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Issue 783 • Week of Mar. 4–10, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I read about a couple of RVs this past week that got me questioning, once again, about how many of us “seasoned RVers” still “camp.” I mean, does one actually camp with something like what you see here?
It’s a Thor Challenger 37YT motorhome. Here’s how it’s described by the company:
The Challenger 37YT offers the perfect combination of luxury and functionality, starting in the living room with dual opposing slideouts. The expanding leatherette sofa, Always-In-View 40-inch LED TV with sound bar, and electric fireplace provide a great place for entertaining.
The 37YT provides plenty of storage, whether it’s in the Whirlpool stainless steel refrigerator, the overhead cabinets or pull-out drawers. Adults will love the large master bedroom featuring a walk-around Denver Mattress king size bed, multiple wardrobe closets and 32-inch television. The en-suite bathroom features a large shower with skylight and dual vanities with mirrored medicine cabinets above that sprawl the entire bathroom wall.
DOES THAT SOUND LIKE CAMPING? Do we actually “camp” with something like this? Not by my definition, which includes some degree of roughing it. My guess is that spending a night in this is far more comfortable than where 90 percent of the world’s population sleeps.
An RV like this is meant for “living,” and for that purpose it’s an amazing creation (assuming of course the manufacturer built it well, which cannot be automatically assumed in these days of hurried production). I believe what you do in this motorhome is “RV,” not camp.
The thing is, RV makers feel pressured to come up with new models each year that are “bigger,” “better” or both — with more bells and whistles, otherwise known as “bling.” If a competitor’s model has four slides, it will come up with five. And so every year, new models are packed with more “stuff” to one-up the competition. RVs, too, get plusher and plusher, even basic models, where the “plush” (“bling”) is all-too-often cheap and superficial.
NOW, LOOK AT THIS TRUCK CAMPER from Host. It’s called the “Mammoth.” This RV is evidence of the active imagination of its designers, even though the result, to me, is not practical.
Its options even include a washer/dryer. In a truck camper? To have it, you’d need to forgo the rear couch. Would someone really spend so much time in a truck camper they’d give up their couch for a washer/dryer? Maybe this works for a single full-timer.
Check out the floor plan. Notice anything unusual? Try this: Imagine that all three slides are pulled in, which is where they’d be when heading down the road. Now, imagine you stop at a rest area for lunch or a potty break. You do that sometimes, right? It’s one of the great advantages of traveling with your “home.” Do you really think with the slides retracted the RVer could actually get inside, much less to the kitchen or bathroom? I doubt it.
All that said, the first time I stepped into this RV I said, “Wow!” It was so spacious —and, incredibly, it was on the bed of a pickup truck! Then I pictured it with the slides closed. I concluded that while this is a very innovative and cool-looking RV, it is impractical.
But back to my original point: With all its comforts, a person doesn’t “camp” in this truck camper any more than in the bigger motorhome above. Perhaps it’s time to do away with the word “camping” in reference to what many of us do with our comfy, modern recreational vehicles.
P.S. Gail and I will be at the FMCA rally in Chandler, Arizona, this coming Tuesday and Wednesday (March 7 and 8). If you spot us, please say hi.
Also: Please (please, please) tell your RVer friends about this newsletter and urge them to sign up.
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Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for February
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 Airstream, Forest River, Heartland, Highland Ridge, Jayco, Thor and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers as well as some tires. Is your RV or other vehicle, or tire type, on the list? Find out here.
Winnebago recalls Travato RVs for LP gas issue
(March 3, 2017) Winnebago Industries, Inc. is recalling 1,058 model year 2016-2017 Travato motorhomes. The liquid propane (LP) hose may contact the emergency brake cable, potentially damaging it and causing it to leak propane. The company noted: “If the LP line is in contact with the emergency brake cable, the LP line can be ruptured causing an LP leak. An LP can result in fire/explosion, property damage, personal injury or death.” Learn more.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at 500 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to RVtravel.com. Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
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.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries, please.
