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Issue 753 • Week of July 30–August 5, 2016
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
Did you read the more than 125 comments last week after I asked you about whether you were having problems finding space in campgrounds and also your thoughts about the quality of RVs being manufactured today? Well, a lot of you are not happy campers!
A comment left by Michael Stiles is typical: “[We’ve] only been RVing six months, and often can’t get reservations in state or national parks. Bought a 2016 Thor Windsport, looking to get professional service for the 6th time in those 6 months. Dread every new day in it, wondering what will break next. Dealers either uninterested in warranty service or booked weeks and months out. Uneven support from Thor, though most repairs so far covered under warranty, others not. [The] selling dealer should have known about the water leak, and should not have sold it with dead batteries (not covered under warranty).”
I’ve received similar letters from readers for the past few years. If you bought an RV recently where everything works, congratulations!
As far as campground availability? I learned firsthand on my four-month cross-country trip last summer how hard it is to find a campground on the spur of the moment. Gail and I had to make repeated phone calls along our route to reserve a space for a night. I don’t like staying at Walmart, but if I did I would have stayed frequently.
“The free-wheeling idea of RVing around the country, stopping at lovely sites and spending the night when you feel like it is getting darned difficult to achieve,” wrote a reader named Dody. “Although still visualized by the industry’s advertising, most of the ad photographs’ situations would be illegal, impossible or extremely expensive. It’s not very freewheeling or ideal to have to make reservations months in advance, either.”
Based on your many comments, I wrote to three RV industry leaders — the presidents of the RV Dealers Association (RVDA) and the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), and the vice president of advertising and marketing at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). I suggested they read your comments, maybe learn a thing about RVers, not just industry people.
Paul Bambei of ARVC answered me, urging RVers to use the association’s consumer website gocampingamerica.com to “make life a little easier.” James Ashurst (RVIA) relayed a message from RVIA President Frank Hugelmeyer, who cited a recent survey where most RVers were very happy with their purchases. Phil Ingrassia (RVDA) has not yet responded. Read the Bambei and Hugelmeyer letters here.
By the way, the RVIA announced last week that 40,072 RVs were sold in June, up nearly 19 percent over a year ago. So lucky you and me, we now get to fight with all those folks for a place to camp. (How many new campsites were created in June? A hundred? A few hundred?)
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s loyalty is to RV manufacturers, the source of almost all of its financial support. One of the most important income sources is a fee paid by manufacturers for every new RV sold. As far as loyalty to you and me, it has little or none: Every time legislation is proposed to create or expand lemon laws to benefit RV buyers, the RVIA fights to defeat it. Without effective lemon laws, of course, you and I are out of luck if we buy a defective RV.
How some of you made this essay possible
Let me be frank: This kind of essay earns me no friends in the RV industry. Nobody at Trailer Life or MotorHome Magazine will ever write anything critical like this. They’d lose their advertisers and eventually go out of business.
I can do it because about 1,700 of you (less than 3 percent of our readers) have voluntarily subscribed to this newsletter. This revenue has been so helpful that we are far less reliant on advertising than a year ago. It’s these readers who enable me to write knowing that if I say something that offends an advertiser, this business can survive without their support.
If you haven’t “voluntarily subscribed,” please consider doing so. Contribute what you believe is fair. Even $5 or $10 is appreciated. Your support helps my staff and me put your concerns first, not commercial interests (read a short article I wrote about why this is important).
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UPDATE ON GETTING READY FOR FULL-TIMING. I didn’t want to hog too much space in this newsletter, so if you want an update of how preparations are going for my full-timing RVing, click here.
Did you miss last week’s issue of RV Travel? You can read it here.
Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary!
Wish your special someone a Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary and we’ll post your well-wishes and your short comment right in this newsletter. It’s super easy to leave your greeting. Just click here. (Be sure to send it to us prior to the Saturday before the event.)
