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With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’m a few days away from moving out of my condo and into my RV. As I’ve packed up one box after another to take to Goodwill, I’ve pondered the comments from hundreds of you about problems with your new-model RVs and with finding available campsites.
To keep up with record-setting demand for new RVs, manufacturers are cranking them out as fast as they can, many racing too fast to maintain quality, causing buyers inconvenience, not to mention headaches and money.
Part of the reason for the poor quality lies in Elkhart, Indiana, where most RVs are made. The RV makers there are struggling to find qualified employees to keep up with demand. At Dicor, a 130-employee company that makes RV parts and accessories, between 30 and 50 percent of job applicants fail the drug test, according to company president Gregg Fore. “On a bad week, it’s more than 50 percent. Five years ago, it was between 10 and 20 percent,” he told the South Bend Tribune.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed Indiana as one of the worst states in the nation for drug poisoning mortality rates. Kyle Hannon, president of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, told the Tribune that failed drug screenings now are a “huge problem among Elkhart manufacturers.”
According to Fore, new hires typically lack soft skills, such as showing up to work on time. And they often quit after only a few months on the job. “People often don’t have the knowledge, training or family background that allows them to understand working is better than not working,” he explained. “They don’t understand working means we start at 6 a.m. every day — not just some days. It becomes an expensive ordeal to hire someone who decides to take every other Monday off, or thinks 6 a.m. is too early.”
U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski traveled to Elkhart on Thursday to hear from leaders in the RV and boating sectors about the local labor crisis. Almost unanimously, wrote the Elkhart Truth, they lamented that they cannot find workers to fill vacant positions. Doug Smoker, president of Smoker Craft, an Elkhart County-based boat manufacturer, said the company could hire 41 workers right now if it found qualified applicants.
FOR RVers, with so many new RVs needing warranty work, the service departments of RV dealers are swamped, many short of qualified RV technicians, who are hard to find. It may take weeks, even months to get repairs. “We made an appointment in June for August 2nd for some work that should not take more than two workdays at the most. It has been there three weeks and not done yet,” said RV Travel reader John Stahl.
Reader Wayne Girard wrote, “We love RVing but our first two years as full timers has been a nightmare in our 2014 Winnebago Tour. Over 120 system failures – many major like the energy management system catching on fire, Aqua Hot replacement at 15 months, eight Lippert slide failures, front cap put on with no sealant, total of four weeks at the factory on two different occasions. Winnebago has been great fixing everything but we have been down for repairs for a total of six months in the last two years. Pretty tough when you live in it.”
Reader John Bolinski noted, “My latest RV purchase came with the following problems, awning switch hooked up backwards, the TV antenna switch hooked up backwards, the water pipes in the kitchen, bathroom and shower, backwards even though they are color coded. The rig came with three class C tires and one Class D tire. The factory would not correct the problems since I had back surgery, and did not find the quality problems until after the 1 year warranty.”
IF AN RV IS UNDER WARRANTY, good luck getting a quick appointment for a fix. RV dealers get paid less for performing warranty work than dealing directly with a customer. “We’re lucky sometimes to get 60 percent,” one dealer told me. While a dealer can get, say, $120 an hour charging customers directly, it may only get about $80 for that same work from a manufacturer on a warranty job. Guess which work gets priority?
As soon as my time frees up, I’ll explore these issues and many others in depth. I will also continue to promote the creation of a non-profit RV owners association to look out for you and me, not manufacturers, dealers or campground owners. There is no such group now, which is hard to believe (and unacceptable) considering the huge number of RVers in this country.
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Did you miss last week’s issue of RV Travel? You can read it here.
No contest this week: Last week’s winners of the classic book “Travels with Charley“ were Kenneth Ross and Linda Wharton. Congratulations!
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™.
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.
RV manufacturers are likely to see themselves cut out of the market as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ships temporary housing to folks affected by the flooding in Louisiana. Instead of “FEMA trailers” with a bad reputation, FEMA says it’s shipping in a new generation of “manufactured housing units.” Photos show the new units are reminiscent of mobile homes with vinyl siding. Sized anywhere from 8 to 14 feet wide, the agency is hoping to shed the formaldehyde-related disaster image from the temporary housing units it shipped to Hurricane Katrina victims.
