Monday, November 28, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 772



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 772 • Week of Dec. 10–16, 2016

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury               
Chuck (at)

The view from the window by my desk.

This is the view out my window today near San Juan Bautista, Calif. There’s no lake, no bubbling brook, no pine trees, no saguaro cactus forest, and I’m not expecting any memorable sunsets. There is, instead, one RV after another squeezed side by side in an RV park. 

I would prefer more space. From what I can tell, most of the other parks around here are no roomier. Many, if not most, of the RVers at my park are seasonal or live here full-time.

Another view of the park.

Gail and I pulled in yesterday just before dark and proceeded to hook up our 32-foot one-bedroom, one-bath apartment on wheels. A woman walked by with her dog, an Irish Wolfhound —a giant, friendly creature that resembled a small horse. Gail recognized the woman and the dog from a couple of weeks ago when our paths crossed at the Cal Expo RV Park in Sacramento. As Gail and the woman gabbed, the creature applied dog slobber to us with its massive tongue.

Happy neighbors in our park.

About the same time, our next door neighbor, who introduced herself as Ann, had appeared from her 45-foot Allegro Bus motor-mansion with her Labradoodle. It was doggie pee time. The dog proceeded to lick both Gail and me, which added an additional layer of dog slobber to our hands. As Ann watched the giant Irish Wolfhound pass, she said, “It looks like it should have a saddle.” She told us that she and her husband Don had lived here for a year. 

Pulling into the park yesterday, seeing a sea of large RVs crammed together with little space between, I thought, “Welcome to your new life, Charles!” I was not happy. I was a bit depressed, if you want to know the truth.

The church at Mission San Juan Bautista.

I’m pretty sure crowded RV parks like this will be fine with me after awhile. I know, I know (hold your letters) … boondocking is a whole lot better for someone who wants peace, pretty scenery and no neighbors next door watching “Family Feud” on their outdoor TVs. I agree.

But I’m just a part-time boondocker, maybe a few weeks a year. Mostly, I like to be near small towns where stuff is going on. As far as I’m concerned, a pioneer museum with a two-headed calf is ten times better than staying in the middle of nowhere. Here in San Juan Bautista, there’s a beautiful 1797 Spanish mission to explore. Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Vertigo” was filmed in part there. Gail and I plan to attend the Christmas service.

Vampire Vineyards’ Countess Lisa Dominique Machat.

I’m okay staying in RV parks because I like to shower every day, and I like my electric blanket, air conditioning when it’s hot, and all the other comforts of home that full hookups afford. I’m not a “camper” anymore. I am a person with a wheeled home with a steering wheel to drive it wherever I want. It’s a great life for anyone who is bored living in one place.

Last evening, after we had settled in, Gail and I celebrated our new tiny patch of rented real estate with a bottle of Vampire Wine. Its motto is “For the vampire in all of us.”

All was quiet in the park. The comforting sound of a gentle rain pitter-pattered on our roof, and our little wheeled casita was warm and cozy. By the time I finished my first glass of wine, I was feeling right at home. By the time I polished off my sixth glass I didn’t care where I was. Ha! I’m joking: I only had two glasses! 

Read more at my postCamping is a new ballgame for full-timers!


astor2-772P.S. One year ago, my daughter, Emily, adopted a Puerto Rican street dog. She immediately fell in love with her. Before she met Astor, the dog was living on the streets of Puerto Rico, sleeping under pickup trucks, begging for food scraps. Please take a minute to read Emily’s story. If you love animals, especially dogs, I believe you will enjoy this.

Cow motorhome. Click image to learn about it.

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Why RVing isn’t as fun anymore.
More about the poor quality of RVs.
Golf club man and a cow motorhome.

Roadside Journal Index: Click here.

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

tt-770Say No to the Snow!
encore-logo0764This year, say NO to the snow, and head south for the winter! Florida, Arizona and South Texas benefit from beautiful sunny days and gentle warm breezes. You can too! Stay a week, a month, or the whole season! Book your long-term seasonal or annual stay at one of over 80 resorts in the southeastern United States. Click here to learn more!


woman-756Is 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.

