Thursday, September 21, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 1114

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Page Contents

July 23, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition

 Cover story 

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.


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.

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

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, 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.

Today’s Question
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.”

Well, is it fact or fiction? Respond and find the answer here.

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.”

Read more, including how to break up a dog fight

Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter

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

Two pink flamingos

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.

Reader Poll

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.

Tell us here

We asked: Which two natural disasters do you fear most? See what the more than 3,000 votes say (and see if you agree).

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!

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.

Click here to read and watch the video before you make the investment!

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.

Travel Destinations

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?

$40 RV Park
Ghost town RVs? R&T De Maris.

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.

RV Prospector

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.”]

Continue reading. 

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

Read it here | Back issues

Recipe of the Day

Texas Peach Sangria

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.

Get the recipe here

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!

Sunday funny

Try not to laugh!

Did you miss last week’s RV Travel?

Read it here | Back issues

Who publishes 700+ RV newsletters a year? Only us! would not be possible without the financial support of our voluntary contributors. Their support helps us avoid relying on advertising, and keeps our resource-rich work unbiased and free for all RVers to enjoy. Every contribution makes a difference. A donation of $10 a year comes out to less than 2 cents for each issue we publish. That’s all! And when you contribute, you’ll receive a special member-only ad-free version of our weekend newsletters forever as one way for us to say thank you. Learn more or donate. 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, 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.

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This newsletter is copyright 2023 by RV Travel LLC.


  1. I really think the dog and squirrel are just out to have a good ole time chasing eachother. I had two dogs and one or two squirrels that just loved to run a top the wooden swing going back and forth along the beam. Finally flying against a tree with a loud thwap and away they go. A lot of fun the squirrels had taunting the dogs and vice versa. Sadly now the dogs have gone on to their eternal home and the squirrels have the lay of the backyard. Memories. Squirrels and dogs have a gay ole time.

  2. Chuck, If you want to keep the squirrels away, get yourself a cat. I’ve always considered myself a dog person, but two years ago we were adopted by Figaro, a one eared neutered cat. He’s a one cat wrecking crew, and displays his catch at the front door before devouring it. This is a multi-times daily ritual with him. Although typically a mouse, mole, or chipmunk, his trophies have also included; red squirrels, rats, and a muskrat. His most impressive hunt was 3-1/2 rabbits he lined up at the front door while we had friends house/cat sitting for us (they were terrified)! And about a week ago we had a 4-500 lb. bear eyeing up our garbage can. I think Figaro could have taken him!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful publication we enjoy so much!!! Each day we look forward to all the varieties of articles, recommendations, comments and especially The Pet of the Day! We truly appreciate all of the hard work, and dedication, it takes to provide such and enjoyable publication as RV Travel presents!👏🏻😀🇺🇸

  4. I have never heard of the pink flamingos story. My mom loved the bird and she use to have two on her front lawn in Florida, no one ever said a thing. It may mean that now.
    As for the $40 parking spot, no way! We use Google street view and satellite to look at parks if we can, harder with trees, but that one, no way.

  5. “Baked in a Buttery Flakey Crust” LOL reminds me of that old Pepto Bismol ad “Mama Meah that’s a Spicy Meata Boll”


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