
What my dog taught me about failure (and success)
By Chuck Woodbury
Iadopted my little dog, Archie, four years ago. Gail and I rescued him from a California shelter. The first time I saw him I knew he was “the one” — love at first sight. Right now, as I type, he’s sleeping at my feet. I’ve had dogs before, but Archie is special. I love that little guy. If you own a dog, you understand.
But I am not here to tell you a dog story. I am here to tell you what my little pal taught me this morning. Well, he didn’t teach me, exactly, but he helped me understand something.
Archie, like many dogs, perhaps most dogs, chases squirrels. There is nothing that arouses his passion as much as a squirrel in his backyard. He will cry to be let outside when he sees one. When I open the door, he sprints after the invader, which always easily escapes. This has happened hundreds of times. Archie has never caught a single squirrel and I doubt he ever will.
This morning as I watched yet another squirrel get away, I thought to myself, “Poor little Archie. It must be tough to fail over and over and over.” And then it hit me! For all the years I have known my little pal, I have always assumed he was trying to catch the squirrels. What if he were only trying to chase them away from his territory? In that case, he has been a huge success: He has never failed!
What I have judged as failure may have been just the opposite to him. “Success again,” he might say to me if he could speak. Personally, I think he is trying to catch the squirrels, but, let me be honest here, I can’t know, can I?
So what Archie taught me this morning was more like a reminder. It was that I should not be so quick to judge others (including dogs) as failures or successes when I do so based on my own assumptions. I mean, what do I actually know?
OK. Maybe this is just a bunch of mumbo jumbo and obvious to you. Whatever the case, this is what Archie got me thinking about today.
Thanks, little buddy.
WHERE ARE THE WILDFIRES AND SMOKE? Find out here:
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Service tech overfills transmission, motorhome catches fire. ‘We could’ve been killed!’
This week, Nanci Dixon passes along several absolutely nightmare scenarios from RVers regarding the nonexistent or poor service from service centers, including an apparent error on the part of a technician that caused a motorhome to catch on fire. (These stories will have you shaking your head, at the very least.) Oh, and Steve D. relates how, while his RV was in the shop, “Someone took a shower in my coach, drained my fresh water, filled the gray tank and burned through propane!” What?! You won’t believe what all of these poor folks have gone though.
The hidden danger of formaldehyde in RVs
By Dave Solberg
Over the years there has been much discussion and many articles written about formaldehyde present in RVs and the effect it can have on owners. Probably the biggest story was the FEMA trailers purchased during the Hurricane Katrina disaster that sat in a field in the Midwest over the summer. Once they were distributed and sold, people were getting sick due to the high levels of formaldehyde in them. Continue reading.
Trailer sway: Causes, cures, and getting away safe
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
New travel trailer users beware. A big boogieman lurking around the next curve could be your undoing. Trailer sway! The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that about 50,000 trailer sway accidents are reported each year. And many of these are preventable. A bit of sway can ruin your whole day. What causes it? What can result from it? And what can you do to avoid the perils of trailer sway? Read on! (And watch the video.)
You carry a gun in your RV. Would you use it?
By Randall Brink
Traveling in your RV, you carry a gun. But would you use it? The question is in the minds of many RVers. Many issues include personal safety, the natural imperative to defend family members and legal questions. Learn about the use of guns for self-defense and responsible gun ownership here.
AI Trip Planning
Readers don’t trust AI trip planning – so we put it to the test
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Last month we wrote about a report published by KOA that said more and more “campers” are using artificial intelligence (AI) for trip planning. We wondered if you, RVtravel.com readers, were in the same boat. We asked your opinion in a reader poll, and a large number of respondents told us they just don’t trust AI trip planning. After we “test drove” a major feature of one AI trip planning website, we think we know why. Continue reading.
Use AI to plan an RV trip? Maybe, but…
By Nanci Dixon
I just read an article from National Geographic about using AI (artificial intelligence) to plan a trip. AI basically draws on the information already on the internet and in seconds gathers and answers questions, writes reports, and now plans trips. As planning an RV trip is now one of my least favorite things to do I decided to give it a shot. Read about the interesting results here.
RV Fact or Fiction?
Your RV’s tank covers should never be removed
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 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.