Don’t forget — Through Sunday, August 28, in honor of its 100th birthday, the National Park Service is offering free admission at all of its 412 national and historic parks across the country. Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service! For more celebrations visit the NPS Centennial website.
A wildfire which had its start in early August is still having an effect on both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming. At least 50 campers were evacuated from areas in Grand Teton earlier this week. The fire also forced the closure of the road heading into Yellowstone’s south entrance. No other roads were reported closed due to fire as of Friday. Check current road conditions at Yellowstone here.
Camp Verde, Ariz., town officials have awarded the town’s “Beautification Award” to an RV park. Trails End RV Park on Finnie Flat Road was recognized for being “immaculate on a regular basis.” The work done by park management has paid dividends — Trails End reports it has been full-up both winter and summer for the past three years.
Back in February, Sioux City, Iowa, residents told their lawmakers they favored the city’s plan to build an RV park. Now that the price tag has come in, city fathers are a bit staggered. A budget of $992,000 was set aside for the new park — but last week a consultant told the city council they needed to up the ante a bit — $3 million was closer to the mark. Officials still like the idea, but figure they’ll have to work out some of the details.
A week after two separate incidents of U.S. RVers trying to cross into Canada without declaring the firearms they were carrying, the Canadian government has issued a request: Please don’t. The exact wording: “It is strongly recommended that you not carry your firearm when traveling to Canada and/or transiting through Canada to reach another U.S. destination. However, should you choose to travel with your firearms, you must declare all firearms in your possession at the first Canadian designated port of entry.” The RVers who may have triggered the “reminder” were both fined, tossed out of Canada, and their firearms destroyed.
Viewing spots are filling up for the total eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017. Its total phase will be visible only along a roughly 70-mile-wide track that extends from Oregon to South Carolina. By some measures, the absolute best viewing spot is Madras, Oregon. Online reservations for campsites in Oregon state parks open up on November 21, 2016, for the day of the eclipse. Fifteen state parks lie in the path of totality, and most of them will be taking reservations. The others will be first-come, first-served next summer. Read more on GeekWire.com.
Combining the effectiveness of lithium batteries with the RVing lifestyle is an experiment that some RVers have been playing with. Now here’s a commercial option: Bowlus announces it’s releasing the Road Chief Lithium travel trailer. The limited edition rig’s lithium-iron-phosphate battery is said to power everything on the diminutive trailer, including an 8,000 BTU air conditioner. Get out your checkbook — there’ll only be 50 of these built, and the price tag is a modest $219,000.
We earlier reported on the case of Everett Leon Stout, a 74-year-old man who was accused of extortion in Alabama. Stout tried to buy a $300,000 motorhome from Dandy RV Superstore in Oxford. When the dealer refused the apparent bogus check, Stout field a lien against the dealer, offering to withdraw it for payment from the dealer. Now a jury has found Stout guilty of extortion, and he won’t be needing an RV for the next 20 years — after his sentence was handed down.
Some RVers travel with unusual pets, but a Walmart employee in Lancaster, Ohio, now has a firsthand experience as proof. The unnamed employee was in the store lot when he was accosted by a three-foot-tall primate “monkeying” around a cart return station. When the employee approached and attempted to detain the monkey, an excited woman ran up, telling him to let go of the monkey. She then grabbed hold of the simian and, hand in hand, walked it back to a nearby motorhome.
America’s Largest RV Show runs September 14–18, 2016
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.
The Washington [state] Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is offering “free fishing” days until August 30 after temporarily suspending the sale of licenses while investigating the vulnerability of its sale system [i.e., a cybersecurity breach]. Anglers are not required to have fishing licenses to fish or gather shellfish in open fishing waters in the state and are also not required to have a vehicle pass to park at the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by WDFW. Crabbers will also not need a Puget Sound crab endorsement until all requirements are back in effect on August 31. Lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Parks will still need a Discovery Pass for access. Source: KING5.com.
Alberta, Canada, says it will pump $239 million into provincial park improvements in the next five years. The upgrades will include road fixes, trail upgrades and campground improvements, including expanding electric hookups.
