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!
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
The snowbird life is good. For the past two months, my attire has been shorts, tee-shirts and sandals. Gail and I sit outside on warm evenings, talking, reading … enjoying a glass of wine. Daytime temperatures lately have been in the upper 70s to mid-80s.
We’re beginning a three-week trek north to Seattle — if it hasn’t flooded away — so I can close my office, which is no longer necessary. We will leave behind our Southwest “summer.” Back to cold and rain. Oh, I am sooooo not looking forward to that!
In the last five months on the road we have met fellow RVers from all over the country. We’ve seen awe-inspiring sunsets. We’ve marveled at how comfortable we are in our mobile house. When we go away for a day and return, it’s “coming home.”
We have seen all shapes and sizes of RVs. We’ve watched a thousand dogs walk by with their owners. Last evening, Gail borrowed a neighbor’s Schnauzer, Kiefer, to take for a walk. Gail once owned two Schnauzers and misses them. She brought Kiefer into our motorhome for 10 minutes while she finished putting away groceries. Kiefer sat quietly and stared. Gail speaks “Schnauzer,” so she knew his thoughts. “A little snack would be nice,” he said.
We visited Sedona two days ago. We browsed a few shops, where I bought nothing and Gail bought a stuffed animal — a cute little horse she named Hoppy — a gift for a grandchild.
We visited the magnificent Roman Catholic Chapel of the Holy Cross, built into the buttes overlooking town. It’s one of the most beautiful religious shrines in the world. I lit candles for my parents. They brought me here as a child.
A bit of trivia about the chapel is that it was the inspiration of local rancher and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude in 1932, upon seeing the newly constructed Empire State Building. After many delays, it was completed in 1955.
After the chapel, we hiked halfway up the magnificent butte Bell Rock. What a view! We perched on a big flat-topped boulder and watched the sun set. Most of the other hikers had gone. It was quiet with a gentle breeze. I rested my arm over Gail’s shoulder and we sat quietly. Life was as good as any person deserves.
I snapped this photo from the trail as we hiked up Bell Rock. Click here for larger image.
TIME IS FLYING
Weeks pass now like days. As I sit down on Friday to finish up this newsletter I wonder what happened to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It’s Monday and then it’s Friday. I have come across more stories than I can possibly write in a 24-hour day. That frustrates me. I want to tell you about everything. I have a dozen videos in progress.
When I left Seattle last fall to become a full-timer RVer, I thought I should slow down, maybe semi-retire, find a hobby. I was of the age. Hadn’t I worked hard all my life? Didn’t I deserve to slow down, to smell the roses?
Maybe. But my problem is that when I smell roses, I want to write about the experience.
WHEN I AM NOT ACTUALLY WRITING, I am writing stories in my head. I live constantly in my right brain now, the creative side, the side without a clock, where it’s 9 a.m., and then you drink some coffee, read the news, take your shower, get dressed, plop down at the computer, write for awhile, and then you look up and it’s 5 p.m. Where did the day go? I’m racing full speed toward age 100. Slow down life, you’re moving too fast!
That’s my report for today. I wrote a little bit in my Roadside Journal, so feel free to take a look. The links are below.
Thank you to those of you who pledged voluntary subscriptions last week. Your support is hugely appreciated.
P.S. If the big shots at the RV manufacturing companies would read this short essay by marketing guru Seth Godin, and take it to heart, maybe the quality of new RVs would improve.
Also: I am very hopeful we will resume our Reader Survey feature again soon.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: For its 54 years, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has been for motorhome owners only. Now the club is bleeding members and in trouble. Can admitting owners of towable RVs save it? Watch this video where FMCA president Charlie Adcock presents his vision of the club’s future.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• My two recent encounters with Space aliens.
• Mike the dog remembered in Prescott.
• Dogs that are cats, or is it the other way around?
• Ghostly burgers at ‘Haunted Hamburgers.’
• Sun gone. Now lightning, rain, hail, freezing temps.
