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Issue 807 • Week of August 19–25, 2017
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at) RVtravel.com
I’m in Buffalo, Wyoming, where everybody is counting down to the solar eclipse on Monday. I’m headed out to get my eclipse sunglasses. Supply is running low. A makeshift sign yesterday at the Sagewood Cafe said “out of eclipse sunglasses. Come back tomorrow.”
“We’re getting an order of 200,” the cashier told me. “I bet I’ve had 40 people come in today asking for them, and it’s only noon!”
Buffalo is right on the edge of the eclipse’s “path of totality.” The state patrol is predicting terrible traffic jams so Gail and I will stick close to our campsite to see 97 percent of the blackout. “It could take three hours to go three miles” one news story advised. Oversized and overweight loads are not allowed on the interstates for two days. Troopers say they’ll ticket motorists who pull off the road to watch the eclipse. “That might be hard considering the size of the force,” one man I talked with said.
Casper, only 110 miles away, will offer prime eclipse viewing. Some campgrounds have been booked for two years. Motel rooms are going for from $500 to $1,500 a night. As many as 35,000 to 60,000 visitors are expected in the area by Monday.
BUFFALO, POPULATION 4,400, is a cowboy-kinda town. “I spent all my money on women and steers, (and wasted the rest)” reads one popular souvenir sign. Buffalo is a great place to buy cowboy hats and boots.
Its main street looks pretty much like Mayberry. There’s no Walmart close by, so the downtown merchants haven’t been run out of business. I’m staying at Indian RV Park, which is about as good as an RV park gets. It’s right along I-25 near where it meets I-90, on the infamous Bozeman Trail, where many pioneers were killed by Indians who were fighting mad at them for invading their territory.
The Occidental Hotel on Main Street is living history. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid stayed many times. Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane stayed. Owen Wister, the author of the western classic “The Virginian,” was around a lot. Many people believe the final shootout scene in the novel was set in front of the hotel. The book and Netflix series “Longmire” are based on Buffalo.
The Occidental is a good place for dining or to catch a blues jam Thursday nights. It’s a civilized crowd but it wasn’t always so. Just take a gander at the ceiling. Yup, those little black dots are bullet holes. Three times, True West Magazine named the Occidental the “Best Hotel in the West.”
SINCE YOU AND I MET in this space a week ago, Gail and I spent a day in Yellowstone National Park. We left early from Osen’s RV Park (which I highly recommend) in Livingston, Montana, to the park’s north entrance. We didn’t visit to just see the sights, but to observe the “massive” crowds, which have been the subject of many news reports lately. But the weather changed that day with cooler temps and rain showers, keeping a lot of folks away. So it didn’t seem crowded to me at all. The audience waiting for Old Faithful to erupt was eight deep for 100 yards around, about the same when I last visited ten years ago.
The park campgrounds were packed. Nearly all campsites are available without a reservation, but as you can see from the photo, most fill up early each morning. So arrive at daybreak for a chance to stay.
That’s my report for this week. If you plan to attend the big Hershey RV Show next month in Pennsylvania, please visit Gail, me and others on our staff. We’ll meet-up in the “Locker Room,” on Thursday and Saturday between 11 a.m. and noon. The rest of the time, we’ll be wandering around checking out the new model RVs — the good, the bad, the ugly.
UPDATE: Saturday morning, 10 a.m., Mountain Time: The wind has changed, bringing in dense, eye-stinging smoke from the wildfires in Montana. It’s like a bad smog. Gail and I were planning a trip in the Bighorn Mountains today, but it will have to wait. UPDATE SUNDAY MORNING: Wind has changed direction. About 80% of the smoke is gone, but still not clear skies.
P.S. Do you feel you get good value from reading this newsletter? If so, would you please join us as a supporter by becoming a voluntary subscriber? The support of the approximately 2,000 readers who have already subscribed has enabled us to write about important matters, not just fluff to make advertisers and RV industry big shots happy. A contribution of just $10 a year comes out to less than 20 cents an issue. Are we worth that? Read testimonials from our readers about the value of this newsletter to them.
My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
• Why I love small town newspapers (but don’t buy them much anymore).
• Cute, tiny RV is made from a hunting blind.
