Friday, September 22, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 771

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 16th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 771 • Week of Dec. 3–9, 2016

Editor’s corner    
With Chuck Woodbury 
Chuck (at)

hollister2-771I am writing to you from Hollister, Calif., where the phrase “shake, rattle and roll” might be an appropriate slogan. In the last year, the town of 36,000 has experienced 578 earthquakes of 1.5 magnitude or greater.

Hollister rests near the San Andreas Fault, which is famous for its quakes. Big, damaging ones have included the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 that killed 63 people and toppled part of a Bay Area double-decker freeway. But with rare exception, the earthquakes in and around Hollister are so small they can’t be felt. 

Oh, I must not forget to mention Parkfield, Calif., population 18, which is about 100 miles south of Hollister. It bills itself as the Earthquake Capital of the World with the motto “Be here when it happens.” On average for the last 150 years, Parkfield has experienced a magnitude 6 or greater earthquake (that’s big!) about every 22 years.

I am not an RV electricity expert but our contributor Mike Sokol is. I urge you to read his article this week about the difference between hooking up your RV to 20, 30 or 50 amps. What a HUGE difference 50 amps makes! At 20 amps, you have about 2,400 watts available. At 30 amps, you pick up another 1,200 for a total of 3,600 watts, enough extra power to run a space heater. But when you hook up to 50 amps, you almost triple your capacity from 30 amps to a total of 10,000 watts. I urge you to read Mike’s article: It’s a real eye-opener.

recall-chart771RV RECALLS
Have you noticed the frequency of RV recalls lately? If it seems they’re up from the past you’re right. My friend Greg Gerber, editor of RV Daily Report, got out his pencil and calculator to figure out exactly how many RVs had been recalled this year. Yes, they are definitely up, with Forest River responsible for more than one out of four. The number of recalls that Greg’s website has reported this year is already up 20 percent over all of 2015, and double those in 2014. And 2016 is not over yet! You can read Greg’s full article here. Our own comprehensive rundown of RV recalls is here.

I’m in Hollister to have Doug Swarts of Drainmaster install his company’s state-of-the-art waste management system in my motorhome. Now that Gail and I are living full-time in our RV, I feel it’s essential that we have an effective, dependable system for dumping our holding tanks. Doug’s Waste Master System is the best, hands down. Doug is an expert on just about anything to do with RV waste management, so I will sit him down for a series of educational videos for our popular YouTube Channel.

That’s all for now. See you here again next week.




The offending ad may spread across your screen like in this example.

P.S. Are ads blocking some of the content of this newsletter? We’re trying to identify the source. If you are having problems with these ads, please let me know along with what type of device you are using: computer and browser, tablet (please let me know if it’s a new or older model), smartphone, etc. These ads are unacceptable. My email: chuck (at) .

My Roadside Journal
(A place where I write for fun, most often NOT RV-related)rocky-771
Popeye still helping sell spinach.
Older men: how to attract beautiful young women.
Death (or extreme pain) by hot sauce.
VIDEO: Meet the voices of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
When I was bronze god, or thought I was.
Not buying these girlie calendars.
The tree stump that refuses to die.

back-768•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of ALL back issues.


girl-771Is reading this newsletter
worth 10 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMComprehensive list of RV-related recalls for November
The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Entegra, Forest River, Highland Ridge, Jayco, Newmar, Winnebago and others — plus cars and trucks commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Read more.

Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.42.17 PM
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. Remember to send them in prior to the Saturday before the big event.

See this week’s greetings near the bottom of this newsletter. 

rv-inscoe-11-5-2016Reader RVs


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 Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane(at) .

CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.

Last Chance to Save on RV Warranty Coverage

Summer doesn’t last forever, and neither will our best RV protection rates! RV Warranty prices will increase on January 1st, 2017, and some vehicles will become ineligible for any type of coverage. Get your free quote from BBB A+ rated Wholesale Warranties before it’s too late, and roll into 2017 with peace of mind.

Click Here to save on RV protection.


UPDATE 12:20 Sunday: WE HAVE OUR WINNER (as picked by Thank you for entering.
Win the DVD of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, starring Bing Crosby (hear Bing sing “White Christmas” by clicking here), Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney! The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: If someone suffers with syngenesophobia, they have a persistent fear of what? Brushing their teeth? House flies? Their relatives? The answer is below in our Trivia sectionEmail your answer to RVcontests (at) We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific) at which time a winner will be selected using We’ll let you know if you win. The winner will have 24 hours to respond or forfeit the prize. If that happens, we’ll hold the prize for another time.

