Thursday, October 6, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 789

Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 16th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 789 • Week of Apr. 15–21, 2017

Editor’s corner  
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

Nine days ago I posted a video on our RV Travel YouTube channel showing a neighbor’s sewer drain at the Springville, Utah, KOA that was only a few feet away from the front steps of my motorhome. I felt, and still do, that KOA should never have rented that site, to me or anyone else.

Can you image how many times in recent years RVers have dripped or spilled sewage there from their waste hoses? It horrifies me to imagine a family staying in the site, with young children playing on the grass. The kids could easily ingest fecal matter when they put their hands in their mouths. 

So far, about 100,000 people have viewed the video (picture a Rose Bowl crowd). They’ve left more than 800 comments. I urge you to watch the video and read the comments.

Yesterday, I heard from KOA’s director of communications, Mike Gast. I won’t go into detail, but he said the company is aware of this type of situation, most in older campgrounds, and is working to retrofit them. “It appears to me that your site was an example of what can happen when four back-in sites are converted to two pull thrus,” he explained. “In your case, the sewer and power pedestal were not positioned properly.” He said that KOA had already incorporated my video into a presentation it’s using to persuade its current owners to improve their own facilities, including converting unused land (a storage lot, for example) into campsites. Mike said that there are currently five new KOAs in development, more than he has ever seen in his 16 years with the company. I will write more about this later. 

Read the story about this photo.

YouTube viewers are young, the largest group below the typical RVer demographic. It surprised me at the often nasty tone of their comments on my video (as well as those from older, non-RVers) about how they perceive RVers and their lifestyle. I believe they’re simply envious. They think we are all old, rich, spoiled, self-indulgent pigs who drive million-dollar rolling mansions, burning up gas and slowing down traffic. I exaggerate, but not too much.

 One after another wrote “If you stay in an RV park you’re a fool!” 

I lost count of how many of these angry people told me I deserved that sewer drain in my campsite because, first, I was stupid enough to stay at KOA, and second, I had such a big, expensive, pig of an RV that I deserved what I got (my RV is 32-feet). According to all these “experts” I should camp with a tent, or if an RV then a little one on public lands or in a Walmart parking lot.

This may be officially called an RV, but it’s serving as a mobile home, occupying a space in an RV park for months on end, common these days.

Since I have gone full-time, my eyes have been opened to the new realities of RVing. RV parks today are packed with RVs squeezed next to each another, at times with slideouts nearly touching. I have been RVing for more than three decades and have never seen anything like it. With 450,000 new RVs being sold this year (and likely even more next year), it will only get worse.

As a new full-time RVer I realize I’m part of the crowding problem. My peers are retiring (10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day and will so for the next 12 years), buying RVs and living in them full-time. They are occupying countless campsites with their long-term stays.

Many, if not most, RV parks are no longer “RV” parks. They’re mobile home parks, packed with full-timers, temporary workers who stay for months at a time, and long-time residents who can’t afford a traditional home. Many parks are also removing RV sites in favor of (more profitable) cabins and permanent space for park models, which to me are not RVs.

The parks are also filled because not every RVer enjoys spending his or her nights in a parking lot or camping away from crowds on public lands (and good luck finding public lands if you’re east of the Mississippi).

People tell me “stay in national or state parks.” Well, I do, when I can. Alas, during the tourist season (which now lasts longer than ever), campsites in the best known ones are full, day after day. As I noted elsewhere, if you want to camp in Yosemite this summer, you will need to get on your computer at 7 a.m. (Pacific), on the one day each month when reservations are accepted. The park website advises to be sure your clock is accurate because all reservable campsites will be taken within “seconds or minutes.”

I believe may be the only publication presenting an accurate picture of RVing in today’s world. I’m sorry that in doing so I may come off as negative: I still love RVing, but it just isn’t as easy to do these days with the crowds. I hope through the influence of this newsletter, with your support, I can do something about it.




Essays I’m working on:
•The largest chain of campgrounds you’ve never heard of.
•Why we once needed campgrounds but don’t anymore.

Survey returning: I am also very happy to report that within a month or two, our popular reader survey will return. You will be able to weigh in on my essays and on other matters of interest to you and other RVers. 

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
I did not have time to write in my journal since last issue.

Sources of information about free and inexpensive RV camping, official and unofficial.

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


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.

Reader RVs


What RV do you drive or tow?
Send us a photo of your RV (and tow vehicle) with a 150-200 word description of where and how often you travel with it, and what you like or don’t like about it. Include your name(s) and hometown. We’ll post them to Send to assistant editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) .

CLICK HERE to see this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.

Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Airtab-logoJust peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.

Click here for more information about using Airtabs™. Click here to purchase Airtabs™.

We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please.
Win this Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: How many Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day? (Answer in Chuck’s essay above.) Email your answer to RVcontests (at) 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 We’ll let you know if you win.

breaking-newsEnjoy free admission to every national park on the weekends of April 15–16 and 22–23. The National Park Service is once again partnering with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to present National Park Week from April 15 to 23, 2017. (See the RV Short Stop feature below for Julianne G. Crane’s article on this topic.)

Once again, sales of new Class C motorhomes are keeping the motorized RV market surging ahead. Statistical Surveys Inc. reports that Class C sales zoomed ahead by 17 percent in February, compared to February 2016. However, if the market were left to sales of Class A rigs alone, things wouldn’t be so rosy. Class A sales continued sinking at an alarming rate of nearly 13 percent for the same time period.

