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Issue 794 • Week of May 20–26, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
It’s been a busy week moving out of our two offices, one for RVtravel.com and the other for the small TV studio we set up two years ago. We’re combining the two into a more efficient space a few blocks away. I still plan to produce some regular TV-type talk shows about RVing, but they’ll need to wait until I am back in town again. For now, a friend is doing some local productions, which pays the bills.
Last week we brought back our Reader Surveys (we now call them polls) and they were a big hit. We’ll have more each week. Some listed below were included in articles, so you may need to scroll down a bit. Here’s where to find them. If you haven’t already responded, please do so:
•Where are you reading this newsletter?
•Have you been shocked by touching your RV?
•How often to you stay at Walmart?
•Would you stay in an RV park where the use of marijuana was allowed inside your RV and elsewhere in the park?
•How do you like the idea of a built-in bathtub in an RV?
My story last week on the badly neglected KOA park in Seattle drew a lot of response, some from RVers who have stayed there. As I said last week, in my opinion, this park should not be part of a chain of RV parks that promotes its 500 locations as clean and family friendly. Read my story from last week and the many comments.
I will fly to New York City on Thursday to join my daughter on a cross-country trip back to Seattle with a small moving van. As I said last week, Emily is returning to the Seattle area after seven years in New York. I’m happy to say she will be helping me part-time with RVtravel.com. Emily is a veteran RVer at her young age of 25. She took her first trip in 1991 as a 3-month-old and has joined me on many RV road trips ever since. She can definitely “talk the talk.” And with two writer parents, her writing is superb, not to mention her excellent photo skills.
Another 500 RVers subscribed to this newsletter last week, about double the pace of a year ago (“Welcome!”). Our other newsletters, some new, others restarts of previous ones, also grew. The first up will be “Great RV Accessories” on Sunday, June 11. The monthly, “Full-Time RVer” will debut next. I urge you to check out all our newsletters and sign up for one or more you find interesting. You can easily unsubscribe if you don’t like them.
That’s about it for now. Must get back to moving (so much fun!!!).
Help wanted: Do you love watching videos about RVing on YouTube or elsewhere? If you do, and you’re knowledgeable about RVing, and would like some extra spending money, we need someone to find and write short descriptions of videos (30-75 words) for our new Best RV videos of the week newsletter. If you’re interested, contact me at chuck (at) RVtravel.com .
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
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.
Permanent Jack Pad Installs in Seconds – Leave on Forever!
No more crawling under your RV to set up!
View the installation video here. For Class ‘A’ and Class ‘C’ motorhomes, SnapPad Prime is a permanent jack pad that adds unparalleled stability and frees up storage space. Compatible with Power Gear and Kwikee ‘Level Best’ Jacks. Click here or visit RVSnapPad.com to learn more & buy now.
Born Free shuts down. Factory closed
Callers to Born Free Motorhomes this past week have heard a message that the company would be shut down through yesterday (Friday). However, based on other correspondence with Born Free owners, the situation appears permanent. Learn more.
Jayco recalling 13,000 trailers for fire risk
Jayco is recalling more than 13,000 model year 2017 Jay Flight Bungalow, Hummingbird, White Hawk, Jay Flight SLX, Jay Feather 7, Jay Feather and Jay Flight fifth wheel trailers. The LED ceiling lights may produce excessive heat increasing the risk of fire causing personal and/or property damage. Learn more.
RV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.
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 managing editor Diane McGovern at Diane (at) RVtravel.com .
CLICK HERE to see last week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at 500 wineries, farms and attractions across North America. Harvest Hosts offers an exciting alternative to traditional overnight stops where you can meet interesting people and learn about their lifestyle. Learn more at the Harvest Hosts website, or watch an interview with the founders by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries for this contest, please. (The answer is New Salem, North Dakota.)
Win this very cool Quadcopter Drone with FPV Camera and Live Video. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: In what state would you find the World’s Largest Holstein cow? 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.
America’s largest motoring organization, AAA, projects that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Memorial Day weekend, the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005. That includes 34.6 million Americans (88.1 percent of travelers) who will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year.
Neither your eyes nor your credit cards are deceiving you: The pump price of gasoline has indeed been heading down. CNN says you’ll pay an average of $2.34 for the liquid power around the country, and it’s been going down for three weeks. Oil analysts say the cause is a sliding price of crude oil, down 11 percent since April. It bucks the typical trend for this time of year, when RVers get ready to pay more to drive as refineries change over to “summer blend,” and prices typically ramp up.