Light up your RV with Boogey Lights!
New Boogey Lights photo 7 15 16RV 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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AMFour big cities propose ban on diesel vehicles
That diesel motorhome or truck you’re driving may be a dinosaur in the making. The leaders of four major cities, from Europe to Central America, are planning to ban all diesel vehicles by the middle of the next decade, the BBC reports. The ban is hugely significant. Carmakers will look at this decision and know it’s just a matter of time before other city mayors follow suit. Here in the U.S., RV makers will likely do the same. Read more.

ppl-logo-1America’s Largest
RV Consignment Dealer
Buy or sell your used motorhome, diesel pusher, fifth wheel or travel trailer hassle free at PPL Motor Homes. And check our huge selection of parts! PPL is the largest RV consignment dealer in the USA, selling more than 24,000 consigned RVs since 1972. Visit the PPL website.

Reader 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 last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.

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.


Win this 2017 Good Sam RV park directory! The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What brand of coffee is responsible for most coffee shops serving decaf in pots with orange tops and handles? The answer is in the Trivia section below. Email 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 with his or her address or forfeit the prize. If that happens, we’ll hold the prize for another time.  WE HAVE OUR WINNER. Thank you for entering.

Last week’s winner: Paul Sternett of Bryceville, Florida. His prize: DVD of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”

breaking-newsGood news, bad news? The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last Tuesday that could pump as much as $20 million per year into the nation’s parks. The kicker? It means increasing the cost of senior citizen lifetime park passes up from the current $10 to $80. If law, the bill would send $10 million per year to the park service directly. Up to an additional $10 million from sales of the passes would flow into the parks provided matching funds appear from private donors.

This colder time of year is supposed to put the brakes on sales of used RVs. Apparently buyers didn’t read that note – October sales at auction houses went up 12 percent for motorhomes and 8 percent for towables. The latter saw prices increase nearly 3 percent, up to an average $13,129, while motorhomes slid down 14 percent to $38,206 in comparison to September prices. Source: Black Book.

Steve Walser photographed this (“Lucky Card”) 1959 Cardinal at the Vintage Street Rally, Stanwood, WA 2014. See a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog. Photo © Steve Walser

In 2013 the Bureau of Land Management closed down the Scaredman Campground, located 40 miles east of Roseburg, Ore. The Bureau cited a lack of funds to keep the camp in operation. Now officials say they can open the campground back up – provided users pay $10 per night for use. For more information or to submit comments before February 3, 2017, click here.

Winnebago is making deeper cuts in employee benefits. Effective January 1, no company retirees under 65 years old will get post-retirement health care benefits.

If you’re a fan of camping in Wisconsin’s parks, it could cost you. Facing a budget shortfall, park officials are eyeballing fee increases. Campers could pay anywhere from $2 to $10 more per night. The high-end fees could be imposed at popular parks including Devil’s Lake, Governor Dodge, High Cliff, Kohler-Andrae, Peninsula and Willow River.

California’s Mount Tamalpais State Park got a $60,000 shot in the arm from a rock concert held there in September. The Sound Summit concert featured Wilco and Los Lobos, among others, including a surprise visit from Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. Next year another concert is planned commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Magic Mountain Festival, where a couple of upstart bands played – Jefferson Airplane and The Doors.

Zion South Monument. Photo: National Park Service

Utah’s Zion National Park’s south entrance monument is a popular group photo site. Now park managers are thinking about moving it 28 feet east to “enhance visitor safety,” among other reasons. Included in the proposal is moving a walkway and redesigning parking. Got a comment on the matter? The Park Service wants your thoughts through December 28.

After a summer filled with complaints about the lack of available campsites, British Columbia authorities have big plans. The province will add 1,900 new campsites to their stable, including 800 in provincial parks and the balance in “recreational sites.” Most will be located in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver, Okanagan and Kootenay regions. It’s expected the new spots will roll out over a five-year period.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 7_24_55 PMRV Parts
and Accessories

Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.

news524(2)More News

The National Park Service says it hopes to have the Birth Home at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (Atlanta, Ga.) reopened to the public in January in time for the January 16 holiday. The building was closed last August when structural damage was found, which has since been repaired.holod-772

RV filmmaker John Holod is holding his annual holiday sale, offering his entire 10-DVD series for $50. That’s $5 each compared to the regular price of $20. Among Holod’s most popular productions are “Alaska: RV Adventure of a Lifetime” and “RV Adventure Route 66.” The only way to get the special deal is to call John directly at 313-510-2350. The sale ends Dec. 16. See John’s entire collection at his website.