Last week’s winner: Gary Willey of Lincoln, Nebraska. He won the Freudian Sips Coffee Mug.

breaking-newsOctober wholesale shipments of RVs continued as in a race. Comparing shipments to October 2015, overall movement was up nearly 14 percent. Making it possible: travel trailers up more than 19 percent, pop-ups popping up 37 percent, with fifth wheels tagging along, gaining a mere 0.2 percent. At the same time, truck campers slid more than 23 percent. Motorhomes were mixed, showing an 11 percent increase across the board, with Class C units racing ahead nearly 28 percent and Class A rigs bombing out, losing 6 percent. Source: Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.

The fires that have devastated Gatlinburg, Tenn., have taken another toll: As of November 29, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has closed indefinitely due to “extensive fire activity.” The park’s headquarters is without electricity and telephone service. No word on how much damage the fire has caused beyond this. America’s “most-visited” national park is now the least visited.

If you think the swallowing up of smaller RV operations by bigger ones looks like a B-grade horror movie, get out the popcorn – here’s another one. RV service and repair firm Camping Connection, with facilities in Kissimmee, Fla., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., is the latest to be consumed. Lippert – the RV component manufacturing giant – has “acquired” Camping Connection, giving it a total of five repair centers in the U.S.

Steve Walser photographed this (Bambi2) Smallest Airstream Bambi at XXX Root Beer Vintage Trailer Show 2013. See a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog. Photo © Steve Walser

Camping at Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky) has been reduced as Mammoth Cave Campground and Maple Springs Group Campground have closed for the season. Both will reopen March 1. Camping continues in the park at Houchin Ferry Campground.

Too much visitor love in Oregon parks could lead to limits on numbers allowed. Popular Willamette National Forest sites including Opal Creek Scenic Area, Oneonta Gorge and Blue Pool are suffering ecological damage, and Forest Service officials say they may need to put caps on visitation.

Zion National Park (Utah) shuttle buses have ended for the season, meaning private vehicles are now allowed on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Park officials warn that’s good until all 400 parking spaces at Zion Canyon fill up, at which point the drive closes. They advise to come early.

The RV industry’s shipments will top 438,000 units in 2017, a 4.4 percent increase above the projected 2016 total of 419,500 units, according to a new forecast from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). The market projection shows towable RVs ending 2016 at 366,000 units, then increasing to 383,000 units in 2017. Motorhome shipments will reach 53,000 units this year and 55,000 units next year.

rhetoric-rvt-771Are the masses of RVers, weary of deplorable quality control and service issues rampant in the industry, in for some relief? Here’s the new “party line,” just handed down by the RV Industry Association and RV Dealers Association: “Over the past decade, the elected officers of RVDA and RVIA have met twice per year to discuss issues critical to the health of the RV industry. Over the last 12 months, this group has met several times to specifically address the most pressing issues around the end user experience, and all parties agreed that while significant investment and improvements have occurred in the areas of parts and service, there is still work to do … that leadership team, coupled with RVDA of Canada and a select group of representatives from the industry’s largest suppliers and distributors, agreed to invest in a third-party facilitated process to identify the primary actions needed to best improve our service-related issues.” Some RVers wonder if this is just talk or reality.

Wade Maid Holiday Sale! Use coupon code: HolidayRV

Save 5% on Beast Wash and all other products.

beastwash-xmas-illoYour RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy. Offer expires 1/31/17. Cannot combine with other offers.

news524(2)More News

Staying on the path apparently isn’t a high priority at Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park. Conservation police report they’re on track to hand out 1,568 tickets to folks walking on closed trails this year. That’s three times more tickets than in an average year. The tickets are meant to reduce the number of injuries related to falls.


In the 1960’s, Esso urged drivers to “Put a tiger in your tank!” Now an Australian firm wants you to put a tire in your tank. Green Distillation Technologies has worked out a way to recycle tires to produce a diesel substitute. The average car tire yields more than a gallon of oil, suitable for use in a diesel engine, yielding less pollution than “dino-diesel,” as well as steel and carbon.

RVers who favor Santa Maria Pines RV Park in Santa Maria, Calif., have lost out to a motel. Hampton Inn will soon be bulldozing the park to make way for a new complex.

Thousands of fans of the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area near Coal Township, Pa., wanted a place to overnight while off-roading. Now county government has approved, and a private firm has leased 50 acres of the site to build an RV park. The initial phase will include primitive sites – a couple to open within two weeks. As the project progresses, full-hookup sites will go in.

The government of the village of Port Henry, N.Y., will dissolve at the end of March. That’s left some wondering what will happen to the village-owned Port Henry Champ RV Park. While the nearby town of Moriah will take over park operations, campground users won’t notice any change until at least 2018, as Moriah officials say they need time to determine the park’s future.

Amarillo, Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon State Park is strutting about, showing off its freshened up Juniper camp loop boasting 20 renovated campsites, refreshed bathrooms and showers, and an indoor recreation hall.