Steve Walser photographed this (“Bob & Mary’s”) 1963 Silver Streak. See a larger image of this photo or Steve’s catalog by clicking here. Photo © Steve Walser

Sales of new towable RVs in February proved to be a mixed bag: Travel trailers were up nearly 8 percent, in comparison to February 2016. Fifth wheels were nearly flat, losing a mere 10th of a percent in sales. Pop-up sales continued on a desultory note, losing 8 percent, continuing downhill with park models, which lost almost 22 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys, Inc.

While the RV industry took quite a bashing over the performance of the rigs it produced for the Federal Emergency Management Agency back in the days of Hurricane Katrina, it seems successor manufacturers aren’t doing much better. FEMA has given up on RVs and moved on to “improved” manufactured housing. But at a federal hearing earlier this month, both Republicans and Democrats alike dog-piled FEMA and emergency housing manufacturers for poor quality and lousy repairs, and, in at least one instance, blamed them for the death of a blind Air Force vet who died in a FEMA trailer when the thermostat allegedly malfunctioned and he “baked to death in a FEMA trailer,” according to the hearing chairman. Source:

photo: Alligator Alley, Airborne Pilot on

Wildfires in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve are only getting bigger. Earlier this week the fires had ballooned out to more than 43,000 acres. Smoke is causing occasional closures of “Alligator Alley” (Interstate 75), and several campgrounds are closed including Pink Jeep, Bear Island, Gator Head, Monument Lake and Burns Lake, as well as some trails. For current info click here.

In what could seem to be a plot line taken from Greek mythology, two RV industry giants have stepped back from a courtroom duke-out. Forest River has withdrawn its lawsuit against Winnebago. The whole matter flared up a year ago when Forest River said that the Winnie Drop, built by its competitor, was “confusingly similar” to their R-pod. In the contest between the industry gods, a court initially ruled that Forest River had fallen back on “conclusory and meaningless” assertions in part of their suit. Subsequently, Forest River has retreated, presumably licking its wounds.

Oregon State Parks will open reservations April 19 at 8:00 a.m. for approximately 1,000 campsites for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse. These sites are in addition to their regular campsites, most of which have been reserved since November 2016. Learn more.

Forest Service officials with Washington’s Cle Elum Ranger District are suffering from a “rug pull” sort of incident. For the last 15 years, several campgrounds in the district have been managed by concessionaire Thousand Trails. However, last December, Thousand Trails said it wouldn’t renew its contract – leaving the feds with too little time to find another. Result? The Forest Service is having to manage the campgrounds on their own and is desperate for campground hosts to help. Hosts will get $28 per day for generator and LP fuel expenses, but must be available on weekends and holidays. Two days’ training will be provided. For information, call 509-852-1100.

Easing the pain of tight camping is taking shape in the form of three new British Columbia campgrounds in the Stave West area in the district of Mission. Nearly $500,000 is budgeted for the work; that will translate into 140 campsites – including some for motorized rigs at Rocky Point campground. The sites should open late this summer or in the fall.

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

news524(2)More News

The abrupt shutdown of manufacturer EverGreen RV (Middlebury, Ind.) last June has led to a lawsuit, and a request to make it a class action suit. Matthew Grimes was an EverGreen employee who says in his suit that the company failed to give its nearly 300 employees a 60-day layoff notice. Grimes is asking the U.S. District Court in South Bend, Ind., to force the company to give him unpaid wages, holiday pay, vacation pay and other benefits, and to make it possible to enjoin other workers in the same suit. If successful, the suit could mean a rather large payout.

photo: Porcupine Bay, National Park Service

Officials with Washington state’s Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area have been forced to close the popular Porcupine Bay Campground and boat launch. A landslide a mile from the campground has closed a road leading to the recreation spot, and authorities say it could be weeks or even months before access can be reopened.

Lompoc, Calif., city council members have, for the second time in seven years, pressed forward then fallen back on a move to create an RV parking ordinance. Most recently the council was to vote on a measure that would “improve public safety as well as the aesthetic of the city.” One council member said RVs could be “unsightly and affect property values,” to which a fellow councilman suggested perhaps an ordinance should be floated to handle “unsightly cars.” Folks giving public testimony were concerned about what RV owners would do about parking their rigs. Not a single council member would second the ordinance.

photo: Freedom To Go on

Want a T@B RS 320 teardrop trailer of your own? You could go buy one – or you could do what the new Guinness World Record holders did – build your own out of 215,518 Lego blocks. The team in England built it on a frame so it really can do down the road, and outfitted with running water in the sink, perhaps you could overnight in it. However, with an average cost of 10.4 cents per brick, the estimated $22,413 for the Legos alone might make buying a new one from the manufacturer less expensive. Plus, you’d get a toilet to use – which is not in the Lego model.

Independent RV builder Homegrown Trailers prides itself on custom-built travel trailers with an eco-friendly bend. The Kirkland, Wash., company has a new wrinkle to that “green” approach. Instead of insulating their rigs with polystyrene, they’ve now cut a contract that will allow them to use sheep’s wool. The wool is said to be warm, cuts noise and handles moisture well. Not a ba-a-a-a-ad idea!

Rhode Island state parks – give ’em the bird. Tootsie the RVing cockatoo is having the last bird-laugh. Tootsie’s owner was given the boot over his bird from two state campgrounds, as the law didn’t permit anything but dogs and cats. Finally, after several legislative fights and a veto by an earlier governor, birds in the parrot family can now be guests at state parks, provided they stay inside their RV. The bum’s rush is still being given to other species, including gerbils and turtles and goldfish, oh my.