March continued to see gains for the sales of new towable RVs. Leading sales were travel trailers, up 6 percent, compared with those in March 2016. Fifth wheels moved up slightly, at a nearly 2 percent increase. However, pop-ups fell nearly 3 percent. Park models saw a large gain, more than 18 percent. Overall, new registrations for the towable sector rose 5 percent. Source: Statistical Surveys Inc.
Oregon is one of only five states in the country that does not charge sales tax. Hold onto your checkbooks – the legislature is in session. A proposed new law would have sales tax paid on motorhomes and other powered vehicles. To pump up revenue, vehicle buyers would pay 1 percent until 2022 – at which time the tax would increase to 2 percent.
Big business doesn’t just want to buy RV manufacturers – now they’re getting into the ancillary markets as well. Goldman Sachs has lined up to buy out Dominion Web Solutions. You may not recognize the name, but it’s the parent company of RV Trader, and a host of its sister publications. With more than 7 million “visitors” to the “Trader” family websites, it was too much of a prize fish for Goldman Sachs to let get away.
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), an organization of motorhome owners, will hold its 98th International Convention & RV Expo at the Cam-Plex in Gillette, Wyoming, July 18 through 21, 2018. FMCA first held an international convention at Cam-Plex in June 2013, when members in 2,639 motorhomes gathered. More.
Indiana’s governor approved a new state law that alleviates “double taxation” on RV sales to residents of certain states. Customers purchasing rigs in Indiana who reside in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, or South Carolina were subject to Indiana sales tax – and then again by their home states. The reason is these nine states had no reciprocal agreement with Indiana that would have negated the double taxation. But the new law only allows “tax free” purchases until mid-2019.
Here’s our complete list of RV recalls in the past year.
Much has been said about deferred maintenance in national parks. Now Texas’ Big Bend National Park is doing something about it – but some may not be happy with the timing. The park’s Rio Grande Village needed a new water tank and waste water lagoon work, so the work will be done from May 22 to September 1, impacting the campground. You may want to call ahead for information.
Sales of new motorhomes were mixed in March, says Statistical Surveys Inc. Class C units gained 18 percent compared to sales in March 2016. However, Class A sales continued to sag, down 1 percent for the same time period. The gains in the Class C market kept the entire sector moving ahead, up 9 percent.
The Chief Mountain Border Crossing on Montana Highway 17 is now open. A traditionally “seasonal pass” welcomes thousands of Americans as they travel north from the Glacier National Park area up into Waterton National Park. But while the Canadian government welcomes southern neighbors, they ask, “Please don’t bring your guns.” If you want to travel into Canada and have guns on board, be sure to declare them at the border. If you do, your option will be to abandon them there, or make arrangements to ship them back to the states. Don’t declare and get caught – expect fines averaging $1,000, a free request to turn around and go back, and confiscation of your guns.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
AND SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating RVs of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better way. 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, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
Planning a trip to Bear Creek or Cougar Lake campgrounds in Washington state’s Methow Valley? It’s a case of, “Lights are on, but nobody’s home.” The campgrounds are “open for business,” but erosion and flooding have closed down all road access to them.
Poplar Point Campground on New York’s Piseco Lake is being shut down by state officials and converted to a day-use area and boat launch. The campground has been around since 1927, but the state says too few people like the place, and too little money to run it leads to the closure. Nearby Point Comfort campground is slated for improvements, including construction of new bathrooms.
An unholy trinity of tree problems are shutting down Sunset Campground in Kings Canyon National Park (California). A heavy winter, drought and insects have created high levels of tree deaths, calling for extensive tree removal. All existing reservations are being canceled, and no new reservations will be taken for the campground until further notice.
In April we reported that the Bureau of Land Management was considering cutting back the number of camping spaces at the Oh Be Joyful Campground near Crested Butte, Colo. Consideration is over – there will be less joy as the BLM will reduce the number of sites to 31, including 13 tent sites and 12 RV sites. Dispersed camping, which numbered up to 81 “sites,” will be gone; however, a new group camp area will be added. BLM says it will improve road access to the campground, making it easier for larger rigs to access the 622-acre site.
