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Issue 806 • Week of August 12–18, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’m parked beside the Coeur d’Alene River along I-90 near Kellogg, Idaho. It’s beautiful here in the mountains — normally, that is. Right now, it’s ugly — the sky is brown from fires in British Columbia, Washington and Montana.
Other fires lay ahead so I’m stuck with smog for awhile. Gail and I are making our way slowly east across the country to attend the giant Hershey RV Show next month in Pennsylvania.
Our current RV park has no WiFi. My Verizon hot spot is almost worthless. When I can get online, it’s slow like a banana slug (popular mollusk in Northwest that can travel — top speed — at 30 feet an hour). It has taken me 10 minutes to load the page where I always write this essay, which is where I am typing now. I write best in this space. If I write somewhere else to paste in here later, I write like an eighth grader. My brain demands I write my essay here. It says, “Write in this spot or I will turn off 2.5 million of your brain cells.”
I have much to say, but it will need to wait because to do so I’d need fast internet to poke around your comments on recent articles and polls. The subject of overcrowding in RV parks is on your minds — many of you, anyway (me, too). It’s getting bad. I feel compelled to continue exploring the subject.
WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT RIGHT NOW is this: No matter how crowded it may be out there in RV land or Vacation land, you need not show off photos spoiled by strangers cluttering up the image. For only $20 you can buy a program that will zap out any unwanted people or things.
Look at the photo of the girl on the beach. On the left is the real scene. On the right is a “lie.” She can post the “lie” photo on Facebook and say, “Oh, look at me all alone on this beautiful beach.”
In the other photo, a couple rides their bicycles on another beach. But for $20, they can zap all those unwanted sunbathers into cyberspace. “Oh, look at us biking on this lonely beach in paradise,” they can post on their Facebook page. And everyone who is reading that post from a crowded city will sigh and think, “Oh, if only I could be at a peaceful place like that, far from the crowds!“
There’s another program, Photoshop Elements, that will do similar tricks. It can turn a frown into a smile. See the young child? No smile in the left image. But push a button and junior looks happy as can be. Never say “cheese” again!
Is this right? No, it’s not! It’s lying. Instead of Fake News, it’s Fake Photos.
* * *
ON SATURDAY, when most of you read this newsletter, Gail and I will be in Yellowstone National Park for the day. I want to check out the crowding problem for myself and take some photos. I hear it’s a madhouse — long lines, tourists crawling all over the place. Yellowstone has gone from two million visitors in 1980 to more than four million last year.
That’s it. Gotta go. Gail wants to stick her feet in the river and I need to go along to protect her from getting swept into the current and over a giant waterfall. But, oops! I just remembered: There is no waterfall. I guess I’ll just get my feet wet, too.
HURRY: Senior Park Pass price hike soon!
If you don’t already have your $10 Lifetime Senior Pass from the National Park Service make sure to get it before the new price increase on August 28, when the price will jump from $10 to $80. Since 1994, the pass has been an incredible bargain for U.S. citizens and permanent residents 62 and older. Learn more.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
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Have you seen this ‘hit and run’ RV?
Talk about a jerk! The driver of this motorhome was turning it around in a Eugene, Oregon, cul-de-sac last Saturday at about 1 p.m. The family was away camping. The home security camera of Kristine Swinson caught the driver smashing into two cars as he turned, then driving off: a hit-and-run crime. Watch the video. Let’s catch this guy!
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner! No more entries, please. The answer is chicken.
Win this Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: Which current living creature is the closest related to the T-Rex dinosaur? It is it a chicken, kangaroo rat or red squirrel? (Answer is below near Trivia section). 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.
Last week’s winner: Tom Sheppard of Taylor Lake Village, Texas. He won the handy Stanley 40-piece socket set.
While June sales of Class A motorhomes were flatter than a tire, Class C motorhomes put air in the overall motorhome market, says Statistical Surveys Inc. Compared to sales in June 2016, Class A units decreased 0.3 percent, while Class C rigs pushed ahead nearly 26 percent, making motorhomes advance 13 percent. The huge rise in Class C unit sales is attributed to RV rental agencies picking up new stock.