Millennials love getting out into nature — as long as they have a cozy place to hang with their friends and somewhere to plug in their iPhones. That’s the theory behind the new-age camping cabins popping up at California state parks, part of a push to get more diverse demographics, including people born in the 1980s and 1990s, hooked on the Great Outdoors. Read more.
Early this month, Forest Service workers were busy removing what was described as a “deplorable message” etched in a rock at McKenzie Bridge Campground in Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The racist slogan appeared to be related to a noose found hanging in a nearby tree. Both were quickly removed and a Service official spoke out through the media, “We will be watching, and we are out there.”
Dramatic film footage from a fireman’s body camera shows just how quickly an RV can burn up. Butler County, Kan., firefighters responded to a Class C on fire, and the camera was rolling even before they were off the truck. Interestingly, what appears to be discharges of propane from the rig’s LP tank can be seen as punctuated flame blasts. Check out the video.
A Washington state RV salesman is in hot water and faces felony charges of theft. No, he didn’t do a “consignment sale rip-off.” Instead, he’s charged with defrauding the state’s workers’ compensation fund. Bobby R. Johnson, 47, of Tacoma, slipped and fell on ice while working at a Poulsbo, Wash., RV lot two years ago. He applied for and started receiving workers’ comp, but later, when a cross-check was made against employment insurance payments, it was found Johnson had been selling RVs at other dealerships in addition to being a home caregiver, while claiming to be unemployable. An undercover agent spotted Johnson selling RVs at an RV show, too. The state says Johnson drew more than $81,000 in workers’ comp.
The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.
A brand-new group is forming on Facebook for RVers in the Idaho area (or anywhere in the U.S.) looking for one or two couples to travel or meet up with. (They’re not interested in big groups such as in Good Sam, etc.) If you’re interested, check out “Idaho Baby Boomers RV Traveling” on Facebook.
Have you seen them? Sonny and Patricia Ely are wanted by the Snohomish County, Wash., sheriff’s office after they allegedly finagled a motorhome from a bereaved widow. Authorities say the couple managed to sleight-of-hand the rig’s title from the woman, later forging the dead man’s signature, selling the rig to yet another party. Police were able to track down the stolen rig and want to track down the perpetrators as well. Sonny is 5’11″, weighs 209 pounds, and has brown eyes and hair. Call 800-222-TIPS with information.
Coming to a campground near you – a dishwasher? If Easy Be, of the Netherlands, has its way, you’ll soon be able to walk to a centrally located site in your RV park, toss your dirty dishes in a machine, drop in a token (given you by the park office) and five minutes later, your clean dishes are ready to go back to your rig. Easy Be dishwashing service machines are now in eight countries, and the company is pushing to add the United States to its passport.
The infamous “11’ 8” Bridge” in Durham, N.C., has caught yet another slow-witted RVer. On August 13, a motorhomer tried to squeeze their rig under the train trestle — and they might have done it, if it hadn’t been for air conditioner units on the top of the rig. The bridge can’t go up because if it did, nearby rail crossings would have to go up. The road can’t go down, because a major sewer line runs only four feet under the pavement. It’s said the trestle claims about one victim per month, despite warning signs and flashing lights. Watch the video.
California Highway Patrol officers got a workout last week when a man found the keys in the ignition of a motorhome on a dealer lot too tempting. Paul Nelson, age 40, is accused of starting up the Class A rig at La Mesa RV, in Rancho Cordova. He then plowed the rig through the front gate and set off on what ended up being a high speed pursuit out of Sacramento County, through El Dorado County, and on into (and ending with spike strips) in Amador County. Nelson “voluntarily” surrendered after the deflation. He’s being held on a number of charges in lieu of an $85,000 bond.
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.
See this week’s greetings near the bottom of this newsletter.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Even the simple maintenance — Check and replace smoke detector batteries
Rich “The Wanderman” explains why it’s important to regularly check smoke detector batteries and how easy it (usually) is to replace them. He reminds us: An ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound (or many dollars!) of cure. Read more.
Why dual tires should be matched
Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com discusses why dual tires should be matched and how to determine if they are. Watch the video.
Confessions of a newbie full-time RVer
Read this interesting and informative article by RV Travel reader Mike Sherman, who has been full-time RVing for five months after RVing part-time for 30 years. This is an overview of his experience and lessons learned. Read more.
