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Issue 785 • Week of Mar. 18–24, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’ve been fighting a head cold all week. I must have shaken a wrong hand at last week’s FMCA rally in Chandler: someone passed off a nasty germ. The good news (for me) is I should be on the mend by the time you read this.
A couple of weeks ago I got a letter from a reader named Bob. He wrote: “Maybe it’s just me, but the routine negative tenor of your editorial is a bit tiring. Please consider an occasional upbeat topic. Great newsletter though.”
Yes. . . I understand. I decided to respond to Bob in this space. Then, after doing so, I figured I had more to say than what fit here. So I posted my response to him elsewhere. Oh, it’s not just intended for Bob, of course, but to all readers. I explain why I have not been quite as upbeat lately and included some news about a recent financial setback that came out of the blue and has created some new challenges. (Read my story here).
I CONTINUE TO GAIN insight into the full-time life with each passing week. Gail and I are about a month from returning to our home base of Edmonds, near Seattle, and I am starting to feel the pull of home. Yet it’s NOT really about “going home” this time, which is different to me from the 100 other trips I have taken through the years.
The trip “home” this time will be to close my office, which will cut most of my ties with my old hometown. After it’s gone, RVtravel.com will exist primarily in cyberspace, with our editors, writers and other staff working from their homes or RVs. We’ve rented out our little TV studio, which is being used primarily for local productions. I will retain the right to do my own shows (if I should ever decide to do so).
Gail and I will be back on the road in early July, most likely headed cross-country to attend the big Hershey RV Show in September. I love that show, where I get to see the new model RVs, and meet up with all my buddies. We hang out in the media area, drink lots of coffee, network, and dine out as a group at least a couple of times.
Today, we’re about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff, at about 3,000 feet. The saguaros are gone, as well as the hustle bustle of the city, which is really nice.
It was getting hot in Tucson when we left, reaching 90 degrees at times. Up here, the highs are in the low 80s, with chilly nights that are perfect for sleeping. There is much to see in this area, including the ghost town (now tourist town) of Jerome and beautiful Sedona. I know Gail and I will be out and about once I can separate myself from Kleenex for more than a few minutes at a stretch.
I’m still loving full-time RVing and my 32-foot motorhome, which seems incredibly spacious to me, yet still small enough to fit into most campsites. Check out the pic of Gail I took a couple of days ago. She was being silly. That girl is always smiling! Sometimes I call her “Sunshine.”
FUNNY PET NAMES
P.S. To enter last week’s contest, we asked you to simply tell us the funniest pet name you have ever known. Wow! Our staff was laughing like crazy as the entries rolled in. Here are the best names. Be ready to laugh. Really, don’t miss this.
Also: Welcome to the 300 new readers who subscribed in the last week!
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Sprinter vans/motorhomes recalled for drive shaft issue
Daimler Vans USA, LLC is recalling 1,248 model year 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vehicles and Freightliner Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vehicles. The bracket for the center support bearing of the drive shaft may not have been properly welded, and the retaining function of the bracket may be compromised causing it to come loose from the traverse. Read more.
Recalls issued on eight American Coach and Holiday Rambler models
REV Recreation Group is recalling eight American Coach and Holiday Rambler motorhome models. The support for the interior steps may have been inadequately mounted with staples or improper screws, possibly resulting in the solid-surface step tread being unstable. An unstable step tread can increase the risk of an injury. Learn more.
Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler recall 742 RVs for fire, explosion risk
REV Recreation Group is recalling 742 Fleetwood and Holiday Rambler motorhomes. The affected vehicles, equipped with an Onan 5.5 kilowatt generator, have an external fuel pump and in-line fuel filter that may have been secured to the underside of the motorhome chassis with nylon wire ties instead of proper insulated mounting clamps. If the fuel pump, fuel filter or connected fuel lines detach or are jarred loose, a fuel leak may result, posing the risk of fire or explosion in the presence of an ignition source. Read more.
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.
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.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries this week, please.
Win this Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer. Every RVer should carry one of these. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What is the doll Barbie’s full name? The answer is below. 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.
U.S. motorhome manufacturers continued to sense that sinking feeling in January. Statistical Surveys Inc. reports motorhome sales continued downward, losing nearly 1 percent compared with January 2016. Class A units were the big losers, drowning a remarkable 12 percent. Class C motorhomes were the only bright spot, rising 13 percent – but still not enough to keep all motorhome sales above the water mark.