Win this Coleman Propane Grill. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: Which type of motorhome is more likely to have a bed above the cab? Class A, B or C? Email your answer to RVcontests (at) gmail.com. We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by Random.org. We’ll let you know if you win.
Planning ahead for your spring RV trip? According to AAA, prices for fuel will climb, but not unreasonably. A five-year history shows pump prices ran up 35 to 70 cents from February up to Memorial Day, and the auto club expects similar increases this year.
January saw an increase in wholesale movement of both towable RVs and motorhomes, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. As a group, towables rose more than 6 percent compared to January 2016, while motorhomes shot ahead more than 15 percent for the same time period. The only dark spots marring the records? All towables increased with the exception of pop-ups, where sales plummeted 33 percent. Motorhome sales had their own loser, Class A units, which declined a modest 1 percent.
Used RV auction prices were mixed in January, according to market watcher Black Book. Motorhome values rose an average of 3 percent above sales values in December, while towable units actually declined more than 2 percent. That left average sales prices at $42,697 for motorized units and $12,300 for trailers. In another interesting mix – the number of sales for motorized RVs declined by 17 percent, while the number of towable units sold increased by 20 percent. Black Book also noted an unusually high number of “extremely poor condition” rigs – these were not included in the calculated sales values.
North Beach Campground at Pismo State Beach Park, on California’s Central Coast, is still closed to campers. The lockout has been in place since early January, and was caused by storm damage. Without the revenue campers bring in, the campground has lost an estimated $50,000 – and damages may take until “spring break” to repair.
Winnebago Industries, Inc. has announced Carefree Diesel Days, an extended warranty promotion for Winnebago diesel pushers that began March 1 and ends August 31. The program extends the warranty on any Winnebago diesel pusher built on a Freightliner chassis to 3 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.
If your RVing plans include Louisiana State Parks, bring more money. Come March 5, the state will charge $33 per night for “premium” (full-hookup) sites on Friday and Saturday nights – a new wrinkle, as previously all nights were the same price. Stay any other nights from April to September and pay $30 per night, or $25 during the off-season. Before the change, any night during the summer season you’d pay $28 per night and $20 per night for off-season. Oh, you’ll also now pay sales tax on your site.
The new 56-space, full-service Rising Star RV Park is scheduled to open by Memorial Day weekend near the historic town of Rising Sun, Indiana, at the Rising Star Casino and golf course.
Maine’s Acadia National Park closed its Seawall Campground a month earlier than normal last fall. The closure was to accommodate sewer improvements – and park officials say they’re confident the $400,000 project will be done in time to open the campground in May.
Empire State parks got a lot of attention last year. New York’s state parks and historic sites saw attendance jump 6 percent over that of 2015 – nearly 4 million more visitors.
Campground hosts who enjoy isolated Washington state locations are being sought by the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Most assignments will open up in May, and the season closes around mid-September. Electric utilities won’t be available at all sites, but water and sewage dump will be, and the Forest Service looks to sweeten the deal by offering a $25 – $28 per day stipend to offset generator fuel costs. Apply here.
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.
Arizona’s governor says he wants the legislature to pony up $1.5 million for emergency maintenance and repairs to the state’s parks, and a whopping $3.15 million in increased funding to the parks next year. One park that stands to benefit is Buckskin Mountain State Park, sitting between Parker and Lake Havasu City. Plans include a major revamp that would increase the number of RV sites, among other improvements.
Campground hosts are needed in the southeast corner of Idaho. The Bureau of Land Management says it needs hosts near Preston, at Maple Grove and Red Point campgrounds, and near Soda Springs at the Blackfoot Reservoir campground. Hosts will meet and greet visitors and do a bit of light maintenance in exchange for the “camping spot of your choice” and a small expense stipend. Contact Chuck Patterson at 208-478-6340 or check here.
Wild about wildflowers? The torrential rains of winter are already translating into desert blooms across Southern California and into the Desert Southwest. Here’s an excellent resource for updated information (with pictures) about places you may want to visit.