“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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

photo: campground hosts, Michigan DNR

Michigan, the Wolverine State, needs help. Campground hosts are needed in parks, recreation areas, and state forest campgrounds. Spend about 30 hours volunteering per week and your campground fees are waived. Positions open as early as this month, and some remain open through October. Two days of mandatory training take place June 7-8 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon. More info? Click on “campground host” at the DNR’s website.

RVers looking to book a space at a British Columbia Sunshine Coast campground are being directed to confirm their registrations with a man named Steve Thompson, number provided. But Steve doesn’t work for Homesite Creek Campground – he’s the provincial Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources. So what gives? Seems that the campground has been closed over a dispute with the government over possible health code violations, and the campground owners are trying to call attention to their plight. Steve isn’t amused. “Thank you for making us aware that Minister Thomson’s name is being used inappropriately on the website,” said a ministry statement. “We are looking at ways to have it removed.” Source:

Maryland outdoor officials have issued a real wake-up call. Black bears in the Old Line State are coming out of their winter nap cycle – and they’re decidedly hungry for breakfast. “Natural” foods like berries and bugs are in short supply right now, so the bears are looking toward human-supplied foods. If you’re RVing, use provided bear-proof trash containers, and perhaps think about skipping outdoor grilling for a bit.

RVers, like all other drivers on the road, are rightly on the lookout for drunk drivers. But one RVer in Bend, Ore., should have been “off duty” when his fifth wheel was clobbered by a DWI driver. Police and medics were called to the Scandia RV Park in Bend, where a parked fifth wheel was hit by a pickup truck – driven by an allegedly drunken RV park maintenance man. The RVer sustained minor injuries; the park worker bailed out of jail a few hours later.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at

Your RVer Horoscopes for April
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for April in the last couple of newsletters? No problem. He anticipated that (told ya he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.

Would you dare drink the water at these RV parks?
Would you drink the water from either of these water faucets (pictured in the article)? Both are currently at hookup sites in American RV parks. RV Travel reader Don Callahan spotted them and sent the photos. “I’m a civil engineer and have designed community water systems,” he wrote. “I was appalled at these setups. Worse yet, the people at the parks ‘blew me off.'” Read more.

National park campground alternatives: Joshua Tree
Russ and Tiña De Maris never thought they’d see the day when it would be nearly impossible to find a spot for their RV in Joshua Tree National Park. But just because all the in-the-park sites were full didn’t spell a disaster for them. Find out how they quite easily bypassed the “campground full” problem and still had quick access to the park. Learn more.

How to make coffee or cappuccino without electricity
Sometimes the old ways are still good ways of doing things. Although Rich “The Wanderman” is a great fan of technology, when he’s in his RV and has a limited supply of electricity, how can he get a great cup of coffee or cappuccino? With this basic, old-fashioned pot. Rich explains here.

RVer attractions: Low advertising budget equals low costs
Many RVers focus on the destination and forget the trip. Think of all the great attractions — scenic, historic or of unique interest — you pass by when you’re barreling down the interstate. Many of these attractions are free and don’t have big advertising budgets, so you can easily miss them. Here are some tips from Boondock Bob Difley about how to find these spots, and maybe get free overnight parking in the process. Read more.

Top five RV insurance claims
Every year, five types of RV claims seem to recur most often, according to experts at the Good Sam Vehicle Insurance Plan. Here they are.

RV mods: Key helper makes compartment access a breeze
Misplacing a key can be a frequent occurrence (if you’re anything like the rest of us). But here are some simple suggestions from long-time RVer Jim Twamley on making the keys easier to use and easier to find once you set them down. Learn more.

video camera WPHow to help avoid roof water damage
It’s important to seal any potential entry points on your RV’s roof where water might seep in. If it does, you could be in for a lot of damage. And if the water never quite makes it into your living space but just lurks beneath the roof’s surface, the damage could be extensive and very costly to repair. Here’s some advice. Watch the video.

Not-so-happy camper jacks customer needs help
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a question from a reader while he was serving as’s technical editor about malfunctioning electric HappiJac camper jacks. When he hit the up/down button on the remote, it would click but do nothing. He wondered what caused this and how to repair it. Read Chris’ response.

RV quick tricks: Substitute GPS mounting “hardware”
My, how the times have changed – stacks of those infernally-hard-to-refold road maps have given way to a simple electronic device. But if the old hassle of “refolding that confounded map” is gone, the new issue for travelers is, “What to do when you forgot your GPS mounting hardware” for the dashboard. Here’s a quick, temporary fix from RV Travel reader Rob Randazzo. Learn more.

Clean your RV… with beastly-good results!
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast.”
Your RV’s large surface area makes it a beast that collects more bugs, grit, grime, soot and industrial pollution than your car does. And it may have different surfaces of paint, fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum. Click on the video to see Wade clean, shine and protect EVERYTHING with Beast Wash. Click here to buy, or learn more about, Beast Wash at the Wade Maid website.

del-545This week in history

From Bob Kint, on his motorhome. Email photos of personalized license plates you spot to Diane (at)

Week of April 15–21
Compiled by Dell Bert

1838 — Naturalist John Muir is born.
1897 — First Boston Marathon is held.
1912 — “Unsinkable” Titanic sinks.
1945 — Journalist Ernie Pyle, America’s most popular war correspondent, is killed by enemy fire.
1964 — Ford Mustang debuts at World’s Fair in New York.
1970 — Apollo 13 returns to Earth.
1972 — Apollo 16 departs for the moon.
2008 — Danica Patrick becomes first woman to win Indy race.
2012 — TV personality Dick Clark (“America’s Oldest Teenager”) dies.