A man who admitted to being high on heroin and meth crashed a stolen car into 13 new RVs at the Chisolm Trail RV dealership in Albuquerque, N.M. Charles Zigler roared into the lot, crashing into rig after rig until he finally got the car stuck between two units. Employees leaped into action, using a forklift to lift the car’s wheels off the ground to keep Zigler from creating more damage. Zigler jumped from the car and made a short hot-foot but was caught and arrested. About $100,000 in damage was left behind.

“Silly,” the missing motorhome dog, has been found. “Silly,” short for Silhouette, is a Schipperke that motorhomes with Sandi Anderson from Alaska. Sandi and her husband were on Washington state’s I-90 when their motorhome rolled on its side, and Silly, who’d been lap sitting, was tossed out the broken windshield. Volunteers heard of Silly’s plight and tried to find her, to no avail. One man even camped beside the freeway hoping to find the missing pooch. On the fifth day after the crash, a volunteer spotted Silly, and Sandi immediately came out to the site for a happy reunion.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at

Simple on-board RV water safety
Water is one of the vital resources that we need to sustain life. For RVers, water sources change with every change in campground or every boondocking location. Frequently we have no way of knowing where the water is coming from or its quality. There are some simple, inexpensive precautions that we can take to swing the odds in our favor to avoid waterborne illnesses. Read more in this article from Bob

Why smokers can hurt the health of their pet

If you’re a smoker, you probably realize the dangers smoking may pose to your health. But have you ever thought about how the habit affects your pet? In the enclosed space of an RV, this can be a special concern. Learn more.

Does your insurance policy offer vacation liability coverage?
“Vacation liability” coverage, sometimes called “campsite liability” coverage, protects you if someone (other than a family member) is hurt at your campsite, or in your RV while it’s parked. You want to enjoy the RV lifestyle, so don’t let the wrong or inadequate coverage add stress to your life. Learn more.

video camera WPAvoid “frying” appliances, electronics at RV parks
It’s not unusual for your RV to be exposed to faulty campground electrical wiring like open neutral, open ground and reverse polarity. If ignored when hooking up at a campground or RV park, such conditions can damage or destroy appliances and expensive electronics. In this short video, Mark Polk demonstrates how several inexpensive Surge Guard RV Power Protectors can help ensure you stay out of trouble. Watch the video.

Full-time RVing — If you solo RV, please do this
Are you a solo RVer? Here’s a “stop and ponder issue” for you. Every year thousands of RVers descend on the desert southwest, looking forward to a great time of exploration and relaxation. And every year a body is found in the desert, usually of someone who wandered off, got disoriented and never made it back to their RV. Here’s what to do so this doesn’t happen to you.

The readers write — Security for generators and RVers
While plenty of folks were out hitting the highways over the long Thanksgiving weekend, it seems our readers took their electronic devices along to keep up with the newsletter. Here’s a bit of the feedback we’ve received in the last couple of weeks regarding “Why so few boondockers?” as well as more suggestions on how to”Prevent thieves from stealing your generator.” Read more.

dad-daughter-771RV industry marketing efforts target three groups
A news release from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) states that with deliveries of RVs climbing toward an all-time high, the industry will accelerate its marketing efforts on three groups of consumers most likely to buy – active family adventurers, nature lovers and kid-dree adult adventurers. Recent research showed that consumers in these groups have favorable views towards RVs and the RV lifestyle. Read the interesting results of this research.

Beware of buying trailers stolen in Illinois
Crime investigators in Madison County, Ill., fear an unsuspecting RV buyer could end up getting ripped off. Three camper trailers were recently stolen in the area and police fear the thieves will try to sell them to unsuspecting buyers on a website such as Craigslist. Trailer descriptions here.

1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1 1Moran_Host_NC_D-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1Unique 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 editor Chuck Woodbury.

No Shock Zone, Part Eleven
This is the 11th episode of a 12-part series about basic electricity for RV users and how to protect yourself and your family from shocks and possible electrocution. In this episode, we’ll cover extension cord connector wiring and testing. The information in this 12-part series has saved lives. It’s very important. Take the time to read. If you missed last week’s episode about GFCI troubleshooting and understanding and preventing RV electrical damage, read it here.

Mystery switches in the RV — Just what do they do?
Rich “The Wanderman” was checking his RV the other day to make sure everything was OK. (He does this every couple of weeks, even when it’s stored for the winter. Find out why this is a good idea.) In the process he noticed the “odd” switch by the bathroom vanity sink, which had taken him about a year to figure out! Do you have any mystery switches in your RV? Read more.

video camera WPWhat you need to know about RV trailer tires
Travel trailer tires — ST tires — have special characteristics that make them different from automotive tires. For one thing, most are only rated to travel at 65 miles per hour (some not even that). In this video,’s Walter Cannon, of the Recreational Vehicle Safety Foundation, explains what a travel trailer owner should know about his or her RV’s tires. If you own a travel trailer, watching this should be essential viewing. Watch the video.