Is reading this newsletter
worth 10 cents to you?
Our staff works hard to bring you a valuable newsletter every Saturday. Readers help make it possible with their voluntary subscriptions. Even a pledge of $5 a year is appreciated — that’s less than 10 cents an issue! Many readers pledge more — $10 a year is less than 20 cents an issue! Your contributions make it possible for us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. Enter a voluntary subscription. Use a credit card, PayPal or mail a check.
We want to take you out to the ball game! Spring Training is here and we have your Cactus/Grapefruit League guide to nearby accommodations for your visit. Check out our resorts near the Arizona/Florida stadiums and get ready to kickoff your team spirit this upcoming baseball season. Click here to reserve your Spring Training site today!
RV industry cautions against undue budget cuts
In response to the Trump administration’s release last week of a blueprint for its fiscal year 2018 budget — entitled “America First, a Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” — the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has issued a press release cautioning against undue budget cuts, especially with regard to the Department of Interior. Learn more. [Caveat: If you don’t want to read about politics, don’t read this.]
Wax your dirty beast with Wade Wax
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast!”
Wade Wax polishes and outlasts competitors’ Carnauba-based waxes. High-quality ingredients cross link and bond to the surface of your Beast while protective copolymers and nonabrasive cleaners deliver up to 6-months of protection. Watch the video. And click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website.
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 last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
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’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please.
Win this Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: What percentage of shoes sold in America are made here? 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.
Please note: In last week’s contest the winning entry did not include a telephone number, the next correct entry included only a partial telephone number, and the next entry included no contact information — so all those entries were disqualified (see rules above). Be careful with your entries.
Last week’s winner: Denney Jones of Lehigh Acres, Florida. He won the Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer.
The 95th International Convention of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) took off in Chandler, Ariz., on March 10. FMCA says 2,273 member rigs showed up, and more than 300 additional commercial units – the highest number of rigs since the group’s 2011 convention in Perry, Ga.
You probably reset your clocks two weeks ago. But did you check your RV smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms? Replacing smoke detector batteries every six months is a good recommendation – and unless your CO detector has longer-life batteries, you might do that one, too. A Phoenix RV inspector, Geoff Baker, told rvdailyreport.com that he hit a really bad case. In a 4-year-old motorhome he inspected he found the battery isolator strips still in place on the rig’s alarms. With those strips in place, no juice flows to the detectors – meaning they were as good as dead.
Elk Grove, Calif., city council members floated a proposal to ease RV parking regulations in the city – allowing parking on paved sections of residential property. It didn’t take long for the opposition to blast off. A local resident let loose an email campaign urging Elk Grovers to demand the city back off on the RV-friendly issue.
If you dislike California State Parks Department’s reservation system, you may be happy to hear that it will go “bye bye” August 1. Presently operating under the ReserveAmerica Program, state officials will roll out their own system called ReserveCalifornia, which they say will give users a more friendly experience and more options, including more information about individual sites.
Don’t forget: Admission to the 118 National Park Service sites that normally charge entrance fees will be free on April 15, 16, 22, and 23 in celebration of National Park Week.
What’s important to you when picking out an RV park? According to the 2017 North American Camper Report (commissioned by KOA), “Clean, well-maintained bath houses/restrooms” still top the list, according to 44 percent of respondents. Interestingly, that desire has dropped: In 2014, 50 percent of respondents made clean biffys the top of their wish list. However, technology is edging up. Free WiFi access is important to 20 percent of respondents, up 1 percent since the 2014 survey.
Despite opposition by local residents, the Paso Robles, Calif., city planning commission went ahead and approved a plan to develop a 300-site RV park and golf course on 220 acres. As we reported earlier, the development will be on part of what was once a much larger golf course and “weekend crowd base.”
Oh, Canada. January motorhome sales were as flat as the Red River Prairie, showing no change in comparison to January 2016 sales, according to Statistical Surveys Inc.
How to go 100% Electric without Propane!
