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August 20, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
By Chuck Woodbury
FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER
I would like to share some business items with you on this Sunday morning. First, as we approach 19,000 articles on this website and zoom past a quarter million reader comments enroute to a zillion, our website, which is located in a cloud (not a real one) in various locations around the world, sometimes struggles to keep up. Consequently, at times our pages load a bit slowly, reminiscent of one of our dear creatures here in the Northwest, the banana slug. You may have noticed. Well, this needs to change.
It’s a big job, really big. We’re working on it, but being a relatively small company with 2.5 official employees (and some highly appreciated paid and volunteer helpers), it is no small task. So please have patience with us while we bust our fannies to try to keep our bulging collection of information from sinking our ship. We are making progress but it’s slow going. If you have a skill that might help us, please let me know.
Writing with artificial intelligence
Second, writing using artificial intelligence (AI) is progressing fast. Despite all the words of “Gee whiz, isn’t this technology great and helpful to mankind,” I fear it’s leading us into a dark place, where misinformation is as common, if not more so, than truth. It’s already happening, including in the Wonderful World of Publishing about RVing — one new website or blog after another filled with robot-written mush that says nothing of substance, but tricks the All-Powerful-Google into thinking its articles are important. It pains me to watch. I want to put on my boxing gloves and punch something nearby to release my frustration. Maybe a big pine tree. But I don’t have any boxing gloves, so never mind.
The truth is, it’s relatively easy to make money writing and/or publishing AI articles. And there are plenty of slimy human beings out there who care nothing of the truth, and are jumping all over the technology. I’d like to say I wish them well, but I can’t because I hope they fail. Continue to read RVtravel.com and we’ll keep you informed. And please (pretty please) help support our efforts with a voluntary subscription of your choosing, no matter how small or big (big is better, but we are very happy with small, too). We deserve to eat and have a roof over our heads, just like you!
Daily news for you
We will soon begin delivering daily headline news (Monday through Friday) by email to readers who sign up for them. We’ll report only timely news of interest to RVers, not stuff that only industry people care about. Sign up to receive those emails here. Our Saturday newsletter, now mostly news, will change. We’re scratching our collective heads trying to figure out what that might be. If you have ideas, please email me.
Nanci and Gail fans, take notice
If you enjoy the writing of our prolific contributors Nanci Dixon and Gail Marsh, you can now sign up to receive a weekly email with headlines of their latest posts. So if you miss a few here and there, you can catch up. Sign up here: Nanci • Gail.
If you have a blog or website, or write for one, or do any other kind of writing (or want to), please join our Facebook group RV Bloggers and Writers. We discuss how to be better at our craft. And don’t forget to follow RVtravel.com at our main FB page, where we post information throughout the week. We know many of you do not like Facebook, but we have found that our presence there helps us in several important ways.
There is more to write about, but I have run out of space. Have a terrific week and be safe amid the harsh weather and wildfires. And keep your distance from bears, bison and moose, okay?
BREAKING NEWS, SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Here is the latest information about Tropical Storm Hilary from the National Hurricane Center as the storm crosses into Southern California with dangerous winds, rain and potential flooding in parts of the Southwest. Watch this if you are in the area or headed there:
Today’s RV review…
Cube Series truck camper—A square deal?
By Tony Barthel
The Cube Series™ truck camper is both a fantastically original idea and one that seems logically familiar. Sort of. I wanted to share this review of this innovative ultra-lightweight pickup camper with you. I would say the Cube Series truck camper might be familiar territory to anyone who has ever had an older pop-up tent trailer… kinda sorta. Essentially, that’s the configuration of this little camper and it makes a tremendous amount of sense for the right person.
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
Issues with RVs are self-inflicted by owners
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon shares your comments including about an RVer’s brand-new RV that had too many problems so they took it back to the dealership, who couldn’t work on it because the parts were on back order. It’s still in the shop, so they ended up camping in their trusty 20-year-old tent. There are more tips for shopping for an RV, and for finding a good mobile RV technician. One RVer says due diligence is imperative when shopping for an RV, otherwise the issues are “self-inflicted.” What do you think?
New Winegard app promises big features, but customer service “Know Nothings” don’t know a thing about it
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
We’d originally planned to write about a new gewgaw “app” from Winegard called the “RV Halo.” Most of us have a Winegard antenna up on top of our rigs, so the company name has gained some trust over the years. So when Winegard put out a press release touting itself as the producer of “The world’s greatest range of Smart Wireless Solutions” and announced “the launch of RV Halo, a smart RV platform that allows users to control all Winegard devices from one app,” we thought, well, hey, we’d best listen up. This must be something new. But the more we tried to listen up, the more we hit the walls of the new corporate “Know Nothings.” Continue reading their frustrating report.
Dear RV owner: Why are you so, so mean to your converter?