Dashboard accessories headed for a meltdown?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader regarding plugging in numerous 12-volt accessories, while he was serving as’s technical editor. The reader wanted to know what is the best way to power all of his 12-volt accessories without overloading the outlet on the dashboard of his Class A motorhome. Read Chris’ response.

High altitude fuel-up — low altitude engine knock
We got a note from a reader who’d been on a road trip out West. Piloting his pickup with a V-10 engine, towing a travel trailer, he started to encounter severe engine knocking while in Arizona in the relatively low, 2,000-foot altitude area. However, his last fuel fill-up had been in Albuquerque, N.M., elevation nearly 6,000 feet. What was going on? Find out here.

Winegard debuts new gadgets at RV trade show
Winegard announced on Tuesday that it will display a host of new electronic gadgets at the National RV Trade Show. In the newly-designed booth this year, the company will showcase the Winegard ConnecT Wi-Fi range extender, both the Wi-Fi version that is available now and the WiFi + 4G LTE, which will be available the first quarter of 2017. Numerous other new products will also be on display. Read more.

Thor, Winnebago debut 2017 model changes
The 2016 RV Industry Trade Show began Tuesday in Louisville, Ky. Thor and Winnebago issued news releases about their 2017 RVs to be debuted at the once-a-year event. Read this overview of models and floor plans as supplied by the PR departments at each company.

New floor plans for Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler, others
REV Recreation Group is showcasing the Holiday Rambler Navigator, an all-new Class A diesel motorhome, as well as 14 new floor plans across REV’s four-brand lineup at RVIA National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., this week. In addition to the Navigator model, Holiday Rambler will showcase five new floor plans and Fleetwood RV will debut six. Meanwhile, REV luxury brands American Coach and Monaco Coach will each roll to the show with a new floor plan. Read more.

Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust 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™.

Some specific RV and related recalls

Newmar recalling some motorhomes
Newmar is recalling certain 2016-2017 Dutch Star and Ventana motorhomes manufactured January 22, 2016, to November 7, 2016, equipped with Cummins ISL engines. These vehicles have a power steering hose that may be routed incorrectly and the hose may rub against the power stud on the starter motor, possibly causing electrical arcing and a power steering fluid leak and increasing the risk of a fire. Learn more.

More than 17,500 older Sprinter vehicles recalled
Daimler Vans USA is recalling more than 17,500 model year 2003-2006 Dodge and Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vans manufactured June 30, 2003, to August 31, 2006. The instrument cluster on the affected vehicles fails to illuminate the brake warning lamp in the instrument cluster during the vehicle start up bulb-function check. If the operator is unaware that the vehicle has low brake fluid, there would be an increased risk of a crash or damage to the vehicle. Read more.

Some 2017 Entegra Coach motorhomes recalled
Entegra Coach is recalling certain 2017 Aspire, Anthem, Cornerstone and Insignia motorhomes manufactured April 15, 2016, to October 25, 2016 and built on Spartan Motors chassis. The throttle circuit wires on the affected vehicles may not have been twisted to cancel out electromagnetic interference, and as a result, interference may cause the throttle signal to be higher or lower than intended. Unintended deceleration or acceleration can increase the risk of a crash. Learn more.

Keystone RV recalls more than 6,200 fifth wheels
Keystone RV Company is recalling 6,252 model year 2015-2016 Keystone Carbon, Fuzion, Impact, Raptor, and Dutchmen Voltage toy hauler fifth wheels equipped with aluminum black ladders manufactured by Christianson Industries. The affected ladders have retractable hinges, each with a welded “top hat” that can separate from the hinge. If the hinges separate from the ladder while in use, the ladder may fall from the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury. Read more.

Heartland recalls more than 2,000 trailers
Heartland Recreational Vehicles is recalling 2,045 model year 2015-2016 Cyclone travel trailers and 2015-2016 Road Warrior and 2016 Torque trailers. The affected trailers are equipped with aluminum black ladders that have retractable hinges, each with a welded “top hat” that can separate from the hinge. If the hinges separate from the ladder while in use, the ladder may fall from the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury. Learn more.

Ford recalls 650,000 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles
Ford is issuing a safety recall for approximately 650,000 2013-16 Ford Fusion and 2013-15 Lincoln MKZ vehicles to insulate front driver and passenger seat belt anchor pretensioners to prevent cable separation in a crash. In the affected vehicles, increased temperatures generated during deployment of the seat belt anchor pretensioner could cause pretensioner cables to separate, which may inadequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing risk of injury. Learn more.

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.

del-545This week in history
Week of Dec. 3–9
Compiled by Dell Bert

1884 – Washington Monument is completed.
1933 – Prohibition ends.
1941 – Pearl Harbor is bombed.
1963 – The Singing Nun reaches #1 on U.S. pop charts with “Dominique.”
1967 – First human heart transplant.
1980 – John Lennon is murdered.
1981 – Warren Beatty writes, directs, stars in Oscar-winning “Reds.”