See this week’s greetings near the bottom of this newsletter.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST
Win these cool Hobbit feet slippers
There is simply no question that these are the coolest slippers of all time. Take a morning stroll around the RV park with these and you will raise eyebrows wherever you wander. Other campers will be envious! It’s possible they may beg you —even offer a lot of money —for you to part with your incredible footwear!
We’re giving away TWO PAIRS of these slippers, with the winners picked at random out of a maximum of 500 entries. The contestYou can only enter once, so hurry so you don’t miss out! It takes about 20 seconds to participate. You’ll know instantly if you win. Only residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia are eligible to enter. We’ll announce the winners next week.
ENTER THE CONTESTSunday afternoon update:
Contest is over. We have our winners!
You can order the slippers here.
‘Win a luxury RV’ Facebook promotion is a scam
A Facebook page which began circulating this month promising to give away luxury RVs to users who like and share their page is a SCAM. Don’t fall for it! Here is a link to the article on Snopes.com which explains how they know this is a hoax and why you shouldn’t do what the page asks. Read more.
SnapPad – World’s only permanently attached jackpad for RVs
Install it just once, then leave it on — forever!
No more crawling under your RV to set up! SnapPad XTRA installs in seconds and will not retain any standing water. Widens your jack’s footprint on any terrain, yet dampens vibrations when you move inside your RV, giving a feel that’s solid, but soft. Compatible with LCI’s ‘Level Up & Ground Control 3.0’ leveling systems. Learn more here.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane(at)RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Light up your RV with Boogey Lights!
RV accent lighting is all the rage! Just look around the RV park! Enter Boogey Lights®! These robust, super-bright, state-of-the-art LED lights with hi-tech controller technology represent the next generation in LED lighting for RVs. The AWNING & UNDER-GLOW LIGHT KITS are specifically designed to withstand harsh operating environments. Don’t waste your money on junk! Get Boogey Lights! You can even control them with your Smart Phone! Learn more or click the video for a demonstration.
While RV manufacturing quality controls continue to take the spotlight, RV manufacturers are continuing to pump out new rigs at a record pace. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reports June was a bang-up month for wholesale RV shipments. Overall, new RV sales were nearly 19 percent higher compared to June 2015. Towables sailed out the doors at nearly an 18 percent increase, while motorhomes powered up at almost 24 percent more than 2015.
Fans of the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival in Sixes, Ore., appear to be RV fans as well. RV rental agencies across the state report the demand for rental rigs has reached the point where there are basically no rigs left to rent. The show runs July 29–31.
With so many campgrounds closing, it’s a rarity to report that Tie City Campground in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest is reopening. Closed several years ago due to a mountain pine beetle epidemic, the Forest Service has now reopened the campground in its Laramie Ranger District.
If you’re planning on camping at the Little Wood Campground near Carey, Idaho, bring your own water. The Bureau of Reclamation has shut down the well serving the campground after tests showed unacceptable levels of coliform bacteria in the water supply.
RV club Escapees has announced its next big gathering, the 57th Escapade, will roll out in Tucson, Ariz. The Pima County Fairgrounds will host the March 19–24, 2017, event.
According to local media, Laramie, Wyo., city fathers have been wrestling for years with RVs and their place in the community. Finally, the city council passed new ordinances that allow RVs to “mingle” with manufactured homes in the latter’s “communities.” However, to stay there RVs will need to be skirted in a matching color, and plywood is out. The council got an earful from RVers and also ruled that an earlier time limit of 180 days in a park was also out. Now RVs can sit tight — on their skirts — year-round.
After a wildfire destroyed five homes near Nederland, Colo., some local residents are ready to drown out all campfires. A petition with nearly 1,000 signatures is demanding the Forest Service ban campfires in any campground that does not have a campground host; Forest Service officials say that isn’t likely any time soon. Meantime, citizen patrols are on the lookout for illegal fires.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has expanded its burn ban to cover the entire state from July 29 through Sept. 30. It was previously in effect for eastern Washington. The ban means outdoor burning is prohibited on all forestlands the DNR protects from wildfire. Recreational fires in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal and other campgrounds are allowed, unless otherwise noted. DNR’s burn ban does not apply to federally owned lands.