Soldotna, Alaska, city-operated campgrounds are now moving into the 20th century. The campground season opened last Monday, and for the first time ever, they’re now accepting credit cards. City officials explained that counting cash at the park, and then again back at city hall, was too much hassle.
A Kansas man was arrested in Sequoyah County for transporting more than $1.2 million of marijuana inside a rented RV. Keith Douglas, 64, was headed east on I-40 on Thursday when he was stopped by a deputy for a minor traffic offense. A police dog “alerted” on the pot and the deputy then found the giant stash, more than 260 pounds of it, in the RV.
Washington state’s North Cascades Highway, state Route 20, has opened for the season. The scenic byway offers stunning scenery and beautiful campgrounds. Highway updates are available at (360) 707-5055.
Canadian RV sales were a mixed bag in March. While motorhomes saw another huge jump when compared to March 2016, towable unit sales continued an unabated slide. Class C motorhomes continued to rocket ahead, jumping up nearly 52 percent. Class A units, on the other had, dropped about 3 percent. No good news for towables: A 4 percent slump in travel trailer sales “bettered” fifth wheels, which bombed 15 percent. The “bright spot” was pop-ups, which surged up nearly 19 percent; but still, the overall towable sector rigged the “dive alarm,” losing almost 6 percent.
A Keizer, Ore., couple has signed off on a $300,000 settlement with a homeowner’s association over a motorhome dispute. Gary and Renee Kuhn owned a home in a development under a homeowner’s association arrangement. The Kuhn’s daughter has Down syndrome, and required a motorhome to assist with travel due to her condition. The HOA said the Kuhns’ motorhome was not allowed at their residence, and the Kuhns took the argument to court as a fair housing law violation. After the court agreed with the Kuhns, a settlement was banged out with the McNary Estates HOA. The family has sold their home in the development.
Thirty campgrounds and more than 680 sites within South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest are now open. Friday’s rainy, snowy, and chilly weather made for lighter than usual activity. As warmer weekends, Memorial Day, and the summer holiday comes closer, those spots should quickly fill.
An RVer in Charleston, Ore., suffered facial burns and smoke inhalation after he tried putting out a fire in his rig. The unidentified man says he was smoking in the RV, went out to take a walk, and returned to find his motorhome ablaze. His firefighting methodology was less than effective — tossing cups of water on the flames.
Charles Benedict Coker led Cape Girardeau, Mo., police on quite a merry chase. At a local Walmart, he tried to catch a ride with a Frito-Lay driver, who refused. Coker then stole a pickup and shot off down the freeway at high speeds, eventually turning off, then getting stuck in mud. He found a motorhome driver trying to disconnect his toad car, jumped in the rig, and took off – dragging the toad behind him. Next, after blasting through an electric fence at a small airport, he jumped out of the RV and into a helicopter. Whoops! Coker couldn’t figure out how to start the eggbeater, so he ran to a nearby private aircraft where the passengers were boarding. He explained they were being filmed by hidden cameras for a reality show and he needed their car. They weren’t buying it so he jumped in the car anyway and locked himself in until police arrived to remove him. Who needs fake news when you’ve got this kind of stuff?!
Keep up with RV Industry news throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
How much is “too much” to pay for one night of camping?
Please let us know. After you click your response, you’ll see how others have responded. Feel free to leave a comment. We’ll post the final results in next week’s newsletter. CLICK HERE.
Are You Stinking Up The Campground?
Eliminate disgusting tank odors for less than $1 per treatment with formaldehyde-free Unique RV Digest-It. Unique’s highly concentrated, non-toxic blend of tank cleaning microbes maintain clean sensors, eliminate odors, and liquefies the solids in your tank, ensuring no backups. All without harsh chemicals or dangerous ingredients. Try it once and you’ll be shocked at how clean your tank can be! Learn more or order.
RV Quick Tips
Save power while reading at night
Inveterate bookworm but looking to conserve power? A “Kindle” or other e-reader device with backlight doesn’t need much ambient light to read at night. During the day, plug it in and recharge it while driving.
License plate alert!
“Two thousand miles away from home, somebody stole our back license plate from our truck. We implore our fellow RVers to purchase Torx screws to help frustrate thieves.” —Thanks to AF in Reno!