A few years ago, Mitchell, S.D., leased out its Lake Mitchell Campground. Since then, the city has netted a mere $2,000 a year in the process. Now the lease has expired and the city plans on taking back management – and pumping up the revenue. Planning on investing $20,000 in RV site and other improvements, planners hope to attract more campers than ants to a picnic.

iguana-rvt-722Louisiana State Police were called to the scene of a rolled over travel trailer on I-10 near the Texas state line last Sunday. Not an unusual event, but some of the passengers in the trailer were. Police report they included two dogs, five cats – and an iguana. No injuries.

Owners of Sleepy Hollow RV Park and Campground in Oxford, Iowa, are laying out $20,000 to settle a lawsuit over drinking water violations. The parent company, Sabeer LLC, failed to upgrade the park’s water supply system back in 2011 after tests showed excessive bacteria levels in the water. The park was also cited for failing to maintain its sewage treatment system.jerry-king-12-2016-2

An RVing couple were startled when a man approached them at their motorhome in Crescent City, Calif. Greg Alexander, 46, threatened them with a knife – which he never showed. The couple took off on foot and Alexander took off with their rig. A chase by highway patrol officers led to deployment of “stop sticks,” which did stop the rig, but 45 minutes of negotiation couldn’t convince Alexander to come out. He took off again, flat tires and all, but didn’t make it far. This time when negotiations were negative, police stormed the RV and cuffed him.

Drive ’til the wheels fall off: Apparently that’s what a murder suspect tried to do with his older Class C unit in Vero Beach, Fla. Christian Sagastume was a suspect in a December murder case and was spotted by police as he drove his rig in Vero Beach. He didn’t stop then – nor did he slow down in a chase that hit 85 mph across several counties. Trying to avoid “stop sticks,” Sagastume drove his rig against a guard rail, losing a tire in the process. He kept driving on metal until sparks from the wheel caught the RV on fire. He then crashed the rig and tried to run – but couldn’t because of smoke inhalation.


Bull moose party? A man sleeping in a pop-up camper got a rude 1:30 a.m. awakening in a campground near Fort Collins, Colo. Scott Lindell first thought a severe wind had blown up when his pop-up started shaking. He stepped out of the rig to find a bull moose on the attack. The moose poked holes in the soft-sided rig near where Lindell’s head had been resting, and evidently broke out a taillight on Lindell’s pickup. The moose departed when lights and shouting were applied.


rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at

RVArmorEPSLogoRV Armor has tough skin!

RV Armor’s tough skin was featured recently in Trailer Life. Read the full story here. RV Armor offers a unique, liquid applied roof system that is Guaranteed for the Life of the RV! No more maintenance, seams, or headaches. Nationwide mobile service. We come to you. To learn more, call 1-855-782-7667 or click here. Click the video to see our 2-day process in 6 minutes!

Yeah, right! Someone had fun staging this scene. Source of the photo is unknown, but sent in by Ted Sudtell.

RV Quick Tips

“Exercise” your generator
Don’t just exercise the pooch, exercise the generator, too. Fire it up and run it at half-load (or more) for two hours each month.

Use big enough leveling blocks
Got leveling blocks for under the tires? Make sure the blocks are big enough that the tire sits completely on the block — not overhanging it. Dually rig owners, both the tires must be supported, not just one.

Make sure your sealant is sealing
Check sealants around windows, doors and roof vents often. Sealant does “dry out,” and cracked sealant can lead not only to air leaks (making it harder to heat and cool your rig), but worse, can allow water in that can lead to expensive damage.

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

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.

Gray days, winter looms — Now what?
Rich “The Wanderman” is already dealing with snow (he’s not the only one!). Looking at his RV covered in snow, he contemplates projects or places to go — which keeps him in the “RV mood” while he awaits spring. But now he wants to hear from you. If you want to try something but have questions — whether they’re about improvements, repairs, new gadgets or trip planning — all you need to do is ask Rich! Read more.

frank-tiny-722Frank Sinatra memorial at garlic stand
A few miles south of Gilroy, the “Garlic Capital of the World,” alongside U.S. 101, sits Garlic World, a popular roadside attraction. It celebrates (and sells) “everything” garlic. So what’s with the Frank Sinatra memorial stuck back in a corner? Chuck Woodbury has the answer.

video camera WPRVs vs. tiny houses as investments
Financial guru Dave Ramsey discusses the merits of both RVs and tiny houses as investments. He says RVs are always bad investments with terrible depreciation values, and that the verdict is still out regarding tiny houses. That said, he has a prediction. Watch the video.

RV moisture misery
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as’s technical editor, as follows: “Condensation forms inside both the wardrobe and the cabinets on my slide-outs only, not in any other storage compartment in my travel trailer when the temperature gets down to the lower 40s. Why is this and what can I do about it?” Read Chris’ response.