Showcase your vintage RV to the world (or at least the Seattle area). The Puyallup RV Show is looking for a unique, vintage RV to display at the May 4–7 show in Puyallup, Wash. If interested, contact Dave Helgeson at mhrvshowdirector (at) gmail.com .
Necedah, Wisc., town officials have apparently learned a lesson: Don’t upset your RVing constituents. On January 1 a new ordinance went into effect that forced RVers to fork out $150 for each RV they wanted to use on their property. The backlash was quick – raucous town hall meetings were the order of the day. Now the council has rescinded the permit requirement. As long as a “dwelling” is on the property, up to three RVs can be used there – no permit required.
Campground hosts are needed at several North Dakota state parks. Work 30 hours a week and get a month of free camping with full hookups. What’s involved? In the past it meant anything from watering flowers to making popcorn – and a lot of other stuff in between. Fluff up your resume and call Nina Pettys at 701-263-4015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.
A Houston, Texas, automotive dealership, Archer Kia, is on the receiving end of a lawsuit involving an RV. Connie Delaney, of Henderson, Texas, alleges she bought a Fleetwood travel trailer from the dealership back in 2015, paying a $3,000 down payment. Delaney says she told the dealer she wanted no part of any FEMA trailer. After taking delivery, she discovered her Fleetwood was indeed a FEMA-issued rig. She wants a jury trial, damages, and relief in connection with the $16,000+ purchase.
More camping is opening at Georgia’s Lake Lanier, near Cumming. A 110-site campground, Shady Grove, opens March 6 under the oversight of the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Department. Beach, swimming, boat ramp, a playground, and more will beckon recreationists of all stripes. More info and reservations here.
A freak accident in Austin, Minn., involving an RV puts a new turn on the expression, “That sucks.” An RVer was storing his Class C motorhome at a friend’s place when the property owner decided it was time for a bit of outdoor spring cleanup. The owner used an electric vacuum cleaner to suck leaves off the driveway. The vacuum cleaner shot sparks, which caught a nearby gasoline can afire, which in turn, wiped out the motorhome.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Your RVer Horoscopes for March
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for March in last week’s newsletter? No problem. He anticipated that (he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.
Helping your RV roof through winter
We all know winter weather can be harsh. The effects of months and months of cold winds and snow can be damaging to a lot of things, especially your RV’s roof. Even for those living in slightly milder areas, an RV exposed to the elements without periodic care can suffer some real damage. Here are some tips from Dicor Corporation to protect your RV roof in the winter.
Wow! Can you see yourself in this vintage trailer?
Isn’t this pretty? Can you imagine the attention you’d get rolling into an RV park with this beauty? This must be one of the best vintage Spartan trailers out there. Meticulously restored from the ground up, this RV is not only a time capsule but it was also upgraded with all the modern amenities to take on the road in comfort. And it’s for sale (unless some lucky buyer already got it)! Learn more.
Curing the curse of hard water RV plumbing issues
Spending time in the Desert Southwest, with “mineral deposits” in the water supply, can create trouble such as deposits in pipes, fittings chewed up and a whole host of plumbing nightmares. But there is a way that can help you counteract the negative aspects of hard water. Find out how in this article from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
RVing the Oregon coast is a delight
The Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful places in America and easy to explore with an RV. The pavement is good, there’s not much traffic (except in peak tourist season) and there are many wonderful state park campgrounds (most with hookups and spacious sites for large RVs). Learn more.
Even the simple things — dual magnifying glass
See what Sherlock, err, Rich “The Wanderman,” discovered in a recent trip to a discount store. It’s a handy acrylic dual-power handheld magnifying glass that actually works well — he’s found multiple uses for it already. He doesn’t have to worry about it breaking in the RV, and it only set him back a buck. Learn more.
Casino Guide includes RVer info
The highly rated 2017 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.