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.

Bumper sticker of the week
“Honk if you’re against noise pollution.”

Funny/clever business slogan
Seen at a veterinary office: “Love is a four-legged word.” Thanks to Dave Friar!

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

How to Save LP Gas While Dry Camping

trumalogoDry-camping RVers tend to get paranoid about LP gas usage, so being efficient is important. The Truma AquaGo®  instant water heater provides such efficiency. With it, a 20 lb. LP bottle can provide 20-minute showers for 30 days, so dry campers need not worry about using hot water when they need it.  Learn more here.

Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:

20 amazing places you can visit without leaving North America
Here are “one-of-a-kind attractions, incredible landscapes, vibrant cities and iconic landmarks in North America” to consider visiting — maybe even some you haven’t thought about before. Several of these are recommended especially for spring visits. From The Active Times and

The most iconic dessert from every state
Here’s a thought. As you travel into a different state, how about making, or ordering, a dessert associated with that state? Some of these are actually the official state dessert, while others are just suggestions based on iconic sweets connected to the state. If you’re a “sweetaholic,” this website’s for you. From The Daily Meal and

22 cheap nostalgia trips for seniors
From admiring classic cars to strolling along a boardwalk, there are surprisingly inexpensive ways for the young at heart to recapture the spirit of yesteryear. How long since you’ve been to a drive-in theater or a roller skating rink? There are lots of great ideas here — fun for seniors to relive the past, and an education for younger folks to experience some activities which were enjoyed for generations before electronics and social media took over. From Cheapism and

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.

RV Clubs
Check out our Directory of RV Clubs and Organizations.

Camco Store at
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 Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Q&A about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Roger Marble recently responded to a comment/question on a tire forum about how to accurately set up a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). He explains the purpose of the TPMS, how to properly set your tire pressure, and how to read and understand the monitoring system. He also explains his daily routine for checking his RV’s tire pressure. Learn more.

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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Good reading from 629-rv123
• A hidden gem of a national park, Biscayne is located on Florida’s eastern coast at the northernmost part of the Keys.
• Sometimes it can be nice to bring some of the comforts of home on the camping trail.
• Search over 450 destinations, read detailed descriptions for each site, and make reservations directly from the KOA app.

Space heater uses only 200 watts!
It’s hard to believe that an electric space heater could use a mere 200 watts — the same as a couple of light bulbs — a fraction of other space heaters. And this one really works! It’s meant to heat a nearby person, not a room. Put it on your desk or at your feet. It’s perfect for the RVer who’s “always cold.” For about $15, this is a winner. Click the video by editor Chuck Woodbury. Or order at

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

rvshrinkAsk the RV Shrink

Advice for dealing with noisy campground neighbors

Dear RV Shrink:
Can you tell me what my attitude should be about noisy campground neighbors? I seem passive in situations because I do not react visibly to emotions I might be feeling. My husband, on the other hand, would be considered aggressive. He can sometimes detonate without much provocation. When we are camping in our motorhome next to a rowdy bunch I like to think they are letting off steam in a party mode and we should just move to a quieter site. My husband thinks they are inconsiderate and demands that they tone their noise levels down. Several times this has put us dangerously close to physical confrontation. Often alcohol is a factor, especially during the holiday camping season. Do you think the way to handle these situations is to move, confront, or submit in quiet frustration? —Nervous in New Haven

Read the RV Shrink’s advice.

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.

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed 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 staffLearn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Determining towing capacity
When determining the tow capacity of a vehicle be sure you know the rear axle ratio. It’s possible to have the same type and size of vehicle with the same engine and the tow ratings vary by several thousand pounds. The axle ratio is a comparison of how many times the drive shaft rotates, versus the rear wheels. A 4.10:1 axle ratio means the drive shaft or pinion gear rotates 4.1 times for each rotation of the rear axle or ring gear. The higher the numeric value the better the vehicle will tow. Some people have a misperception that a vehicle with four-wheel drive will have a higher tow rating than an identical vehicle that is two-wheel drive. In reality, the 2-WD vehicle will have the higher tow rating. The reason for this is the transfer case in the 4-WD vehicle adds additional weight to the vehicle, usually close to 500 pounds, which lowers the tow rating by that same amount. Keep in mind that any weight you add to the tow vehicle takes that same amount of weight away from the vehicle’s tow rating and Gross Combined Weight Rating.

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

scenic767The Most Scenic Drives in America
The newly updated trip planner & travel guide will steer you down the most scenic roads. From Florida’s Road to Flamingo, to British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway, to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shores, each featured trip is pictured in stunning full color and described in vivid text, keyed to an easy-to-follow map. Whether you choose a drive on a distant road or a back road in your own state, this book is your ticket to North America’s most beautiful byways. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.42 (on Apr. 10). Change from week before: Up 6 cents; Change from year before: Up 36 cents.
Diesel: $2.58 (on Apr. 10). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 45 cents.

George Foreman Grill is perfect for RVs
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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Chicken and Vegetable Salad
It’s crunch time.

On your way to the campground, pick up a deli-roasted chicken to use in this crisp, crunchy, veggie-packed, whole-meal salad. The secret is to fold in the Fritos immediately before serving. Get the recipe.