Until now, the standard for heating recreational vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat system that’s no longer the only option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas heat, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV Park. Learn more.
Travelers to Wisconsin and Minnesota be alert: A new tick-borne disease strain has been found there by Mayo Clinic researchers. Called Ehrlichiosis, deer ticks carry it, and it seems nastier than Lyme disease. Unlike Lyme, the disease is immediately transmitted by the biting tick – there’s no time to get the tick off and still be safe. It doesn’t leave a tell-tale “bull’s-eye” skin blotch; instead, victims will likely manifest fever, body aches, headache and fatigue. While antibiotics will treat the disease, it’s best to keep the ticks off. How? In the woods, tuck your pant legs in your stocks, spray your shoes and equipment with Permanone (an insecticide), and spray yourself with 30 percent DEET.
Arizona’s Coronado National Forest rangers are scratching their heads about what may have caused vast numbers of large trees to topple over in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson. Some forest roads are closed, and buildings were damaged at scout camps in the area. Strong winds and possibly microbursts have been suggested as cause of the falls, but insect infestations haven’t been ruled out. Meantime, several closures are noted, including Bear Wallow Road, Bigelow Road, Marshall Gulch Picnic Area, Organization Ridge Road, and the Mt. Lemmon Recreation Site (above the ski area). The Service recommends caution be used elsewhere in the area.
Too much of a “Good Sam” thing? Plans for a Good Sam show in Puyallup, Wash., this July have been canceled. Good Sam decided that holding another huge show so soon after the recent Phoenix, Ariz., event was a bite too big to chew. In an email to potential vendors, a company events administrator wrote: “We’ll need at least a year to allocate the necessary resources.”
There are 45,000 registered RVs in Nebraska, but only 11,200 state campsites and an additional 3,500 privately owned ones. The statistics tell the state’s park officials they have a lot of potential for use. To make space available, park rules are changing. Non-reservable campsites can be used – but the site must be physically occupied immediately on arrival – no putting a “placeholder” down and never coming back. A new 14 consecutive days in the park within 30 days rule is in place, but if there are a large number of sites still available, you’ll be able to move to another campsite in the park with permission.
Minnesota’s Chippewa National Forest needs campground hosts for the Mosomo Point campground near Deer River, and the North Star campground near Marcell. The latter offers electric service, while both provide an RV spot and a $10 per day stipend for food. Hosts are needed from May to Labor Day. Call (218) 335-8600 for more information, or apply online.
The folks at Flyte Camp, who restore vintage RVs, have a beauty they’re offering to restore, a 1956 Stewart Double Decker trailer. “At 40 feet, it features 3 bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms. . . . Not for the faint of heart, this trailer will require extensive restoration work, however, it is hard to find a cooler project.” Read more and see lots of pics.
Are you a shutterbug who focuses on nature? You may want to check into New York’s Schodack Island State Park for a couple of workshops on May 19 and 21. Led by an award-winning photo team called Naturelogues, the workshop will focus on basic elements of nature photography, simple editing, and tips for where to photograph in upstate New York. Get more info or sign up by calling 518-732-0187. The same weekend at the park features live bird demonstrations during “Raptor Fest.” Bring your RV and you can stay at the park by registering the rig through reserveamerica.com.
Got rocks? Kalel Langford sure does – since he found one at the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park on March 11. The 14-year-old lad had always wanted to visit the park, and when he did, he spotted the seventh largest diamond found at the park since it opened in 1972 – a whopping 7.44 carat brown chunk of valuable carbon. Kalel dubbed his diamond “Superman’s Diamond.” He’s a fan of the comic book hero – and the similarity to Superman’s birth name, Kal-El, just happens to be a happy coincidence.
A “car camper” on San Diego’s Fiesta Island got a rude awakening. The man parked his SUV on the beach on a Saturday night and laid back for a nice overnight snooze. Sunday morning he woke up to find himself in water – and had to call for a rescue when he discovered that the tide, like time, waits for no man to wake up and move. A tow truck yanked the sodden rig out of the drink after lifeguards got the hapless camper safely to shore.
