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July 30, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
With most websites, readers come second
By Chuck Woodbury
FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER
Back in 1995 when I began publishing online, publishing a website was straightforward and relatively easy. Write something and post it to the internet using primitive publishing software. There was hardly any competition.
Google would not appear for four years. If there were any search engines then, they didn’t amount to much. Building an audience was far less complicated than today. I felt at the time like I was one of the very first miners to arrive at the California Gold Rush of 1849, when the gold was just laying along a stream in plain sight.
RVtravel.com debuted in September 2001, initially as RVtraveler.com. For all the years since, my goal has been to provide valuable information and advice to readers, written in a clear, concise manner. Readers have always come first.
So who comes first if not readers?
Today, for most websites, readers do not come first. At best they come second, sometimes third (behind advertisers). So who do online publishers care about most if not their readers? Google! They write using a formula that pleases Google in what’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you are not a student of online publishing or the internet, you would not know this.
If publishers using SEO techniques do a good job, their articles get ranked high on Google searches for keywords important to them. The higher the ranking, the more traffic the website receives and the more money it earns. It’s so simple.
Today, with the proliferation of content creators, who must write using principles of SEO or else fail, and now artificial intelligence (like ChatGPT), the battle for high Google rankings is fiercer than ever. And, increasingly, because of formulaic writing, readers suffer through mediocre and even incorrect information. The principles of good writing are not as important as pleasing Google.
Literally thousands of companies help websites (for $$$) get high Google rankings. I reluctantly hired such a service once, but I quickly dropped it when I realized the company wanted to turn our writers into robots. Nope! Not going there.
And I’m telling you, it’s getting worse all the time.
One of the best business decisions I ever made was to concentrate on growing our email list so we wouldn’t need to rely on Google for readers. And so today, with nearly 100,000 subscribers, we do not need to write by formula to please Google. We write to inform, educate and sometimes entertain our readers using the principles of good writing and journalism. We’re not perfect, but we do our best.
Finally, if you appreciate what we do, and the honest way we do it, and would like to help us remain competitive with the non-caring SEO-focused publishers, please consider becoming a voluntary subscriber. With nearly 19,000 articles on this website, we are one of the most valuable sources of information about RVing anywhere. Please ask yourself if we are worth more than “free” to you. And to the 6% of you who have already pledged your support, thank you very much. You are hugely appreciated.
Letter to the Editor
Should campgrounds have reduced rates for broken/unusable amenities?
We received this letter from Lance and Pattie and, like them, we are curious to hear your thoughts. Should campgrounds have a reduced rate for sites if certain amenities are unavailable (broken, malfunctioning, etc.)? And why are things such as laundry, Wi-Fi, pools, etc., closed or broken so often? Read their letter below and please leave a comment with your thoughts.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Think there are no service parts? They may be hiding them…
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon shares some words of advice from Captain G., who has always done all of the work on his RVs. Lee C. has done major work on his 4-year-old RV but still can’t find some things like, oh, just the water pump and battery charger. Ralph R. had trouble finding slide cables, let alone anyone knowledgeable about them, but a couple of cables “magically appeared” when a friend of a shop owner who didn’t have the cables went to help Ralph out.
Not wearing gloves while dumping? Big mistake!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
In this day of fastidiousness and the injection of antibacterial chemicals in nearly every product, there’s a strange movement out there: Dumping holding tanks with your bare hands. A survey at RVtravel.com revealed that nearly one-third of our readers never or seldom use gloves when dumping. We’ve sometimes wondered why anyone would take on this bacteriological nightmare without protection. Continue reading why you should wear gloves when dumping.
More outrageous and ridiculous campground rules
By Nanci Dixon
In June, we published an article on some of the most outrageous and ridiculous campground rules we have found on our journeys this summer. You have added some more in the comments since then, and sadly, the reasons stated there are why there are so many rules! Read some more ridiculous rules here, and let us know if we missed any.