• Roadside gimmicks a thing of the past.
• Don’t squat over Yellowstone toilets.
• Spiderman is a wild and crazy RVer!
Camper wanted for murder at lake. Have you seen him?
U.S. marshals have issued a $5,000 reward for a man suspected of drowning another man, Samuel Smith, on July 26 in a Mississippi campground on Chewalla Lake in Holly Springs. An arrest warrant has been issued for Joshua Fletcher, 31, of Louisiana. Learn more.
THIS WEEK’S CONTEST!
We have a winner. No more entries for this contest, please. The answer is 100 yards.
Win this Camco water filter with flexible hose protector. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: In Yellowstone National Park, to be safe, how far should you stay away from a bear? 25 yards? 50 yards? 100 yards? Answer far 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.
Last week’s winner: Bob Dunn, of Jeffersonville, Indiana. He won the Cuisinart Portable Charcoal Grill.
Preview what the solar eclipse will look like from where you’ll be on Monday. Click here.
Campfires, briquettes, tiki-style torches, candles and other open flames are prohibited beginning Wednesday, Aug. 16, in all Oregon State Parks and on Oregon beaches. Propane stoves and similar cooking devices are allowed as long as they can be turned off instantly. Portable propane fire rings are also allowed in most parks. Updated information is available here.
What time is the solar eclipse where you will be on Aug. 21? Go to this website and put in the ZIP code. It will tell you how much of the sun will be covered by the moon, when the moon will begin to cover the sun, how long it will continue, and the best time to see the peak of the eclipse. From Courier-Journal.
Landowners along the Aug. 21 solar eclipse path of totality have been lining up to make big money renting space to RVers for the big event. But not everyone is buying in on it. In Payette, Idaho, the local park may be sitting on a goose egg, reporting that as of last Sunday, nobody had put in a reservation for any of the 30 spots available. In Weiser, Idaho, a golf course has had little interest in a spot for $1,000 to stay — even with the added “perk” of a round of golf.
A fire at California’s Lake Sonoma last weekend caused a major evacuation of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground. Nearly 900 guests were chased out of Liberty Glen campground when a wildfire broke out Saturday evening.
Arizona’s Coconino County public health officials report fleas carrying plague have been found in the Red Lake area, northeast of Williams. Although so far the fleas have tested positive only in this area of the county, health-watchers say the ancient and deadly disease is native to the county, and outdoors goers should stay away from flea-bearing critters and animals that eat them.
Washington State Parks announced on Aug. 16 that the water system at Mount Spokane State Park is shut down until further notice. The water tested positive for coliform bacteria the week of Aug. 7, during monthly testing required by the Washington State Department of Health. Visitors are advised to bring their own water when coming to the park until the water system has been declared safe for use. Vault and portable toilets are available.
Idaho is moving ahead with plans for the creation of a new state park unit, Billingsley Creek. It’ll be a part of the existing Thousand Springs State Park, and with an infusion of $8 million, the new unit will host a 50-site RV campground with trails, fishing and paddling up an adjacent creek. The completion of the Magic Valley area park is still a few years off.
A Michigan City, Ind., man has been hospitalized after a freak accident involving a toad car. Kenneth “Ike” Edson was unhitching his GMC Envoy from his motorhome when the unbraked SUV started to roll away. Edson tried to hop in the vehicle to stop it but instead the rig rolled 150 feet, finally pinning Edson underneath it in a ditch. It took rescuers a tow truck, air lift bags, and 25 minutes to extract the unfortunate RVer. His injuries were considered serious but not life-threatening.
While RVers occasionally need reminders about propane safety, others may need them more. Orlando, Fla., police responded to a car crash near the Central Florida Fairgrounds last Saturday. On arrival they found what was left of an SUV crashed into a phone pole. The windshield was blown out, the roof practically blown off, and the rest of what remained of the sheet metal badly mangled. Seems a couple rented the car, stuffed their LP-fired barbecue inside the back — with the valves open, and connected to a gas bottle. When one of the occupants lit up a cigarette, the expected results quickly occurred. Both were burned, but their injuries are not listed as life-threatening.
Labor Day Weekend!