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


foil-757Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

The best fire extinguisher for your RV
Check your fire extinguisher’s markings so you’ll know what materials it will work on. Ideally, you should have an extinguisher with symbols for all classes on it. A noncorrosive designer foam extinguisher is effective on Class A and Class B fires, which make up over 90% of all RV fires. Designer foam extinguishers are user-friendly, environmentally safe, and convenient for RV travel. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

RV Quick Tips

Must-have safety equipment
Prepare for a breakdown or flat on the roadside – carry a set of warning triangles like commercial truckers use. Folding ones don’t take much space, but their reflectors help out at night. Be sure to place them well behind your rig to give traffic plenty of warning of your presence. Thanks to George Bliss for the tip! (Editor: Here are some warning triangles at

“Whitening” discolored exterior plastic
Exterior plastic on your RV gone or discolored? Some RVers say if it’s white plastic, try spraying it with water with a little bit of Rit brand blue dye. Be sure to mask off any unaffected areas with shop towels taped into place to keep the solution from drooling down where it shouldn’t.

Can’t find the awning pull loop?
Time to open your awning? Sometimes finding the awning pull loop at the end of the strap can be hard to find. Get a large, colorful carabiner like those used by climbers and sailors. The “snap lock” hardware makes it easier to find the end of the strap, and you can grab it with your awning hook. Find them at outdoor stores or ship chandleries. (Or, hey! How about at

READER CONSUMER TIPFrom reader Wayne Girard
“Nationwide is no longer on your side! Went to renew my policy on 42-foot coach (no claims) and got a $600 premium increase. Was told they no longer want to insure motorhomes over 36 feet so they are trying to price current customers out of the market. So much for customer loyalty!”

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

motor-carrier-2017-752Essential 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.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

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

RV holding tank evacuations optimized

Dear Gary:
When you are at a campground that has a sewer hookup and you are only going to be there over the weekend, should you leave your tank closed and dump when you get ready to leave or can you leave it open and just clean up? —Pam S.

Read Gary’s response, including detailed proper dumping procedure.

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

90-degree-hosePrevent hose crimping and strain
. . . and extend RV hose life
This 90-Degree Hose Elbow eliminates unnecessary stress and strain on all RV water intake hose fittings. The elbow, with an easy-grip connector, is made of brass and is lead-free. Learn more or order for a great price!

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Why do RVers boondock?

Dear Bob,
I know that a lot of snowbirds boondock in the deserts of the Southwest, but I cannot figure out why they would want to camp without the convenience of campground hookups. Can you explain why? —Art & Nancy

Read Bob’s response.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: You might be surprised at how satisfying volunteering can be.

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

2017 RVer’s Friend 
This annual directory lists 6,700 U.S. & Canadian “big rig” fueling locations and the services they provide. Services include RV parking, propane availability, truck wash, scales, laundry, food, diesel and RV accessible gasoline. Locations are listed in Interstate exit order as well as alphabetically by city and state. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Proper RV chassis grounding to prevent “hot skin” condition

Dear Mike,
I stumbled on and it has been very informative. Thanks for the time you have put into it. I am in the process of wiring a subpanel inside an enclosed trailer and have been reading that the ground should be attached to the trailer frame. Is that the best place to attach the ground? By doing that, don’t you create a direct path to the trailer frame if the unit was hit by lightning? If I’m not understanding why that is the safest way, please correct me. Thanks for your help. —Marc 

Read Mike’s response.

rv-safety-764Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, 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

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Gizmos and Gadgets

Let there be light — where you want it
A few mornings ago BoondockBob Difley’s alarm went off with an annoying screech and a woman shouting “Fire! Fire!” Fortunately there was no fire but the batteries were low on his alarm, which was mounted in a dark area. He used a headlamp (provided by OxyLED for him to review) to change the batteries in the alarm. After this rude awakening, and the convenience of the headlamp, he was prompted to finally review it as well as OxyLED’s handy flashlight. They are not only super-bright with rechargeable lithium batteries, but they also have lots of other useful features including what Bob calls a “mind-boggling” feature on the flashlight. Read more.

NuLock defies thieves, keeps your stuff safe
Petty theft, unfortunately, has become a fact of life — it could happen to us anywhere, anytime. Most of us take precautions against thievery but they’re frequently ineffective against the innovative thief. That’s where the NuLock cable lock comes in. It looks like other heavy-duty cable locks, but both ends of the cable are inserted into a small black box. If the cable were cut or fiddled with, it would sound an alarm. You can turn the lock and alarm on and off with a smartphone app — and there are even more clever features. SPECIAL OFFER: NuLock is offering RV Travel readers a 20% discount on the purchase of a NuLock product (expires April 30, 2017). Learn more. UPDATE: The special offer is temporarily on hold, due to apparently insufficient inventory because of the big response from our readers. We apologize for the inconvenience in the meantime, and will keep you updated on when they’ll be back in stock. SECOND UPDATE (Sat. afternoon): We have heard from NuLock, which apologizes profusely for the inconvenience. They do have plenty of product in stock, but the inventory on the order page just hadn’t been updated. All orders placed this weekend will be shipped out on Monday, April 17. In addition, all orders from RV Travel readers using the special promo code (see the post) during this offer (expires April 30, 2017) will receive free batteries and a screwdriver to compensate for the inconvenience. Thanks to NuLock for going above and beyond to make this right!

better-living-showerOrganize your RV’s shower!
Quit hassling with shampoo and conditioner bottles
RV showers are small! Hassling with bottles of shampoo, conditioner and soap are a pain! Make it easy with this Better Living Classic 3-Chamber Dispenser. It utilizes a “patented pump technology” and comes with a lifetime warranty. The liquid is stored in three 15 oz. refillable chambers. The right amount of product is dispensed with a stroke or two of the pump. Installs in minutes without tools. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Upcoming RV Shows

• Acadiana RV, Sport & Boat Show, April 21-23, Lafayette, LA
• Evergreen Spring RV Show, April 21-23, Monroe, WA
Super Saver RV Show, April 21-23, Ft. Myers, FL
• Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show, April 27-30, Elkhart, IN
• BC Interior RV Show, April 21-23, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
• Spring Hall of Fame RV & Camping Show, April 27-30, Elkhart, IN
• Puyallup RV Show, May 4-7, Puyallup, WA

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.comLearn more.