Perfect stocking stuffer!
Lucy and Desi go RVing

Now, here’s the perfect stocking stuffer — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz go RVing! In this 1954 classic — in gorgeous Technicolor — the famous couple (as newlyweds) invest in a 40-foot travel trailer and hit the road. The result is hilarious! The scene in which Lucy tries to make beef stew, a Caesar salad and cake in the wobbling, moving trailer is a classic! This DVD is a great gift for your favorite RVer! Learn more or order for only $5.97.

RV Club of the Week
Here is an RV club/resource we like. We hope you do, too! 

Families On The Road
Not exactly a “club,” but a community site (in existence for 25 years) with general information about living full-time on the road and where the focus is on the unique issues that face families traveling with children.


Quick, easy way to change your trailer tire
flat-tire-768A flat tire on your trailer never comes at a good time. And when it happens, it can be a hassle getting the flat tire off the ground. Well, here’s a safe, quick and easy way to do it — without having to hassle with a jack! Learn more or order

Bumper sticker of the week
If it weren’t for physics and law enforcement, I’d be unstoppable.

Funny/clever business slogan
Spotted on the side of a plumbing truck in Idaho Falls, Idaho: “If it weren’t for your plumber, you’d have no place to go.”

Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)

vac-long-755vac-square-755Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
GREAT GIFT! This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.

Upcoming RV Shows
See the list of upcoming RV shows for 2016 and 2017.

No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.

nextexit17-771Pre-order now
Locate services at Interstate exits
The 2017 Next Exit is the most complete USA Interstate highway exit directory ever published for every exit of major and most minor routes. Find what’s located at upcoming exits on your route — gas, food, lodging, camping, shopping, hospitals, Walmarts and much more. A best-seller year after year. Learn more or order.

Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:

These 12 U.S. national parks look even more beautiful under a blanket of snow
Some of these gorgeous parks offer year-round camping, and all have winter activities for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll see sights unlike anything you would see in the warmer months, not to mention enjoying a fraction of the tourists. From and

Fifty fulfilling, productive things to do in retirement
If you’re retired or soon-to-be retired and wondering what to do with all of your newly free time, here are 50 excellent suggestions — including traveling by RV, of course. But a lot of these great ideas will possibly present you with a new quandary: So much to do — how do I choose? From and

Offbeat attractions in all 50 states
Here are free or cheap quirky attractions to enjoy in each state as you’re traveling around the country. “Offbeat” is an understatement when describing these natural or man-made places of interest. From and

Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.

scenic767The Most Scenic Drives in America
christmas-package-sm-770The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic road every time. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured road trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.

Good reading from 629-rv123
• This very simple app can really come in handy for avid RVers.
• Raleigh Oaks RV Resort is one of the highest rated RV resorts in North Carolina!
• This new take on a timeless camping classic is pretty awesome!

fake-755Keep burglars away with fake TV
The next time you leave your home or RV, turn on this fake TV to scare intruders away. At night, when burglars like to strike, from outside your home or RV the light mimics someone inside watching a 40-inch LCD TV, while using very little power. This is enough to scare most would-be intruders off. Learn more or order.

rvshrinkAsk the RV Shrink

Are unattended possessions less safe when boondocking?

Dear RV Shrink:
We have just started doing more remote camping or, as some of our friends call it, “boondocking.” My husband is much more comfortable with this arrangement than I am. We are not just parking on the side of the road somewhere. We are birders and we like wild, natural places.

I am very comfortable staying in most of these areas, I just don’t like heading out for the day and leaving our RV and all of our worldly possessions. We have never had a problem, but I think about it all day long while we are out hiking or driving around the area. Should I just “get over it”? Am I being too paranoid? Thoughts, please. —Unsecured in Utah

Read the RV Shrink’s response.

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new eBook: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

nat-park-calendar-771Beautiful National Parks 2017 wall calendar
christmas-package-sm-770From the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s National Parks, comes this remarkable wall calendar filled with breathtaking images from America’s most beautiful national parks. Each month showcases two photos of National Park Foundation-supported sites, plus detailed information about each. Best-seller at Learn more or orderGREAT GIFT!


mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Tire strength
Tires and load range designations on tires have changed over the years. It used to be a 6-ply or 8-ply tire, and you knew the higher the number the stronger the tire. Now they use a letter to designate load range and tire strength. To help simplify this you can take the letter for the load range on the tire, determine what number it represents in the alphabet, and multiply that by two, to determine the strength of the tire. It sounds much more difficult than it is. If your tire is a load range “D” that is the fourth letter in the alphabet. 4 X 2 equals 8 so a load range “D” tire is equivalent to an 8-ply tire in strength.

Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.

good-sam-770Good Sam Campground Guide
JUST PUBLISHEDBe the first to get this guide by ordering through With more than 12,500 locations listed across the USA and Canada, the Good Sam RV Travel & Savings Guide is the only print directory of RV parks and campgrounds. The 2017 edition features an expert rating system with all evaluations completed on site in the past 12 months. Park listings include amenities, services, restrictions, rates, contact info, Good Sam discount locations, hundreds of dollars’ worth of Camping World savings and pages of helpful information. Learn more or pre-order. (Available Dec. 7)

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.15 (on Nov. 28). Change from week before: Down 0.1 cent; Change from year before: Up 10 cents.
Diesel: $2.42 (on Nov. 28). Change from week before: Down 0.1 cent; Change from year before: Down 0.1 cent.

grip766Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best-seller and costs about $8. GREAT GIFTLearn more or order.

RV Travel Reader Pets dog and photographer - left
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) .

Click here to see the last issue of RV Travel Reader Pets. New issue next week.

soap-762A GREAT GIFT
No-touch dispenser automatically dispenses soap
christmas-package-sm-770Just put your hands beneath the dispenser and presto, just the right amount of soap is dispensed. Never pump again! Hayden’s soap dispenser uses Infrared Technology to automatically detect your hand fast. Uses 3 AAA batteries. Learn more or order.

janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Whole Lotta Cheese Sauce
Let’s get into the sauce.

Make a big batch of sauce while you’re at it, keep it in the fridge and use it every day for up to a week on fish, burgers, pasta, vegetables, omelets. Get the recipe.

Check out hundreds of other recipes by Janet . . . and her many books at, including the brand-new “The Survival Food Handbook.”


convection767Cooking with Convection
christmas-package-sm-770Don’t know how to cook with your RV’s convection oven? Then this book is for you. Beatrice Ojakangas, an authority on convection cooking, explains how to use your convection oven to achieve perfect results in dramatically less time than with a conventional oven – from meat to side dishes to dessert — all at the same time. GREAT GIFT! Learn more or order.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

Prevent spontaneous combustion
Spontaneous combustion can occur in damp charcoal. Buy charcoal fresh, keep it dry, and store it in a covered metal container. Rags soiled with auto wax or cleaners that contain petroleum products or other oil-based cleaning materials can also spontaneously combust if disposed of in a combustible container. Put dirty cleaning rags in a metal container with a lid. Courtesy:

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.

lego-770Great gift for a child! A Lego RV
lego-box-770What a great gift for an RVer’s children or grandchildren! Check out the variety of Lego RVs at Amazon — motorhomes vans, trailers and more. The RVs include doors that open, roof compartments and lots of space inside for the little people to move around — just like in a for-real RV! Learn more or order.

RV Quick Tips

The world’s largest firecracker is in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. The nearby gift shop has great UFO stuff. Some cashiers also work next door at the brothel.

Handy bedside water glass holder
Space tight in the bedroom? No room for a water glass? Your local auto parts store has a great selection of folding cup holders that can screw onto a nearby wall or bulkhead.

Turn off your water when away
It’s no fun to return to your RV after a day away to find it flooded because of a broken pipe or malfunctioning toilet. It’s a good idea to turn off your water at the faucet before heading off. Here’s a horror story (video) about a RVing couple who forget to turn their water off. And, oh … the result was ugly!

Easy way to clean your showerhead
Can’t get your RV showerhead off to clean it? Fill up a plastic storage bag with white vinegar, “bag” the shower head, and hold it in place with a rubber band or other tie. Leave it hanging overnight to dissolve mineral deposits.

Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) and you just might see it here!

motor-carrier-2017-752Essential for big RVs!
2017 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
christmas-package-sm-770If 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.

gary-736Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions

Keeping water lines from freezing during cold winter RV use

Dear Gary,
We have a Class C motorhome. We have used it quite often this winter and have resisted winterizing it because we use the shower and toilet and such. I have heated it through the winter so far without any problems, but during a recent cold snap the bathroom plumbing froze. I believe the problem is where the water lines run under the floor to the opposite side of the cabin. Interior heat, I suspect, was not enough to keep the lines from freezing under the floor. … —David

Read the rest of the question and Gary’s response.

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.

car769Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums
If you love vintage cars, you’ll love the Roadster Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums & Attractions. Whether it’s Model Ts, the “tail fin” era, muscle cars, early race cars, and so much more, fans of classic cars will find all their favorites in one place in this comprehensive 340-page guide to more than 250 places, packed with more than 60 photos. Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Remco Watermaker 5

Pure, tasty water in your RV with Remco’s WaterMaker Five
You may have noticed that the water you hook up to at some campgrounds and RV resorts is considerably taste-challenged. You can bet that most of the water sources are not filtering out things like arsenic and lead and other nasties you don’t want to put into your family’s bodies. The compact Remco WaterMaker Five reverse osmosis (RO) system from Nimbus Water Systems produces high-quality drinking water quickly, easily and on demand. Learn more.