Hit the road and heat up the grill this Holiday weekend. Make lasting memories at your favorite RV resorts and campgrounds! Sites are filling fast – click here to reserve your stay today!
Washington state’s Klahowya Campground in the Olympic National Forest will close down September 5 for major renovations and not reopen until next May. The campground, on the Sol Duc River’s south shore, is about 45 miles west of Port Angeles. When it reopens visitors will find a new well; presently no potable water is available on site.
It may be that Difficult Campground is living up to its name. The Aspen, Colo., Forest Service campground has shut down early to accommodate water system upgrades that have been in the works since 2011. The camp is the Forest Service recreational camping asset nearest to Aspen, and hence, highly popular. It will reopen next spring after $300,000 in upgrades are pumped into the system.
In a move that RVers might consider a “win some, lose some” scenario, Kingman, Arizona’s city council says it will make some changes in the city’s RV parking ordinance. Presently, RVers can park on city streets, but not in residential front yards. Raising the issue of “public safety,” e.g., the ability of drivers to see around big rigs, the council wants city staff to redesign city codes. Under their new vision, the revised code would prohibit RV parking on streets, but allow it in the front yards of homes. However, based on a summary of discussions published in the local paper, it appeared penalizing street-parkers took the front seat to easing up property parking restrictions. It will be interesting to see what the end result will be.
An RV tire blow-out is to blame for a crash that killed four people west of Santa Rosa, N.M., Wednesday. Police say an RV towing a Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling eastbound on I-40 when it had a blow-out on its front driver-side tire. The blow-out pulled the RV to the left causing it to travel across the median and into oncoming westbound traffic. The RV collided with a Honda Pilot traveling westbound and then hit a Ford Escape head-on. The impact with the Escape fatally injured the four people riding inside. Source: KOAT.com
An RVer and five passengers lived to tell the tale of a spectacular accident they were part of near Parley’s Summit in Utah. Last Sunday the driver of a Dodge Ram 3500 was pulling a fifth wheel trailer, tagged to a boat trailer on the decent from the summit — at 7,120 feet in elevation, the highest in the state — when the boat trailer at the rear of the combination began to sway. The driver attempted to compensate but lost control as the trailer sway got completely out of control, whipping the fifth wheel. It all went downhill from there — the entire combination slid off into the median, whereupon it rolled, totally demolishing the fifth wheel and pickup. Everyone was in the pickup, and all were restrained by seat belts. The worst injuries sustained were those of a 6-year-old boy who got a broken arm.
Reduce air drag and boost fuel efficiency — Airtab® your RV!
Just peel and stick Airtabs™ to the rear sides and the rear roof of your RV coach or trailer to create swirls of air that reduce aerodynamic drag, save fuel and improve stability. Airtabs™ dramatically reduce trailer ‘fish tailing’ and crosswinds pressure to RVs from passing trucks, while improving fuel efficiency 2% – 5%! Click on the video.
We mentioned last week that a motorhome is allowed to drive in the HOV lanes in Arizona, under certain conditions. Jim O’Briant, our friend at Overnight RV Parking, passed along this message for our readers from a couple of his friends who are retired California Highway Patrol officers. In California, any vehicle that’s towing anything has a speed limit of 55 mph. This includes travel trailers; fifth wheels; motorhomes towing a toad, a toad on a dolly, or anything on a trailer; a car or truck towing a pop-up camper – even a motorcycle towing a trailer. For this reason, in California, no vehicle towing anything is allowed in HOV lanes.
In honor of the National Park Service’s 101st birthday, there is a free entrance day at National parks on August 25. The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise. Washington State Parks also has a free entrance day on August 25 for day use only. A Discover Pass will still be required to access lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Michigan’s state park officials have cooked up a complicated recipe for increasing fees at campgrounds that goes into effect November 1. Here’s how it works: If camping on a night when the campground will be more than 84 percent occupied, the average rate will jump $2.67. If occupancy ranges between 66 and 93 percent, fees go up an average of $2.42. Less than 66 percent? Rejoice, rates go up only $1.13 on average. But if you want full hook-ups, you’ll pay an additional $12 per night, which is an increase of $4.23, unless you’re in a “rustic” campground, where you’ll pay a mere $4 more. To boggle your brain a bit more, if you’d like a yurt, cabin, or tipi rental, you’ll pay 5.2 percent more — based on (hang on) the Consumer Price Index. Is your head spinning? Thought so! We’ll leave out the rest of the fee changes, but you get the picture — just bring your CPA!