See the list of all upcoming RV shows.

RV Short Stop

Bandelier National Monument dwellings in New Mexico. (Julianne G. Crane)

National Parks’ “free entrance days” offer hundreds of family RV Short Stops
National Park Week weekends, April 15–16 and 22–23, are the perfect times for a family outing to one of the National Parks and Monuments to take advantage of the free entrance days. America’s “national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and other public lands offer every American a place to get outdoors, learn about our nation’s history and culture, and restore our spirits.” By providing free admission, all Americans can visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all of us. Read the article by Julianne G. Crane.

sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

laughing-man-RVT-752Stupid Statements of Yesteryear
“You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.” —Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the “unsolvable” problem by inventing Nautilus.

Bet you didn’t know!
• The offspring of a cow and a bison is called a beefalo.
• A group of hyenas is called a cackle.
• When Columbus traveled to America he thought he was sailing uphill.
From 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.

damp-rid-2-761damprid-761Avoid moisture damage to your RV
DampRid FG50T Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorber, 4-Pound Tub eliminates musty odors in RVs and other spaces, protecting them from moisture damage for up to 60 days in areas up to 1000 square feet, and up to 6 months in a 250-square-foot area. Don’t let your rig get damaged from moisture. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Free and bargain camping

Dancing Eagle Casino
Casa Blanca, New Mexico
FREE: Okay to stay overnight in parking lot. Get permission from Guest Services. Level, gravel lot. Appears safe. Some I-40 road noise. Located SR 23. GPS: 35.032336, -107.474255

Luning Rest Area
Luning, Nevada
FREE. On U.S. 95 in this very small town between Reno and Las Vegas. Restrooms and running water. Little traffic at night, so quiet. Located in center of “one-street” town. GPS: 38.506222, -118.178609

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 demoWatch a video about


Add an outdoor water faucet to your RV!
This lead-free outdoor faucet is really handy. If you don’t have one, here’s a super inexpensive way to add one. No tools required and it installs in a minute (just screw it on). Brass T included with the plastic faucet, just as it’s shown in the product photo. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Videos you’ll like

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 1.18.19 PM A spring air conditioner tip 
Chris Dougherty explains what to do now to keep your A/C running smoothly all summer long. Watch the video.

• Want to burn up your RV? Use a wimpy extension cord!
Mark Polk talks with RV electricity expert Mike Sokol about what can happen if an RVer plugs his or her RV into a 110 outlet or uses an inadequate extension cord. Watch the video.


youtube_logoVisit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!

Random RV Thought
If you dream of traveling full-time in your RV, do not make excuses why you can’t do it soon. It is easier than ever these days to be a full-timer. Putting off your dream might mean you never will. What if you or your partner gets sick before your “day” arrives? So don’t make excuses. Set a date today. Then find a way to meet it.

In the English language, “screeched” is the longest one-syllable word, and “dreamt” is the only word that ends with the letters “mt.”

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

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

Worth Pondering
“He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him.” —Dutch proverb

RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Assistant editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Janet Groene, Roger Marble, Julianne Crane and Chris Guld. 

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at) cw501

About the editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter.

Our offices are located at 610 5th Ave. S, Suite F, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This website utilizes some advertising services. Sometimes we are paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc . is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to includes links to other websites. We cannot control the content and/or privacy policies of those sites. Please be aware when you leave this newsletter or any other section of to read the privacy statements of any of those websites that collect personally identifiable information. Our own privacy policy applies only to and its affiliated blogs.

This newsletter is copyright 2017 by


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5 years ago

A recent post refers to giving up their rv and going the hotel/motel route. I don’t blame them. That’s why we boondock.

That said, why don’t we see ads on the internet like those for hotels offering discounts and off-season pricing? You would think that if I do a search for Scooby Doo Campground and check their website that afterwards, their ads along with competitor ads would start appearing on my screen?

It would take a lot for me to go back to being a regular rv park user.

5 years ago

I think most of the issues with fulltime and weekend RVing is the size of rigs available today verses the age and size of a lot of the parks. Most mom and pop parks were built in the 70s and 80s when slides were a luxury. We sell our 3 bdrm homes and purchase a rig to try to compensate for the loss of space. Now we have rigs with 5 slides and 3 a/c units. If you try to camp (opps) I mean glamp at one of these campgrounds even if it has been upgraded it can put a real strain on their infrastructure. No wonder the sites seem to get smaller and the sewer outlets are getting closer to our neighbors.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
5 years ago
Reply to  Mike

Mike, good points!


Ed Baldwin
5 years ago

I don’t see Chuck’s comments as negative, rather as an observation to be taken into consideration when choosing an RV park. I have experienced the exact same thing as Chuck in many private parks. i understand that the owners want to have a steady income, and I understand that some people buy the RV as a cheaper means to have a weekend place to go to. BUt I also think that the parks should be maintained to some level of decourm. Some of the parks we have stayed at with the “homesteaders” look like tin pan alley places. Quite frankly, when we travel I do my best to stay at RV resorts (much pricier), Federal Parks, State Parks, or Private Parks that we have stayed at and were well maintained, and upgraded.