Hey, snowbirds — is Arizona on your GPS this fall? Maricopa County has your number — and they’re willing to play with theirs to get you to visit. Stay one night at some Maricopa County campgrounds between October 1 and November 10 and get a second night free. Here’s the disclaimer portion: Reservations required by phone (or in person) and the offer must be mentioned. NO ONLINE reservations accepted. Open season began August 1, and earlier bookings don’t qualify. More on this? Click here.
Canadian authorities report that Americans are unlawfully bringing guns into Canada “with alarming frequency.” In one case, a Florida man stashed his handgun in his wife’s suitcase — after she specifically told him not to bring it. He told a court judge he was trying to get out of the heat. His honor responded, “The heat found you,” and that he should have listened to his wife to begin with. Fines up to $2,000 are not uncommon, and confiscation of weapons is generally automatic.
A controversial idea involving RVs and homeless people is making waves in Seattle, Wash. A city council member is proposing an ordinance that would allow homeless RV dwellers to live in their rigs on Seattle streets without fear of having their units towed away. It also would create parking areas where RVs could be parked, provided users meet certain qualifications, and these would be helped to find permanent housing. Opponents say they fear RVs on streets offering illicit drugs and sex for sale.
Long Beach, Calif., may soon ban overnight RV parking on city streets. The ordinance, which was to be considered last Tuesday, would allow locals to obtain a city-issued permit to park on the street for up to three days. City employees admit they have no idea how many residents might be adversely affected by the proposal, and local RV storage yards say there isn’t enough space available to park what they foresee as an onslaught of rigs if the new law goes through. But the city says there will be plenty of time to get things worked out, although the new law could go into effect as early as this fall.
U.S. Forest Service officials in Pennsylvania have had to put on their “rumor control” hats after erroneous reports circulated that Twin Lakes Campground in the Allegheny National Forest was being shut down. The reality is the dump station there had to be closed due to mechanical issues, and the Service had to adjust the 2017 camping season, closing it on September 5, rather its usual October 15 date.
Can a motorhome drive in the HOV lanes in Arizona? That’s a question recently answered by a representative of Arizona’s Department of Public Safety. The answer: “Yes, the same law applies to a motorhome as it does to other vehicles. Motorhomes can drive in the HOV lane as long as it’s occupied by two or more people during the posted morning and afternoon rush hours.” Bet you’ll still get plenty of dirty looks from car drivers.
Popular Hunting Island State Park (S.C.) has reopened, ten months after Hurricane Matthew tore up the beach. The campground is a bit smaller now — 88 sites were wiped out from the original 200 available. Now 92 of the restored sites have water and electric, and the rest are dry camping sites.
Wax your dirty beast with Wade Wax
Your RV’s not your car, it’s your “beast!”
Wade Wax polishes and outlasts competitors’ Carnauba-based waxes. High-quality ingredients cross link and bond to the surface of your Beast while protective copolymers and nonabrasive cleaners deliver up to 6-months of protection. Watch the video. And click here to buy, or learn more about, Wade Wax at the Wade Maid website. Now available on Amazon!
Buellton, Calif., city council members got an earful from unhappy RV owners recently. The council put in place a new ordinance indicating where and where not RVs could be parked on private residential property. But after two hours of public comment — much of it by RVers who warned the council that many would have to sell their rigs because of the new law — councilors voted to not enforce the rules. The ordinance will go back for further research to try and accommodate ruffled RVers.
Does RVing cause amnesia? Police in Gladwin, Mich., may rightly wonder if it does. It seems an RVer with a big Class A motorhome must have memory problems. He filled up his tank at a local gas station on August 7, then “forgot” to pay for the fuel-up. Police are still looking for him.
Alberta’s Gregoire Lake Provincial Park was slated to reopen over the July “long weekend” this year, but officials now say it’ll be next spring before campers will be able to come back. One of the most-used provincial parks, Gregoire Lake was hit hard by the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, and repairs are taking far longer than expected. The government says nearly $10 million will be expended in the work.
Some serious fright broke out at a Stuart, Fla., RV dealership after a man pulled a gun, took an employee hostage, and demanded the keys to a motorhome. Chalin Christopher Merrihew is alleged to have walked into Florida Outdoors RV dressed in a shirt associated with the dealership’s service department. Merrihew then asked a manager for the keys to a rig parked out front. When pressed for a reason, Merrihew first told employees he was a police officer, then pulled a gun and took the manager hostage. Some employees managed to escape and call police. Merrihew took flight and was eventually located and put under arrest.