While motorhome sales are dismal, towable manufacturers are continuing to revel: Retail trailer sales were up better than 5 percent in January when compared to the same month in 2016. This was despite dismal sales figures for many categories of towed units: fifth wheels down 3 percent, pop-ups down 15 percent, and park models bombing out with nearly 54 percent loss of sales. Keeping the market steaming ahead – travel trailers which blasted up more than 10 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
While gas prices are falling on a national scale, RVers out West wonder why they’ve been thrown under the bus. Gas prices dropped an average of 1 cent to $2.30 a gallon around the country; but RVing in Oregon meant paying 8 cents more per gallon, with Washington up 5, and Nevada and California packing 4 cents per gallon on road fuel. Sorry guys, but “refinery issues, planned and unplanned” have jacked the rates. Anticipate rates will bump up for everyone as refineries switch over to summer blends.
Washington state parks will celebrate its 104th birthday by offering free admission on March 19. No Discovery Pass is necessary.
More bad news for California north coast campers: Steep Ravine Campground, a part of Mount Tamalpais State park near Mill Valley, is closed — a victim of slide damage to an access road. The campground joins a string of other Big Sur parks that have taken a hit in the unusually heavy rains of winter.
You really ought to give Iowa a try. And now you can try it with a free campsite if you apply and get approved as a campground host. Hosts are wanted for McIntosh Woods, Lake Wapello, Backbone, Elk Rock, Lacey-Keosauqua and Gull Point State Parks. Typical host assignments are helping campers register and understand rules, a bit of cleaning and light maintenance, and doing a bit of tour guide work. You’ll need to pass state and national criminal background checks. Applications are online here; look under the campground hosts link in the left column. Alternatively, call 515-725-8261 to have an application mailed.
Tennessee campgrounds and primitive areas operated by the Nashville District Army Corp of Engineers are now under firewood restrictions. Because of the possibility of invasive bugs being carried into the area on firewood, only firewood certified as heat-treated by U.S. Department of Agriculture or a state natural resource agency will be allowed into areas controlled by the Corps. Don’t want to ditch your firewood? You’ll get a campground fee refund and sent on your way. Sneak it in anyway? Look to get either a warning – or a citation.
No cheesy assignments here: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (Wisc.) needs volunteers in support of the Forest’s recreational program. Particularly needed are campground hosts who get a free site as they help visitors feel more secure, and keep sites clean and ready for the next guests. More information is available on the Volunteer Information Page on the National Forest website.
Is it time for instant hot water in RVs?
Why have tankless water heaters become so popular at home, but failed to capture the RV market’s favor? One reason has been an inability to prevent temperature spikes that sometimes scald. Finally, a new hybrid mixing vessel technology in the Truma AquaGo® instant water heater has solved this concern, providing instant, constant, endless hot water. Click here to see the video and learn more.
Oklahoma state parks officials got a “test” by email that they surely didn’t want. State lawmakers posed a “hypothetical” question to the state’s Tourism and Recreation Department: “What would happen if your department’s budget was chopped by fourteen and a half percent?” As any bureaucrat knows, “hypothetical” questions can turn altogether too real. In this case, 16 of the state’s parks would shut down along with a golf course, and the publication of the department’s flagship magazine, Oklahoma Today, would cease after 60 years in print.
Since its inception, FMCA has stood for Family Motor Coach Association, a bastion of motorized RVs. Five years ago a proposal to bring towable unit owners into the fold was soundly shot down. Now the motorhome organization is floating the proposal again. (Watch a video where the FMCA president outlines his proposal to members). It’s not too surprising, since FMCA’s membership his plummeted to a little less than 71,000 from a high point of 130,000 back in 2004.
A 25-mile stretch of Florida’s famed “Alligator Alley” (Interstate 75 through portions of the Everglades) was closed for several hours on March 9 as a wildfire blasted smoke onto the highway. Two RV parks came under evacuation as well: Club Naples RV Resort and Panthers Walk RV Resort.
UPDATE: Lucky has returned to duty after a visit to the vet and a few days of recuperation — only a little worse for wear from his adventure. (March 8) – A $300 reward has been established in the case of a missing park ranger at Ridley Creek State Park, in Delaware County, Pa. Park ranger “Lucky” is described as being largely orange in color, who typically greeted visitors at the Sycamore Mills entrance, often trailing them along walking paths, returning to the check-in station for a quick nap or a perch on a car hood. Lucky vanished March 1, and his friend, Tish Mayo, thinks someone snagged him. She’ll pay $300 for his return, no questions asked. Got info? Call (484) 326-1728.