National Park Service photo

Ancient villages preserved at Colorado monument
Walk in ancient footsteps. Soak in the silence. Marvel at a night sky overflowing with stars. Hear a lone coyote’s howl. Experience the past at Hovenweep National Monument near Cortez, Colorado. Hovenweep preserves six villages once inhabited by the ancestors of today’s Pueblo people. Learn more.

Important consideration if changing tire size: “Minimum Dual Spacing”
If you own a motorhome that has two tires on each end of the rear axle, then you have “duals” and need to know and consider much more information than you needed when driving a car or towing a trailer. And if you are changing the tire size on your motorhome, there are even more things to consider, including a critical dimension called “Minimum Dual Spacing.” Learn more in this important message from RV tire expert Roger Marble.

good-sam-770Good Sam Campground Guide
NOW AVAILABLEBe 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 order.

shock440No Shock Zone, Part Twelve — critical information
In this episode, learn what to do if you find someone who’s been shocked and knocked out. 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 extension cord connector wiring and testing, read it here.

Re-wrap your assist handle with this mod
Right up in the “neatest thing since sliced bread” category, for the De Maris family at least, are big “assist handles” that you can mount on the side of your RV. At the end of a long road day, or a long trail, being able to grab that handle and stabilize yourself heading up the steps into the rig has been a lifesaver. Trouble is, the grips sold as standard on many of these units just don’t hold up too long. Read here for Russ and Tiña’s quick, inexpensive mod.

Adjusting trailer brake controllers
A regular reader of RV Travel sent in this question: “I have a question about brake controllers and travel trailers. How do you adjust them? How do you know if they are too tight or not adjusted correctly?” These are great questions, and we offer some suggestions and important information. Learn more.

ithmah-jTravel with a cat? Here’s a pussycat’s perspective
It appears that sometime when one of our staff writer’s laptop was left unguarded, another sort of “lap top” took over the keys to editorialize about the state of affairs of traveling pets. Read this cute and informative essay by “Ithmah” — and find out what his name means.

Save dollars with PennySavers
Here’s a nifty and thrifty tip from Bob Difley to not only save money on restaurants and services as well as at local retailers, but also help familiarize you with the local area. Read more.

Thor recalling RVs for possible electrical short
Thor Motor Coach is recalling 528 model year 2014-2016 Tuscany motorhomes, models 40DX, 40KQ, 40RX, 42GX, 42WX, 44MT, 45AT and 45LT, manufactured April 11, 2013, to October 12, 2015. Water may leak into the keyless entry module and cause an electrical short in the affected vehicles. An electrical short can increase the risk of a fire. Learn more.

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.

In front of handicap parking space.

del-545This week in history
Week of Dec. 10–16
Compiled by Dell Bert

1791 – The Bill of Rights becomes law.
1915 – Ford builds its 1 millionth car.
1925 – Dick Van Dyke is born.
1944 – Legendary bandleader Glenn Miller disappears over the English Channel.
1944 – Battle of the Bulge begins.
1967 – Otis Redding and his band die in plane crash.
1967 – Hepburn, Tracy and Poitier star in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
1977 – World premiere of “Saturday Night Fever.”
2003 – Saddam Hussein is captured.

foil-757Fix 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.

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

“Xscapers is a support network geared toward a new generation of RVers who have not yet retired and who have already, or are aspiring to, hit the road pursuing a full-time or part-time nomadic lifestyle.”An RV lifestyle group of Escapees RV Club.

Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

Be prepared for a roadside emergency!
flares-765Forget messing around with flares. 
christmas-package-sm-770You’ll be thankful to have this set of three emergency flashers along with you if you’re forced to the side of a busy highway with a flat tire, mechanical or other issue. One FlareAlert™ provides about 20 hours of safety before a battery change (three AAAs in each). You’d need to strike 80 incendiary flares, one after another, to achieve the same thing. Learn more or order.


Bumper sticker of the week
I checked into the Hokey Pokey Clinic and I turned myself around.

Funny/clever business slogan
This was one on a truck in Plymouth, U.K., that was carrying portable toilets. It said “Ideal for large public gatherings or for private functions.” —Thanks to Frank Damp, Anacortes, Wash.

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

mice-653rodent-653Keep rodents out of your RV!
The overwhelmingly positive reviews on this make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets so no safety warning is required. 98% biodegradable. Tested and endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.