Like to own a little piece of Route 66 and share it with your fellow RVers? Here’s an idea: The Seligman (Arizona) KOA is for sale. It’s about a half mile from downtown Seligman along the longest remaining stretch of Route 66. The town of 450 has retained the appearance and spirit of the golden age of the Mother Road. Seligman was the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the animated movie “Cars.” Learn more by clicking here.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
RV Quick Tips
Camp overnight at a casino?
Want to overnight in a casino parking lot? Most don’t mind, but it’s best to check first – some are now issuing a permit to be displayed – unless you don’t mind being rousted by security at 3:00 a.m. Check at OvernightRVParking.com or get the 2017 American Casino Guide to locate RV-overnight-friendly casinos.
Adding more batteries to your RV?
Getting started with adding batteries to your RV for more storage? Consider using 6-volt golf cart batteries, as opposed to AGM (absorbed glass mat). The former are far more forgiving of “mistakes” like overcharging, and a whole lot less expensive.
Watch your step (literally) at night
For just a few bucks at your local Walmart you can by a “spotlight” style solar-charged patio light. Pound a short length of rebar into the ground near your RV and slap the spotlight over the rebar stake and you have a no-batteries night light to guide your feet. Also, staked solar spotlights as well as staked solar walkway lights (cute and practical!) are available at Amazon.
Don’t come up short when hooking up to electricity
It happens to us all. We pull into a campsite and our electric cord isn’t long enough to reach the power pedestal. Here’s the answer, a 15-foot, 50-amp extension cord, or for RVers with 30-amp service, a 25 foot 30-amp extension cord. You will very happy you have one of these along when the need arises.
Full-time RVing: Living small while living large
RVing unlocks the freedom to live large, e.g., the continent is your backyard. However, living large requires that you learn to live small. RVing requires some changes in your living habits simply due to the confines of space. This article covers some important housekeeping issues that will help you enjoy your RVing experience even more. Read more.
Keep your RV power cord safe from thieves
With the price of scrap copper wire over $2 a pound, it’s no wonder that some unscrupulous folks might target what’s easily available and steal it away — such as an RV shore power cord. While it may be difficult to steal while you’re using it, the same can’t be said when your rig is in storage. Some power cords can be disconnected from the rig and locked away in a compartment, but others can’t. Read about an alternative.
Ernie Pyle was a pioneer road tripper
Ernie Pyle won a Pulitzer Prize as a World War II correspondent. But what many people don’t realize is that he would never have succeeded as a war correspondent had he not polished his writing skills in the 1930s as a roving journalist exploring America. Chuck Woodbury reflects on this remarkable man.
A BBQ lighting system that works great!
Nothing is more satisfying when you’re shopping than finding a great product at a great price. Rich “The Wanderman” regularly searches all the liquidation stores in his area and beyond for a great deal. This time he found a BBQ grill illumination system that looks great and works great — perfect for cooking outside. And it’s useful in other locations, too. Check it out.
The readers write — prolifically
Every couple of weeks we dip into the “mail bag” to share the thoughts of our readers. This time around, you all were particularly prolific in your comments. This week’s subjects include responses to Editor Chuck Woodbury’s recent editorials, replacing electrical outlets, how to deter rodents, and camping with dogs. Read more.
Pack along this 45-piece Screwdriving Set in your RV
Now, this will come in handy. The DEWALT 45-Piece Screwdriving Set includes the most commonly used screwdriver accessories. The industrial-strength case is strong and durable. The set includes Phillips, square, slotted, and double-ended bits. Learn more or order.
Out-of-kilter RV slideout
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received the following letter from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor: “I have a 2011 Keystone Cougar 5th wheel. My main slideout started coming together about four inches sooner at the top than at the bottom. It does close all the way but then tries to come off the floor on the bottom. Can it be adjusted? But the bigger question is: What caused this?” Read Chris’ response.