Restore them overnight with Caravan Sensor Cleaner
Caravan’s highly concentrated, bio-enzymatic formula is guaranteed to remove the debris causing your tanks to misread. No driving necessary. No dangerous chemicals. No strong odors. Perfect for full-timers and permanently parked RVs. Learn more or buy at Amazon.com.
If some prefer RVing to cruise-line-going for fear of catching norovirus, you may hang up your keys. Camp Eberhart, near Three Rivers, Ill., had to be shut down late in July after nearly 50 guests and staff turned up sick with what was believed to be norovirus, which causes nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, and in some cases, loss of taste. Still, us older folks had little to fear in this case — Camp Eberhart is a YMCA camp, usually reserved for kids. It was expected to reopen Wednesday.
They call it the “biting bridge,” out in Enid, Okla. A railroad overpass with a clearance of 11’4″ has once again lived up to its name. William Pittman was pulling his fifth wheel and had been held up by a train on a crossing, so he took a “detour” onto East Main Street and headed right for the notorious underpass. Sure enough, Pittman’s truck made it under the bridge fine, but the fifth wheel sustained some serious roof damage. Authorities charged him with “failure to devote full time and attention to driving.” Not only is the bridge equipped with low-clearance warning signs and flashing lights, it’s decorated with appropriate painted “teeth” to warn oncomers.
Kevin Hill, from Newfoundland, reached the conclusion he had no desire to pull his 26-foot travel trailer anymore. But rather than sell it, he and a friend floated it instead. Hill and his friend spent five hours maneuvering the rig onto a makeshift raft, then towed the raft with their two speedboats across Notre Dame Bay to distant Exploits Island, where they’re setting it up as a permanent place for camping. It’s assumed they’ll be going there by boat.
We’ve heard of people who told others they would dance on their graves, but this story from Menzie, Manitoba, is a bit much. In late July the groundskeeper at a small cemetery there thought it odd that his lawn mower was tossing bits of solid waste and toilet tissue, and the odor wasn’t too good either. You guessed it — some fool had backed his RV into the cemetery and dumped his holding tank. Evidence left behind included a portion of a broken taillight, leading authorities to believe the offender’s rig was an older model unit.
GREAT PRICES ON VITAMINS at Amazon.com. Stock up now.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
When you have full hookups, will you shower in your RV or in the campground facility?
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.
Read the up-to-the minute responses from last week’s poll:
How would you describe the quality of workmanship on your RV?
Click here for the results.
Too many RVers unhappy with quality of their RV
When RVtravel.com asked its readers to assess the workmanship on their RVs, one in five said “poor or terrible.” The flip side, of course, is nearly four in five, 79 percent, rated the workmanship as “good or excellent.” More than 1,400 RVers responded to the poll conducted in late July 2017. Read more.
Even the simple repairs — Time for a battery change
Let’s face it, everything wears out eventually. It’s the nature of things. A couple of years ago Rich “The Wanderman” avoided a near catastrophe when one of his house batteries almost melted down in the tray. The chassis battery, the one that starts your engine and runs most of the driving accessories in your rig, was very old and was beginning to cause multiple problems and needed to be replaced. Time for a new one! Learn more.
The readers write — with power!
Russ and Tiña De Maris have collected some pertinent comments from our readers in response to recent items in our newsletters on the following hot topics: “Electric pedestal fears not groundless,” what kind of RV to buy and campground overcrowding. Interesting reading!
When did you last see the Milky Way?
Most security lamps as well as general lighting in campgrounds throw too much light out in all directions, including skyward, effectively canceling out the night sky and the carpet of glittering Milky Way stars and the imaginative constellations scattered about the universe. That’s one advantage to boondocking, according to BoondockBob Difley. And did you know that light pollution can sometimes negatively affect nocturnal animals, like migrating birds? Read more.
GM recalling 700,000 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles
General Motors LLC is recalling certain 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 vehicles. The potential number of units affected in the U.S. is 690,685. The vehicles may have a temporary loss of electric power steering (EPS) assist, especially during low-speed turning maneuvers. If EPS assist is lost and then returns, the driver might lose temporary control of the steering wheel, increasing the risk of a crash. Read more.