Replacing RV electrical outlets
A lot of RVers are of the opinion that RV manufacturers skimp and cut corners on material and labor in order to boost their bottom line. Case in point: A high-end motorhome built with cheap electric outlets and all the outlets are located on one circuit. This meant, for example, that the hair dryer and toaster couldn’t be on at the same time, and when one electric outlet shorted out, all the outlets lost power. Time to replace your cheap electric outlets for something that will give you better service? Learn more.
Engine cover remake in Class A gas motorhome
Greg Illes didn’t like the carpeted access cover (“the doghouse) in his motorhome. Over time, it had faded, come loose, and got dirty time after time. So he launched a project to get rid of the carpet in favor of something that was a whole lot better. Read all about it.
Misaligned RV cabinet doors perplex
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor about an RV closet door not closing properly. The reader wanted to know if it could be fixed. Read Chris’ response.
HepvO is big improvement over traditional RV P-trap
Doug Swarts of Drainmaster.com shows you the HepvO waterless P-trap for use in an RV, at home or anywhere. The device saves space and eliminates odors that can rise up from a traditional P-trap. Watch the video
RV Mods: Trailer movers move your rig at the touch of a button
If you’ve ever dealt with that gnawing, frustrating sense of doom that comes when you’ve tried and tried but you just can’t seem to maneuver that blasted trailer back into that narrow little slot, you’re not alone. You may be a candidate for some trailer technology that’s hit the U.S.: Power Trailer Movers by Purple Line. Here is a review of the product by Russ and Tiña De Maris after field testing the product for more than two years. Learn more.
2017 Large Scale Road Atlas from Rand McNally
Give your eyes a break with this large-scale spiral-bound road atlas of the U.S. and Canada from Rand McNally. Maps are 35% larger than the standard atlas, plus more than 350 detailed city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact information conveniently located above the maps. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
This week in history
Week of March 4–10
Compiled by Dell Bert
1876 — Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
1899 — Bayer patents aspirin.
1950 — VW bus goes into production.
1963 — Hula-Hoop patented (sold 25 million in first four months).
1966 — Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler hits #1 with “Ballad of the Green Berets.”
1971 — Ali battles Frazier for heavyweight championship (Ali’s first career loss).
1985 — First Adopt-a-Highway sign goes up (Hwy. 69 in Texas).
1996 — Comedian George Burns dies at age 100.
Easy way to level your RV
You have never seen anything like these incredibly innovative RV levelers from Andersen. They provide quick, easy leveling at any increment between 1/2 inch and 4 inches on RVs up to 30,000 pounds. Toss away your blocks! These are far better! Watch the video to see how they work. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Bumper sticker of the week
When everything’s coming your way … you’re in the wrong lane!
Funny/clever business slogan
“It’s great to be kneaded” (and variations thereof), at massage salons across the U.S.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
50 States, 5,000 Ideas:
Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
This richly illustrated book from National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state from the obvious to the unexpected. Includes national parks, beaches, Civil War battlefields, out-of-the-way museums & more. Discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC & the best spot to see sea otters on the California coast. PUBLISHED IN 2017. Learn more or order.
Websites of the Week
Here are two we like:
Odd tourist attractions to visit in all 50 states
Tired of seeing the same old sights? These attractions range from zany to scary and everything in between, and will certainly make any trip even more interesting. If you enjoy visiting museums, be sure to check out the huge variety in this list. From Cheapism and msn.com.
Everything you need to know about Takata airbag recalls — and then some
If you have any questions about Takata airbag recalls, here in one location is all of the information currently available, and updated as necessary. Included are How Recalls Work, Search for Recalls, Sign up for Recall Alerts, Report a Possible Defect, Critical Warnings regarding certain vehicles, and much more. From National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Safercar.gov.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Goodbye sewer tank odors!