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.

Space heater uses only 200 watts!
It’s hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs —a fraction of other space heaters. And this one really works! It’s meant to heat a nearby person, not a room (although it will keep the chill off a small bathroom). Put it on your desk or at your feet. It’s perfect for the RVer who’s “always cold.” Click the video by editor Chuck Woodbury. Or order at

“Take me to your leader.”

Websites of the Week

Here are three we like:

Iconic adventures for each of the 50 states
Great and sometimes unique ideas for things to see and do in each state. How many of these have you experienced? How many do you want to put on your bucket list? From Reader’s Digest and

21 things you didn’t know you could make in your slow-cooker
Risotto, Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Fudge, French Onion Dip, Party Mix, Buffalo Wings, and much more. Yum! From and

Chronicles of Courage: Stories of Wartime and Innovation
If you or someone you know were/are in the military, this will probably be of interest to you. This is a groundbreaking project begun more than 15 years ago by philanthropist Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. It is one of the largest interview video archives on war and aviation ever created, and begins with World War II. It “captures the powerful first-person perspectives of more than 340 men and women from opposing sides of conflicts” and “will take you on an immersive journey into the heart of wartime,” including insight into some of the most iconic military aircraft. The archive went live on December 7, 2016, Pearl Harbor Day. From Flying Heritage Collection (

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

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.

Good reading from 629-rv123
• Sherwood Forest Camping & RV Park is the perfect stop for travelers exploring Wisconsin Dells.
• Add some excitement to your camping breakfast with this fried egg and hash recipe!
• Ever wanted an easier way to share your travels with your family members and friends?

stepbraceScreen-shot-2014-10-03-at-2_46_34-PMHelp stabilize
and keep your RV steps safe
The RV Save-A-Step Brace is designed to be placed under RV entry steps for safety. It stabilizes the RV steps and helps keep the coach from rocking — preventing sag and wear. The brace is made of heavy-gauge steel with a 3/4″ solid metal screw thread, 1000-pound load rating and 7-5/8″ to 14″ adjustment range. Learn more or order at

rvshrinkAsk the RV Shrink

Husband’s dream RV is wife’s “gas hog” nightmare

Dear RV Shrink:
We are looking at a 38-foot motorhome that is like a McMansion on wheels. It has all the creature comforts of home. It has been my husband’s dream for years. Don’t get me wrong. I love it too, but I can’t get over the poor gas mileage. I keep thinking every time we drive five miles it’s going to cost us whatever a gallon of gas costs. It seems absurd.

Am I just thinking too hard?  Are we nuts buying this gas hog? —Gas Math in Maitland

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.

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.

mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Towing system weights
Every component in a towing system has a weight rating. Never exceed the lowest rated component in the system. For example, your tow vehicle might be rated to tow 7,000 pounds, but if the hitch receiver on the tow vehicle is rated for 5,000 pounds, that is the most you can tow. This can be especially true on motorhomes. The motorhome might be rated to tow 6,000 pounds, but until recently most receivers on motorhomes were rated for 3,500 pounds.

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

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.21 (on Dec. 5). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 16 cents.
Diesel: $2.48 (on Dec. 5). Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Up 10 cents.

alaska772RV Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping
christmas-package-sm-770Do you or someone you know plan to travel to Alaska with an RV? Then this is for you! Detailed routes and advice for exploring Alaska and northwestern Canada are provided, covering the Alaskan Highway, routes throughout the Yukon and Alaska, and the ferry system. Nearly 500 campgrounds are described in detail. A great gift! Learn more order!

pets-bunn-11-30-2016-headRV 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 this week’s issue of RV Travel Reader Pets.

Toss your colander. This is better!
strainer768The adjustable Snap ‘n Strain silicone strainer fits nearly all pots and pans. Once snapped in, the pot can be tilted over a sink or bowl to do its magic. Leave it on the pan even while cooking! Works with heavier foods like potatoes. Super compact for storing, perfect for RVs. Dishwasher safe. Learn more or order or watch the video.

janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Slow Cooker Porkganoff
Slow cooker meal magic.

A take on Beef Stroganoff, this easy recipe uses budget-priced pork and almost no prep time at all. Get the recipe.

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


50-amp-764Don’t come up short
of power at the RV park
This 50 amp extension cord can save the day! Sometimes your RV’s power cord just won’t extend far enough to reach an RV park’s hookup pedestal. Here’s the solution: a 15-foot extension cord. Using a wimpy cord that isn’t rated high enough can ruin appliances and even cause a fire. Do it right with this! Learn more or order at a big discountNeed a 30-amp extension? Click here.