James F
5 years ago

Keep the faith. I look forward to you news letter each week. I have been camping and RVing all my life. I retired in 2012 and for several years was full time. I now have a home base and only go several times a year. Today, to avoid those RV parks you are finding I do a lot of on line research. I start making reservations four to five months in advance. The days of finding the perfect spot by just driving in are long gone.

5 years ago

Chuck and the RV Travel staff–keep up the great work! I like reading about positive experiences as
much as anyone, but I would also be interested in reading about not-so-great camping experiences. Not because I’m “negative” or get off on schadenfreude, but because–like in life–it’s the challenges that strengthen our resilience and grow our character. Some of our less than stellar experiences: lovebugs splattered all over our windshield; mosquitoes attacking us; being shoehorned into a site at a sad mobile home park with a website that had deceptive photos taken OUTSIDE of the campground. But the positives have outweighed the negatives, which is why we still enjoy it. Shows like “Buying RV” are fun, mindless entertainment that sell a fantasy lifestyle, and it could well be misleading and enticing people to impulsively buy something that will give them buyers remorse. It really shocked me to learn many owners of beautiful Class A’s have a monthly payment. We will happily keep our paid off 28 ft travel trailer, which Poli Glo is keeping shiny after 5 years.. I would also enjoy reading about amazing wildlife encounters, like seeing both manatees (a salt water mammal) and alligators (a fresh water reptile) swimming in the same body of water, or the time a mullet jumped in our boat! Or how about an article on how some campgrounds will only allow motorhomes and fifth wheels… or only RVs longer than 25 feet long… or only RVs 10 years old or less? I would be interested to hear their rationale for those rules.

5 years ago


Really appreciate all you do and write about for all of our RVing benefit. Much of the negative, nasty worded emails to you are from little boys, regardless of their age, whose Mamas are gone from home so just ignore them as they only project their own anger on to you and don’t know anything about RVing. Keep up the good, good work we can trust!

Pete Almasi
5 years ago

Sad to say we are giving up on RVing after this season.
We purchased an old RV put some money and sweat into it to be road worthy only to find out that.
To be able to book a site that you would enjoy requires one to take a day off work on the day the bookings open.
And then be ready all the way up to your last computer stroke at the booking site,and hope and pray that you can perform all your key strokes within sixty seconds or all the sites at your pick will be booked for the season and perhaps beyond.
Thanks ,but no thanks.
We have decided to donate our rig to a young couple who have the time and patience to do so.
Not to mention all the regulations coming out against RVers in general every year (ie. no filling L.P. tanks over ten years old).
It was great the first year when we didn’t know better.
Hotels,motels and resorts in one place and just go to as many of them as you can that time allows you to.

Richard Hubert
5 years ago

Love this newsletter!

Greatly appreciate all the tips & advice provided as we prepare to go full time in our RV.

Ignore the trolls – they seem to be infecting all sites, no matter the topic. I know they have almost killed off some great RV & Travel bloggers (like Technomadia) but it is obvious they are simply ignorant, loner losers with nothing better to do.

Love this newsletter – keep it up!

Gregory Illes
5 years ago

Hi Chuck (and Gail),

I am simply LOVING your editorials. Please don’t let the naysayers influence you. There’s an old reference (don’t know where it came from):

“Illegitimati non carborundum”

— which is Latin for “Don’t let the {bleeped} grind you down”.

I hope you are getting some positive responses too, and I think it’s telling that KOA replied in a positive way.

With all this surge in demand, it would seem that an upsurge in RV parks would be forthcoming. Problem is of course that the growth is unlikely to keep pace with the burgeoning RV population.

As always, I find myself grateful to be living in the West, where (at least for now) there is still some wide open space to be found.

Kudos and encouragement,


5 years ago

If you are looking for the BEST security company…call SECURIGUARD…KELOWNA

Leonard Szymkowiak
5 years ago

How dare your people compare Saint Christopher with our Lady of the Dashboard, do you people condone that crap? Religious beliefs with sick humor.

Ed Fogle
5 years ago

I’m staying at an RV park in similar conditions for two weeks. Each neighbor’s sewer drop is right where the next site’s sitting area is. At least you have grass. We are basically in an asphalt parking lot on a gravel site. One problem is most RV parks websites have few or no pictures of the sites. This makes it a gamble when choosing your next park in an area you’ve never been to.

5 years ago

If you enjoy showering each day, starting off clean and reborn, boondocking doesn’t do it. And if you do not want the worry of finding sewer dump facilities, and locating fresh water, an RV park beats all the BLMs, LTVAs and Walmart lots. Boondocking is oversold and fine if you’re desperate for minimal cost and prefer avoiding others. But there is safety in numbers, another factor in favor of nice parks. Last, the call for smaller rigs is great while traveling or looking for national or state park sites, but staying in tiny rigs for six months or more is akin to living in a small, stuffy closet. When a small rig owner makes reservations at campgrounds, they all ask for length of your RV. Small RVs get the smallest, least desirable spot despite paying the same rate as the 45-ft Prevost across the way which is enjoying 2 to 3 times as much space and 50-amp service. The trade-offs are hard ones. Small RVs are sold as weekend-only units, or short trip vehicles. FTing in one loses its novelty and owners long for 5ers, 36+ ft MHs, park units, or sticks-n-bricks housing. All come — if in nice campgrounds — with more space, privacy, and few worries about dumping and finding fresh water.