Is the following statement fact or fiction? “Your RV’s tank covers should never be removed, unless you are filling up with propane or changing them out.”
Around the Campfire
Breaking up dog fights in campgrounds
By Gail Marsh
“It all happened so fast!” Mary admitted. Although it was now dusk, Mary still seemed shaken from the morning’s trauma. Her hands trembled as she spoke. “I was walking our dog, Baxter, when another dog just came out of nowhere! Before I could even think what to do, the leash was snatched from my hands and both dogs were fighting. It was horrible. I didn’t know what to do.”
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- A truck stop makes the perfect stop, even overnight
- What’s ready to fall off your RV?
- No mess, no hassle RV sewer hose storage tips
- Don’t be a carbon monoxide victim
- Say goodbye to stains! Stain removal tips for RVers
DID YOU KNOW our RV Daily Tips Newsletter is our readers’ best read newsletter? And for good reason—it’s filled with so much great information! Read any issue here, and then make sure to sign up here. You won’t regret it!
Research mobile techs carefully. We didn’t, and we paid the price
By Nanci Dixon
For the most part, we have had amazing luck with mobile techs. So good, as a matter of fact, that we became a little too careless and trusting. My husband had bought a Roadmaster tow and brake system from a neighbor. … We called all the shops around the Phoenix area [to install the system] and they were all booked up for months. We found a mobile tech that was 1/4 the price and available the following week. That should have sounded the alarm!! Ya think?? Continue reading.
The naughty secret revealed: Plastic pink flamingos in RV parks are far from what they appear
By Nanci Dixon
Do you know the secret meaning of two plastic pink flamingos and upside-down pineapples? They have been appearing in neighborhoods and RV parks lately. We didn’t either, although we have noticed a few dotting campgrounds as we travel. “Aren’t those cute?” I asked. We learned the true meaning of pink flamingos from our RV neighbor. It will surprise you. You can learn here, if you don’t already know.
Why are barns red?
By Gail Marsh
Iconic. Traditional. Beautiful. All are words that in my opinion can be used to describe a red barn. I grew up on a small farm in Iowa, which explains why I am fascinated with how red barns came to be. Why choose red when there is a myriad of other colors in the rainbow (and the paint store)? Find out here.
Where do you buy most of your RV parts and accessories?
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: Which two natural disasters do you fear most? See what the more than 3,000 votes say (and see if you agree).
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Should I lubricate the cables on my RV’s slide room?
- What can I do to restore faded fiberglass and damaged RV decals?
- Dealer did a hack job on my furnace during PDI. Wonder what else is wrong?
- Why can’t I recharge my RV’s roof air conditioner like truck or house A/C?
- What Class B would you buy? How about a B+?
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 ??
Find us a butter product, we dare you! Better… we mean better… Don’t want to be spreading the wrong information! Seriously, though, we want to hate this, but we think we might love it…
In the RV shop with Dustin
FlexArmor Roofs—RV expert’s concerns
By Dustin Simpson
While we don’t install FlexArmor on RVs at our repair shop, we do see them from time to time. Check out the video below for an inspection of a FlexArmor roof in the shop.
There are certainly some benefits to this upgrade, but as an RV repair shop owner and former technician, I do have some concerns regarding the application.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
By Cheri Sicard
Ignik Gas Growler puts an end to single-use propane bottles
Did you know that 48 million single-use green propane bottles end up in landfills each year? Single-use propane bottles are wasteful and they are a pain-in-the-you-know-where to dispose of properly. Ignik wants to put an end to that, and their small, lightweight Gas Growler does just that. Not only does the Ignik Gas Growler help the environment, but it also helps the consumer. Continue reading.
Pop-up bug tent: Under the Weather Mega Mesh Pod keeps the bugs away!
This extra large pop-up bug tent by Under the Weather has quickly become one of my favorite summer RV accessories. Like many RVers, I camp in many breathtakingly beautiful spots around the country. Besides bucolic scenery, these inspiring places have something else in common: pesky bugs, and lots of them. Here’s a solution to the buggy problem.
Brand-new! 2024 Rand McNally Road Atlas & National Park Guide
This comprehensive guide is a must-have for RVers and nature lovers, offering stunning visuals, essential visitor information, and invaluable travel tips for all 63 of America’s national parks. The guide also includes a complete 2024 Rand McNally Road Atlas, ensuring seamless navigation for travelers across the country. Learn more or order.