The Digital RVer

Chris-Guld-pic-for-RVTIf you can send an email, you can write a blog post
Lots of RVers keep blogs. Lots more would do so if they knew how easy it is. Here at Geeks on Tour, we think that the free platform by Google is the easiest way to create and maintain a blog. It can be like a personal journal, or it can be a club website, a small business, or just a place to write what’s on your mind. It’s already drop-dead simple, but if you turn on the setting to allow posting by email, it’s even easier. Chris Guld explains how.

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… every Sunday on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. Here is a link to their last show: #102 Using Smartphones to Learn Anything! Special Guest: Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. Roger “Hurricane” Wilson wrote the unofficial RVers National Anthem! It’s called, “Home Sweet Home in my RV,” and he played it live on the show. Watch live or archives of past programs.

The special offer for RV Travel readers is back!
Become a member of Geeks on Tour and get a 20% discount on anything on the store page just by entering the code rvtravel ! Even the already super-duper special price of $49 for the entire learning library on USB drive AND the brand-new book: “Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Learning Google Photos.” Click here.

wal-mart-loc-748Walmart Locator: 
Find stores for shopping and overnight stays

christmas-package-sm-770This is an invaluable aid for RVers who occasionally spend a night in a Walmart parking lot. State maps identify where the stores are located in the USA. Detailed information includes city or town where each store is located, type of store (Walmart or Supercenter), availability of gas and diesel fuel, distance from Interstate if within 10 miles, and more. Published 2016. Learn more or order.

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

Fear of freezing

Dear RV Doctor:
I am freaking out! The temperature got down to 25 last night and we have water in our water heater and one gallon of water and a chemical in our black tank. We did blow out the water lines. Should I be concerned about the tank and water heater freezing last night? We were not expecting the temperature to drop so fast. We are camping and I am scared I am going to find a busted tank. —Rhonda F.

Read Gary’s response.

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


Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
GREAT STOCKING STUFFER! Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.

bob-d-med399Boondocking tips
with Bob Difley

Camp upwind from the dust
If you have the option of where to camp in the desert, pick a boondocking site on the upwind side of the access road, especially if it’s dusty. Even though there may be little weekday traffic, it could swell on weekends, smothering your rig with dust. Also, keep your windows closed on the side next to the road and even post a “Slow, Please” sign, which may help. If someone responds when you are outside, wave a “thank you.”

You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.

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.

Gadgets and Gizmos

Shurhold Bucket Grate

Shurhold’s Bucket Grate improves RV washing
Everyone has a favorite item to clean their RV with, be it a wash mitt, sponge or brush. All of these tools pick up dirt and debris that eventually collect in the bottom of a wash bucket. Shurhold Industries’ new Bucket Grate sits in the bottom of a standard five-gallon pail and allows contaminants to settle, keeping the wash mixture and tools cleaner. Learn more.

 air Lift LoadLifter

LoadLifter provides heavy load leveling capabilities
Air Lift is expanding its load assist product line with the new LoadLifter 7500 XL series kits, which offer extreme load-leveling capabilities. The LoadLifter 7500 XL is now Air Lift’s heaviest-rated air spring kit, built to provide 7,500 pounds of load-leveling capacity. For owners of 3/4- and 1-ton pickups that tow or haul heavy loads like slide-in campers, fifth-wheel RV trailers or gooseneck flatbed trailers, this kit provides an unbeatable combination of adjustability and ride quality. Read more.

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.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Expensive mistake when installing 30-amp RV outlet at home

Dear Mike,
Thank you for bringing the miswiring issue to light. I have been a licensed journeyman electrician for over ten years, but when a customer asked me to install an outside 30-amp outlet for his RV in the driveway, I accidentally wired it up for 240 volts, NOT 120 volts. That was a costly mistake on my part since it destroyed a lot of the RV appliances and electrical system. Yes, I paid for the RV repairs, but I hated to write that check. More folks need to understand that RV electricity does not follow the norm for house wiring. —Adam

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

fake-755Keep burglars away with fake TV
GREAT GIFT! 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.

laughing-man-RVT-752Stupid Statements of Yesteryear 
“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'” —Apple Computer, Inc. founder, Steve Jobs, on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by Roger Marble of!
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 it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. All for less than $12! Learn more or order.

