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 774 • Week of Dec. 24–30, 2016
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
NOTE: NEXT ISSUE WILL BE SATURDAY, JAN. 7, 2017
Welcome to this abbreviated version of RV Travel, our final issue for 2016. If you’re celebrating Christmas, as Gail and I are tomorrow, Merry Christmas! For those of you celebrating other holidays, I wish you a very wonderful holiday as well.
Our staff has worked long and hard this year to bring you an educational, entertaining newsletter week after week. We’ve done our best, but are always striving to be better. I believe we all deserve a break, so for the first time in years we’ll skip our New Year’s Eve edition (next week) to refresh and spend time with our families and friends.
Gail and I are still in northern California, where we will remain until mid-January. After that, we’ll head south along with other snowbirds in search of warm days and sunshine.
Finally, thank you for riding along with us in this ongoing, weekly newsletter. Without you, my staff and I would be writing to a wall— no fun at all. And a very special thank you to those of you who have pledged voluntary subscriptions. Without you, we would have been forced to close up shop a few years ago after we closed our bookstore, which funded us for more than a decade. I know I have missed thanking many of you personally (due mostly to being dreadfully unorganized — I’m sorry), but your contributions, whether $5 or $10 a year, or an ongoing monthly pledge, are hugely appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I’ll see you again in this space on Saturday, January 7. Until then, be warm, be healthy, be happy and if you are celebrating the holidays with your friends and family, cherish them. In the end, they are what make our lives so special.
One more time, thank you very, very much for reading!
P.S. One more reminder that we will not publish next Saturday, January 31.
Also … last issue I told you about my new automated waste management system, where I can dump my motorhome’s holding tanks with a push of a button from inside my RV. My friend David Bott just installed the same system. He blogged about it, going into more detail than I did, and included a five-minute video of the new setup.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Roadside Journal Index: Click here.
•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
•Directory of ALL back issues.
Still looking for a place to watch the solar eclipse on August 21? Missouri will see (or not) a 70-mile-wide circle of darkness then, and 19 of the state’s parks are in the path. The state will begin accepting reservations for campsites six months in advance – but you’ll need to sign up for a three-night stay (August 18 – 21). Click here for information or call (877) 422-6766 for reservations.
There will be more winter holiday travelers on the road this year, if estimates from AAA are correct. About 93.6 million will take to the road – up nearly 2 percent from 2015.
California’s Los Padres National Forest officials have shut down a number of campgrounds as winter weather sets in. A number of Forest Trails are likewise closed. Not sure if your interest is included? Call before setting out – (661) 245-3731.
David Brown, an Iraq war veteran, ran into tough times after leaving the service. Suffering from PTSD, Brown had spent about two weeks living in his motorhome on a Walmart parking lot in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Then someone made a Facebook post about his situation, thinking perhaps a couple of folks might reach out to him. Within two days the community reached out: help with a broken headlight on the rig, a post office box, warm blankets and clothing, a generator for the motorhome. Finally, a GoFundMe page drummed up $5,000 to help Brown get an apartment.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Light up your RV with Boogey Lights!
RV accent lighting is all the rage! Just look around the RV park! Enter Boogey Lights®! These robust, super-bright, state-of-the-art LED lights with hi-tech controller technology represent the next generation in LED lighting for RVs. The AWNING & UNDER-GLOW LIGHT KITS are specifically designed to withstand harsh operating environments. Don’t waste your money on junk! Get Boogey Lights! You can even control them with your Smart Phone! Learn more or click the video for a demonstration.
Don’t freeze the pipes of your RV
If you’re among those RVers who have found that cold-weather travel is a secret delight — with beautiful scenery, no crowds and clear, crisp, frosty mornings — and if you prefer to boondock, then you should read this article. It explains in detail how to keep your pipes from freezing without using a “noisy, propane-sucking, battery-draining forced-air heater.” Learn more.
Carrying an extra one of these can save you frustration
As RVers, we’re limited on just how much stuff we can carry with us. There’s only so much space in the rig — being piled from floor to ceiling isn’t conducive to moving about freely. But there’s one thing you may want to carry more than one of — a water hose. Find out why.
Is your RV furnace burning your money?
“How much money will you spend to heat an RV?” is a frequently heard question when the cold weather rolls around and people think about getting away from the house and back to the great outdoors. Russ and Tiña De Maris discuss the many variables involved in calculating the cost, and how to most efficiently and inexpensively heat your RV. Learn more.
Tips for your Southwest snowbird visit
If you are planning to head south to the deserts this winter for the first time, here are a few tips from “BoondockBob” Difley to help make your winter escape comfortable, safe and stress-free. Read more.