The 200-site Dutrisac Cottages and Campground in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, is closing, leaving a big hole in opportunities for its local and regional campers. The owner’s poor health and new, costly requirements to update the septic sewer system were cited as prime reasons.
A man charged with stealing a motorhome evidently doesn’t know when to give up the life of crime. Joshua M. White of South Roxana, Ill., had been arrested for the theft of an RV and was spending time in Madison County Jail. Last week White was placed in an “observation room,” specially designed to make it easy for jail personnel to keep watch. In full view of security cameras, White managed to get up to the room’s suspended ceiling, push aside a tile, and head on up into the rafters. In the resulting melee, a guard’s arm was cut, ceiling members damaged, and White added battery, criminal damage, and attempted escape charges to his theft case.
Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at RVbusiness.com.
This week’s Reader Poll
Do you believe buying an RV extended warranty is a good idea?
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:
When you have full hookups, will you shower in your RV or in the campground facility?
Click here for the results.
A reminder to stay hyperattentive while driving
It pays to be cautious when driving or towing your RV. You can’t stop as well as you can with a passenger car. In driver education classes, students are taught to always be aware of what is transpiring far ahead of them to avoid a surprise. An accident last Tuesday in Washington state illustrates that hyperawareness can be critical. Read more.
No RV? Where you gonna go — when you gotta go?
For most of us, a road trip with our RV takes some of the guesswork out of that necessary human function: a trip to the toilet. But what about when you have to travel without the benefit of your RV? How do you know what restroom is going to be one that you’ll come out of feeling refreshed — as opposed to being sickened? Find out in this survey recently published by GasBuddy. And then check out this RV park men’s room (as seen in the photo). What’s your reaction?
Your generator won’t stay at one speed — Now what?
Since Rich “The Wanderman” put in his newest solar charging system, he hasn’t been using his generator very much like he knows you should to keep it running smoothly. When he fired it up recently, it began to surge up and down at idle, so he cleaned the carburetor and it works fine again. It’s not a hard job, just a bit messy. He explains the steps here.
Full-time RVing — Can you afford to keep working?
Now, there’s an interesting question! Some who dream of the full-time RV lifestyle never get further than the dream. Some are halted in mid-stride by the thinking, “I can’t afford it — I have to work!” But here’s a question — Is it really paying you to work? For some, “maintaining a career” is actually costing them more than they think. Here are a few areas to consider.
An RV curse: Mold and mildew
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, wrote an article about mildew in RVs while he was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor, since many RVers deal with this problem. Mildew is a form of mold that eats organic materials. It is a sign of moisture and water intrusion in the RV and can do a lot of damage. Find out to help avoid the problem.
Big recall issued on Sprinter vans, motorhomes
Daimler Vans USA, LLC is recalling more than 43,000 model year 2007-2009 Freightliner and Dodge Sprinter 2500 and 3500 vehicles. The vehicles are equipped with certain air bag inflators assembled into the passenger frontal air bag modules used as original equipment or replacement equipment. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger frontal air bag, these inflators may rupture. Learn more.
Stinky holding tank odors? Here’s the solution
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 maintains clean sensors, eliminates 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.
Recall on motorhomes with defective headlights
REV Recreation Group (REV) is recalling 219 model year 2017-2018 motorhomes. The affected vehicles may have been manufactured with headlights that do not have tempered glass lenses. If the headlamp lens is not tempered, it may crack or break, which may cause decreased illumination and/or premature failure of the headlight bulb, increasing the risk of a crash. Learn more.
RV Mods: Mod your rig for comfort
A couple new to RVing spent a dismaying weekend scouting out an RV show. Rig after rig they visited, and it seemed all of them were lacking in one big thing: comfort. Is it possible to RV and be comfortable? Russ and Tiña De Maris give you lots of tips to customize your RV to your comfort level. Read more.