Leveling vs. stabilizing an RV
There is a big difference between stabilizing and leveling an RV. You need to know the difference to properly use the equipment on your particular RV. Learn about stabilizers and levelers in this article supplied courtesy of Diamond RV Centre, West Hatfield, Mass. Learn more.
Surviving a tire blowout
Having a blowout while driving your car can be a nerve-racking experience. Now, in your mind, put yourself behind the wheel of a motorhome and the gut-wrenching imagery increases exponentially. Still, a blown tire on an RV, regardless of its size or type, is not a “game-ender.” Keeping a cool head and reacting properly can mean a safe — and stable — outcome. It’s a matter of understanding and applying some simple rules. Read this important information from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Why aren’t there more recalls of bad RV tires?
In addition to writing the RVtiresafety.com blog, Roger Marble monitors a number of different RV forums for discussions on tires and related issues. He often suggests to people that they file a complaint with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about their tire problems, but many times they respond, “Why bother?” In this article, Roger explains how the NHTSA complaint and recall process works (or not). Learn more.
Ford recalls 86,000 vehicles
Ford is issuing a Safety Recall for approximately 86,000 2013-15 Ford Taurus, Ford Flex, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT vehicles with 3.5-liter gasoline turbocharged direct injection engines, as well as Ford Police Interceptor sedans, to replace fuel pump control modules. In the affected vehicles, the fuel pump control module could fail, which may cause an engine to not start or stall. In some cases, the engine could stall without warning while driving and without the ability to restart, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more.
Exclusive Offer: Expand Your RV Protection Education!
RV repairs are common, complex and costly! Learn how to save big and make confident RV repair decisions with our free RV Webinar series. Secure your RV education here, and pick up insider tips on protecting your life on the road, straight from the RV Warranty Experts at Wholesale Warranties.
Certain 2015-2016 Jeep Renegades recalled due to trailer hitch assembly
Chrysler is recalling certain model year 2015–2016 Jeep Renegade vehicles manufactured August 25, 2014, to June 25, 2016, equipped with a factory-installed optional trailer hitch package. The trailer hitch assembly may have been attached with only a single fastener per side, not three per side as required. Without the proper amount of fasteners, the trailer hitch assembly may separate from the vehicle, and any towed vehicle may no longer be properly connected, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more.
Some Coachmen Freedom Express trailers recalled
Forest River, Inc. is recalling certain model year 2017 Coachmen Freedom Express trailers manufactured May 16, 2016, to July 19, 2016. The vehicles may have insufficient space between the slideroom driveshaft and the driver’s side tires, causing the tires to rub. If the driveshaft rubs against the tires, tire failure may result, possibly causing a loss of control and increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
Jayco recalling some Alante and Precept motorhomes
Jayco, Inc. is recalling certain model year 2016–2017 Alante and Precept motorhomes manufactured October 13, 2014, to June 23, 2016. The affected vehicles have a driver seat that may loosen and detach from the seat base as a result of the seat having been swiveled around. The potential number of RVs affected is 1,230. If the seat detaches from the seat base while the vehicle is being driven, the operator may lose control, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more.
Boondocking along America’s Byways
“America’s Byways” is a great website for RVers and is especially useful for those of us that boondock in the western United States. The website lists National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads across America and offers a wealth of information to the traveling public. Since the majority of western byways meander through portions of public land, boondocking is quite often an option while traveling these byways with an RV. Learn more in this article from veteran boondocker Dave Helgeson.
Road service not up to par
Things that can mess up your RVing day: Motoring down the happy highway when a sudden “BOOM!” rolls out across the landscape. A quick glance in your rearview mirror reveals chunks of rubber blasting away from your trailer wheel well. Sure enough, you get to test out your emergency road service. Read about Russ De Maris’ experience and feel free to add your two cents’ worth. Read more.
Secure compartment locks — Can the cams be replaced?
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. He received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor about combination compartment locks. The reader wanted to know if the flat cams on his current locks could be replaced with offset cams. Here’s Chris’ response.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at 500 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
This week in history
Week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2
Compiled by Dell Bert
1897 — Thomas Edison patents his Kinetograph movie camera.
1955 — “The Guinness Book of Records” debuts.