Easy way to get water out of sewer hose before storage
Putting away a recently used sewer hose can make a wet mess. After rinsing the hose, leave the “output” end of the hose connected to the drain, and starting at the RV-end of the hose, push a couple of feet of hose toward the output end. This forces the water out of the pleats of the hose. Wait a moment, and then repeat the process until you’ve pushed the hose together, and the water out. Now store your hose without the watery mess.
Let’s Go Camping!
You’re just a road trip away from the perfect getaway in some of the most desirable vacation destinations. Enjoy all you love about RV camping adventures. Plan your ideal RV getaway with RVontheGo.com, we offer the best in cabin and RV camping in more than 180 locations across the country. Click here to receive 10% off your stay today!
The readers write: From parking lot camping to the state of the RV industry
Here’s our biweekly compilation, edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, of your views on a variety of topics, including Camp Walmart, Bye-bye Boomers, and Camping World in the crosshairs. Oh, my. Read more.
Are computers stealing your favorite campsite?
Ever tried making an online reservation for a popular campground and just couldn’t get a spot? Maybe you set your alarm clock for the morning those precious spots “open” for reservation. As the clock ticked away to the opening bell, you diligently clicked – and clicked – to no avail. Well, you may be competing with computers, who are a lot faster than you at making reservations. Read more.
Keep little kids from falling out your RV’s front door
Here are two great safety tips from our long-time reader and RVer George Bliss in Saskatchewan, Canada. From personal experience watching his grandkids, he designed an easy way for them to open the door of his RV from the outside without falling backwards down the steps. He also figured out a simple way to keep them from opening the screen door from the inside and falling out. Read more.
RV driving: Understanding grade signs
If you’re new to RVing, or have spent your time in the Midwest flatlands, first hitting mountain country can be a bit of an eye-opener. Those yellow warning signs that talk about a “steep grade,” often accompanied by a percentage number, can be confusing. Road grades seem mysterious at first, but really are simple. Learn more in this article from Russ and Tiña De Maris.
Do you use additives in your RV’s toilet tank?
Do you add chemicals or other additives to your RV’s black water (sewer) tank? Some RVers believe they are necessary, while others say they are not. How about you? Do you use or not use? Take our quick poll.
Do you take naps?
Editor Chuck Woodbury has taken naps for most of his life, as he noted in this essay he posted last year. He says sometimes all it takes is a 10-minute snooze to replenish his energy. How about you, do you take naps? Please take a few seconds to answer our poll and learn if other RVers are nappers. Click here.
Fits Right in – Evelo’s Foldable E-Bike Perfect for RVers!
We’ve long raved about EVELO’s Electric Bikes, but EVELO’s latest model —the Quest— is a must-have for any RVer. One of the world’s first folding ebikes, light & compact for easy storage, yet features a sturdy design & 40-mile range. Quests are perfect for exploring trails, moving around campsites or heading to town. Click here for more info on Quest and other models at EVELO.com
Full-time RVing: Save on your top three expenses
Three of the biggest expenses for full-time or near-full-time RVers are fuel, campgrounds and eating out. But one of the great advantages of RVing is that you can easily change any one or all three of these expense categories to adjust to the changing economy or the fluctuation of your personal finances. Find out how here.
All your trailer brakes should lock up at the same point
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, received a letter from a reader while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor regarding a brake issue on a new Coleman camper. The reader complained that one tire seemed to lock up first, while adjusting the brake controller. He wondered if there was a way to adjust the brakes to get them to brake together. Read Chris’ advice on when and how to adjust the trailer brakes.
Winnebago expands warranty terms on diesel motorhomes
Winnebago is extending its warranty on any new Class A diesel motorhome purchased through August 31, 2017. Called Carefree Diesel Days, the offer extends the warranty on Winnebago “diesel pushers” to three years or 100,000 miles — a significant increase from the standard limited warranty of 12 months or 15,000 miles. Read more.
Even the simple things — Cheese lovers’ amazing adjustable slicer
Rich “The Wanderman” admits he loves cheese. There are only a few things that keep him on his low-carb diet, and cheese is in the top two. Sharp knives work, but sometimes he wants thinner or more uniform slices. He has found an inexpensive little gizmo that’s adjustable and easy to use. Read more here (and find out how well he’s doing on his diet!).
How long can canned food last?
Do your food storage lockers hold hidden contents that were placed there shortly after your rig rolled off the showroom floor? Just how long can we keep canned foods before they either go completely off the chart or turn into something not so delectable? Find out here.