Grab your calendar and write down these 13 days in 2017. That’s when you can enter any of our National Parks and other sites for FREE. What a deal! See the dates.
A West Virginia RVer was startled by what he found on the hood of his rig when parked at a Florida Walmart. The RVer had parked overnight at one of St. Augustine’s Walmarts and heard a loud noise about 7:30 in the morning. He initially thought the noise came from workers collecting shopping carts, but changed his mind when he found a four- to five-foot long blacktip shark on his vehicle hood. The nearest body of water was five miles away. The shark was dead so he popped it into a shopping cart and went on his way. Authorities are still trying to figure out how the shark ended up at Wally World.
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.
The case of the sleeping RVer: Gearhart, Oregon’s police chief had a case tossed out of court when he cited an RVer for sleeping in his rig while parked in a public area. The judge said all the RVer had to do was to say he wasn’t asleep, and case dismissed. Now the chief, Jeff Bowman, wants the ordinance rewritten — forget about sleeping, call it unlawful storage. “I don’t care if you roll up in your RV and it’s legally parked for two days. A motor home is still a vehicle,” Bowman told city officials. “But you can’t have your pop-outs out on it, you can’t have the tent trailer popped out, you can’t be running portable generators, you can’t have utilities hooked up to it. I’m going to steer it more toward a zoning thing than a law enforcement thing. Right now we can’t enforce it.” Source: dailyastorian.com
Park rangers at Lake Sammamish State Park near Issaquah, Wash., are getting much annoyed with some Canadians. Okay, not Canadian people, but Canada geese. The pesky avian visitors have been leaving quite a mess, and the state has hired a special team of, well – goose busters. Mink and Mae, two border collies, are having the time of their professional lives chasing geese off areas where they’re not welcome. No harm comes to the birds, but there’s little doubt that whatever the Wingin’ It Goose Control company gets paid, a good chunk of it goes into dog food to fuel those goose-movers.
As we commented in January, an Oregon marijuana-related firm had a deal in the works to buy out a Selma, Ore., RV park and turn it into a “destination pot resort.” The deal has gone through, and the Lake Selmac Resort & RV Park is now part of the Smoke on the Water Inc. family. The company says it’s looking forward to doing “a role up within the RV and campground industry.” Editor wonders if actually they want to do a “roll up.”
Our long-time friends at Roundabout Publications have just published the eighth edition of their popular guidebook Casino Camping: Guide to RV-Friendly Casinos. The book describes U.S. casinos that have RV parks, plus those that allow free stays in parking lots. It also outlines special promotions for RVers who stay. Learn more.
Some residents of Cleveland, England, are a bit put off by the use one woman is making of her campervan. “Kirie,” a 34-year-old porn star, is using her VW van to make a country-wide tour, offering sex for cash in the RV. “Customers,” say local residents, have been lining up outside the rig, but police say since the “services” are offered on-line, and the rig’s windows are blacked out, they can’t do anything to stop the transactions. Kirie indicates she’ll make stops in 22 cities across the U.K.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
Fix your own RV? Here are some tips
If you find RV repair facilities expensive, you are not alone. And maybe you feel that you don’t have the skills to perform certain repairs yourself, which would save considerably on both parts and labor. Before you take your rig to the shop the next time, consider these steps to determine whether you can do the repair or installation yourself. Read more.
A little fresh air on RV tire life
RVers depend on their RV tires — and they’re an expensive thing to replace. We’ve often talked about the matter of safety and RV tires, but this time will highlight finances and what you can do to cut costs. Get some tips from tire industry experts.
Never try to put out a cooking oil or grease fire with water
This video is just over a minute long, but please watch it. If you should ever experience a cooking oil or grease fire in your kitchen, whether at home or in your RV, do not try to extinguish it with water. After watching this video, you’ll see why. The results can be devastating!
You dirty rat! Do mice really hate soap?
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a letter from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. The reader had a tip about keeping mice out of RVs. Chris weighs in on the topic.
Conservation: An RV dry camping key
Dry camp longer than a night or two or spend a weekend in a non-hookup campsite and you may need to think “conservation” and “frugal.” The secret to effective and enjoyable extended boondocking is the wise use and conservation of resources — electricity and water — and reduction of black and gray water into your waste tanks. Learn more in this article from Boondock Bob Difley.