Ford recalls F-150, E-350 vehicles and others
Ford Motor Company is recalling 94,605 model year 2014 Ford F-150 and E-350, 2014-2015 Ford Escape, and 2015 Lincoln MKC vehicles in the U.S. Improperly manufactured bolts may have been used to install certain seats, seatbacks, seatbelt buckles, or seatbelt anchors on these vehicles. The improperly manufactured bolts may fracture. Learn more.
America’s Largest RV Show runs September 13–17, 2017
See, compare and shop over 1300 new RVs from virtually every major manufacturer! Visit hundreds of vendors including campgrounds, accessories and services. Attend seminars covering subjects for the beginner to the seasoned RV enthusiast. Location is Hershey, PA. For more information, click here.
Are air brakes for you?
If you’re thinking about buying a big Class A motorhome, you may be faced with the choice of a rig with what most would call “normal” hydraulic brakes, or a unit with air brakes. Some may associate air brakes with runaway rigs. Actually, in terms of braking safety, a rig equipped with air brakes is likely to be safer than one equipped with hydraulics. Russ and Tiña De Maris compare the two types of brakes and discuss the pros and cons of each. Learn more.
Watch out for bears, Washington officials warn
Washington state officials are telling campers not to fear bears they may encounter in the wild, but to be aware. According to the Yakima Herald, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates roughly 25,000 to 30,000 black bears live in Washington, often roaming the same areas of the Cascades as hikers or other outdoor enthusiasts. Read more.
Current Northwest wildfires seem unstoppable
So far this year, 39,000 wildfires have burned 5,899,245 acres in the United States. With hundreds of campground closures, hiking trail closures and smoky-window views, people are asking, “What are the causes of all these fires and when will they stop?” Learn more.
RV essential tools: Caulking accessories
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, wrote this article about essential tools to help keep your RV leak-free while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor. Read more.
Pack those RV cabinets so contents don’t escape
Fearful that the shifting and bumping of the road would cause grief (and broken crockery), the new RVer asks, “How do you store stuff safely in your cupboards?” Happily, carrying stuff safely in your RV isn’t as difficult as some might imagine — it just calls for a little forethought and planning. Learn how here.
Heat your RV with Electricity, not Propane!
SAVE $$$! Until now, the standard for heating recreation vehicles of all types has been to use bottled propane (LPG). With the CheapHeat™ system there’s a better option. Now you have a choice to change the central heating system between gas and electric with the flip of a switch. When you choose to run on electric heat rather than gas, your coach will be heated by the electricity provided by the RV park. Learn more.
Readers’ comments on popular articles
Learn more about recent popular articles through what readers added with their comments
• Reservations required to visit a National Park?
• Full-time RVing: Be a professional “rent-a-guest.”
• Wife critiques every campsite, driving hubby nuts.
• Campsite power pedestal safety: “open ground” danger.
*Joe Goldstein explains his license plate: “As a kid growing up, I saw many people retire and then, soon after, die – probably from boredom. Not what I wanted! So I never wanted to say I was retired, hence my RV’s license plate. I’m not retired, I’m in my next phase!”
Temperature gun is ‘essential equipment’ for many RVers!
Just aim this non-contact IR temperature gun to measure the temperature of your refrigerator, tires, A/C output, or, heck, even your oven (and the list goes on). It turns on and begins reading the temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit with one press of the trigger. A laser light aids in aiming, and can be turned on or off. Many RVers consider this essential equipment. Learn more or order at a huge discount.
Websites of the Week
Here are several we like:
Recreational vehicle fire safety
Here from the Oregon State Police and Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal are important reminders to understand fire prevention and safety of your vehicle to protect you and your family.
28 solar eclipse events across the country
According to Cheapism, these are the top solar eclipse events for August 21, when a total transcontinental solar eclipse arrives. With an approximately 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina, even partial views of this once-in-a-lifetime event will be possible across North America — something to celebrate with plenty of viewing parties and other events planned coast to coast. From Cheapism and msn.com.
Tour these ancient ruins in America you never knew existed
Ancient peoples built cities in this country long before Christopher Columbus set foot here. Some ancient sites are familiar, but here are five you may not have heard of — including some dating back thousands of years. Fascinating! From Architectural Digest and msn.com.