Best way to fill your batteries
Fill this container with distilled water, insert the nozzle into the cell of your battery, then push & 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.
This week in history
Week of May 20–26
Compiled by Dell Bert
1843 — A thousand pioneers head West on the Oregon Trail.
1873 — Levi Strauss patents copper-riveted blue jeans.
1901 — Connecticut enacts first speed-limit law (12 mph in cities, 15 mph on country roads).
1907 — John Wayne is born.
1927 — Lindbergh lands in Paris.
1932 — Amelia Earhart completes trans-Atlantic flight.
1935 — Major League Baseball holds first night game (in Cincinnati).
1977 — “Star Wars” opens.
“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 Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Bumper sticker of the week
“Autocorrect has become my greatest enema.” —Thanks to Nollie and Juanita Jones!
Funny/clever business slogan
Seen by Nancy Brookshire on a billboard in Atlanta, Ga., off I-85: “We undo ‘I do’.” … “Of course, a divorce attorney advertisement!” —Thanks, Nancy!
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Camping with the Corps of Engineers
Many RVers consider Corps of Engineers campgrounds to be the best in the country. This guide is just for RVers — boat-in and tent-only sites are not included. Of all the public lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best parks and campgrounds available. In fact, it’s the largest federal provider of outdoor recreation in the nation. Learn more or order.
Websites of the Week
Here are three we like:
Fifty trips everyone should take in the U.S.
Here is a list 0f 50 great adventures to experience around the U.S. — some you may have tried, but we bet there are a lot you haven’t even considered. Selecting even just a few of these would make an amazing bucket list. From Insider and msn.com.
Ten state capitals with hidden treasures
Avoid the tourist traps by visiting these underrated spots in some of America’s iconic state capitals — from a lesser-known city park to an underground tunnel decked with colorful street art. Check out these underappreciated spots on your next trip to these capitals. From U.S. News & World Report – Travel and msn.com.
Camping and RV parks in Illinois
“Take the scenic route and visit some of the best spots for camping in Illinois. Lake-side to forest fringe, we break down the RV parks and campgrounds available in Illinois.” From the Illinois Office of Tourism.
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like, which we have compiled over the years.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Easily 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 Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Tire pressure and TPMS setting calculations
David writes: “I am a newbie — just 5 weeks with my 2017 Newmar Bay Star 3113. I need some help understanding just what would be the correct or appropriate tire pressure on my coach. … The dealer delivered the coach with about 85 lbs. per wheel, cold, but when I use the Michelin tire pressure chart for my 235/80R 22.5 XRE tires they should be just 75 lbs. I am concerned that they will be “underinflated” and could build up excess heat. Should I keep the 85 lbs. or lower the pressures?”
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. Learn more or order.
Good reading from RV123.com
• You could fit 2 whole families in this thing!
• Great Basin National Park is one of the hidden gems of the national park system.
• There are few things better than reading a good book in a peaceful campsite.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
RV Camping in State Parks
The 6th edition of this guidebook profiles nearly 1,750 state parks, forests and recreation areas in 49 states that offer accommodations for RVers. Included are state maps, directions (and GPS), number of sites including those with hookups, WiFi access, plus other amenities. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Shrink
Motorhome brake dancing — parking the RV
Dear RV Shrink:
Maybe you can help solve this problem my wife and I have every time we park our rig. It’s a little embarrassing but I know many other people suffer from the same situation. We both drive our motorhome, we both take turns dumping the septic, we both know how to troubleshoot all the appliances. We are a great team. The problem is, she thinks she’s an expert at backing up and parking the rig. She is always telling others that I’m terrible at it. The fact is, I just give better signals than she does. … —Brake Dancing in Denver
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.
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.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein cow, is located in New Salem, North Dakota. She’s 38-feet tall, 50-feet long, made of fiberglass and visible from Interstate 94 near exit 127 south. The impressive statue was built in honor of the local farming industry.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Whenever you are using the TV antenna on your RV, hang the keys of the RV or tow vehicle on the TV antenna handle. This way you will never leave and forget the antenna was up. One of the most common repairs to RVs is a damaged TV antenna.
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: $2.37 (on May 15). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 13 cents.
Diesel: $2.54 (on May 15). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 25 cents.