Arthur Jacobson
5 years ago

We were RVers from 2009 to November, 2016. In our seven years owning two different RVs we volunteered or workcamped six of those years. Our experience taught us that many, many full timer RVers are older folks without either the desire or means to own a stick and brick home. In our travels we did find a few true nomads, RVers traveling from place to place for sheer enjoyment. Most of those we encountered were searching for a cheap place to stay. Volunteering gave them such places. For a certain amount of hours these folks, many of whom lived in “jalopy” RVs, stayed for many months or even years if permitted, in state or federal parks. My wife and I now know that there is no such thing as being a volunteer at one of such places. You are WORKING almost full time for no pay other than your spot. It was our experience that in every park where we volunteered the full time paid employees seem to become very scare while we were on duty. In our last national park the employees seem to be on break during our entire shift and several times even forgot we were to be relieved for lunch. We decided after our last “adventure” that at ages 70 and 68 we not longer had the desire to be indentured servants. We sold the RV and its tremendous upkeep along with the toad, We are very happy to be back in our spacious (for us) stick and brick where we can spread out and not be on top of each other. We also feel that many of these parks permit homesteading by their volunteers, something that denies other RVers of the opportunity to have that kind of experience.
To me volunteering in a hospital, dog shelter, etc, is “true” volunteering and not an unpaid position. I now equate RV volunteering the same as those standing on corners holding signs “will work for food”.

5 years ago

I have [seen] some of this in different parks too. There are old motorhomes that people live in full time that have not and will not move unless a tow truck comes and drags them away.
What I don’t get is these people could rent an apartment for the same or even less than what they are paying for long term site rent and 5 times the space to live in.

Pete Almasi Jr.
5 years ago

In the words of my God son ,(WORD !).

Calvin Rittenhouse
5 years ago

I second what Jeannie said. I never saw any part of a mobile home site that close to the next person’s site. I don’t have any better answers for those who do not boondock.

5 years ago

Don’t loose faith. There are still many good, honest, thoughtful RVers out there. TouTube is what it is. I persoanaly stay away from it as much as possible..

5 years ago

We’ve been to several RV parks in our travels that have the conditions that you encountered. It’s seems to be a result of greater income generation rather than updating the facilities on a regular basis. With RVing becoming more popular and nice well planned parks / campsites becoming a scarce, it prods our desire to possibly open our own campground after retirement rather than work camping.

Jerry Collis
5 years ago

RV Fire Safety: RV manufactures provide yo with a 2 1/2 lb BC extinguisher which is so inadequate as to be almost useless. Not to mention that the chemical in the extinguisher is extremely corrosive. The provided extinguisher might (and I repeat the “MIGHT”) put out a pan fire if you can get to the extinguisher quick enough. Mac suggests a “non-corrosive foam extinguisher” as the best. However, he fails to mention that these are extremely expensive and can only be purchased from a company that services commercial businesses. You will not find this extinguisher in the local Walmart.
I would like to see the manufactures place a 5 lb extinguisher at both ends of the RV or even a 10 lb centered. These could be inset so as not to take up too much walking space. Knowing that the manufactures are all about the money, a good ABC extinguisher would suffice and they cost much less that the foam. I would also suggest that if you tow, place a 5 lb ABC in your vehicle.

Terry Brown
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerry Collis

I have the small extinguisher as mounted by the door in my F/W. (Little piece of junk). But I have 1 large extinguisher in the bedroom, 1 neat the kitchen, 2 medium in the storage compartment and 1 in my truck. That’s 5 potentially lifesaving extinguishers. I don’t care about the unit or the corrosive nature of the chemicals as long as we all get out safely. (I hope I never had to use the emergency exit windows!) also all are ABC extinguishers except the junky aerosol can extinguisher. Let’s just be safe.

5 years ago

I have been reading your newsletter for years as my wife and I get ready to retire, sell off the house and go rving full time. First off, thanks for all the good info. Lately tho, I’m lncreasingly worried if we are making the right choice to go full time in an rv. For years we’ve been waiting for the time to come and now that it’s here we are having doubts. Damm !

Sue and Jim
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Robert, my husband and I have been RVing extensively for the last 13+ years and would have sold our house sooner than 2014 if the housing market had been more conducive to doing so. As Chuck has written in recent articles, it’s getting harder and harder to find suitable sites at parks and public RV parks and campgrounds (even our beloved military RV parks), particularly if you have a large rig. It’s one of several reasons we’ve decided to put our 5th-wheel in storage for a while and buy another house. We encourage you to at least try extended RV traveling now while you are healthy enough to do so. There is so much to see and do in N. America, much of it free. If you love it, then perhaps sell your house If you don’t think your current house will suit your needs as you age, then sell it now — it’s a strong seller’s market in much of the country. If you have an adventurous spirit you can still boondock in many places out West without reservations. If you plan to stay in developed campgrounds, just be aware that you need to make reservations well in advance at many of them. One more piece of advice — the smaller the rig, the more places you can park it. You can check out our website (not real updated) for lots of ideas: Good luck! Sue and Jim

5 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Chuck is bringing up a lot of the negative side of some of the parks. I wouldn’t let some of the negative stuff on this sight influence your decision.
Full timing is a great life, it all come down to the individual.
Remember your house will be were you park it. Don’t like were you are, move on, I sure have a number of times..
There is always another adventure and sight just around the corner..
Enjoy life, it doesn’t last long enough!

5 years ago

I have lived in several Mobile Home parks and they are not as crowded as many, if not most, RV parks, definitely not as bad as the KOA you showed in your article and video, despite Mobile Homes being much longer and wider than the largest RVs. In most areas, Mobile Home parks are heavily regulated and conditions like many RV parks have would never be allowed!