Current wildfire information
Complete, up-to-the-minute wildfire information around the U.S., from Incident Information System (InciWeb), a U.S. government interagency. (There are 160 wildfires [“incidents”] in the U.S. as of Friday, August 11 — 10 more than last Friday.)
Here is our “master list” of more than 700 websites we like.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Lightweight vacuum perfect for RVs
This Dirt Devil Simpli-Stick Lightweight Bagless Stick Vacuum is compact and it works great. Plus it converts to a hand vacuum in a snap! It’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. Weighs less than 4 pounds. Learn more or order for about $20.
Ask the RV Shrink
Full-timer bored out of gourd – “RV normal or RV nuts?”
Dear RV Shrink:
I can’t believe I am saying this, but I’m bored out of my gourd. I have been looking forward to traveling full-time in our RV for a dozen years. Now that I have retired, my wife and I have been on the road for just less than a year and I am a bit disillusioned. We both have many interests, love to travel, get along fine in a confined space, enjoy life and the many friendly people we meet. So, what’s wrong with me? Why do I feel I’m missing something? I’m always thinking I should be doing more. If you could get my head screwed on straight I would be forever grateful. —Lost in Paradise, MI
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.
Strengthen your hands, fingers and forearms
Here’s a great, easy way to build up the strength in your hands, fingers or forearms. Perfect for RVers. If you suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis or tennis elbow this is for you. It’s also great for simply building up the strength of your grip. This is a best seller and costs about $8. Learn more or order.
Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.38 (on Aug. 7). Change from week before: Up 3 cents; Change from year before: Up 23 cents.
Diesel: $2.58 (on Aug. 7). Change from week before: Up 5 cents; Change from year before: Up 27 cents.
Fix it In Foil! Tasty Recipes. Easy cleanup!
Easy prep, great taste, good nutrition, quick clean-up! “Fix It In Foil” includes 51 fantastic recipes to make in foil — plus instructions for cooking in an oven, on an outdoor grill, or on a campfire. Fix it in foil and forget about scrubbing pots and pans. And, with plenty of substitution suggestions, enjoy a whole new list of recipe possibilities! Great for RVing! Learn more or order.
Our favorite products for RVers at Amazon.com. Check ’em out.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 4 of 13
Having a solid fire escape plan may help you replace panic with logical, life-saving actions if a fire occurs. Knowing exactly what to do and doing it quickly can make a big difference in an emergency situation.
Your next step is to determine where you and your passengers would meet if a fire occurred. A preset meeting place at each destination will help to quickly determine if everyone has safely exited the coach. Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy
Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from Amazon.com for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors.
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.
RV Quick Tips
Extra towel-hanging space
Need a little more hanging space to dry towels? “We put a length of 1/2″ (ID) PVC pipe across the top of the shower stall, with ends overhanging the sides, to make a towel-drying bar,” says Cheryl Allen. “The bar is lightweight, so travels right inside the shower.” Thanks, Cheryl!
Use “truck entrance” when fueling at truck stop
When approaching a truck stop, look for the “truck entrance” sign. Don’t go in the “car” side if you want the truck pumps. You typically cannot drive from one side to the other without exiting the property. You may find “RV Lanes” and these usually have both gas and diesel tanks. Larger rigs may have trouble in these RV Lanes. Truck lanes may not take credit or debit cards. You usually have to pay inside. Thanks to Ron Jones, AboutRVing.com.
Do you have a Quick Tip? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com and you just might see it here!
Propane running low? This will tell you!
With this Dometic LPGC10 LP Gas Checker you can instantly monitor your LP tank’s level. It uses ultrasonic technology to tell you in just a few seconds how full – or empty – a propane tank is. It’s about the size of a writing pen and weighs less than two ounces, so it’s easy to store. For use on steel and aluminum liquid propane tanks. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Rand McNally introduces three new RV dashboard devices
Rand McNally has announced a new lineup of RV devices that go far beyond GPS and navigation. Leading off the new line is the OverDryve™ 7 RV, an all-in-one dashboard device that combines RV-specific navigation, voice assistance, a built-in dash cam, and hands-free connected calling and texting. Learn more about this device and two more new navigation devices.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
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.