Videos you’ll like

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PM

Top 10 reasons to not put nitrogen in your tires
The language in this video from Australia is a little off-color at times, but the information is solid. The message: Putting nitrogen in your tires is a waste of money. Watch the 17-minute video.

Using Google Earth to pinpoint boondocking locations
We told you about this video a few months ago, but it’s worth repeating. You will be amazed at what you can learn about a place to camp away from the crowds before you even leave home in this presentation by boondocking expert Dave Helgeson. Watch the video.


Random RV Thought
Here is the definition of freedom to an RVer: “A full gas tank, a full propane tank, a full water tank and empty holding tanks.” Add to that full cupboards, a full refrigerator, a map, lots of free time, and an RVer’s life is approaching a perfect state.

happy-camper-567Liquefy 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

When you order decaffeinated coffee, the pot will usually have an orange top and handle. The reason? When decaffeinated coffee was the hot new thing, Sanka, with its distinctive orange packaging, was THE brand. In a big promotion, the company sent thousands of orange coffee pots with orange spouts to coffee shops across the USA. To this day, when you order decaf coffee, the pot it’s poured from will most often be “Sanka” orange, no matter what the brand.

blanker-764Stay warm with this 12-volt Warming Blanket!
christmas-package-sm-770Here’s a way to keep warm in your RV without wasting propane to run your heater. Just snuggle up with a warming blanket! This one has an 8-foot cord and operates on 12-volt, perfect for RV use. Stitched from 100 percent polyester fleece, the blanket is comfortable, functional, safe and gentle on your RV’s battery. Put it on your bed before turning in to warm your sheets! Learn more or order from Amazon.

Worth Pondering
“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.” —Lin Yutang

train-764Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads on your travels? If so, you’ll love this guidebook. It thoroughly describes at least 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.

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

Happy Anniversary!

• December 14: To Don and Mary Williams from Kristi Williams and Eddie Skellie. Happy Anniversary to my awesome parents!!!  You are loved and cherished beyond words! Thanks for introducing us to the world of RV living. You rock!

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 nearly 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. Nowadays, he lives near Seattle, where he drinks massive amounts of coffee and travels often in his motorhome and sometimes by plane when vast expanses of saltwater would turn his RV into a leaky submarine. 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



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Doug Stemper
5 years ago

I read every week, and appreciate all the articles and sound advice. I can honestly say I have never watched ANY online videos over 2 minutes that I wasn’t looking for. The YouTube video on nitrogen vs. air is one of the best things I have watched. Logic prevails!

Also, I would have been satisfied if Mike Sokol simply stated his IBEW membership! Lol

Thanks for the wonderful articles!

Roger Bailey
5 years ago

I Think you and Gail will like Casa Grande, Az. when you get here,being half way between Phoenix and Tucson and plenty of things to do all around. It is great, been here 10 years. Fiesta Grande

Bob T
5 years ago

Chuck, firstly let me say that I enjoy reading your newsletter Saturday mornings. Thank you.
I do however have a question for you. Your electrical expert, Mr. Sokol, is touted as an expert but Can you please tell the readers what his qualifications are.
Electrical accidents can easily kill or maim so I would have a better comfort level taking his information as gospel if I knew his actual qualifications.
Thank you

Mike Sokol
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob T

Here you go… Well, I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree back in 1974, then studied electrical engineering at Cornell University while I began working as a EE at Corning Glass. At Corning I was a robotics control designer as well as industrial power engineer doing a lot of 3-phase power distro for the pant including troubleshooting electrical problems in a 1 million square foot building as well as training the electricians there. I got my Master Electricians license in 1978, then built nuclear guidance systems for a military contractor in the early 80’s, Had my own computer integration business for the next 10 years doing board-level diagnostics and repair. Then began teaching audio production techniques all around the country including private classes for Apple’s Core Audio group and Microsoft’s audio engineering group. Oh yes, I’ve been a musician since I could talk (my mom says I could play piano by the age of 2) and have presented over 1,000 seminars on large sound system design and operation all around the country, as well as written thousands of technology articles in dozens of pro-sound magazines for the last 30 years. I taught myself electricity starting when I was 10 years old, and by the age of 14 I had taken the US Navy’s course on tube theory that my Uncle gave me. If you Google – Mike Sokol Surround – you’ll see that I’ve been a guest professor teaching advanced audio production techniques at Peabody, Yale, Berkley, Tempe Conservatory and a hundred other Universities around the country. I currently design large power distribution systems for big sound systems, and have done this for shows up to and including the presidential elections in DC. Basically, everything I do professionally involves designing, building, troubleshooting, teaching about and operating electrical gear. Please be assured that I also have my articles vetted by my electrical engineering colleagues one of whom is a power substation designer.
Don’t worry, I take my job as a tech writer very seriously and double check everything before it’s posted.