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.
Repeal of Fish and Wildlife rule bad for wildlife
For many of us RVers, wildlife watching rates at or near the top of the list of why we chose to become RVers. We also rate our National Parks and National and State Wildlife Refuges at the top of our destination and most-visited lists for the same reason. But now several Alaska politicians have voted to overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service rule that will upset the balance of nature in Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges. Read more.
Popular RV podcast ends after 408 episodes
John and Kathy Huggins ended their long running weekly Living the RV Dream RV lifestyle podcast yesterday with show number 408. The couple started the Living the RV Dream show on live radio in Sarasota, Florida in 2008, then turned it a year later into a podcast. The show chronicled their lives as full-time RVers and also featured guest interviews, tips and advice. Learn more.
Even the simple things – mini brush surface cleaner
Rich “The Wanderman” hates cleaning. So, any time he comes across anything that will make cleaning tasks easier or faster he’s all over them. This time he came across a small device that looked like it would make many cleanup tasks easier and faster. Then he remembered it was something his grandmother used to use. He figured if it worked for her, it would work for him — and it does. Check it out.
Women RVers: Native artist, RV snowbird Mary Ruth Barnes
During the cold winter months in south central Oklahoma, Chickasaw artist Mary Ruth Barnes travels with her husband, Mike, to the Coastal Bend of Texas for fishing, warm weather and good RV snowbird friends. Almost every day while in Texas, Mary Ruth can be spotted painting in the fresh air studio she set up alongside the Barnes’ 5th wheel trailer. “Art has been a heritage I learned from my grandfather, a Chickasaw story teller,” says Mary Ruth. “It is a time for me to bring honor to all the Chickasaw people by creating art that is more than something just seen ….” Read more in this article from Julianne G. Crane.
RV Mods: Upholstery foam sagging? Give it the bum’s rush!
One area where RV manufacturers save on a few bucks is in the quality of foam rubber in cushions. After a few years, you might want to replace the foam. This doesn’t necessarily require hiring an upholstery professional — in many cases you can do it for less yourself! Learn how here. Your tush (and your pocketbook) will thank you.
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.
This week in history
Week of March 18–24
Compiled by Dell Bert
1852 — Henry Wells and William G. Fargo start shipping and banking company.
1908 — Louis L’Amour is born (he wrote 108 books, sold more than 225 million copies).
1931 — Nevada legalizes gambling.
1933 — FDR legalizes sale of beer and wine.
1972 — Equal Rights Amendment is passed by Congress.
1989 — Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska.
1998 — James Cameron’s “Titanic” wins 11 Academy Awards.
2011 — Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79.
2014 — Mudslide in Washington state kills 43 people.
A Waterless RV Wash & Wax!
$5.00 off through 5/31/17! Use coupon code: spitshine17
Spit Shine has more emulsifiers than other waterless washes. It traps and lifts dirt to leave a clean, scratch-free, glossy surface. Great for when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a water hose. Requires just a damp, and a dry, towel. Watch Wade clean all RV surfaces. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Spit Shine at the Wade Maid website.
Bumper sticker of the week
“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.” —W. C. Fields. Thanks to Bob Thompson for sending this in. Editor: We’re not advocating drinking and driving.
Funny/clever business slogan
Sign on fishing bait shop in Wisconsin: “Low carb worms for your big fat fish.”
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
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.
Websites of the Week
Here are two we like:
13 weird and wacky attractions on Route 66
Here are some unique attractions you won’t want to miss while you get your kicks along the iconic 90-year-old Route 66. From Fodor’s and msn.com.
10 most fun cities to visit in America
These cities were ranked by WalletHub as the best locales to have fun based on 51 key metrics. Some results are obvious, some are surprising. But, for sure, all are fun! From Essence and msn.com.
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.
Easily check the tire pressure on your inner dual tires!
Do you have trouble reading the tire pressure on your RV’s inner duals? This dual head tire pressure gauge with an extension steel shaft will reach where a standard gauge won’t. Be sure you know the pressure of all your tires, or risk a potentially dangerous blow out. No batteries required. Learn more or order at a discount.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Q&A about maximum tire pressure
Roger received an email stating the writer was concerned and a bit confused on the maximum inflation a tire can have. He had heard about people having “blowouts,” and after installing a new TPMS and seeing the pressure increase he was concerned his tires might explode.