Fight RV crime! Install a GPS tracker in your RV—It’s easy!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The opening image is just a handful of stolen RVs we’ve posted here on RVtravel.com in our Saturday newsletter. For every one we write about, there are probably dozens more that we don’t hear about. Suffice it to say, crooks want to steal your RV. The question is, if they do, how can you get it back? One way that can increase the odds of finding a stolen RV is by installing and using a GPS tracker. Learn more.
You don’t need a noisy generator!
With a Jackery portable solar generator you can power your RV and devices any time of day silently — no noise and no exhaust to bother neighbors or violating usage hours. Many models to choose from. Find out why these are so popular!
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- Make your RV pantry really work
- Smart ways you can beat the heat while RVing
- You can do laundry in the RV even without a sewer hookup
- These simple hacks make RV life simply better
- Tips from professional RV detailers to keep your RV looking good-as-new
“Hurry Sickness” is a real thing that I struggle with
By Nanci Dixon
I just realized that I have spent almost all of my adult life hurrying. I have concentrated on getting from one place to another, doing one thing and then the next. Always checking off a to-do list on paper or in my head. Our RV trips have been the same, even after retirement. Rushing from one stop to the next stop, racing through one National Park after another. Checking them off my list. Hurrying against what? Continue reading. Can you relate?
Use CampScanner to find and book sold-out RV reservations
CampScanner from Harvest Hosts just rolled out in May 2023. It’s an app that’s designed to save RVers a great deal of time and frustration. How? It alerts you to openings in highly sought-after camping sites. This reservation tool is already receiving high ratings and positive reviews. If you RV, you just might need to check it out! Learn what it can do for you.
Remember this critical item when RVing with your dog
By Gail Marsh
Kibble? Check! Leash? Check! Dog bed? Check! All set? Nope! Don’t forget this one essential item when RVing with dogs. Friends of ours love to take their dog when they RV. They never had any problems—until last week, that is. Continue reading this important message.
Do you carry a 30-amp or 50-amp extension cord in your RV?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Why do my RV’s lights only work for a few minutes when unplugged or with generator off?
- RV roof air conditioner efficiency—Teaching an old dog new tricks
- Soft floor in front of RV’s kitchen sink. How do we fix it?
- Why won’t air blow through RV’s A/C ceiling ducts?
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
This is one of our most beloved ____ gadgets, but would you blame us for wanting this one, too? The design is crushing it!
In the RV shop with Dustin
7 reasons to have an RV buyer’s inspection
By Dustin Simpson
RV buyers conduct inspections for several important reasons [listed]. It’s essential for buyers to hire a qualified and reputable RV inspector to conduct a thorough examination of the vehicle. The inspection should cover all relevant aspects of the RV’s systems and structure, allowing the buyer to make an informed decision based on its overall condition and safety. Read more and watch the video to see a used-RV inspection at Dustin’s shop.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
This heavy-duty water flow meter is my new favorite tool!
By Nanci Dixon
The black water and gray water tanks can stink! I have used several different water flow meters over the last few years to monitor the amount of water I add to the holding tanks when flushing. Because they have been plastic and prone to leaks, I buy two at a time. Note that most manufacturers do not approve of closing the tank valves when flushing. Overfilling them would lead to disaster. Think eruption of black water through the RV toilet. Learn more about Nanci’s new favorite tool.
“The Outdoor Cook” cookbook: How to cook anything outside!
By Cheri Sicard
The team at America’s Test Kitchen has produced the ultimate outdoor cooking resource with their newest title “The Outdoor Cook”. I have reviewed hundreds of cookbooks in my life but was blown away by the quality and thoroughness of this one. No matter how you want to cook outdoors, this book has you covered. Continue reading. (Includes some sample recipes. Yum!)
Facebook member? Join our RVtravel.com group Cooking In An RV.
REMINDER: Carry a carbon monoxide detector with you on your RV travels. I (Emily) had a scare this weekend and realized I didn’t have one of these handy. I learned my lesson and bought one immediately. There are all types for all prices on Amazon. Don’t forget!
The wonderful 3,205-mile U.S. highway with a great big name
By Gail Marsh
Route 66 holds a special place in the hearts of folks who love to travel. If Route 66 is “The Mother Road,” does that make Highway 6 her little daughter? No, Highway 6 enjoys a much larger moniker: the Grand Army of the Republic Highway (named as such to honor the Union forces during the Civil War). This wonderful highway certainly lives up to its great big name. Continue reading.