Dimplex LED Plug-In Electric Fireplace

Add warmth and ambiance
to your RV with an electric fireplace

If you miss having the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace in your RV, the Dimplex 25″ LED Electric Fireplace Insert may be the next best thing. The simulated fireplace looks like a real fire burning, and also will heat your interior, a pleasant plus for fall and winter camping. Read more.

keyboard771waffles2Give ‘keyboard waffles’ to your favorite writer/blogger
What a great gift for a writer or blogger — a waffle iron that makes waffles in the shape of a keyboard! Or get this for yourself and serve up a “waffle keyboard” to your favorite writer or anyone who works at a keyboard. A great conversation piece! Learn more or order.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Huge difference between 30-amp and 50-amp hookups

Dear Mike,
So just how much more power does a 50-amp shore power plug have compared to a 20- or 30-amp plug? We like to bring a lot of our electronic toys with us, and have tripped the 30-amp circuit breaker a few times. Should we consider a 50-amp plug for our next RV?  —Stan

Read Mike’s response.

rv-safety-764Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at

damp-rid-2-761damprid-761Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000-square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture this winter. Learn more or order.

Napa Valley, Julianne G. Crane

RV Short Stop

Meandering through Napa Valley
Northern California
If you occasionally prefer the slow lane rather than speeding along on the interstates, consider State Hwy. 128/29 in iconic Napa-Sonoma Wine Country — “one of the world’s premier viticultural regions,” according to Napa Meander through the rolling hillsides and hundreds of historic vineyards and wineries, many of which are open to the public. For shopping and walking, there are also the picturesque towns of St. Helens, Rutherford, Yountville and, of course, Napa.

Read Julianne G. Crane’s article.

fridge-fan651Keep your food cool with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
christmas-package-sm-770This 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

laugh-667 Joke of the Week
Actual computer tech support question:
Tech support: How may I help you?
Customer: I’m writing my first e-mail.
Tech support: Okay, and what seems to be the problem?
Customer: Well, I have the letter ‘a’ in the address, but how do I get the circle around it?  

micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.

Videos you’ll like

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PMHow RV refrigerators work and maintenance tips
Gary Bunzer provides an overview of how an RV absorption refrigerator works, and explains what an RV owner can do to protect it and maintain its efficiency. Watch the video.

Futuristic tow car from yesteryear has a periscope
This old car and trailer “of the future” are like nothing you’ve seen and probably never will see. Watch the old movie newsreel.


youtube_logoVisit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!

Random RV Thought
Take along bicycles on your RV trips. They are excellent for short excursions, and the only fuel they burn is calories, which is a good thing for most people’s waistlines.

People with syngenesophobia have a persistent fear of all their living relatives. The symptoms typically include extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, inability to articulate words or sentences, dry mouth and shaking.

gift-cards-770Give gift cards to your
favorite stores and restaurants

You can’t go wrong giving a gift card for the holidays — or any other occasion. Here’s where to order most of America’s most popular gift cards.

Worth Pondering
When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. —Jimi Hendrix 


Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.42.17 PMReaders’ Birthday and Anniversary Greetings

Happy Birthday!
• December 9: To Rick from Poula. Happy birthday, rvchaplain! Hope this year brings tons of wonderful traveling joy.

Happy (belated) Birthday!
• December 1: To Norm from Kathy. Happy birthday to the best hubby, travel companion and fixer of all things broken! Enjoy the six months you are smarter than me! Hugs!

Send your special someone a birthday or anniversary greeting (25-word maximum). Be sure to send them in prior to the Saturday before the big event — early is fine.


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, Julianne Crane and Chris Guld. 

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at) cw501

About the 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 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 or this newsletter.

Our offices are located at 610 5th Ave. S, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc . is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2016 by


  1. In 2000 I bought a new 5th wheel with 50 amp service. there was a 50 amp breaker box in the front compartment. A 30 amp breaker fed the other breaker box on a 12 gage 20 amp wire which supplied the rest of the coach. A 15 amp breaker supplied the water heater and hair dryer. every time you showered and then tried to dry your hair the breaker tripped.
    The other side of the 50 amp service on had the plug for the washing machine and 2nd air conditioner on it which I did not have.
    I did a lot of rewiring to correct these problems.

  2. Hi Chuck, hope you enjoy your visit in Hollister, I’ve found it a great place to live, stay awhile and check out the surrounding areas., Cheers!