The “other Grand Canyons” are worth a stop too. Check these out
By Gail Marsh
While researching for an extended trip we hope to take in 2023, I Googled “Grand Canyon.” I’d hoped to find information about the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (The only Grand Canyon I thought existed!) Imagine my surprise when I found a map of the U.S. dotted with more Grand Canyons than I could count! Suddenly I’m not just planning a trip for 2023. I’m working on mapping out a route that includes many of the lesser-known “other Grand Canyons.” And we plan to see them soon! Continue reading.
Postcards From on the Road
We paid $40 to stay in this RV park. Would you?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
(Denio Junction, NV) – We often get feedback from readers about the high cost of RV parks. “We only need an electrical hookup and a few hours to overnight. Who wants to pay RV park prices for that!” Some reacted favorably when truck stop king Love’s, announced low-cost, full-hookup RV parks at some of their locations. Most of them scaled in at around $30 to $35. But here in the middle of nowhere, we paid $40 to overnight in what some reviewers describe as a “junkyard.” Would you? Read more.
Adventures in prospecting and boondocking, Part 3
By Randall Brink
We were several days in camp and into the work and had a routine down. Daybreak comes very early in the northern high country. We arose with the dawn at 5:00 a.m. After a cautious look out the windows, seeing no deer or bear, we ventured out, our breath visible in the cold mountain air. Sunup was nearly an hour away. Continue reading to learn what Randall found.
NEW! Mystery article
We don’t want to give this away, but get ready for some tummy-rumblin’ fun! You, and everyone else around, will love this! And invite us over for it, please?
RV Tire Safety
“Danger, Will Robinson!” Another post on tire inflation
By Roger Marble
OK, I must apologize for the corny title.* But as I monitor a number of RV forums on the internet and on Facebook I often see comments to the effect that, “This is just another post on inflation, so why bother reading it?” But there also seems to be a never-ending stream of new RV owners who do not know the basics of proper tire maintenance and that proper inflation is a critical part of that maintenance. [*“Danger, Will Robinson” is from the ’60s TV series “Lost in Space.”]
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:
• Has Camping World become too big to fail?
• Court orders backyard RV park slum cleared; property owner faces charges
• Starlink News: Satellite radiation, and a “threat” from China
• FMCA president candidate Curtis Coleman explains plans if elected
• RV industry lobbying for pull-through electric vehicle charging stations
• Woman dies in shuttle accident at Winnebago national rally
… and much more
Recipe of the Day
by Sue Weaver from Belton, TX
Summertime in a glass! This sangria is fruity, slightly sweet with peach flavor and so good. Ginger ale gives it a bit of bubbles. The recipe is meant to serve a crowd and would be perfect for a summertime get-together. We opted to add strawberries and they paired so well with the peaches. A simple cocktail that’s full of flavor.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Maumau (nickname “Oompapa”) loved traveling in our RV. From Alaska to Mazatlán, Mexico, and California to South Carolina. The only thing that bothered him was going under those pesky overpasses!” —Val Catena
Milly’s Random Thought of the Day
Our artificial gal, Milly MacWilly, has some advice for you that might help improve your spirits on a day when you’re feeling a little down. Take it away, Milly, you AI girl!
Sewer fitting grip help! Gadget to the rescue!
If you find the bayonet mounts for your sewer hose connections are getting a bit hard to twist off and on (hate to say it, but it sometimes comes with age), here’s a tool that might help. An adjustable oil filter wrench, made to get a grip around automotive oil filters, can also provide a handy grip and plenty of leverage on the bayonet fitting of your sewer hose, and the termination cap as well. Here’s one we recommend.
In the summer of 1880, the Irish Land League was trying to better the working conditions of Irish farmers. At that same time, a British agent, Captain Charles Boycott, was attempting to collect rent and crops from those farmers. Father O’Malley, a prominent member of the Irish Land League, encouraged the farmers to refuse any business with Boycott. O’Malley coined the verb “boycott” as a way to refuse doing business with someone as a form of protest. The press picked up the word and ran with it and the rest, as they say, is history!
Try not to laugh!
Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?
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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, 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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