365 Days of Crock Pot Recipes
If you like cooking with a crock pot slow cooker, you’ll love this wonderful cookbook and guide. Learn how to choose a slow cooker and how to prepare great meals (lots of recipes are included). The RV Travel motorhome travels with a small crock pot, and does it ever come in handy! Plus the RV smells great all day long when dinner is cooking. Learn more or order.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Creamy Grape Salad
A salad with grape expectations.
Rich and fruity, this salad makes the perfect lunch on a hot day. Make it more colorful by using two or three different grapes. Complete the meal with buttery bread sticks, an olive and balsamic vinegar dip for the bread and something chocolate for dessert. Get the recipe.
Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
When heating your food you don’t want to spend 10 minutes later cleaning the splatters inside the microwave. Here’s the solution — perfect for RVers: It pops down flat for easy storage. Lid perforations allow steam to escape to keep food moist. Doubles as a strainer! Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
The Digital RVer
Google Maps gives you a place to save your “want to go” list
If you travel a lot, like the Geeks on Tour, you are forever getting ideas of places you want to go. Where do you keep that list? Any method you have for remembering these great ideas is better than nothing, but wouldn’t it be nice if the items were actually on a map? Then if you find yourself in the vicinity of one of the places, it will jump out at you when you look at your map. Here’s a simple way to do that.
Special offer for RV Travel readers!
Visit the Geeks’ Store to buy a membership. Use the coupon code rvtravel and get a 20% discount off anything you order.
Stop rust and corrosion
Of the many gremlins that attack your RV —like mold, mildew, leaks and black streaks — rust will attack your hand tools, spare parts, door hinges & other vulnerable metal surfaces & moving parts over time. STA-BIL® Rust Stopper prevents rust & corrosion by protecting metal surfaces with a long-lasting barrier while lubricating parts & tools to stop squeaks & sticking. Learn more.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV batteries go dead, even while plugged into shore power
What runs off the electrical when you’re at an RV park? Been here two days and last night my lights dimmed to nothing and the water pump quit. I switched the fridge over to propane just to be safe. The clock on the microwave still works though. I’m here for another 5 days! I started the RV and it gave the lights a big boost and the pump worked again — but only lasted a short time after shutting the engine off. Why did this happen? It’s the first time it ever happened. Are my auxiliary batteries dead because they’re brand new? And I thought once you plugged the RV into the park power, the auxiliary batteries weren’t in use! I’m confused here. How does this all work? Please help. —Kelly
Guide to Driving the Alaska Highway
Traveling across the great northern expanses from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska, the 1,500-mile Alaska Highway remains one of the greatest driving adventures of all time. Inside you will find details on gas prices, where to camp, how to prepare your vehicle for the journey and insightful driving tips. This will be very helpful in planning your trip and once on the road. Published in 2017. Learn more or order.
with Bob Difley
Keeping cool while boondocking
We are planning a cross-country trip this summer and would like to boondock along the way to avoid campground fees for just sleeping overnight. I’m concerned that without hookups I will not be able to run my air-conditioner while camped in the hot and humid Midwest. Do you have any hints for keeping cool? —Trevor P.
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Rapid technological change will radically affect your RV lifestyle — Part 1: Self-driving RVs
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
Protect your RV’s slideout
with this rubber seal lubricant
If you don’t take care of your slideout you’re asking for problems including dangerous, costly water damage. This rubber seal lubricant from Thetford prevents fading, cracking and deterioration. It cleans, conditions and shines, keeping seals flexible and protected from sunlight destruction. It is also useful on door seals and window seals. It’s a mineral oil product and also acts as a lubricant. Learn more or order.
with Mike Sokol
Can RV parking under power lines
cause a dangerous “hot skin” condition?
I’ve been reading about hot-skin voltages on your No-Shock-Zone site for a while and have come up with a really strange one. We unplugged from a campground and drove several hundred miles before pulling into a storage facility. But when I got out and knelt on the wet ground to check my tire pressure and touched the trailer I got a pretty good shock, even though I’m not plugged into any power. Is it possible there was something wrong with the power outlet back at the campground that charged up my RV? What could possibly be causing this? —Harold
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 40 years in the industry. Visit NoShockZone.org for more electrical safety tips. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
Graphite keeps your locks working
Keep your RV’s locks (and other locks, too) working the way they should. This product from AGS will keep them lubricated and working smoothly and will guard against sticking and dirt buildup. Also reduces wear and corrosion. This should be essential equipment on all RVs. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
Evaluating 303 Products’ Grill Cleaner and Multi-Surface wipes
The Gold Eagle Company, makers of the Sta-Bil Rust Stopper, has a variety of products in their 303 brand line that would be of interest to the RVing community, so Bob Difley asked for samples to evaluate. Read the impressive results achieved when he tried the Grill Cleaner & Degreaser on his “grungy” grill, and the Multi-Surface Cleaner wipes (designed to clean any water-safe surface) on his fingerprinted stainless steel fridge. Learn more.
