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October 8, 2023
Free, abbreviated edition
Highway hostesses: Traveling the USA, cleaning gas station restrooms
By Chuck Woodbury
Before we traveled with our RVs, most of us traveled in cars. If you are of an advanced age, you will likely recall long road trips with overnight stays in motels that were actually called motels, and not hotels, motor inns or other fancy names.
And what most of us, no matter what age, will also remember is sitting in the back seat of our parents’ car on a long road trip with a pressing need to answer the call of nature. You might tell Dad that you “GOTTA GO!” to which he would say, “Billy, you will have to wait,” to which you would say, “But, Dad, I’ll pee my pants!”
Today, when traveling without an RV, such a crisis means locating a McDonald’s, Starbucks, convenience store, or maybe a rest area if you happen to be on a road important enough to warrant such a public luxury. But back in the old days, it most often meant stopping at the next “service” station.
Way back in the late ’30s, the average service station restroom was suitable for only the most germ-defying motorist—no place to “rest” for sure, especially for the dainty ladies. It was a filthy never-never land of bacteria and brake fluid, a home for the motoring brave, but mostly the desperate.
But businessmen, always seeking a competitive edge, wisely figured that if they built a cleaner restroom, the motoring public would come. Phillips 66, for one, went a step further: it hired a brigade of perky, traveling nurses, outfitted them in capes, and sent them adrift in cream-colored Plymouths to sling Lysol from coast to coast. These caped crusaders of cleanliness were dubbed Highway Hostesses. Their goal: “Hospital Clean Restrooms.”
HIGHWAY HOSTESSES would visit each of the Phillips’ stations at least once a month. At each stop, they would inspect potty rooms as well as provide suggestions about how the station could be more appealing to motorists, especially the “feminine motoring trade.”
On the highway, a hostess would stop to provide assistance when she found a car in trouble. This could range from summoning help to repairing a mechanical defect to rendering first aid. During the summer, a Highway Hostess would carry ice water to refresh thirsty travelers.
Thankfully, we RVers of today carry our potties with us, so we needn’t mingle with unfamiliar bacteria. This is a very good reason to travel by RV—especially a motorhome where you can simply walk back from the cab to do your thing parked by the side of the road.
Publisher’s Roadside Journal
How a Ziploc bag and a hairbrush bring back special memories
“I was organizing some boxes the other day when I came across my father’s hairbrush. My father died in 2008. When packing up his stuff back then, I placed the brush in an air-tight Ziploc bag (and put that bag inside another bag) and stored it with other items…. What a surprise it was when I later opened that bag!” Read more.
Johnny Robot writes about friendships on the road
By Chuck Woodbury
Every word of the story below was written by artificial intelligence (A.I.) using ChatGPT. Not a word was changed. We put the byline of our A.I. writer Johnny Robot on the story. He doesn’t exist in real life, but it’s a good name, we think, for a story written by an algorithm masquerading as a human.
Many publishers today are using this free service to write articles, which they present as being written by humans. What we hope you will learn from this particular experiment is that it can be very difficult or even impossible to tell if an article was written by a human or A.I. Continue reading. (You’ll be impressed and/or alarmed.)
Today’s RV (p)review…
New E-Series line from Ember RV is a “decontented camping essential”
By Tony Barthel
Today’s RV (p)review is of the forthcoming Ember Recreational Vehicles E-Series 22ETS. … As with much of the RV industry, there had been a focus on adding more value and features while sales were booming during the past few years. Suddenly, the market is changing and the word of the day at the RV Open House which I detailed here is “decontented.”
RV Service Centers and Repairs Report
RV tech writes: ‘Of all the dealerships I’ve worked for, not one was honest’
In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs. This week Nanci Dixon relates your stories of more poor workmanship on RVs; a long, ongoing saga of bad experiences getting an RV fixed; and someone in the RV maintenance industry since 1988 who claims not one dealership he worked for was honest. Oh, and have you ever been bribed with $50 if you would write up a five-star review? Yep. Guess where.
Rock strike! Who’s responsible for your broken windshield?
By Russ and Tiña De Maris
You’re happily motoring down the road in your RV. Ahead of you is a dump truck with a load of gravel. Suddenly, that awful thing happens! A chunk of gravel smacks your windshield, and a spidery pattern creeps across your view. Who’s responsible for that broken windshield? Find out here.