Even the simple things — The joys of Simple Green cleaner
Last week Rich “The Wanderman” wrote about getting a jump on cleaning the RV for next season. This week he began cleaning all the surfaces that don’t get too much attention during the rest of the year. He wanted a cleaner that could do it all while taking up very little space. While there are quite a few of these cleaners available, he prefers Simple Green. He explains why.
Onan’s “fits and starts” give RVer fits
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question about an Onan generator from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. The RVer wondered why their barely used generator would run smoothly for 30 minutes and then surge, sputter and quit. Find out here.
NO CONTEST THIS WEEK!
We’ll return on January 7.
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.
RV Quick Tips
Keep your battery terminal clean
It doesn’t take much crud on your battery terminal to shut things down. Make it part of your regular maintenance to keep them clean and your electrical system operating at optimum. Wire brush ’em, and shoot them with terminal spray from the auto parts house.
Don’t put anything extra down toilets
What’s safe to put down the RV toilet so as not to create damage or dumping problems? Other than toilet paper, if you didn’t eat it or drink it first, don’t put it down there.
Easy tip to help back up the trailer
Trouble backing up your fifth wheel or travel trailer? You know that you need to turn the wheel the opposite direction of where you want the trailer tail to go, but training yourself is the hard part. Hold the steering wheel at the bottom with your hand – whichever way you move your hand when there, the trailer tail will follow.
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.
This week in history
Week of December 24–30
Compiled by Dell Bert
1845 — Texas enters the Union.
1869 — America’s first Labor Day.
1923 — President Coolidge lights first national Christmas tree.
1932 — Radio City Music Hall opens.
1941 — Bing Crosby introduces “White Christmas” to the world.
1957 — Pat Boone earns second #1 hit with “April Love.”
1966 — Jimi Hendrix writes “Purple Haze.”
1972 — Harry S. Truman dies.
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.
Bumper sticker of the week
If this was a horse, I’d have to shoot it!
Funny/clever business slogan
“Take a spin with us.” (Seen at several laundromats around the U.S.)
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
Ben & Jerry learned how to make ice cream by taking a $5 correspondence course offered by Penn State.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.
Click here for more information about using Airtabs™.
Click here to purchase Airtabs™.
Upcoming RV Shows
See the list of upcoming RV shows for 2017.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
YEAR END SALES AT AMAZON.COM
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The 27 most beautiful places in America
Where would you find America’s most beautiful national park, the most beautiful mountain, the most beautiful waterfall, the most beautiful covered bridge, the most beautiful highway, and 22 more most beautiful locations in America. Why … in this list, of course! 😉 Look at this list of beauties and put together your own bucket list. From Country Living and msn.com.
Put in your city (in the U.S., Canada, and around the world) and see lots of suggestions for restaurants, events, museums, money-saving specials, favorite sights. They have two apps to “help guide you to amazing experiences.” More than 50 million people use Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm each month.
Top 25 websites you’ve probably never heard of
Here are 25 offbeat websites that are among the most popular in the world. It’s very interesting to see what these popular websites offer — maybe even something you can use. A fun “rainy day” project when it’s too cold or miserable out to leave the cozy comfort of your RV. From The Street and msn.com.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
Wade Maid Holiday Sale! Use coupon code: HolidayRV
Save 5% on Beast Wash and all other products.
Your 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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Colorado RV Adventure Travel Show, January 5-7, Denver, CO
• Greenville RV Show, January 6-8, Greenville, SC
• Knoxville RV Show, January 6-8, Sevierville, TN
• Wisconsin RV Show, January 6-8, Milwaukee, WI
• Houston Boat, Sport & Travel Show, January 6-15, Houston, TX
• Indy RV Expo, January 7-15, Indianapolis, IN
• Pittsburgh RV Show, January 7-15, Pittsburgh, PA
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
Say No to the Snow!
This 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!
Good reading from RV123.com
• Twin Creek RV resort in Tennessee is a perfect place to relax while visiting Gatlinburg.
• Have you ever looked up in the sky at night and wondered exactly what you were seeing?
• When the ground is uneven, these levelers from Lynx definitely come in handy.
NEW FOR 2017! Essential for big RVs!
2017 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this truck driver’s road atlas will be a huge help in knowing where you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Towing capacity and axle ratios
Whenever you are determining the towing capacity of a vehicle make sure you know the rear axle ratio. It is quite possible to have the same type and size of vehicle with the same engine and tow ratings vary by several thousand pounds. The axle ratio is a comparison of how many times the drive shaft rotates versus the rear wheels. A 4.10:1 axle ratio means the drive shaft rotates 4.10 times for each rotation of the rear wheels. The higher the numeric value the better the vehicle will tow.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.26 (on Dec. 19). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 24 cents.