By Ross Regis
I considered writing this post as a “Dear John” letter from the first-person perspective of your converter, but it’s hard to personify a circuit board wrapped in sheet metal. So instead, let me just ask you point-blank: Why are you so, so mean to your poor, poor converter? Read what Ross is talking about here. (You’ll learn a lot.)
Our Florida winter RV site? Canceled! And I wouldn’t have even known!
By Gail Marsh
Right out from under us, our winter Florida RV site reservations were canceled! We’d already paid our sizeable reservation fee, had been assigned our “usual” RV site, and eagerly looked forward to escaping the long, cold Missouri winter. But now what? … We made our original RV reservations more than a year ago! Here’s what happened.
Hometown routines aren’t the same as on-the-road excitement. When going to Walmart isn’t enough
By Nanci Dixon
Yesterday, our big trip “out” was a trip to Walmart and the drug store for a prescription for post-nasal drip. We have been in Minnesota for almost two months and will be stationary as camp hosts for the next three. It is great to see the kids and grandkids. It is the reason, besides the cool weather, that we are here. … Continue reading about how Nanci’s family dynamics have changed and she was taken aback when she realized her trip to Walmart was the highlight of her day.
New way to pay at Laundromats could take you to the cleaners!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
While showman P.T. Barnum is accused of turning the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute,” it may be the poor fellow has been done the dirt. Barnum’s biographer has tried and tried to track down the truth and suggests that Barnum, who was respectful of his customers, probably never said it. But one truth is known: If there’s a sucker born every minute, you can bet there are at least two con men waiting outside the delivery room for it to happen. And now it looks like folks who need to come clean at the Laundromat may be taken to the cleaners. Have you encountered this?
Preserve our natural spaces: Leave no trace, leave no graffiti
By Gail Marsh
I often see it on passing freight trains or adorning overpasses and the exterior walls of abandoned city buildings. To those wielding their cans of spray paint, graffiti is “an artistic expression that communicates with the masses.” To me, graffiti is vandalism, plain and simple. What alarms me is how it continues to appear in our parks, landmarks, and other natural spaces. Don’t people know that graffiti has consequences? I’ll explain.
Two posts from our newest writer: Jan Steele
Introduction: RVing is my life—all my life
I was 10. Or 10 ½, as we liked to call it back then. It was the summer of 1965 and Dad was between jobs at the university and had six weeks off. We had camped before in our Scamp popup, but this trip would be different because of the length of the trip and the miles traveled. On June 23, six of us jumped on Route 66 in Normal, IL, with the goal of making it to California in 11 days. Our plan was to visit Grandma’s best friends in Lancaster, CA. They had left her hometown in southwest Wisconsin about 45 years earlier. Continue reading how Jan replicated that prophetic trip 50 years later.
Why Moose and Elks lodges are the way to go for RVers
When I [Jan] hit the road eight years ago, I stayed at a lot of Mom ‘n’ Pop campgrounds for about $20 a night—with electric. Those don’t really exist anymore. Then I joined an RV travel club, Wandering Individuals Network, and was told two things: Get solar. And join the Elks. (As in the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. Not the herds you see in the Northwest.) When you’re out on the road 365 nights a year you want the cheapest spot you can find. Joining the Elks, and later the Moose, are two of the smartest things I’ve done in my full-time RV life. Read more.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- 17 brilliant lazy Susan hacks for RVers
- Put together an emergency getaway bag right now. It’s important!
- Follow these important steps to protect your home while you’re gone RVing
- An easy trick to keep important documents in the RV… without all the paper
- Take a ranger-led night hike. The views (and wildlife) are worth it
DID YOU KNOW our RV Daily Tips Newsletter is our readers’ favorite 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!
Most national park campgrounds have a 14-day limit. Should that be shortened to 7 days to accommodate more campers?
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: How many TVs do you have in your RV? What do you think: Do most RVers have one, two, three or four TVs? Find out here.
Snowbirds: Prepare to Hit the Road!
As you plan your fall and winter routes, remember that Tifton Overnight RV is the place to stay while you’re on the way! Located just off of I-75 at Exit 62 in South Georgia, this RV stop offers full hook ups, pull-through sites, a fenced dog park, and fast WIFI – and is within walking distance of restaurants including Starbucks, Waffle House, and Chick-fil-A. Learn more and book your stay today!
Postcards from the RV road
Attack of the walking gravel! Cannibalistic Mormon crickets on the loose!
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Last month our travels took us through central Nevada, on a stretch of what Life magazine described in 1986 as the “Loneliest Road in America.” U.S. Route 50 is indeed a sparsely populated stretch of roadway, and we were happy to find a place to overnight. The next morning, we got up and headed west, making the steep climb toward Hickison Summit. Suddenly, the normal asphalt of the highway took on a surreal appearance. I commented that some errant gravel truck driver must’ve allowed some of his load to tumble onto the roadway. Trouble is, that “driver” must have had more than a few yards to lose—the “gravel” went on and on for miles. But a closer look showed we were driving through what appeared to be walking gravel—the stuff was moving on its own.