5 years ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

WOW! That’s one heck of a CV.
Thank you very much for the quick reply.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas! (Am I allowed to say that? ?)

Mari Harvey
5 years ago

We found the same issues at quite a few parks in Colorado. Realized we weren’t there to socialize or spend much time in the campground itself, we were there for the scenery and the other sites we saw so then it didn’t seem so bad. Sometimes the location to other things is worth it!!

Jim Leibold
5 years ago

Chuck – Make sure to dine at Dona Esthers!

5 years ago

RVPARKREVIEWS before you pick a campground. Research Thousand Trails parks – rustic but more space and more rural.

Brian Jensen
5 years ago

I think you need to get out of California. We have had really good luck at state and even some county parks. We even had free laundry facilities in a Louisiana State Park.

Jerry X Shea
5 years ago

Welcome to the real world of fulltiming Chuck. Entering our 11th years we have experienced great RV Parks, campgrounds and dry camping. We also stayed at many RV Parks from hell. Here are some tips.
1. When you check in, tell them you are a writer and need to be “way down at the end, far away from everyone.” That always helps.
2. Always ask for and “end spot.” That way you only get someone on one side of you.
3. Many times you will find a trashy park but just a few blocks (or a mile) away is a very clean nice park (no yearly parking). Go on line and check the reviews, they are most helpful.
4. As always, you get what you pay for, but not always top dollar. With Coast-to-Coast we pay $10 a night in nice $55 dollar a night parks. Right now we are at the Pechanga RV Park in Temecula, CA., a 10-10-10 Park. With Passport America we pay $27.50 a night from Monday-Thursday. Then $55 a night Friday-Sunday. That comes out to $37.85 a night for a week stay and we are here for 2 weeks.
Nice, spacious and clean parks are out there in every town. Just need to find them and be part of a discount program.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

Great advice, Jerry! Thanks. — Chuck

john & lana
5 years ago

I, like you, like to camp near a town so I can check out all the interesting places in the town. Many Texas RV parks have more space between sites because land is not as expensive. We like to camp in Texas state parks as much as possible. I have been surprised that most KOA’s are pretty nice.

Ken Buck
5 years ago

“but the information is solid. The message: Putting nitrogen in your tires is a waste of money.”

If you’ve EVER read a nitrogen vs air discussion, you already know that the “smarter than you crowd” always point out that air is 78% nitrogen anyway. Are you REALLY saying putting nitrogen in your tires is a waste of money? It seems to me that putting 78% nitrogen into your tires is a good thing. Proper inflation and all that stuff. The alternative is pure oxygen? Can you imagine the explosion if you used pure oxygen in your tires?

So, your advice seems to be a waste of time. Put air or put high concentration nitrogen in your tires as you like. It can’t be a bigger waste of money than the Air Tabs you shill for, or any of the dozens of toilet chemicals, or the “heats the whole place” 800 watt electric heater. 800 watts of electric heat is 800 watts of heat. There is no magic heat increaser.

Dan Landis
5 years ago

As I read your article this morning, I couldn’t help but re-live our recent camping experience at the KOA in Kent, Wa.

We decided to buy a stick-built home when our long time rental home was sold. After we found a suitable deal and started the buying process, it became clear that we would have a period between leaving our rental and the closing date on our new home. So being that it was Summer and it was only going to be for several weeks, we went found space for our Keystone Travel Trailer in the nearby KOA in Kent.

What followed was a prolonged nine week saga of waiting for appraisal reports, documents and everything else that could go sideways. Every week that went by, that site seemed to become smaller and smaller, with a continual stream of giant RVs coming and going on both sides of us. I couldn’t deploy our awning. Our Slide-Outs seemed to be window to window with our neighbors. Sitting outside was a nightmare of sewer gases and diesel fumes. Our Cougar began to feel more like a cage than our treasured RV. Most of our time there was without cable and I had to piggyback power from the next site over because they were unable to find an electrician.

So as I read your article this morning, while sitting in the front room of our new home, I reminded myself of how important park selection has become. We are not boon dockers but I sure don’t want to go thru that again.

Safe Travels

Dan Landis