Boondockers can look forward to improvements at Brush Lake Campground in Idaho’s Bonners Ferry Ranger District. New picnic tables, tent pads, fire rings and sun shelters will soon appear. The catch? The campground will be closed August 1–12 while Idaho Youth Conservation Corps crews do the remodel.
Don’t take proper care of your garbage at Banff National Park (Canada) and it could cost you big bucks. A camper is on the hook for a mandatory court appearance after leaving a bag of trash under a picnic table at the park’s Johnston Canyon campground. A young wolf soon found it and attempted to harvest the pickings. Cited for the trashy offense, the camper faces a maximum fine of $25,000.
RVs & Electric Bikes – the perfect match!
An Electric Bike is the perfect, simplest and most affordable way of sorting all the ‘challenges’ of RV’ing. Get around camp effortlessly, visit the sites or town nearby without unhooking or simply enjoy a fun ride with fellow campers! Click here to discover our electric bikes and get free shipping & returns, and 0% financing on any new EVELO.
As we reported earlier, dry conditions near Niagara Falls, Ontario, have caused fire officials to ban all outdoor fires — including those in campgrounds. One RV park owner says the ban is costing them dearly. Phil and Rhonda Van Kleef, who manage Campark Resorts in Niagara Falls, report RVers canceling reservations on learning of the campfire ban, in one instance watching a multi-family party scrub a $2,000 stay. Recent rains in the area have not been enough to relieve the ban.
Pierce County, Wash., police are puzzled at the brazenness of a man who has been ripping off trailers from a local storage yard. Surveillance cameras caught the man and his rig at night heading in to snag a utility trailer — but it gets better. Several weeks later, the man showed up in full daylight, taking time to code an entry at the gate — giving a full-face view of the crook. On this “visit” he scooped a recent-model travel trailer and calmly drove out in full view of the cameras. Police figure they’ll eventually nab the bald-faced bandit. If you’re in the area, here’s an article from Tacoma Weekly with the suspect’s description and photo, and info about the cash reward.
A half-dozen Michigan State Parks were darkened for several days after a series of thunderstorms boomed through the state’s Upper Peninsula region. Power blinked off Thursday, July 21, and was out through the weekend. F.J. McLain, Twin Lakes, Baraga, Fort Wilkins, and Lake Gogebic State Parks were powered up by Monday, but at that time, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park was still down.
The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday throughout the month of August. With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25–28, the NPS is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial.
Cedar Mountain RVI of Chantilly, Va., has become a certified installer for RV Armor, a long-time supporter of RVtravel.com. RV Armor is a liquid-applied roof membrane system guaranteed to be leak- and maintenance-free for life.
An older couple from Texas thought they’d caught a break when they responded to an Internet ad for a used travel trailer in Omaha, Neb., for just $2,000. The seller said she was a recently widowed military member, just heading out for deployment. Ken Posey and Charlotte Richie took the bait, coughed up every cent they had and paid. Then they drove to Omaha to pick up the rig — and, of course, it wasn’t there. Locals, including the man whose address had been misappropriated for the advert, have been helping them out. Jess and Ariann Anderson are giving the couple a fully stocked, used RV. Source: WOWT News.
Wicked Campers, an Australian RV rental company, has come under frequent fire for its use of “vulgar, crass and offensive slogans” emblazoned across their units. Now proposed legislation in the Australian territory of Queensland could make a dent in the company’s paint jobs. If passed into law, commercial vehicles that fail to meet guidelines of Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau would not be granted road licensing.
A situation where foreign tourists are asking for refunds has spurred changes at a very popular campground in Flúðir, South Iceland. Apparently the locals like to party, while visitors like to sleep. So campground managers have drawn the line — tourists in one part of the campground, locals in the other.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Tips for safe driving around big RVs
While the number of “big truck” accidents on America’s roads seems to be trending down, don’t let that cause you to go easy on safety around big trucks. Get in a wreck with a big rig, your chances aren’t real swell. So what’s to be done? Here from Russ and Tiña De Maris are a few safety tips to keep in mind when sharing the roadway with truckers. Read more.