NASA dismisses solar eclipse myths
Monday, August 21st, the first total solar eclipse will be visible to America since 1918. Humans have watched eclipses since before the dawn of written history, and during this long span of time our scientific understanding of the physical world has grown enormously. Nevertheless, some older ideas seem remarkably resistant to replacement by the more scientifically correct explanations. Here are a few of the most popular misconceptions about the upcoming eclipse as explained by NASA.
Rent out your RV for some extra bucks?
If your motorhome just sits for months on end, have you ever considered renting it out to make some extra cash? We’ve heard some comments from a few RVers, and a bit of information from a firm that acts as a go-between for RVers who’d like to rent out their rigs and potential renters. Here’s a round-up of thoughts from both sides of the issue. Read more.
Public lands management — Does history repeat itself?
In light of the recent push by some agencies of the U.S. government to increase the amount of management of public campgrounds by private concessionaires, it’s interesting to look back to 2010 regarding the same topic. In an article on this, Bob Difley presented some interesting notes in the way of the “public pulse” at that time. Are we seeing a case of “The more things change, the more they stay the same”? You decide.
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.
Readers’ comments on recent articles
Learn more about recent popular articles through what readers added with their comments
• Do you prefer your RV’s shower or the campground’s?
• Campground power pedestal failures (reader poll included).
• Seven brutally honest truths about full-time RV travel.
• RV buying dilemma: Couple can’t agree on type to purchase.
Other popular articles from last week’s issue
• Video released of deadly police motorhome chase.
• Full-timer bored out of gourd: “RV normal or RV nuts?“
• Pack those RV cabinets so contents don’t escape.
• A question about boondocking on the Southern California coast.
• Too many RVers unhappy with the quality of their RVs.
The New TireTraker™ TT-500 with a Lifetime Warranty
The new TireTraker™ TT-500 is the most innovative & user friendly TPMS on the market with an unprecedented “Lifetime Warranty”, the only TPMS company in the industry to do so. The TT-500 features a larger, easier to read display, continuous pressure & temperature monitoring, automatic update, & monitoring up to 22 tires on your motorhome, trailer & tow vehicle from 0-232 psi! Seven day per week sales & technical support & over 12 years of experience. List price (4 tires) $389. Our price only $289. SAVE $100! (Additional Sensors $35 each). Learn more or order. Read testimonials.
No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.
Work camping jobs for RVers
See the long list of great opportunities to earn money on the road.
Unique RV overnight stops at wineries and farms
With membership in Harvest Hosts® you can stay overnight at more than 570 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.
Ask the RV Shrink
Relationship adjustments when full-time vs. part-time RVing
Dear RV Shrink:
My wife and I retired two years ago and began traveling in a new RV. It was something we had dreamed of for years. We both love history and hiking. This lifestyle is perfect for discovering and enjoying both. The only confusion we have is our relationship has changed. We seem to argue more now than we ever did during our 40 years of marriage. … —Confused on the Loose in Louisiana
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.
America’s Largest RV Show coming 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.
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. 14). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 24 cents.
Diesel: $2.60 (on Aug. 14). Change from week before: Up 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 29 cents.
The Final Solution for RV Roof Problems?
Ask any RV owner and they’ll probably tell you that their roof is what worries them the most. Mother Nature will test your RV roof. Even the smallest crack may leak, and cause thousands of dollars in water damage. Then there are interior stains, mold and mildew, and sidewall lamination decay. Want protection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the life of your RV? Here’s how to get it.
RV Fire Safety Tip
An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 5 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.
During discussion of the meeting place, make sure everyone knows if the coach is on fire, they should get out fast. Re-emphasize to everyone aboard that objects can be replaced, people can’t. Never stay behind or re-enter a burning RV to retrieve anything. Immediately leave through the nearest escape hatch. 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.
and keep your RV steps safe
The RV Save-A-Step Brace is designed to be placed under RV entry steps for safety. It stabilizes the RV steps and helps keep the coach from rocking — preventing sag and wear. The brace is made of heavy-gauge steel with a 3/4″ solid metal screw thread, 1000-pound load rating and 7-5/8″ to 14″ adjustment range. Learn more or order at Amazon.com.