  3. Even though the receptacle found in your RV is rated at 120 VAC, the 50-amp shore power is actually a 120/240 VAC four wire service. The acronym VAC stands for “Volts of Alternating Current” which means the voltage is constantly changing from 0 volts up to 120 volts Positive back down to O volts, then it goes to negative 120 volts and then back up to 0 volts. This happens sixty times a second. This is commonly referred to as 120/240 VAC 60 HZ (Hertz).
    The actual electricity that feeds your 120 VAC receptacle in your RV comes from your 120/240 VAC breaker panel. This panel is supplied with 240 VAC which is made of two 120 VAC legs that are 180 degrees out of phase. This means that when Leg-1 of the 120 VAC is going from 0 to 120 volts positive. Leg two of the 120 VAC is going from 0 to 120 volts negative.
    To get 240 VAC for the larger appliances like a CheapHeat™ system, rather that going from one hot leg to neutral (120 VAC). Power is now taken from the two opposing hot legs and since they are 180 degrees out of phase, the end result is 240 VAC. Now that the neutral (white wire) isn’t used in the 240 VAC configuration.
    Now let’s review the four wire 50-amp shore power cord, the cord we are talking about has four 6 gauge wires rated at 50-amps each. Which means the cord has two 50-amps legs at 120 VAC (Hot to Neutral) for a total of 100-amps at 120 VAC or one circuit of 240 VAC @ 50 amps (L-1 Hot to L-2 Hot), or a combination of the two.
    Wait! If we have 120 VAC @ 50 amps on the Red to White and 120 VAC @ 50 amps on the Black to White, wouldn’t that be 120 VAC @100 amps on the White wire since there is only one white wire? No it won’t, because the two hot legs are 180 degrees out of phase. When Leg-1 electrons are moving towards Positive 120 volts the Leg-2 electrons are moving towards Negative 120 Volts. This means that when correctly wired (phased) the Neutral leg will see no electron flow, that’s why it’s called the Neutral Leg, thus no overload.
    If the RV park pedestal isn’t wired correctly, and the two legs are not out of phase, you will have 100-amps applied to the white wire that is only rated for 50 amps. In that scenario you have both Leg 1 and 2 electrons moving towards 120 volts positive and then negative at the same time. Which means you have double the electron flow (Current) going through the white wire when it’s only rated for half that load. End result is an overloaded wire that will overheat and very possibly cause a fire.

    ******* DANGER ******* DANGER ******* DANGER *******

    How do you know when you have an incorrectly wired Shore Power Pedestal? There are two simple ways, one is to install a surge protector that identifies incorrect phasing and locks out the power to the RV. The second way is to use a simple voltmeter that is rated to test AC voltage up to 300 volts. If the pedestal is wired correctly when you test from Leg-1 to Leg-2 (not Neutral) and the two legs are 180 degrees out of phase as they should be, the meter will read 240 VAC. When the Shore Power Pedestal is wired incorrectly, the two legs are at the same phase. Then the test from Leg-1 to Leg-2 (not Neutral) will read 0 volts on the meter. As stated previously, this is an unsafe condition because you can have a 100 Amp load on a wire that is only rated for 50-amps. All of that being said this means that using a 30-amp to 50-amp pigtail adapter will NOT allow you to see 240 VAC in your breaker panel. Because in that scenario your just splitting the same single black hot leg on the 30 amp plug to feed both the red and black on the 50 amp plug.
    Its also important to note, that the CheapHeat™ Electric Hybrid Furnace kit is the only RV product that uses 240 VAC in an RV. It is designed to operate on a 50-amp service and it is not subject to these types of overload problems. Along with its inherent phase protection, it also has multiple high temperature safeties to protect from any overheat conditions. It is also hard wired directly into the main power system of the RV removing the potential fire hazard that can happen when plug in portable electric heaters are used.

  4. I read Mikes article about the difference between 20, 30 & 50 amps. He makes it sound like if you have 50 amps you can run everything!

    I have 50 am service but if I run more than 20 amps on the one circuit that serves the kitchen, living room & bathroom the 20 amp breaker on the inverter trips. The micro, water heater and A/C are on their own circuits.
    Strange way of wiring, so the 50 amps does me no good if I want to run the coffee maker, toaster oven, hair dryer, crock pot, etc at the same time….

    • I was just about to post a very similar comment — having 50A service doesn’t get around limitations on grossly uneven demand distribution — it just means you can run more things on different circuits at the same time (so, you can keep AC on while microwaving coffee and your wife blow-drying). All your 15A/120V outlets are often ALL on the same breaker (so using plug-in heater, toaster, blowdryer at once is a no-no!). If RV designers were smarter, they’d use the 50A service more like a house, and have multiple “plug” circuits (preferably overlapping in the kitchen particularly!), but they don’t bother.

      • My wife keeps saying “but we have 50 amps” why cant I run all those things?
        And when that breaker trips I have to go outside to a basement storage where the inverter is located, get on my knees and reach 3′ inside to turn it back on.
        Very poor design. Why not have this breaker located inside with all of the other breakers in the panel?

  5. Hi Chuck. I”ve enjoyed your newsletter for years. This week I learned two things from the Solo article. It suggested leaving id in the rv when hiking alone and also letting a neighbor know. I would love to read a weekly column for solo rv’ers! There are more of us out there than you might guess. Those tips were both invaluable. Thanks for your consideration. Judy


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