1963 — Martin Luther King Jr. speaks to 250,000 people at the March on Washington.
1969 — First ATM opens for business.
1982 — Actress Ingrid Bergman dies on her 67th birthday.
1987 — Director John Huston dies at 81.
2005 — Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast.
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, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
RV Club of the Week
Here’s an RV club from our extensive directory you may like.
SOI Motorhome Club.
The SOI Motorhome Club is an international motorhome club dedicated to fun and friendship. It is a non-profit group of RV owners and a chapter of the FMCA made up entirely of volunteers. Each year they hold rallies all over the United States, and their most popular rally is the annual 5-day extravaganza to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. This tour includes daily activities, float decoration, meals, and spectacular road-side bleacher seats so close to the floats you can almost touch them! Membership in SOI Motorhome Club is free to FMCA members.
Prevent hose crimping and strain
. . . and extend RV hose life
This Valterra 90-Degree Hose Saver eliminates unnecessary stress and strain on all RV water intake hose fittings. The elbow, with an easy-grip connector, is made of brass and is lead-free. Learn more or order for a great price!
Bumper sticker of the week
I childproofed my house but the kids still get in.
Funny/clever business slogan
“Get your buns in here” —Glenn’s Pastries, Gallup, N.M.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
This RV water hose never kinks
This RV drinking water safe hose self-straightens with a reflex mesh design to prevent kinking. Solid brass octagon female coupling ensures a tight no-leak connection. The highly rated hose is FDA approved with a limited lifetime warranty. Fed up with water hoses that are always kinking? This is the answer. Comes in various lengths. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the Web’s best directory of upcoming RV shows for 2016 and 2017.
Websites of the Week
We like these websites. Check ’em out. More next week.
Here’s a sample: 30 easy slow-cooker recipes.
NEW: Current wildfire information
Up-to-the-minute wildfire updates in one U.S. interagency website. Select by incident or state.
Portable oven is perfect
for hot meals in your tow vehicle
You’re on the road in your pickup or other tow vehicle, and would like a hot meal without stopping. Do we have something for you — the HotLogic Mini Personal Oven! Enjoy a hot meal wherever your day takes you. Click the video to see the product in action or visit Amazon to learn more or buy it.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Watch these expert campers review and test four different camping stoves.
• This hearty meal is perfect for recovering from a day of exploration and adventure!
• Zion River Resort is one of Utah’s highest rated RV Parks.
Organize your RV’s shower!
Quit hassling with shampoo and conditioner bottles
RV showers are small! Hassling with bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap are a pain! Make it easy with this Better Living Classic 3-Chamber Dispenser. It utilizes a “patented pump technology” and comes with a lifetime warranty. The liquid is stored in three 15 oz. refillable chambers. The right amount of product is dispensed with a stroke or two of the pump. Installs in minutes without tools. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Finding a campsite is getting
too nerve-racking — Any suggestions?
Dear RV Shrink:
This RV lifestyle is supposed to be relaxing, but trying to get a space in a campground is nerve-racking. My husband and I have a method, but I am still shaking when it’s all over. We have a motorhome and pull a small car. As we get close to a first-come, first-served campground, he unhooks the car from the motorhome and waits while I go in and try to secure a site. Often I have to bother other campers and ask if they are leaving. Often there are others doing the same. It’s like a scavenger hunt. We see it only getting worse. Do you have any suggestions? —All shook up in Apgar
RVs and Campers: 1900-2000
This entertaining book looks at the history and evolution of RVs and the lifestyle. Hundreds of nostalgic photographs show a wide variety of RVs through the years. See early auto tent-camping, converted buses, fold-out trailers, homemade campers and even traveling chapels with living quarters for pastors! This is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Learn more.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Things to check when towing a dinghy
When you are towing a vehicle behind your motorhome try to get in the habit of making the following checks each time you stop. Check the tow bar, base-plate, safety cables and light plug to make sure everything is properly attached. Check the tires of the towed vehicle to make sure they are not too hot or losing air. If you are using a dolly or trailer, check the wheels to make sure they are not hot to the touch. If the wheels are hot, it may indicate a brake or bearing problem. Check all of the lights every day before towing.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Camco Wheel Chocks. Two Pack
Wheel chocks are one of those “must have” basic items for all RVers. Hey, who wants to go rolling outta their campsite at 3 a.m.? For trailer owners, the chocks are designed to keep your RV in place so that you can re-hitch with confidence. The chalks are constructed of durable hard plastic with UV inhibitors and are easy to use. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.19 (on Aug. 22). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Down 44 cents.