RV Quick Tips
Tip to remove splattered bugs
To clean the bugs off the front of your RV, use a dampened fabric softener sheet. Then wipe with a clean, soft cloth. Takes them right off. Thanks to Kathy Payne for the slick suggestion.
Store a fire extinguisher
Use a fabric fastener strap such as Velcro to hold a large-size fire extinguisher in the back corner (or corners) of your closet. The hanging clothes will also help keep it upright. This enables you to store the extinguisher completely out of the way but still easily accessible from the bedroom and bathroom areas. 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!
What’s your life worth?
RVers are often in the middle of nowhere, far from medical help. What would happen if you or your spouse should suffer a heart attack when a hospital is hours away? Having an easy-to-use portable defibrillator along could very likely save that life. They’re not cheap, but what’s the life of you or your spouse worth? Talk about this with your partner. Learn more or order.
Gizmos and Gadgets
Now is the time to get rid of mold and mildew
Summer is when RV and boat owners notice nature taking its toll — inside and out. Between the mold, algae and dirt, things start looking dingy. Iosso Products’ Mold & Mildew Stain Remover cleaner does all the hard work to remove the toughest stains and leave fabrics looking like new. It doesn’t contain bleach or chlorine, so it won’t harm fabrics or alter their colors. It’s biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Learn more.
Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click here.
The essential guide
to locating Walmart stores
Learn where to find more than 4,000 U.S. Walmart stores, most of which allow free overnight stays in RVs. Get specific driving directions to each. Learn which stores sell gas and diesel. Many RVers rely on this as their guide to both the stores for shopping and staying overnight. Learn more or order.
What RV do you drive or tow?
Please 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 this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.
Batteries last a long time!
Motion detection night lights can
last a year on a set of batteries
When you need a nightlight when without hookups, these are great: they light only when they sense motion, shutting off after 30 seconds of no movement. They use no wires & install in less than 5 minutes. Use outdoors, too. Lights come in a 3-pack. Can last up to a year! Watch the short video for a demonstration or learn more (or order at a great price) at Amazon.com.
Ask the RV Doctor
The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer, answers your questions
Stripped threads on RV water heater anode
Dear RV Doctor:
This pertains to a Suburban water heater, specifically the anode rod threading. I cannot get the new anode rod threading to “catch” and screw in straight. It’s been getting more difficult every year but this year I’m stymied. Any help? —David B.
Guide to RV Camping in State Parks
Learn about more than 1,750 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.
with Bob Difley
Will beach sand be a problem in the gray tank?
We do a lot of camping at beaches.When the kids take baths, lots of sand gets washed off in the shower. Should I be concerned that there will be too much sand in the grey tank that one day it will cause a problem? Thanks. —Robert
Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) gmail.com .
Read the most recent BoondockBob’s Blog post: You are never too old …
You can find Bob Difley’s e-books on Amazon Kindle.
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.
with Mike Sokol
Follow-up on LED bulb replacement dangers
This week Mike continues the discussion about LED bulbs that were designed for CAN Bus use, and which overheat in an RV interior light application. We received an email from long-time RV Travel reader Wolfe Rose warning about the danger of using CAN Bus-rated LED bulbs in an RV’s inside lights. Read all about why these are dangerous in Mike’s thorough but easy-to-follow report.
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.
Improve performance of your diesel engine
Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost is a highly rated, technologically advanced, diesel engine performance improver that cleans injectors, boosts cetane and lubricates fuel injection components. The maximum horsepower formula restores lost power, smooths rough-running engines and improves fuel economy up to 8 percent. Learn more or order.
RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble
“Run flat” vs. “blowout” protection
Roger Marble saw a thread on “run flat” fixtures to be used on the front of an RV to provide some protection against losing control if a front tire were to fail. A front tire failure does not have to mean you will have a crash. Roger explains what happens during a front tire failure and some systems on the market to help minimize the loss of vehicle control, and lists his three-step approach to prevent the loss of control. Included are three safety videos on how to maintain vehicle control in the event of sudden loss of all the air in a tire. Important reading and viewing.
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
Every RVer should invest in some type of digital voltmeter that plugs directly into a 120-volt outlet in your RV. There are several types available and they are inexpensive compared to the repair costs for damaged electrical equipment and appliances. I recommend one that can test campground polarity, measure AC line voltage and, if you have a generator, measure AC frequency. [Editor: Here’s a wide selection at Amazon.com.)