Anyone who’s traveled with an RV for long has experienced sewer tank odors. The reason? Cheap roof vents RV makers install to save a buck. The one-piece 360 siphon vent sucks those nasty odors up & out the roof whether the RV is parked or moving. Simple to install. RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury explains in the video. Order or learn more at Amazon.com or Drainmaster.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Q&A about tread scrubbing on trailer tires
“I have a question regarding interply shear or scrubbing common on double or triple axle fifth wheels. I have a double axle and try to avoid sharp turns and U-turns as much as possible, but I see visible signs of scrubbing on the tread of my tires. … It’s frustrating. I have the axles aligned and tires balanced once a year and have individual wheels weighed occasionally. … My question is: Would going to the next load range up (from G to H) or going to a harder compound tire reduce this problem? …”
2017 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
JUST PUBLISHED: Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm during travel in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. Includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open carry, concealed carry, state & national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome & RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Marked as a U.S. National Natural Landmark, the Paynes Prairie Preserve has much to offer anyone who loves the outdoors.
• Watch this video to learn about 25 places in America that need to be on your bucket list!
• Bring the American classic with you on your next adventure!
“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2017 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Wife blames hubby for trailer’s “embarrassing” leaks
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband has been experiencing leakage problems. It seems that wherever we park our trailer he creates wet spots and puddles. I keep telling him he is not tightening the hoses (water and sewer) enough. He claims he is and that it’s just poor engineering in the design of our home on wheels. I find it more embarrassing than he does and it causes a lot of petty arguments that could be avoided if he could just dam the drips. … —Damp in Delaware
Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: 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.
HOT OFF THE PRESS FOR 2017
Headed to Alaska? Let this be your guide!
This is THE mile-by-mile guidebook for RV and auto travelers headed to Alaska, the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. First published in 1949 as a guide about traveling along the Alaska Highway, The 2017 Milepost includes more than 600 pictures, more than 100 maps and details every place travelers might eat, sleep or pull off the road for scenic viewing. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
RV refrigerators are different
RV refrigerators are much different than the one in your house. They don’t have compressors and they work off the principle of absorption. You should turn the RV refrigerator on several hours before putting food in it. It is best to leave it on overnight and put your food in it just prior to leaving. Always keep a small thermometer in your RV refrigerator so you can monitor the temperature. Food can begin to go bad at about 40 degrees.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
So, You Want to be a Full-Time RVer?
If you’ve ever dreamed about RVing full-time or even long-time, this highly rated book will be a huge help! You’ll find out what authors John and Kathy Huggins learned (often the hard way) in eight years of full-time RVing. Pretty much everything a would-be full-timer needs to know is discussed, and explained well. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.31 (on Feb. 27). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 53 cents.
Diesel: $2.58 (on Feb. 27). Change from week before: Up 0.5 (1/2) cent; Change from year before: Up 59 cents.
Cooking with Convection
Don’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. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Let’s go crabbing.
Canned crab and bottled Old English cheese spread are two items that take up little room in the pantry, then combine to make a tasty lunch or fancy canape. Make up the mix, spread on English muffin halves, then freeze with waxed paper between each layer. To make lunch for two, broil four Dabblers in the toaster oven. To make canapes for Happy Hour, cut in bite size. Get the recipe.
George Foreman Grill is perfect for RVers
Create nutritious meals in minutes with this George Foreman 2-serving, Classic-Plate Grill, with a patented slope to help knock out the fat as you cook (critical if you’re watching your cholesterol). The nonstick coating lets you cook oil-free. A dishwasher-safe grease tray helps make cleanup a snap. Great for grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis, too. Learn more or order.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go
Whether you’re downsizing to go full-time or for other reasons, this best-selling AARP book will guide you through the process, from opening that first closet, to sorting through a lifetime of possessions, to selling your home. The author helps you create a strategy and mindset to accomplish the task quickly and rewardingly, both practically and emotionally. Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Got a hot lap from your laptop?
Ever burn your lap with your laptop computer? Here’s a handy do-it-yourself fix. Get a piece of 1/4-inch plexiglass cut to the appropriate size. Glue a chunk of soft foam cushion material on the bottom of the plastic. Computer on top, foam on legs — no burns, no slips.