Diesel: $2.37 (on Aug. 22). Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Down 19 cents.
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 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.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Crustless Custard Pie
Easy as pie.
You want pie. Your doctor says you shouldn’t have pie. Besides, it’s a lot of work to make pie crust. Try this yummy, lard-free custard pie instead and be amazed at the way it makes its own crust as it bakes. Get the recipe.
Effective against Zika virus
Best protection from mosquitoes
The Repel 100 uses a 98.1-percent DEET formula to provide complete protection from mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, chiggers, no-see-ums & biting flies. Use in areas of high infestation or prolonged periods of up to 10 hours. Repels mosquitoes that may transmit Zika and other viruses. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Galley fire safety
In a compact galley, all combustibles — from paper towels to curtains — are apt to be closer to the stove, so use even more caution in your coach than you do at home. A box of baking soda — the ingredient in powder extinguishers — can be used in lieu of a fire extinguisher for minor galley flare-ups. Courtesy: MacTheFireGuy.com
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Guide to RV Camping in State Parks
Learn about more than 1,730 state parks, forests & recreation areas for RVers. Book includes maps, locator charts, reservation & fee info, plus contact details & website. Plus park location, directions, GPS coordinates, contact info, type of hookups, season, RV length limit & availability of showers, dump station, Wi-Fi, etc. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Slow cooker suggestion from a “road gourmet”
Regular contributor to RV Travel newsletters, and road gourmet, Greg Illes suggests slow cooker RVing enthusiasts consider the RoadPro cooker. Big enough for a two-person dinner but draws only 8 amps, running on 12-volt DC power. They’re available at Amazon.
Roll up your awning in a storm
Leaving your awning out in a rainstorm is a costly mistake. Bent awning hardware like roller tubes generally can’t be repaired.
Take care of your transmission
Don’t ignore your automatic transmission. Check the fluid level regularly. If you find the level going down, it could be a leak or (gulp!) a malfunction. Check with a transmission mechanic — and don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if the suggestion involves big money.
Do you have a handy Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) rvtravel.com.
Who was the first actor to play James Bond? Nope, it was not Sean Connery! So who was it? Answer below.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV delamination dilemma
Dear RV Doctor:
I have a 2004 RV with a wood frame. Last summer I noticed what I believe you call “delaminating” on the front section. The camper’s exterior fiberglass appeared to be rippling. I suspected this was related to a leak so I resealed the entire front of the RV. Recently, during a heavy rainstorm, I found some water in a closet which verified there was in fact a leak and also that I didn’t catch it when I resealed the RV. If I can get the leak to stop will the “delaminating” continue? Can you repair “delaminating” without peeling back the entire exterior? If I get the leak to stop, will problems continue (dry rot, etc.)? Am I in deep trouble or what? —Dennis D.
RV Camping in Corps of Engineers Parks
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers manages more than 12 million acres of land and water nationwide. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. This book will guide you to more than 600 Corps-managed campgrounds with sites suitable for RV camping on nearly 200 lakes around the country. Many RVers believe Corps campgrounds are among the best out there! Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Braven BRV-BLADE Bluetooth outdoor speaker
Braven announces the immediate availability of the Brven BRV-BLADE, a new standard in outdoor Bluetooth® adventure speakers forged with toughness, aggressive design, and superior HD audio. Ideal for wet, wild, and extreme power sports, you won’t have to treat it gently living your RV Lifestyle. The BRV-BLADE boasts tank-like durability with a shockproof ABS construction and can also take a spill, splash or dunk with an IPX7 waterproof rating. Read more.
3-way LED lights now available for RV interior lighting
You can now vary the brightness of your cabin lights with the simple flip of a switch (no dimmer required), a press release from SalVinCo reports. Bee Green LEDs new Three Way G4 bi-pin LED bulbs offer you the option to choose among three levels of lighting from one bulb just by toggling the light off and back on with your wall switch or fixture switch. Learn more.