Should you cancel your RV’s insurance while storing it?
By Gail Marsh
We all agree that having RV insurance is a good idea. You never know what dangers await when traveling down the road. A tire suddenly goes flat. You hit a giant pothole. Another car attempts to cut in front of you and just like that, you’re calling your insurance company! Honestly, who could relax if they traveled without insurance? Not me! So, you bring the rig home. You winterize it and take it to storage. Then you get out your checkbook and get ready to pay monthly fees on an RV you don’t even use. Should you keep paying for RV insurance on a rig that simply sits for months at a time? Continue reading to find out.
Pinterest may be your gateway to building, re-designing, or fixing your own RV
By Mike Gast
When you need to figure out how to do something with your RV, buy something you think you can’t live without, or just want to research something online … where do you go? If you’re like most (especially you fellows out there), you head straight for a Google search or go to YouTube to search for answers. But there’s another option … Pinterest. Start with a horse trailer, end up with a first-class RV! I bring up Pinterest because I’ve seen a lot of discussion of late on RVtravel.com and other sites about folks disgusted with the build quality of their RVs. Read more for some great tips.
Meet our newest writers!
Scott and Vanessa (Van) Russell and their 14-year-old daughter have traveled full-time in their RV for 8 years. They have worked and home-schooled on the road through 42 states (and counting!). We’re happy to have both Scott and Vanessa writing for us. Welcome!
RV living for 8 years: What would we change if we could start over?
By Scott and Vanessa Russell
Have you ever wondered if people who take the plunge into RV living have any regrets? I don’t know about everyone else, but we definitely would do a few things differently. While it feels at times that many glorify full-time RVing as the perfect lifestyle, just like everything else in life, there are benefits and challenges. Here is a raw look at our full-time RVing mistakes and what we would change.
Highlights from this week’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- Tips for removing stains and odors from plastic food storage containers
- Prepare your RV for storage or less use: Follow these tips to clean, organize and prep
- Is your RV packing on the pounds? Try these 10 steps to shed some rig weight
- What’s the most important RV trip prep? Your personal health
- Cut your RV lifestyle expenses!
Awesome, easy Halloween RV decorations, recipes, and more!
By Cheri Sicard
If you plan on taking the RV out for a Halloween camping trip, these easy, amazing ideas for Halloween RV decorations, easy-to-make recipes, and outdoor Halloween tips will be sure to spark some spooky creativity. The folks at RV Upgrades have done a great job. This is a quick video with no words, just short text and photos that show the various ideas in action. There are 22 RV Halloween tips in all. Most are super simple to do, others a bit more elaborate. But no matter where you fall on the Halloween spirit spectrum, there’s bound to be something you like here.
The history of the cheeseburger: Almost as satisfying as a burger itself!
By Chris Epting
Ever wonder about the origin of the American classic, the cheeseburger? Believe it or not, there are three places that all claim to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger. How can this be? Sometimes, similar ideas are thought of around the same time in history. These “coincidences” sometimes lead to arguments over who had the idea first, as is the case with the cheeseburger. … Drool over some cheeseburgers here.
You won’t believe how 8 RVers orchestrated The Addams Family theme song! Amazing!
By Kate Doherty
Remember those characters? Many of us grew up watching this iconic mid-’60s macabre comedy series, The Addams Family. … Do you remember snapping your fingers to its theme song? Even today, when we hear the song, we may remember its words and find ourselves humming along. Recently, in Flaming Gorge, Wyoming, eight RVers comprising the Addams Family RV Orchestra orchestrated this well-known theme song with very unusual tones. Watch it here. This is fun! (Just don’t blame us when you can’t get it out of your head.)
Keep your fridge and cupboards in order when you travel
Tired of stuff moving around in your RV’s fridge and cupboards after a day of driving? Here’s the solution. Camco’s spring-loaded RV Double Refrigerator Bar will keep your items in place. (The RVtravel.com staff uses a pair of these in its RV!) Learn more or order.
Have you ever spent the night in your RV in a free casino parking lot?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment.
New Facebook group: Big City RV Parks for Short Stays
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook”.