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.
Another Reader Poll
Will you travel with your RV to see the total solar eclipse?
On Monday, Aug. 21, North Americans will see an eclipse of the sun. In some places, viewers will see a total eclipse. Do you plan to travel with your RV to a place within the “path of totality?” Take our quick survey and then see how other readers responded.
Riding the rails! Tourist Trains Guidebook
Do you like to ride tourist railroads on your travels? If so, you’ll love this guidebook. It thoroughly describes at least 500 excursion trains and railroad museums in the USA and Canada. About 200 of the most popular sites are presented in full-page reviews written by a Trains magazine editor or correspondent. Reviewers offer advice on what to see, when to go, and how to get there. Learn more or order.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
RV tub will not drain properly
I have a 1977 Layton travel trailer and it has a bathtub/shower combo. The tub suddenly started filling up with water, not draining, and I cannot locate the problem. I checked the outside water lines and there is water all over the ground and a small continuous drip. It has never happen before. I am puzzled and have very little knowledge of RV repairs. Please give me an idea of how I might be able to fix this issue. —Leslie R.
Camco Store at Amazon.com
There isn’t much you need for your RV that Camco doesn’t have. If you think we’re kidding, then click through to the Camco store on Amazon where you’ll find some of their best-selling products — all for your RV or for you to make your RVing better. Click here and you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store.
with Bob Difley
Reader asks about boondocking on Southern California coast
I’ve been reading the RV Travel Newsletter for a couple of years now. We are planning a trip to California in October, then to Yuma, Rocky Point, back to Arizona and Utah, then home to Denver, about 5 months total. As I’m planning I’m having a hard time finding spots to boondock. Our first stop is Monterey Fairgrounds with hookups, then south to San Diego. I found 3 Harvest Host sites but not much else. I’m also finding the RV parks to be very expensive. Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks. —Mike from Denver
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob’s Blog post: Visit these free ranges of America’s first national mammal, the American bison.
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
“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.
with Mike Sokol
Campground power pedestal failures
My column last week on open pedestal grounds (Campsite power pedestal safety: “open ground” danger) must have caused quite a stir with our readers since my inbox has received a bunch of questions and stories about similar incidents around the country. There are way too many questions to answer in a single column, so I’m going to cover everything over the next several issues. But here are my initial thoughts on this situation, with this article concerning the three main parties responsible for keeping your RV electrically safe so that it won’t shock or electrocute anyone. Also, there is a reader poll — please take a couple of seconds to participate in this informal “research.” Read more.
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.
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.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
Temperature and pressure differences
between similar old and new RV tires
Roger saw a question on temperature and pressure increase on a new set of Goodyear Endurance tires, compared to the RV’s older tires. The writer wondered: “Is a 10 – 12 psi increase in pressure considered acceptable? If so, what should I set the high pressure alert at on my TPMS?” Roger answers his questions here. This information would apply to most 14″ – 16″ RV tires, especially trailer applications.
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.
RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk
Towing weight rating
Every single component in a towing system has a weight rating. This includes the vehicle, the receiver on the vehicle, the hitch, hitch balls, ball mounts and safety chains and cables. Never exceed the lowest rated component in the towing system. This applies to a truck towing a trailer and a motorhome towing a dinghy.
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
Apricot Cocktail Poppers
Finger food for potluck or patio.
Everyone loves finger foods for camping. Gather ’round the potluck table or patio and dig into these sweet and tangy bites. Serve with toothpicks plus napkins to catch the finger-lickin’ drips. Get the recipe.
Essential for big RVs!
2018 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.
Data roaming in Canada
Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, just spent a week in Canada, where they were able to get enough Internet access with their mobile devices to do some projects online, but didn’t have enough to do their weekly webcast of What Does This Button Do. When they got back to the states, they were thrilled to have high-speed unlimited Verizon back and they did a segment about Data Roaming. Watch it here.
Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here are two recent webcasts: #121, Gmail: Two top reasons why we recommend it, and #75, How do you right-click on a touchscreen. Watch live or archives of past programs.
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.
Good reading from RV123.com
• KOA Campgrounds for Viewing the Eclipse
• A Man, a Dog, and an RV
• Luxury Camping with Posh Primitive
Keep critters out of your RV!