Essential equipment for many RVers!
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• No. Carolina RV Dealers Assoc. RV Show, Aug. 26-28, Raleigh, NC
• Utah RV Supershow, Sept. 8-11, Sandy, UT
• Fall RV Show & Sale, Sept. 9-11, St. Louis, MO
• Ohio Outdoor RV Bargain Expo, Sept. 9-11, Cleveland, Ohio
• Vermont State Fall RV Show, Sept. 10-11, Essex Junction, VT
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 14-18, Hershey, PA
• Fall Maryland RV Show, Sept. 15-18, Timonium, MD
• Portland Fall RV & Van Show, Sept. 15-18, Portland, OR
• Southwest RV SuperShow, Sept. 15-18, Dallas, TX
• Greater Iowa RV Show, Sept. 16-18, Des Moines, Iowa
• Springfield RV Mega Show, Sept. 16-18, Springfield, MO
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
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.
RV Short Stop
Free nightly Bat Flight programs, plus
Night Sky Parties at Carlsbad Caverns NP
Each summer New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park hosts special programs. Two good ones, both free:
• 2016 Bat Flight programs: Every evening park rangers present informative programs about the Brazilian free-tailed bats that live in the caverns between spring and autumn. “The best bat flights normally occur in August and September …,” according to rangers.
• 2016 Star Party events: Sept. 3, Oct. 1 and Oct. 29: “The park is a perfect spot for viewing the wonders of the night sky due to its location miles away from the lights of the local communities,” rangers report.
Liquefy solid wastes in sewer holding tanks
Happy Campers Treatment liquefies solid waste and household tissue. It’s a natural formula that’s environmentally friendly and biodegradable, with no formaldehyde or harsh chemicals. Basically, the good bacteria overtakes the bad bacteria to eliminate odor and accelerate the natural decomposition of waste. Because it is totally organic and odor free, you won’t be embarrassed by bad odors inside or when you dump. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Joke of the Week
An RVer goes into a bar in Yuma, Arizona, and orders a Bud. He hears a soft voice: “Nice shirt.” He looks around, but nobody’s there. He sips his drink. “Nice watch,” he hears in the same soft voice. Again, nobody’s around. He’s baffled. “Nice shoes,” he hears, same voice. He thinks he’s going crazy. He summons the bartender. “I keep hearing a little, soft voice,” he says. “Oh,” says the bartender, “don’t worry. That’s just the complimentary peanuts.”
Videos you’ll like
• Free Camping at Walmart: How to do it
RV Travel editor Chuck Woodbury explains how this pavement “camping” option works. Watch the video.
• RV Driving Skills Video Series: Understanding your pivot point
Mark Polk of RVeducation101.com offers advice about this important driving skill. Watch the video.
HOW TO WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS USING VERY LITTLE BANDWIDTH.
Random RV Thought
An excellent way to make instant friends in a campground is to walk with a cute dog (heck, even an ugly one!). Your fellow campers will comment, which opens the door to further conversation and maybe even a new friendship.
Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains? —Anonymous
TODAY’S DEALS ON RV PARTS & ACCESSORIES AT AMAZON.COM. Click.
Readers’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings
• August 27: To Denise from Alan. Happy Birthday! I love you!! And I look forward to many more years of camping together.
• August 29: To Herb from Cindi. Happy 70-plus … I’m coming right behind you! Let’s celebrate by going camping.
• August 30: To Linda from Bud. A great gal to travel with, she is my navigator and is great at it. Plus all the other stuff she does. Love ya, bubbles.
• August 31: To Gerry from Sandy Bronstein. Happy 30th wedding anniversary, Gerry. Looking forward to the next 30 years or longer.
Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting (25-word maximum) (Be sure to send it to us prior to the Saturday before the event.)
Endorsed by Roger Marble of RVtireSafety.com!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn off the gauge, don’t worry, it will automatically shut off. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. And all this for less than $13! Learn more or order.
Before Sean Connery was tapped to play the British agent on the big screen in 1962’s “Dr. No,” Barry Nelson played Bond in a one-hour TV adaptation of “Casino Royale” in 1954. He died in 2007 at the age of 89.
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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