Unhappy with the quality of your tires?
If you have an issue with the quality of your RV tires, do you take the time to report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (part of the Department of Transportation [DOT])? Probably not. But, says Roger Marble, RV tire expert, how then do you expect the quality of tires to be improved? The DOT will not start an investigation without justification, and a major part of that justification is the number of complaints on file. Reading this article from Roger may prompt you to file a complaint instead of just grumbling about poor quality. Get involved.
Rain clouds coming — Should you put in your slide-out?
You have your rig settled down in a wonderful camping spot. Your camp chairs are set up, and music is softly rolling out the door. But, uh-oh — look out there. Here comes a nasty-looking rain cloud. Do you immediately jump out of your camp chair, head inside and push the switch to roll in your slide-outs? Slide-outs and weather could be put in the “great ongoing RV controversy” file. Here are some things to think about.
RV tail swing: How to stay out of trouble
In this RV driving skills video from Mark Polk, learn what tail swing is and how to avoid RV accidents where tail swing is concerned. If you don’t understand tail swing, get ready for some repair bills. Watch the video.
Even the simple repairs — Replacing TPMS sensor batteries
Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) are really important. A blowout or flat on a car is bad enough, but one on a heavy vehicle like an RV can be catastrophic! Rich “The Wanderman’s” RV only has four wheels, so he continually monitors their pressures and temperatures while traveling. He noticed recently that some of the sensors on his TPMS didn’t always report to the display properly. This is quite common, and usually signals the need for new batteries. It’s not that hard to replace them, reports Rich. Learn how here.
No more roof leaks, for life, guaranteed!
Now with locations in TX, FL, MS, AZ and NC!
RV FlexArmor® is a sprayed RV roof that is 187 mils thick, has no more caulking joints and is the proven RV roof alternative for over a decade. Guaranteed not to leak for your RV’s lifetime! “Your company gets an A+.” —Marsha G., customer. Click on our new video showing how we handle air conditioners.
•Click here for more information at our website, or call 1-844-FLEXARMOR.
•Click here to visit our Facebook page.
Winnebago recalls motorhomes for brake issues
Winnebago is recalling certain model year 2014–2016 Winnebago Tour motorhomes and Itasca Ellipse motorhomes. The throttle pedal position sensor on the affected vehicles may not return to zero, causing the engine brake to suddenly not activate as expected. A sudden loss of an engine brake without warning on a motorhome may lead to a reduced brake ability, potentially increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
When, if ever, should you rotate your RV’s tires?
When should you rotate the tires on your RV? Some RVs require it more than others; some may not require tire rotating. Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com explains in this short video.
Forest River recalling certain 2013–2016 toyhaulers
Forest River is recalling certain model year 2013–2016 XLR toyhaulers manufactured August 28, 2012, to November 5, 2015. These vehicles may have an axle equalizer knurled bolt (axle shackle locating bolt) that may not be properly seated in the chassis axle hanger. If the equalizer knurled bolt is not installed properly, the bolt may not properly secure the axle, allowing it to shift and result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
Can black tank left open for years on seasonal RV be cleaned?
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. He received a letter from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor about a used trailer the reader had recently purchased. It had only been used a few weekends by the previous owner but the black and gray water tanks had been in the open position while it sat in the same position for years. The reader wonders if they can be cleaned. Read Chris’ response.
Nevada alternatives to “Camp Walmart”
With only around a dozen municipalities containing a Walmart or two within their city limits, finding a suitable parking lot for a complimentary overnight stay in Nevada is not as easily done as in the more populous states. But veteran RVer and boondocker Dave Helgeson tells you about some very convenient spots to boondock “provided” by the Nevada Department of Transportation. Learn more.