Mark Polk is the owner of RV Education 101, the premiere source of educational DVDs about buying, maintaining and using an RV. Learn more.
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.
The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene
A grand slam clam dinner.
Here’s an easy, affordable way to have a seafood meal quickly, using tinned clams and canned cream. This is one of those desperation dinners that is made from pantry ingredients. My last minute hook-up cook-up is usually creamed tuna on toast, but this dish is another good choice, especially if you’re like me and usually have hard-cooked eggs in the refrigerator. Get the recipe.
Best seller year after year
The Ultimate RV Cookbook
This popular cookbook will help you prepare cuisine in your RV that’s appetizing, healthy and convenient. Each chapter provides a grocery list and recipes for three days’ worth of meals! There’s a reason this has been a best-selling cookbook in RV kitchens for years. Learn more or order.
RV Short Stop
Visit cowboy hero Red Ryder
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Anyone who grew up in the 1940s or early ’50s, especially boys, remembers Red Ryder, the cowboy hero of newspaper comic strips, comic books, books, 38 feature movies, and for nine years a popular radio show. And countless millions of ex-boys remember with fondness either owning or wanting to own a Red Ryder BB gun. The man behind Red Ryder and his Indian sidekick, Little Beaver, was Fred Harman, who grew up and later spent much of his life in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A museum there in his actual home is open to the public. And you can visit (for only $3). Read more.
Quiz answer: You should stay at least 100 yards away from a bear.
Good reading from RV123.com
• Seattle Proposes Looser RV Regulations
• Riverside RV Retro 180R
• 10 Tips for Crossing the Canadian Border in an RV
Free and bargain camping
Rocky Mountain Cummins
West Valley, Utah
FREE: Overnight RV Parking is allowed for rigs with Cummins engines and/or Onan generators. Permission from Service Desk required, as sometimes the power to RV spaces is turned off when sites are unoccupied. Located at 2167 S 5370 W. GPS: 40.724976, -112.019173
Buffalo Bill Cultural Center
FREE. Overnight RV parking is allowed. Permission from staff on duty required, as permission may be denied due to space limitations if an event is scheduled. Located on west side of U.S. 83 at 3083 US 83. GPS: 39.126640, -100.870640
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.
“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.
Upcoming RV Shows
• 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.
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.
This week in history
Week of August 19–25
Compiled by Dell Bert
1904 — Patent for tire chain issued.
1909 — First race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
1920 — Professional football is born.
1939 — “The Wizard of Oz” debuts.
1959 — Hawaii becomes 50th state.
1964 — The Beatles kick off first U.S. tour at San Francisco’s Cow Palace.
2009 — Ted Kennedy dies of brain cancer at 77.
The late film critic Roger Ebert and Oprah Winfrey went on a couple of dates in the mid-1980s. It was Roger who convinced Oprah to syndicate her talk show.
Bumper sticker of the week
Honk if you’re a goose!
Funny/clever business slogan
“We’ll be there in wrecker’d time.” Tweeter’s Towing and Recovery in Buffalo, Wyoming
Have you seen a funny bumper sticker or business slogan? Send it to Diane (at) RVtravel.com
Joke of the Week
Two guys are in the bush hunting and get lost. The first guy asks, “What should we do?” The second guy says, “The international distress signal is to fire three times into the air.” So they do it. But no help arrives. The first guy asks, “What now?” The second guy says, “Shoot three more.” And so they do. Still, no help. A day later the first guy asks again, “Now what?” The second guy says, “Let’s shoot three more.” The first guy says, “I sure hope it works this time. We’re down to our last three arrows.” —Thanks to George Bliss!
Random RV Thought
Traveling or even living full-time in an RV may make you realize that you can live comfortably in a much smaller space than in a traditional home. The thought may strike you that “I really don’t need all the stuff back home because what is most important to me is right here.” Face it, in an RV, you eat just as well, you sleep just as well, you dress just as well (if you choose) and you are just as warm or cool as you choose to be. And with an RV, when you get tired of the view out your window, you can easily move to a new one.
“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.” —Charles Kuralt
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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