The best rodent and insect control is keep them out of your RV to begin with! A mouse that gets in through an opening the size of a dime can chew on wiring and cause major damage! Great Stuff Pestblock foam sealant forms a long-lasting, airtight and water-resistant barrier to keep out what you don’t want in! Learn more or order.
Free and bargain camping
Idle Spurs Steak House
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed but obtain permission from restaurant. Park in fenced gravel lot just west of restaurant. Level, quiet. Partially screened from streets by landscaping. Excellent steaks and prime rib. Restaurant closed Mondays. Located at 690 Old Hwy 58. GPS: 34.916500, -117.018700
Shopko Hometown Store
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Permission required. Store specifies one night only. Park parallel to north edge of lot. Lighted, fairly level, quiet, appears safe. Located at 106 Smith Street. GPS: 40.738870, -92.413200.
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.
Your RV just sitting? Earn $$$ by renting it out.
See how much you could earn.
Videos you’ll like
• How to organize and declutter your RV while camping
Mike and Jennifer Wendland recently moved into a new Class B motorhome. In this video, Mike discusses several accessories to help organize and keep the clutter down. Watch the video.
• Avoid this major RV buying mistake
If you’re in the market for a new RV, be sure to watch this short video by RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury. You’ll be glad you did! Watch the video.
Visit our YouTube Channel.
More than 500 great videos about RVing!
Upcoming RV Shows
• Midwest RV Super Show, Aug. 10-13, Elkhart, IN
• America’s Largest RV Show, Sept. 13-17, Hershey, PA
• Portland RV and Van Show, Sept. 14-17, Portland, OR
• Fall Maryland RV Show, Sept. 14-17, Timonium, MD
• Indianapolis Fall Boat & RV Show, Sept. 22-24, Indianapolis, IN
See the list of all upcoming RV shows.
The RV Safety and Education Foundation will hold its annual educational conference Oct. 1–5 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The event provides a positive networking opportunity for both new and veteran RVers with industry experts in classroom, roundtable and individual settings. Endorsed by RVtravel.com. Learn more or watch a two-minute video about the event.
Guide to RV Camping in State Parks
Learn about more than 1,730 state parks, forests & recreation areas for RVers. Book includes maps, locator charts, reservation & fee info, plus contact details & website. Plus park location, directions, GPS coordinates, contact info, type of hookups, season, RV length limit & availability of showers, dump station, Wi-Fi, etc. Learn more or order.
This week in history
Week of August 12–18
Compiled by Dell Bert
1896 — Gold is discovered in the Yukon.
1935 — FDR signs Social Security Act.
1961 — Berlin Wall is built.
1969 — The Woodstock festival takes place in Bethel, N.Y. — close to a half-million attendees.
1977 — Elvis Presley dies at age 42.
1979 — Vietnam War film “Apocalypse Now” is released.
1983 — Hurricane Alicia pounds Texas, killing 21 and causing billions of dollars in damages.
1995 — Baseball legend Mickey Mantle dies of cancer at age 63.
2003 — Blackout hits NE U.S., parts of Canada, affecting 50 million people.
Michael Jackson’s 1988 autobiography “Moonwalk” was edited by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Bumper sticker of the week
A crowded camper is better than an empty castle!
Funny/clever business slogan
“We’re easy to get a lawn with” — from a former turf farm in Calif.
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Three guys are stranded on a desert island. One day they find a magic lantern containing a genie. The genie grants them each one wish. The first guy says he wishes he was off the island and back home. And poof, he’s back home. The second guy wishes the same thing. Poof, he’s gone, too. The third guy says, “I’m lonely. I wish my friends were back.”
Random RV Thought
If you travel by motorhome and don’t pull another vehicle for local trips, consider bringing along a bicycle or two. They can be easily stored, either on a rack or in a storage compartment if they fold up.
“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.” —Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)
Missing Children Report, August 10, 2017
RVers get around. They not only see a lot of beautiful scenery, but a lot of people too. With 50,000 of us keeping our eyes open, maybe we can help find a missing child. Click here to see six of the currently missing children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help bring one or more of them home?
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, Mike Sokol, Julianne Crane, Chris Guld and Andrew Robinson. Administrative assistant: Emily Woodbury. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com.
About the RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Amazon.com. Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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