RV Industry Death Spiral – Part 5:
Campgrounds losing capacity
Campgrounds are the most overlooked part of the RV industry. Without a place to use an RV, why buy one? Sadly, campgrounds are contributing to the demise of the RV industry in a powerful way. The number of RV sites is declining rapidly as campground owners take out RV sites to install cabins, deluxe cabins and park models. Sure they bring in lots more money but it leaves too many RVers scrambling to find remaining space. Read more.
This week in history
Week of July 30–August 5
Compiled by Dell Bert
1861 — Abraham Lincoln imposes first federal income tax.
1914 — First electric traffic signal installed (Cleveland, Ohio).
1949 — National Basketball Association debuts.
1957 — American Bandstand goes national.
1961 — Six Flags Over Texas amusement park opens.
1962 — Marilyn Monroe found dead.
1965 — President Johnson signs Medicare into law.
2003 — Last classic VW Beetle rolls off the line.
Exclusive Offer: FREE RV Protection Education!
RV repairs are common, complex and costly! Learn how to save big and make confident RV repair decisions in our free RV Webinar series. Save Your Seat at this exciting event, hosted by the RV Warranty Experts at Wholesale Warranties, and get inside tips on protecting your life on the road!
Here are some RV clubs from our extensive directory which you may be interested in:
Almost 40 Airstream clubs in the U.S. and Canada listed in this directory. (In the drop-down “Display by” menu, click on “List by Clubs & Groups.”)
An international club for the owners of any model of motor coach that qualifies for membership in the Family Motor Coach Association. Monaco America is a chapter of the FMCA. The purpose of Monaco America is to promote social, recreational and informational activities that enhance the enjoyment of owning and traveling in a motor coach. You do not need to own a Monaco RV to join the club or attend their rallies.
Sam’s Radio Hams
Sam’s Radio Hams is a recreational vehicle group that is a chapter of the Good Sam Club. Their chapter started in 1980 and is still going strong. They are licensed amateur radio operators who are affiliated with the ARRL. They are active with monthly campouts in southern California, Nevada and Arizona.
Compact Crock Pot is great for RVs
If you’ve ever cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker you know handy they are for preparing stews, soups, dips, pulled pork, etc. Well this compact, 1.5 quart cooker is perfect for RVs, where space is often limited. And the price is right, too — less than $14 the last we looked. Read more or order.
Bumper sticker of the week
Daniel Bessmer saw this bumper sticker in the quaint town of Port Townsend, Wash.: “We’re all here because we’re not all there!” He notes it’s also the town’s motto. Thanks, Daniel!
Funny/clever business slogan
“We Dry Harder” —City Concrete Ltd., Newfoundland, Canada
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.
Click here for more information about using Airtabs™.
Click here to purchase Airtabs™.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the Web’s best directory of upcoming RV shows for 2016.
Websites of the Week
We like these websites. Check ’em out. More next week.
Be safe along a busy highway
It will happen one day. Your RV will blow a tire or you’ll have a mechanical problem that will force you to stop alongside a busy highway. It’s dangerous out there, and that’s why highway workers wear a reflective safety vest to be extra sure they’re seen! Amazon has a large selection of safety vests for as little as about $5. Keep one of these in your RV and one in your car or truck. Be seen, not smashed. Learn more.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Durango RV Resort offers a relaxing base camp for exploring beautiful Northern California.
• ThermaCell has created a solution to keeping mosquitoes away.
• This Russian camping expert shares some of his camping quick-fixes in this video.
It folds up to fit in storage compartment
The perfect ladder for RVers
Many RVers like to carry a ladder with them, but there’s often no room to store it. Well, this one is perfect. The 12-step aluminum ladder extends 12.5 feet, but retracts to a super compact 3.5 feet for easy storage. It’s perfect for getting up on your roof or other tasks, and will support up to 330 pounds. Great price, too! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Perform RV TLC year-round — or else …
Dear RV Shrink:
We only use our fifth-wheel a few weeks a year. It is stored outside in the side yard the rest of the time. I have read in your column women complaining about their husbands constantly working on their RVs. I have just the opposite problem — my husband seems to think everything will fix itself. We are one week into our annual three-week vacation. We are spending it this year under the well-reported heat dome. This is the exact reason we ordered our rig with air conditioning. It would be a wonderful option if it worked.