Extend-A-Line provides a clothes/towel drying solution
Summer is about to arrive at last, putting the nasty winter weather behind us and luring us RVers into our active lifestyle for a summer of fun. And with that comes a pile of wet towels, swimsuits, hastily washed t-shirts and underwear – all needing to hang somewhere to dry – but where? Here’s a handy clothes-drying solution by Extend-A-Line. Read more.
Essential for big RVs!
2017 Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas
If you drive a big RV — extra long or extra tall — then this truck driver’s road atlas will be a huge help in knowing where you can drive without encountering a low bridge or getting stuck hanging over a cliff. This is an essential aid even if you have a GPS! Coverage: United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
Joke of the Week
A small frog goes to a fortune teller and asks if he will meet a young girl frog. The psychic says, “Yes, you will.” The frog replies, “Where? In a bar? At the pond? At a party?” The psychic says, “No, in a biology class.”
Bet you didn’t know!
• Throughout the 19th century, between a third and half of British brides were pregnant on their wedding day.
• Buzz Aldrin’s father was friends with Orville Wright.
• The first baby carriage had a harness so it could be pulled by a dog or goat.
From 1,234 Quite Interesting Facts to Leave You Speechless.
Casino Guide includes RVer info
The highly rated 2017 American Casino Guide provides detailed information on more than 750 casino/resorts, riverboats and Indian casinos in 41 states including which have RV parks and/or allow RV overnighting for free. Includes maps and more than $1,000 in coupons. Discloses the actual slot machine payback percentages for every state’s casinos. Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Three Rivers Casino
Coos Bay, Oregon
FREE: Up to 4 nights of free camping is offered. Level, ambient lighting from main casino lot. Quiet. Appears safe. Located at 1297 Ocean Blvd NW. GPS: 43.390357°, -124.266177°
Flying J Travel Plaza
FREE. Park in one of the marked RV spaces near the auto/RV pumps or near restaurant parking area. Do not park in truck area. Some noise from trucks, but it’s level and well lit. WiFi available for a fee. Located at 1 Campbranch Rd. GPS: 38.839400°, -91.227420°
Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demo. Watch a video about OvernightRVparking.com.
2017 Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
Learn how to prepare, carry & transport your firearm during travel in all 50 states, Canada & Mexico. Includes state breakdowns of firearms ownership, semi-auto gun ownership, castle doctrine, right to protect, open carry, concealed carry, state & national parks, permit reciprocity, loaded vs. unloaded, interstate transport restrictions, traffic stops, universal restricted areas, motorhome & RV issues, preemptive local laws & more. Learn more or order.
Videos you’ll like
How to hang wall decor in your RV
Here’s a creative way to do it in an effective, inexpensive way. Watch the video.
Tire problems? It could be your tires’ valves!
Tire expert Roger Marble explains why tires’ valves are so important. Bad valves can not just cause leaks, but can actually lead to tire failure. Watch the video.
Random RV Thought
Do not throw away your favorite old shirt, even if your spouse orders you to. Instead, keep it in the closet of your RV. It will be perfect for wearing around a campground or by the campfire. And you will be happy wearing it again. (Watch Chuck Woodbury’s short video on this subject.)
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.
Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting during his lifetime, “Red Vineyard at Arles.” This painting now resides at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. The rest of Van Gogh’s more than 900 paintings were not sold or made famous until after his death. Source: vangoghgallery.com
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” —Sir John Lubbock
RV Travel staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Contributing writers: Greg Illes, Bob Difley, Richard Miller, Richard Mallery, Dave Helgeson, Janet Groene, Gary Bunzer, Mark Polk, Roger Marble, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Advertising: Eric Brotman.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Chuck Woodbury at Chuck(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. 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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