Time for Medicare? Confused? Here’s your guide
It’s time to enroll in Medicare. But it’s a maze. You must choose among many options to pick the one that’s best for you. To do that, you need accurate information that helps you steer clear of bad advice and costly mistakes. Medicare For Dummies is the practical guide you need to navigate Medicare successfully. It also explains how Medicare fits in with other health insurance. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Trekking through South Dakota and need a place to stay? Look no further than Rafter J Bar Ranch in the Black Hills National Forest.
• When you’re on a long hike or biking cross-country, nothing is more important than staying hydrated.
• The perfect traveling companion, Roadtrippers combines everything great about services like Mapquest and Yelp.
Atwood Carbon Monoxide Alarm is made for RVs!
This is the CO detector aboard the RV Travel motorhome. In our opinion, it’s the best. It was recommended to us by Mac the Fire Guy, THE authority on RV fire safety. This detector has a 10-year lifespan so needs to be replaced only half as often as most detectors. If you do not have a good CO detector in your RV, you’re living dangerously. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
When you can’t agree on a destination — try RV Roulette
Dear RV Shrink:
My husband and I have been traveling for two years. We have now seen a lot of the country and have enjoyed many places enough to go back a second time. The problem is his favorites are not my favorites. We are having a difficult time planning our next trip because we want to go to completely different places. Is this a normal problem with full-timers? How can we solve this destination dilemma? —Torn in Toledo
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.
Checklist for your family
Put your life in order with this valuable resource from AARP and the American Bar Association. In Checklist for My Family, author and elder lawyer Sally Balch Hurme guides you through the process of gathering in one place your finances, legal documents, online accounts, wishes about medical care, and more. Plus it explains what you need, why you need it, what’s missing, and where to get it. Learn more or order.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Tire preventive maintenance
The lack of preventive maintenance and/or scheduled maintenance will eventually result in emergency maintenance. For example, if you don’t check the air pressure in your tires (preventive maintenance) the underinflated tire overheats and prematurely fails, resulting in emergency maintenance.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
“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.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.32 (on Mar. 13). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 36 cents.
Diesel: $2.56 (on Mar. 13). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 47 cents.
The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook
America’s Test Kitchen has re-engineered 650 of its best recipes to serve just two, perfect for RVing couples. The highly rated, comprehensive cookbook takes the guesswork out of cooking for two so you can be sure that anything you create — from Classic Beef Stew to Lasagna to a mini batch of Fudgy Brownies — comes out right. Also includes 150 recipes that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Italian Sausage Subs
No grill is needed when you bring a slow cooker or hot pot of this juicy sandwich filling to the campground potluck or tailgate party. It’s easy to serve. There’s less waste because you can spoon a little for the kids, make big gyros for the big boys. Get the recipe.
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.
RV Fire Safety Tip
Understand your firefighting equipment before you need it
To be most effective at fighting a fire, you must know the purposes and limitations of your equipment, as well as how to properly maintain and use it. Don’t wait until a fire breaks out to try to figure out what to do. Take your extinguisher out now and have a look at it to make sure you’re prepared to use it if the time ever comes. The time you save could mean the difference between minor damage and major disaster. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When 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.
RV Quick Tips
Quick way to sanitize the public water hose connection
Worried about what the last guy may have done to the water hose connection at your site or at the filling area? Get yourself a bottle of “spray Clorox” and spritz the water tap threads before hooking on your own hose.
How to use a basement storage door as a table
You can use a basement storage door as a table, provided you can open it to “level” and then support it. Hit the thrift shops and buy a used photo tripod – the three legs make it sturdy and you can set and lock it at nearly any desirable height.
Keep your wipers from sticking to the windshield
Camping in frost country? If you try to move your rig early in the morning and find your windshield wipers stuck to the glass, pulling them loose can damage the wiper blade. If you suspect frost or snow is possible, pop a tennis ball under the wiper arm, holding the blade off the glass and out of harm’s way, or check out these handy Wiper Stand-off Wedges.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
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.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Lippert slideout adjustment
Can you explain the adjustment sequence on how far the slides go in and out with my Lippert slideout? The manual just says to adjust the jam nuts, but not which way. —Paul B.
Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums
If you love vintage cars, you’ll love the Roadster Guide to America’s Classic Car Museums & Attractions. Whether it’s Model Ts, the “tail fin” era, muscle cars, early race cars, and so much more, fans of classic cars will find all their favorites in one place in this comprehensive 340-page guide to more than 250 places, packed with more than 60 photos. Learn more or order.