My husband is now on the roof trying to figure out why the fan will not turn, how to remove the shroud, and complaining about heat stroke. I hate to say “I told you so,” but don’t you think these are issues better solved when you are not on vacation? —Airhead in Appleton
Easily clean those
stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
An easy way to keep trailer hitch adjusted properly
If you have a travel trailer and use a weight distribution hitch, once the dealer makes the proper adjustments, spray paint the chain link that you use for the proper amount of tension. This way you will always keep the spring bar tension adjusted properly.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
‘Best club for motorhome owners!’
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is THE “best club, hands down, for motorhome owners.” That’s the word from RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury, who has been a member for 25 years! The group has many local and special interest clubs, national rallies, valuable member-only web content, and a wonderful monthly magazine. A normal first-year membership is $50 per family, but FMCA is offering a special rate of $40 to RV Travel readers who click this link to join.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.18 (on July 25). Change from week before: Down 5 cents; Change from year before: Down 56 cents.
Diesel: $2.38 (on July 25). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Down 34 cents.
RV Travel’s favorite
Waste Digester & Odor Eliminator
Pure Power Blue has long been the favorite toilet treatment in the RV Travel motorhome. Just add a mere two ounces of the biological enzyme/bacterial formula per 40 gallon black or gray water tank treatment. Accepted at all campgrounds and enhances septic tanks. Highly recommended. Learn more or order.
RV Travel Reader Pets
Do you travel with a pet? We’d love to introduce your pet(s) to fellow readers. Send a photo or two of Fido or Boots and a 150-200 word description of your furry friend(s), along with your name(s) and hometown to Diane(at)RVtravel.com .
Click here to see the last issue of RV Travel Reader Pets.
Don’t come up short!
Sometimes your 50 amp power cord is not quite long enough! That’s when this 15-foot extension will come in very handy. Sure, you can use a wimpy orange extension cord with a 50 amp adapter, but don’t try using much power (like your air conditioner) or you’ll burn up the cord or maybe even your rig! Carry this along and you’ll be all set. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
From the Native American tradition in Oklahoma, this sweet begins with sun-dried berries or fruit. Served warm, it’s spooned over pancakes or biscuits. If chilled it firms up to make a pudding. Get the recipe.
of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Be prepared in case of fire
Have at least two escape routes —one in the front and one in the rear of the coach. As soon as they’re old enough, teach children to open hatches and emergency exits. Make sure visitors can open the front door. Not all manufacturers use the same lock and latch assembly. Choose a rallying point where everyone will meet immediately after escaping, so everyone can be accounted for. Courtesy: MacTheFireGuy.com
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small tester, for about $8, will alert you in an instant to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of life left! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Regularly check plastic plumbing fittings to avoid leaks
Reader Mark Cote hopes you’ll learn from his experience: Be sure to regularly check plastic drain lines under sinks, etc. He’s had them come loose and dump water everywhere. Hand-tighten all screw-on plumbing fittings. Thanks, Mark!
Important first steps with a new motorhome or tow vehicle
Got a new motorhome or tow vehicle? First rule: Read the manuals! They’ll answer a lot of your questions with what the manufacturer recommends — not necessarily what other guys around the campfire recommend. Next: Take out your camera and take pictures of the engine compartment. Later, if something goes wrong (like a broken belt) you’ll have a guide to help you put it back together. Brand-new rig? Write down what your “normal” operating temperatures are, put them in your owner’s manual, and you’ll have them to compare to a couple of years down the road, which might help you diagnose a problem.
Temporary cleaning for battery corrosion
RV batteries can get flaky — in more ways than one. Reader J. Pereira suggests, “If you see your battery terminals getting white with corrosion, pour some cheap soda water over them. That’ll eliminate the corrosion until you can get home and do a proper cleaning.” Just make sure none of the soda water seeps into the battery cells. Thanks, J.!
If you have a quick tip, send it to Diane (at) rvtravel.com.