Midwest Travel Destinations
Don’t miss these unique Midwest Labor Day celebrations
By Gail Marsh
If you’re looking to end the summer camping season with something special and perhaps close to home, check out these Midwest Labor Day celebrations. (Lots to choose from!)
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Are there any “good” alternatives to a traditional RV roof air conditioner?
- Fuel nozzle shuts off before RV’s tank is full, but never at Buc-ee’s. Why?
- My RV’s black tank valve used to trickle when taking cover off; now it gushes!
- What is the best jack to change a trailer tire, and where do you place it?
- My RV bathroom has sewer flies even with tank valves closed. Help!
In the RV shop with Dustin
These products protect your RV from the damaging effects of sunlight
By Dustin Simpson
Everyone knows the harmful effects of UV rays on the skin, but not many people realize that those same UV sunlight rays are causing damage and degrading your RV, too. Here are products to protect your RV from UV rays.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
While this is meant to be handy (and it is!), we think we’d probably just spend too much time having fun with this…
Ghost Town Trails
Visiting Deadwood Mine and its mysterious vault. Was Geraldo Rivera here?
By Dave Helgeson
Idaho’s Deadwood Mine is this month’s Ghost Town Trails ghosted place. I chose to feature the Deadwood Mine, not for its extensive remains, fortunes mined or past residents of interest. I chose the Deadwood Mine for its ornate and large vault. This is very interesting.
RV Gadgets and Gizmos
Have great coffee anywhere with the Off Road French press, grinder, molle pouch kit
By Cheri Sicard
A French press makes a great concentrated cup of coffee, but they are usually made of glass and not an easy device to travel with. That has now changed and off-grid java junkies can celebrate! Defiance Tools’ Off Road French press, coffee grinder, and molle pouch kit lets you make gourmet coffee anytime, anywhere, without fear of breakage and with zero need for electrical power.
RANDOM THOUGHT: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” ―
RV Tire Safety
What is the most over the minimum PSI you can inflate a tire without damaging it?
By Roger Marble
In a recent RV forum, there was a question on tire inflation in Class A RVs. I advised, as I always do, that with knowledge of the tire size and actual measured load, I would check the published Load & Inflation tables and let him know. While the poster did not provide the information I requested, he did ask a different question: “In your expert opinion, am I better off running 105 in front and 100 in back, per chart, or 110 all around in this heat?”
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 Court of Appeals sides with buyers in warranty arbitration dispute
• Washington state Attorney General issues Cease-and-Desist Order in RV park dispute
• Glacier National Park’s future: Public input requested
• Reader suggests campgrounds should be split: one part for “campers” using amenities, another part for “travelers”
• RV Video Tour: RV inspector picks the best 4-season trailers for year-round fun
… and much more
Recipe of the Day
by Josphine Morrow from Kerman, CA
These baked zucchini fries have a nice crunchy coating that’s perfectly seasoned. The method used in this recipe helps the zucchini fries maintain their Panko crumb coating. Serve with marinara sauce or ranch dressing, for an easy appetizer or snack.
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“Cricket, a Begollie (my name for a border collie/beagle) is up for any adventure camping may bring. Here we are on Flagstaff Lake, Eustis, Maine.” —Diane Fox
• RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.
WHERE ARE THE WILDFIRES AND SMOKE? Find out here:
How many teachers are there in the United States? How many students (and what percentage of the population is that)? How many school buses transport children each day? How many times can you sharpen a pencil? How many miles could a pencil write? Why do we give teachers apples? How much does the average school backpack weigh?
Read Gail Marsh’s short article with 10+ interesting school trivia facts, along with the extremely strict rules for teachers from 100+ years ago, then pass it along to your kids or grandkids. Happy back-to-school season, everyone!
The coolest knives we’ve ever seen!
Your RV kitchen needs these! Each chef’s knife in this set of 6 displays a beautiful landscape scene from around the world. The blades are stainless steel and razor-sharp for cutting ease. The handles are ergonomically designed for a balanced, secure grip, and they’re color-coded so busy chefs can easily find the right knife to prevent food cross-contamination. Plus, they’re dishwasher-safe and have a non-stick coating! They make a great gift! Learn more or order.
Remember when plastic surgery was a taboo subject?
Now you mention Botox and nobody raises an eyebrow.
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 and Cheri Sicard. Contributors: Roger Marble, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, J.R. Montigel, Randall Brink, Dustin Simpson, Dale Wade and Tony Barthel. Moderator: Gary Gilmore. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen. Artificial Intelligence (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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