Water, water, everywhere. Do you have enough to drink?
The top three reasons — maybe four — why you may have to abandon your boondocking campsite are the result of diminishing resources: Your freshwater tank is sucking air, your black water holding tank is backing up into your toilet, your gray water tank is backing up into your shower, or your house batteries are flat dead. Here are some ways to be stingy with your fresh water, which should also help with some of the other issues.
What don’t you know about the Grand Canyon?
For more than a century, tourists from all over the world have visited the Grand Canyon to experience its awe-inspiring vistas. On February 26, 1919, the Grand Canyon became a national park. As we celebrate nearly 100 years of protecting this special place, check out 13 great facts about this Arizona icon. Learn more.
Airstream recalls some 2017 Base Camp trailers
Airstream is recalling 293 model year 2017 Base Camp travel trailers. When the trailer is heavily loaded, the axle travel may allow the tires on the vehicles to contact the plastic liner of the wheel well or fender, possibly resulting in tire failure. Learn more.
RV Retirement in the 21st Century
If you are considering retiring to an RV, either full time or part time, this book will be a big help. Author Jane Kenny shares her knowledge, experience and skills developed while spending her retirement years in an RV. It outlines the major aspects of the RV lifestyle for retirees, and shares ideas and experiences gleaned from many retirees already on the road. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of March 25–31
Compiled by Dell Bert
1867 — Seward’s Folly: The U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7 million (two cents an acre).
1889 — Eiffel Tower opens.
1912 — Japanese cherry trees planted along the Potomac.
1939 — March Madness, NCAA (then) men’s basketball tournament, is born.
1953 — Dr. Jonas Salk announces polio vaccine.
1964 — Magnitude 9.2 earthquake, largest in U.S. history, rocks Alaska.
1974 — Mariner 10 visits Mercury.
1974 — John Denver has his first #1 hit, “Sunshine On My Shoulders.”
1979 — Nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.
Essential equipment for many RVers!
Camco TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
This best-selling product reduces bad taste, odor, chlorine & sediment in drinking water with a 100-micron fiber filter. Its durable in-line, exterior mount filter has a wider body to increase flow. Use it at your campsite to keep sediment out of your RV water tank & to improve the taste & smell of your drinking water for a whole season. Learn more or order at a big discount.
Bumper sticker of the week
Sometimes I wake up grumpy; other times I let him sleep.
Funny/clever business slogan
“If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.” —At an optometrist’s office
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane(at)RVtravel.com
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.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
The best bucket list adventures in every state
Getting tired of the term “bucket list”? Yeah, we are too. But that’s the name of this great list of amazing adventures in every state, so we’ll just have to go with it. And we’ll bet you haven’t heard of, or even thought of, a lot of these activities. So check ’em out and you might get excited about trying some new things — whether you call it a bucket list or not. From The Active Times and msn.com.
Twenty easy ways to repurpose baking soda
In addition to using baking soda for baking, it can also be used to improve on certain cooking recipes. It’s also a thrifty solution to many common household problems including decalcifying shower heads and faucets, cleaning corrosion from battery terminals, and easily cleaning a BBQ grill grate. From GOBankingRates.com and msn.com.
The oldest restaurant in every state (and D.C.)
Did you know that 60 percent of new restaurants fail within their first year? So, that tells you something about the restaurants on this list, most of which have been around since the 1700s and 1800s, and even one from 1673! They must be doing something right! (And just think how young they’ll make you feel in comparison.) From purewow.com 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.
Best Road Trip Book
If you’re heading cross-country or through a few neighboring states, bring along Jamie Jensen’s best-selling guidebook Road Trip USA. You’ll learn about great two-lane routes plus road-tested advice for adventurers who want to see the parts of America that the interstates left behind. RVtravel.com always travels with this wonderful, highly rated book. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Q&A about reading load and inflation tables correctly
“Here is some information on my Toyo 265/75R22.5 LR-G tires. Can you confirm I am reading the tables correctly?”
Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staff. About $11! Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Angel Fire RV Resort is a highly rated luxury vacation park in New Mexico, surrounded by a stunning scenic view.
• Looking for a new tent? Check out five cutting edge tents in the video.
• We’re not sure if this flowery RV even works, but it sure looks cool!
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.
Ask the RV Shrink
Wife is sleepless thanks to hubby’s “stealth camping”
Dear RV Shrink:
We have just started living the RV lifestyle and immediately the price of camping caused sticker shock. My husband now wants to do what he calls “stealth camping.” He likes to park in crazy places when we are traveling that cost little or nothing. I know many people spend nights at Walmart and other retailers who seem fine with short-term camping, but my husband is now starting to look at hospital, church and VFW Hall parking lots as his personal KOAs. He claims “we pay our taxes” and pulls off into fields that he thinks are government-run public lands. I am as nervous as a squirrel in a bird feeder most of the time. I can’t relax when we are parking in suspect spots. … —Sleepless in Seattle
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.
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.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Before you take your next RV trip set some time aside to perform some simple preventive maintenance. It could be the difference between a safe and enjoyable trip and a costly, disastrous one. How does the old saying go? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Preventive maintenance consists of cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting and servicing your RV. It is maintenance you perform on your RV:
A. Based on intervals such as time or mileage.
B. Due to potential component, system or mechanical failure.
C. Before a problem exists.
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: $2.32 (on Mar. 20). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 31 cents.
Diesel: $2.54 (on Mar. 20). Change from week before: Down 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 42 cents.
Open lids on jars, pop-top cans or bottles with ease
Do you have trouble opening lids on jars and bottles? This handy tool set makes it easy for arthritis sufferers and others with weak hands to complete everyday tasks, especially when cooking. It enables you to open any jar, pop-top can or bottle with minimal effort and NO extra stress on your fragile hand joints & ligaments! Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Oh, my. What a pie!
Summer is just a daydream away. Nothing spells summertime more than lemonade. This pie is a take on the familiar recipe that calls for condensed milk and lemon juice. It’s sweeter, creamier, even more delectable. Chill or freeze it. Either way it’s a snap to make in the RV and the perfect punctuation point to end to your next campground fish fry or salmon bake. Get the recipe.
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.
App of the Week
Measuring distance with Google Maps
If you’re like Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour, you may wonder while planning your travels how far it is from Point A to Point B. Or, if you want to drive about 200 miles today, where would that get you? Google Maps is Chris’ tool of choice for anything map related, and it can answer both of those questions. Learn more.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… most Sundays on a live webcast from Geeks On Tour. Here are a couple of recent webcasts: Google Photos frequently asked questions and How to free up space on your smartphone. Watch live or archives of past programs.
The special offer for RV Travel readers is back!
Become a member of Geeks on Tour and get a 20% discount. Click 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.
Contest answer: Less than 1 percent. (Source: 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts)
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV spring shakedown primer
As memories of a cold, long winter begin to wane, many of us get antsy for that first RV excursion of the season. The majority of us readied our coaches last fall for storage; some fully winterized for colder temperatures. After each period of non-use, regardless if the RV was winterized for sub-freezing temperatures or simply stored in the driveway, every coach must be properly prepped for use prior to simply taking off down the highway. Here’s how to get your RV ready for another season of fun travel! Read Gary’s article.
PUBLISHED THIS YEAR!
Guide to the National Parks
This award-winning guide, completely updated for the 2017 edition, includes more than 450 new photographs, 160 revised maps, and 50 hiking tables, making it the only guidebook you’ll need to explore the United States National Parks. Attractions beyond the parks and suggested road trips make it even more valuable. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
How to find on-the-road boondocking campsites
I keep reading about the shortage of campsites and the need to make reservations. But I don’t want to be held to an agenda and have to make reservations. Can I find enough places to boondock across the country when I can’t find a campsite? —Don
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: This is the year for big wildflower and cacti blooms.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Make your powerful 50-amp service safer with SmartPlug
So you have a big box filled with power-hungry appliances like microwaves, lots of bright lights, and a couple of air conditioners and you know how to use ’em. You also know that it takes 50 amps to run them – and that’s a lot of power. But that much power can also overheat connectors and inlets, and potentially cause a fire. However, SmartPlug Systems overcomes the inadequacies of traditional twist-type plugs with its 50-amp 125/250-volt Connector & Inlet Combo Kit. Read more.