Removing black streaks
In 2015 I purchased a new aluminum-sided travel trailer and parked it next to my house for the winter. Before resuming camping the next summer I used Camco 41008 Pro-Strength Black Streak Remover to clean the exterior. It did remove some of the black streaks, but most remained even after intensive scrubbing with a cloth. So, I tried other household cleaning products and found that Krud Kutter actually took the streaks off with very little effort. —John Kading
Thermostat not working right?
Reader Steve Willey says, “Our digital thermostat kept the furnace on too long in cold weather and it got over 80 degrees inside. The culprit was the location of the thermostat on the panel side of the refrigerator enclosure. The refrigerator is isolated from room heat and vented to outdoors. In freezing weather cold air was surrounding the refrigerator and entering the thermostat through an overly large wiring hole behind it. Sealant and a sheet of foam behind the thermostat cured the problem.” Thanks, Steve!
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push and hold. When the battery is at the proper level, the water will automatically stop. Then move to the next cell, etc. You won’t over- or under-fill your batteries this way, helping extend their lives. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Record RVing memories in this Camping Journal
Remember all your journeys with this easy-to-fill-in format. Each journal page is complete with thoughtful prompts including: Location, Date(s), Weather, People I (We) camped with or met, What I (We) did, and Things I (We) enjoyed most. RVing is an adventure: Write it down & treasure the memory forever! Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV levelers raising tires off the ground — occupants queasy!
Our motorhome has Power Gear brand levelers. The front two float side to side on the same hydraulic circuit while the rear two jacks are independent. The coach seems to ride high on certain grades with the front wheels often off the ground. When this happens the coach rocks enough to trigger motion sickness…. —Dean G.
Add extra RV living space for about $60
Here is a great way to add an extra “room” to your RV for about $60. Sound impossible? Well, it’s not, and if you have an awning on your RV you’re more than halfway there. With an awning shade net, you can shelter most of the area beneath your awning to create a cool, comfortable and private patio. Read more.
with Bob Difley
Where to get fresh water when boondocking across the U.S.?
My boyfriend and I are about to leave south Florida for a trip to California, stopping at as many National Parks as possible. We love to boondock, and are looking forward to staying at state and national campgrounds along the way. My question is this: Where do you suggest we fill our fresh water tank along the way if the campground has none? Thank you! —Janie
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob’s blog post: Protect yourself from this wet winter’s population explosion of mosquitoes
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Where to eat on the road? Here’s your guide!
Roadfood: The Coast-to-Coast Guide to 900 of the Best Barbecue Joints, Lobster Shacks, Ice Cream Parlors, Highway Diners, and Much, Much More is THE best guide to where to dine on the road. Whether you’re looking for great barbecue, an awesome burger or homemade pie, you’ll find it here. All eateries are within 15 minutes from a major highway. This fabulous guide is in its 9th printing. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
RVer put dimmer switch in bathroom. Why didn’t it work?
I tried to change out the On-Off wall switch in my camper bathroom to a dimmer switch and it didn’t work. Now I discover that my lighting is 12-volts DC and the dimmer is 120-volts AC. I put a regular On-Off switch back in and now it works. So is it the voltage difference or the AC-DC difference that made the dimmer fail to function? —Todd D.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Versatile strainer collapses, folds flat for efficient storage
If you are an RVer you likely look for stuff that folds, comes apart, deflates or collapses to fit into your already constrained storage spaces. The Collapsible Kitchen Colander by Comfify is the ideal workhorse for cooking and food preparation, perfect for every compact RV kitchen. Learn more.
Your pooch travels in comfort with Doggy Backseat Platform
Most RVing pet owners try to create a comfortable and safe environment for their pets when they travel. One RVer, Jim Holmes, went a step further and invented/created what he calls a Doggy Backseat Platform for his pooch — and it turned out so well that he is now selling them to other pet owners. Read more.