Roadside stop near Death Valley is an unexpected delight. (This story is delightful, too)
By Rod Andrew
Probably most readers of RVtravel.com have visited the amazing landmarks, natural and man-made, that are part of the RV experience. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon is, well, overwhelming. During our travels, my wife and I have had our share of these majestic moments, but, strangely, it has been unexpected moments of joy that we remember most vividly, and that have had the most lasting impact on us. I’d like to share one of those moments.
WHERE ARE THE WILDFIRES AND SMOKE? Find out here:
Postcards from on the Road
Cook socks in your RV microwave?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
At the sight of the headline some may reply, “Depends on how hungry I am.” Well, ours is not a story of some sort of new French cuisine, although we’ll take a stab at it: “Chaussettes savoureuses, à la Magic Chef.” [“Tasty socks…“] Our not-so-tasty treat recipe was born from desperation. A couple of weeks on the road, and far from a laundromat, there arose a need for a few days’ worth of clean socks. Cook socks in your microwave? A feast fit for your feet!
Brand-new book for county park camping
Roundabout Publications and the Ultimate Campground Project have published the first edition of “Camping in America’s County Parks.” The 192-page directory profiles 2,068 RV, van and tent camping areas at 1,408 parks in 42 states. Inside, maps pinpoint campgrounds with information about staying, including types of restrooms, showers, dump stations and RV length limits. Rates, contact and reservation information is also listed. Read more about it here.
Ghost Town Trails
Comet, Montana – This former off-limits mining town surrendered $20 million in riches
By Dave Helgeson
Comet, Montana, is this month’s featured ghosted place in Ghost Town Trails. Comet had been on my radar for years, ever since the early 1970s when ghost towns were in vogue. Folks flocked to see these towns from years past. Comet, Montana, was no exception. However, unlike many of the other old mining towns that were on public property, Comet was on private property. That’s no longer the case. Read here why a planned one-hour stop turned into an hours-long exploration of this old town with a fascinating history.
RV Tire Safety
What is a good tire pressure monitoring system?
By Roger Marble
“What is recommended to monitor RV tire pressure? I check my dual tires with a hammer when on the road. I also use a gauge from time to time, but I’m looking for something a little better.”
As you may know, I monitor a number of RV Forums. I recently saw the above question. So here is my answer: I am currently running the ONLY (as far as I know) direct comparison of Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS): a TireTraker™ external vs. TST® internal.
It’s not “new” anymore, but it’s still worth giving this a read (double read… and watch…). If you missed this the first time, get ready to press play!
Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?
If so, stories you missed:
• RV parks face price hikes as new database enables real-time competitive pricing by campground owners
• RVIA critical of new EPA emissions rules
• SpaceX rocket punches hole in ionosphere
• “RVers reserving 2 or 3 spots because they don’t want others next to them”; plus a campsite discount tip
• Tour the Long, Long Trailer: 1953 New Moon trailer just like Lucy’s
… and much more
Recipe of the Day
by Pamela Rappaport from The Villages, FL
This flank steak needs to be added to your summer menu. We love the flavor sesame oil gives to dishes. Combined with the soy sauce and other ingredients it helps to make for one great marinade. The flavors soak into the meat and make the steak super juicy. The mushrooms enhance the flavors of the steak, too. Serve on top of the sliced flank steak for an easy and flavorful meal.
Readers’ Pets of the Day
“Nyx, our German Shepherd dog, immediately took to being the second mom to our new 10-week-old Border Collie/Chocolate Lab mix puppy, Sadie. It’s been 2 1/2 years and they are still best buddies.” —Mike & Donna Heaser
• RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.
The Hubble Telescope is responsible for the deepest images of space and the universe ever taken. Recent images from the telescope contain more than 5,000 galaxies – some of which are as distant as 13.2 billion light-years away. The telescope is so strong that it could spot the light from a single firefly up to 7,000 miles away.
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, 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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