Ask Boondock Bob
with Bob Difley
Power requirement for a residential style fridge
In the latest newsletter you talked about boondocking and charging your batteries. We have a residential refrigerator in our 2016 Holiday Rambler Vacationer. It is not a three-way. How do I keep the fridge going while boondocking without harming the batteries? —Judy and Mark
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read more about boondocking at BoondockBob’s Blog.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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.
with Mike Sokol
How often does RV hot-skin wiring occur?
Regarding the three essential testers mentioned in the video from Gary Bunzer in the RV Travel newsletter recently (Three electrical testing devices all RV owners should have in their tool kit), do you have statistics (even educated guesses) on how often hot-skin wiring is actually occurring? How about the harder-to-detect Reverse Polarity Bootleg Ground? Thanks. —Wolfe
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.
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.
What is Barbie’s full name?
It’s Barbara Millicent Roberts.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Silicone Steamer makes steaming veggies, fish easy
Steaming is a great way to prepare a quick, healthy and balanced meal. From vegetables to meat, poultry and seafood — you can steam almost every type of food. From the microwave to the stove, the OXO Good Grips Silicone Steamer makes steaming simple. High walls keep food from falling into boiling water and a large center makes the Steamer perfect for fillets of fish and other large food items. The Steamer rolls up for handy storage. Check out all of its features.
On-the-go charging with Phoenix Briefcase Generator
The Phoenix Briefcase Generator, an all-in-one portable solar power system, was specifically designed for mobile, off-grid and emergency applications. This compact, lightweight backup system combines two highly efficient Renogy 10W Monocrystalline Solar Panels and is capable of expanding up to 120 watts. Learn more.
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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• Northwest Sports Show, March 23-26, Minneapolis, MN
• Northwest Michigan Camper & RV Show, March 24-26, Traverse City, MI
• New Hampshire Camping & RV Show, March 24-26, Bedford, NH
• Upper Peninsula Boat, Sport & RV Show, March 24-26, Marquette, MI
• Evergreen Spring RV Show, March 31-April 2, Monroe, WA
• Great Rockies Sport, RV & Boat Show, March 31-April 2, Bozeman, MT
SPECIAL EVENT: The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive, networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.com. Learn more.
Good Sam Campground Guide
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.
RV Short Stop
Bicycle in a tree and UFO
Vashon Island, Washington
Beautiful Vashon Island is 12 minutes by ferry from Seattle, Washington. It seems a hundred miles away. There’s one small settlement and isolated homes scattered around the peaceful countryside. And there’s “the bicycle.” Ask at the Country Store how to find it (it’s hidden from view across the street). While on the island, visit the small airport and the “crashed” flying saucer. Read more.
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. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” —Sir John Eric Erichsen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon–Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.
Free and bargain camping
Louis J Miller VFW Post 1166
Buena Vista, Colorado
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed for VFW members and for the general public. Parking is in paved lot behind building. 4 back-in 15/30A E/W RV sites, backing in to E side of picnic shelter. Dumpster on site. No sewer hookups or dump station. GPS: 38.815080, -106.106000.
FREE. Overnight parking allowed. Get permission from security department. Level, well lighted and regular security patrols. GPS: 33.934041, -95.526155
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
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.
Videos you’ll like
• Danger, RVers: Don’t use 2-prong electric plug adapters
You know those little adapters you sometimes use to plug a three-pronged electrical cord into a two-pronged household power outlet? Well, don’t use them to plug in your RV: You could electrocute yourself! Watch the video.
• Will ice cubes in an RV sewer tank dislodge waste buildup?
Most of us have heard that putting ice cubes down the toilet will do the job. The idea is the hard cubes will bounce around when the RV is moving, banging all that nasty buildup away. So does it work? See a demonstration.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Random RV Thought
It’s cruel and unusual punishment to be eating a breakfast of cold cereal when the RVer next door is cooking bacon and eggs and the wind is blowing your way.
The boot, wheelbarrow and thimble are gone from the latest version of Monopoly. In their place is a Tyrannosaurus rex, penguin and rubber ducky. More than 4.3 million voters from 146 countries voted on which tokens they wanted to see in future versions of the game. The existing Scottish Terrier, battleship, race car, top hat and cat tokens will stay.
Keep 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.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” —John Steinbeck
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 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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