This past week’s questions that Dave answered:
- Help! How do I keep cockroaches out of my RV?
- Do RVs with slide rooms need leveling jacks? What about units on dealer lots?
- What is the scheduled maintenance for RV roof sealant? How hard is it to replace?
- Should I leave the RV’s scissor jacks extended or retracted during storage?
- Interior lights in RV only work when plugged into shoreline power. Is that normal?
Have a question for Dave? Click any Ask Dave article and scroll down to fill out the form.
Dine with ghosts at this haunted restaurant
On any given weekend in the busy season, you’ll find Jerome, Arizona’s Haunted Hamburger packed with tourists. They come to eat a Ghostly Burger, Haunted Burger (or the Double Haunted Burger), or to simply brag later to friends that they dined at a famous ghost town eatery. So how did the restaurant get its ghostly reputation? Believe it or not, it started with missing hammers. Here’s the story, slightly edited, as it was presented on its first menu.
?? MYSTERY PRODUCT OF THE DAY ??
Sometimes the products we feature here are funny, but today’s item is one all RVers should have in their RV (no matter what type of RV!). These could save your life, and they are very affordable.
In the RV shop with Dustin
What you should know about using your RV’s awning
By Dustin Simpson
An RV owner in one of my Facebook groups posted the below photo and wrote, “This is the first time using the awning as this camper is new to me. 2022 Winnebago 2108FBS. Is there anything I need to do to the awning other than extend it out? Adjustments, greasing, maintenance, etc.?”
RVing with Dogs
5 easy tips to keep your pooch safe while RVing
By Gail Marsh
Dog lovers enjoy bringing their dogs along when RVing. It’s fun to hike and explore together with your favorite furry friend. Just remember to keep your dog safe while RVing. Here are some safety tips that many dog owners may not know or regularly practice.
RV Tire Safety
A twofer on tire design and recalls
By Roger Marble
Occasionally I will get questions about some specific feature in a tire or why tire engineers didn’t design tires to perform in a different manner. Sometimes some even want to question why I didn’t design a tire to perform some task such as supporting more load so the RV owner wasn’t forced to buy a more expensive tire.
Did you miss yesterday’s Latest News for RVers?
If so, stories you missed:
• Pepsi’s experience may speak to e-motorhoming future
• A costly conundrum: San Francisco’s Candlestick homeless RV encampment
• Used RV market report: Falling leaves, falling trailer prices
• Starlink News: Full U.S. coverage now; expanded cell phone service soon
• Charges for site reservation AND entry fee into campground. “Inflated costs are making it nearly impossible to continue travel”
• Winds blow over, shove motorhome across a highway (VIDEO)
• Tour the 2024 Jayco Seneca XT 29T Super Class C motorhome
… and much more
Recipe of the Day
by Amanda Camden-Spina from Fox Lake, IL
This loaded potato soup is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold night. The red potatoes add great flavoring and the seasoning is perfect. The baby bella mushrooms are an unusual addition, but we loved them. Same with the fresh onion and celery. Just added to the layers of flavor and texture in this soup. Bacon and cheese top this creamy, hearty, comforting soup perfectly!
Readers’ Pet of the Day
“We split our RV time between road trips and parking on land I own in Eastern Washington, where my girl (a Maremma Sheepdog) practices her ancestral role of protecting her flock of sheep. At the age of five, she was rescued from a bad situation. She recently turned twelve and is one of the happiest dogs I have known.” —Michael Stumpf
• RVing with Dogs group on Facebook. You’ll love it.
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.
Weather & Air Quality Data in National Parks.
Jeffrey Weissman, who played George McFly in the movies Back to the Future II and III, now lives in Tuolumne County, California, where some of the movies were filmed. He is active today in the local acting scene and is also a certified docent at Columbia State Historic Park.
Affordable tire tool will save you tons of trouble
What gives when you think your tires are “good to go” but down on air again the next day? Your valve stem valve probably isn’t tight enough. A loose, leaking valve stem can cause a tire failure due to low pressure under load at highway speeds. So do yourself and your vehicles a favor – pick up one of these very inexpensive tools and make sure your valve cores are snugly seated in the valve stem. Click here to order.
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, Jan Steele and Tony Barthel. 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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