Find your stuff with TrackR bravo
With so much to remember these days, remembering where we put our stuff is becoming harder and more complicated. Luckily a couple of guys have invented what they call TrackR bravo to tackle that minor (major?) irritant of lost keys, phone, wallet or wife. The TrackR bravo is a skinny 1 1/4-inch-diameter disc that attaches to any item you want to keep track of, and once paired with the TrackR app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, will lead you to it with both a “Getting closer” or “Getting farther” clue. And it has even more clever features. Learn more.
Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads on your travels? If so, you’ll love this guidebook. It thoroughly describes at least 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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
• MRVDA Spring RV Show, March 30 – April 2, Minneapolis, MN
• Evergreen Spring RV Show, March 31-April 2, Monroe, WA
• Great Rockies Sport, RV & Boat Show, March 31-April 2, Bozeman, MT
• Vacationland RV & Camping Show, April 8-9, Auburn, ME
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.
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
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.
Joke of the Week
“My Darling,” said a husband to his wife, “I invited a friend for dinner.”
“What? Are you crazy?” the wife snapped. “The house is a mess, I haven’t been shopping, and I don’t feel like cooking.”
“I know that,” the husband replied.
“Then why did you invite him?”
“Because the poor guy is talking about getting married.”
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.
Free and bargain camping
Cracker Barrel #116
FREE: Get permission from the restaurant, which requests you have dinner, breakfast or both when staying overnight. Located at 2340 Post Drive, Indianapolis. GPS: 39.801820, -86.011588
Spirit Mountain Casino
Grand Ronde, Oregon
FREE. Close to 70 spaces to dry camp. Most spaces large enough that there’s no need to unhook. Free dump and water fill. 72 hour limit. Several RVers recommend excellent buffet. Located 1.2 miles east of Grand Ronde at 27100 SW Salmon River Highway. GPS: 45.058010, -123.578000
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.
Protect your RV from damage from high water pressure!
It’s hard to imagine any RVer not carrying one of these along on a trip to protect against damage from a high-pressure water hookup at an RV park. It happens often! And the damage can cost thousands to repair! This inexpensive, highly rated Valterra lead-free water regulator will allow 15 to 20 percent more flow than standard regulators. The orange plastic grip allows easy, screw-on installation and removal. Learn more order.
Videos you’ll like
How to save a photo received in a text message
In this one minute video, Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour shows you how simple it is to save a photo you receive in a text message. Watch the video.
A good place to store earrings while on the road
Gail of RVtravel.com has a tip that will help you store and find your earrings while RVing. Watch the video
Random RV Thought
A terrific place to visit on your travels is a library. Search for local or regional magazines and newspapers: they may provide ideas of things to see and do plus provide insights into the locals’ lives. Look for the regional history section, where you’ll learn things about the area that you wouldn’t otherwise. In small libraries, consider donating a book you’ve read. It will be appreciated.
“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.
The letters M&M on the popular candies stand for the founders of the company, Forrest Mars Sr. and Bruce Murrie. The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate without having it melt. The company’s longest-lasting slogan reflects this: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” More than 400 million individual M&Ms are produced every day in the United States.
Casino Camping: Guide to RV Friendly Casinos
Discover hundreds of RV-friendly casinos throughout America. Learn which casinos have an RV park and which ones allow free overnight parking! This 8th edition of Casino Camping includes state maps that identify the cities and towns with a casino as well as contact information plus gaming, food info. Learn more or order.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” —Anaïs Nin
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.
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