Find stores for shopping & overnight stays
This is an invaluable aid for RVers who occasionally spend a night in a Walmart parking lot. State maps identify where the stores are located in the USA. Detailed information includes city or town where each store is located, type of store (Walmart or Supercenter), availability of gas and diesel fuel, distance from Interstate if within 10 miles, and more. Published 2016. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions.
How to figure generator fuel usage in motorhome
Dear RV Doctor:
We have a diesel generator on our motorhome. The generator uses the same fuel/same tank as what runs the motor. How much fuel will the generator use, let’s say, in an hour? How can I figure out my gas mileage when using the generator once in awhile? —Janice F.
JUST PUBLISHED! Essential for big RVs!
2017 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this truck driver’s road atlas will be a huge help in knowing where you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
RV rearview mirror/camera system provides HD recording
Pyle Audio®, manufacturers of outdoor recreational sports gear and home, car and pro audio equipment, releases the Dual Camera and Monitor DVR System. Designed to offer drivers and passengers a new level of protection, the adjustable, built-in cameras and monitor system mount conveniently on the existing rearview mirror for smarter and safer driving. Many features included, and easy set up. Learn more.
Drumi: the foot-powered washing machine
The Drumi is a foot-powered washing machine that uses minimal amounts of water and no electricity. Each cycle can hold up to five pounds of clothing, or about five to seven personal items (T-shirts, undergarments, baby clothes, etc.). Quick and easy to use; small, compact and portable; only takes 5–10 minutes per load; uses 80 percent less water than standard washing machines. Ideal for boondocking. Read more.
Casino Camping: Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos
Discover hundreds of RV-friendly casinos throughout America. Learn which casinos have an RV park and which ones allow free overnight parking. RV parks at casinos are popular because they offer modern, upscale facilities at reasonable rates (and often free!). Boondockers seek casinos for a quiet, safe place to park. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Caverns of Sonora
Caverns of Sonora, a family-owned attraction in west Texas, is a National Natural Landmark due in part to the phenomenal display of speleothems known as “helictites” and in particular “bladed helictites,” rare and beautiful cave formations. It is considered a world-class cave because of its stunning array of calcite crystal formations. The founder of the National Speleological Society, Bill Stephenson, said of the cave after his first visit: “This is the most indescribably beautiful cave in the World; its beauty cannot be exaggerated, not even by a Texan.” Read Julianne G. Crane’s article.
Keep your food cool
with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this! Learn more or order from Amazon.com.
What were they thinking?
News headline: Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
(To see if that works better than a fair trial?)
WAREHOUSE DEALS on RV products at Amazon.com. New and Used. Click.
Videos you’ll like
Random RV Thought
If you feed a wild animal, you might as well shoot it afterward because by feeding it you might be killing it, too. When you feed a wild animal, it could become dependent on human food instead of looking for food as nature intended. When winter comes and the tourists are gone, the critter could starve to death.
Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting and sculpture.
Is it time to change your water filter?
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine and sediment in drinking water with a 100 micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank and to improve the taste and smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a big discount.
“Travel makes one modest: You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” —Gustave Flaubert
Visit the RV Travel YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Readers’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
• July 31: To Kenny from Candy. Happy Birthday, Kenny! I love you very much, Candy
• August 1: To Jaxson from Nono. Happy birthday, Grandson. Love you. You’re the joy of my life.
• July 30: To Yvette from Scott. Thank you for another great year! Let’s have many more! Happy Anniversary!!
• August 5: To Pat from Bob. To my DEAREST for 54 very good years and 13 years-plus RVing. Looking forward to many, many more years!
Happy (belated) Anniversary!
• July 26: To Mike “Teddybear” from Angela “Shortcake”. Happy Anniversary, honey. It’s been a long, hard ride but it’s been a memorable trip. We’ve got many more miles ahead. Love you.
Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting (25-word maximum). (Remember to send them to us prior to the Saturday before the event. )
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RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Janet Groene, Roger Marble and Julianne Crane.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
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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