Keep insects & bird nests out of your RV furnace
Wasps, mud daubers, birds and rodents pose a serious threat to the furnace on your RV. They can enter through the furnace vents. Their nests can interfere with air flow and cause serious damage. Camco 42141 (Model FUR 200) Flying Insect RV Furnace Screen fits Duo-therm and Suburban furnace vents. Camco offers several furnace screens so check that this screen will fit your vent. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Upcoming RV Shows
• Colorado RV, Sports and Travel Show, March 2-5, Denver, CO
• Greater Philadelphia RV Show, March 2-5, Oaks , PA
• Ocala RV Show, March 2-5, Ocala, FL
• Toronto Spring Camping and RV Show, March 2-5, Mississauga , Ontario, Canada
• Montana RV, Boat & Powersports Show, March 3-5, Kalispell, MT
• Central-Illinois Recreational Show, March 3-5, Peoria, IL
• Eugene Spring RV Show, March 3-5, Eugene, OR
• Fredericksburg RV Show, March 3-5, Fredericksburg, VA
• Rhode Island RV, Camping Show and Sale, March 3-5, Providence, RI
• Virginia RV Show, March 10-12, Hampton, VA
• Rockford, Illinois RV, Camping & Travel Show, March 10-12, Loves Park, IL
• York RV Show, March 10-12, York, PA
• Flint Camper & RV Show, March 16-19, Flint, MI
• 48th Annual RV Super Show, March 16-19, Oklahoma City, OK
• Springfield RV & Camping Show, March 17-19, Springfield, IL
• Montana RV, Boat & Powersports Show, March 17-19, Billings, MT
• Champlain Valley RV & Boat Show, March 18-19, Plattsburgh, NY
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
RV Short Stop
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park
A popular tourist attraction for thousands of RV snowbirds each winter is the Yuma Territorial Prison (Arizona) State Historic Park, only a short distance from I-8. A few of the original buildings have been preserved and there are many fascinating and informative artifacts and displays in the air conditioned museum. Take the guided tour and learn the complete history.
There’s plenty of free RV and tow vehicle parking.
Keychain Tool is super handy!
The Gerber Shard Keychain Tool has 7 useful functions: small flat driver, medium flat driver, cross driver, pry bar, wire stripper, lanyard hole & bottle opener. It’s light enough to carry on your keychain but tough & durable. It’s made of stainless steel with a titanium coating & measures only 2.75 inches. Wait until you see the super low price! Learn more or order.
World’s smallest airplane
For a short time in 1984, the Bumble Bee was the world’s smallest aircraft. The tiny plane, a mere 6 1/2 feet long and a hair over 4 feet high, was built by Robert Starr. His record stood for eight months, when an even smaller plane was flown. But Starr didn’t give up, building the even smaller Bumble Bee II in 1988, which was proclaimed the smallest biplane. Sadly, it was destroyed in a crash. This original Bumble Bee is displayed at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
Strengthen 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 syndrome, 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. Learn more or order.
Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” —Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M “Post-It” notepads.
Toss your colander. This is better!
The adjustable Snap ‘n Strain silicone strainer fits nearly all pots and pans. Once snapped on, 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.
Videos you’ll like
• Three electrical testing devices all RV owners should have in their tool kit
The RV Doctor Gary Bunzer runs them down. Watch the video.
• How to keep mice out of your RV
Chris Dougherty explains. Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Random RV Thought
In a bad windstorm, pull off the road and wait for weather conditions to calm down. One big gust of wind can toss your RV into another lane or off the road. So just wait it out and be safe.
Studies on dolphin behavior show that they have “names,” a unique whistle, for one another. If they hear a recording of their own “name,” they respond.
Liquefy solid wastes in sewer holding tanks
Happy Campers Treatment liquefies solid waste and household tissue. It’s a natural formula that’s environmentally friendly and biodegradable, with no formaldehyde or harsh chemicals. Basically, the good bacteria overtakes the bad bacteria to eliminate odor and accelerate the natural decomposition of waste. Because it is totally organic and odor free, you won’t be embarrassed by bad odors inside or when you dump. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
“Someone who hates one group will end up hating everyone – and, ultimately, hating himself or herself.” —Elie Wiesel
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, 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 three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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