Diesel: $2.53 (on Dec. 19). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 24 cents.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Bottled water for RV toilet use — and more winter RVing tips
We are newbies at this, and it’s our first winter. If we winterize our 5th wheel and then want to go camping in the winter, is it safe to use the black tank with bottled water only? Since the black tank hoses appear to be quite large it’s hard to believe they would freeze. Or are there smaller hoses somewhere in the black tank system that we can’t see that could freeze? We would be using bottled water only for any fresh water needs, so we wouldn’t disturb the antifreeze in the rest of the system. Is our thinking right on this? —Barb H.
Read more from Gary Bunzer at the RVdoctor.com. See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.
Avoid 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.
You’ll find some good reading material here.
•Towing a travel trailer or fifth wheeler.
•Dumping and Dump Stations.
•RV Tires and Wheels.
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
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.
with Bob Difley
A night light that doesn’t drain batteries
Boondockers just don’t like any battery drains that are unnecessary. This makes use of nightlights problematic, since they will pull juice — not much, admittedly — from your battery all night long. To stop the drain completely, pick up a garden or pathway solar light, the kind with the stake on the bottom and the solar panel on top. During the day, leave it outside in the sun to charge, and at night stick it into a potted plant in the hall or bathroom (you do, of course, keep one there) and have a nightlight that lasts all night with no electrical drain.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small, inexpensive tester will alert you in an instant to the condition of a battery, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with plenty of remaining life! Works on AA, AAA, C, D, 9V and button-type batteries. Learn more or order.
Random RV Thought
On cold winter nights, it’s nice to climb into a warm bed, not a cold one. An easy way to warm a bed before climbing in is with an electric warming blanket. They’re smaller than full-sized blankets but when placed on the bed will make it cozy warm. They also make good lap blankets while lounging on the couch.
Easy way to level your RV!
The RVtravel.com motorhome packs along two of these and, boy, are they handy! Camco’s RV Yellow Tri-Levelers are designed to raise the RV up to 3-7/8″ on any tire for a more level position. The lightweight levelers are durable and have a resin non-slip surface with a load capacity of 3,500 pounds. Learn more or order for a great price!
“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” —Satchel Paige
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 RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for 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 Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. 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 RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com, Inc . RVtravel.com 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 Amazon.com.
This newsletter is copyright 2016 by RVtravel.com
TODAY’S DEALS ON RV PARTS & ACCESSORIES AT AMAZON.COM. Click.
I read once again in this newsletter the admonition not to put anything down the RV toilet other than RV toilet paper and organic matter. My question is: What about those who of necessity must occasionally use Tucks for medicinal reasons? Surely with all the baby boomers out there RVing someone can address this issue. Thanks.
No, No, No! Don’t put them in your RV toilet. Just septic-safe toilet paper and organic material. Nothing else.
Read this explanation from Doug Swarts, RV waste management expert at Drainmaster.com.
Thanks. You guys are invaluable.
Merry Christmas, Happy & Safe New Year!
I enjoy reading your RV newsletter every Saturday morning for the last many years. I have learned a lot.
When you get to Arizona I suggest you visit Mc-Cormick-Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale,Arizona. It is a free city park the only cost is if you ride the train. A great place for young and old.
June and I want to wish the entire staff at RVTravel holidays filled with happy times and the peace that regenerates us. We appreciate you and wish you the best.
Thank you very much, June and Lynn. The same to you and yours, and all of our wonderful readers! —Diane at RVtravel.com
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year with the wheels keep going Round and round?Time never says WOA as we always have places to go anFriends too see an be with.. You an the staff are always Friends at my table?
Thanks, Ron. That’s very nice. And keep those wheels going round and round … sounds like a plan! Take care. —Diane at RVtravel.com
Happy and safe Holidays to all at the RV forum and to all its readers. Safe travels to all in 2017.
I’ve enjoyed Chuck’s glog and the news letter. Had the same 32H 2012 unit that Chuck now has. It has some quirks like the windshield wiper shaft mounting, toilet that always spattered, converter that would fry your house batteries, chasis battery that needed charging after about 7 days of camping, refer that had a 50 hour defrost cycle built into it, rear jacks that always needed to be wiped down with silicone spay to get them to go up, needed to manually operate jacks for you would end up too high plus the jack system fluid seemed to want to leak from the top of the container, etc. But we loved it in spite of itself.