Wednesday, November 29, 2023


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 808


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

Issue 808 • Week of August 26–September 1, 2017

Editor’s corner  
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

Heading south to see the total eclipse. Hardly any traffic.

Traffic forecasts were ominous before the eclipse on roads heading into the “path of totality,” in our case near Casper, Wyoming. Gail and I were 100 miles north in Buffalo, where 97 percent of the sun would be covered. We planned to stay put, out of the traffic. Ninety-seven percent sounded good to me.

A few of our eclipse neighbors.

Then reader Lew McCool wrote and said seeing a total eclipse and a near-total eclipse was like the difference between “death and near death.” That made sense. So unless the traffic was simply awful, we would head south to see the full show.

Monday morning, I-25 was almost deserted — so much for the traffic predictions. So Gail and I hopped into our car and motored south about 80 miles to just north of Casper, where the sun would totally disappear at 11:42 a.m. As we drove, the sky darkened.

Thirty minutes before the climactic moment, we pulled off the Interstate on a bluff above the road, joining another 100 excited eclipse observers.

At about 11:30, the sky got very dark, then darker and then it was black — amazing! What an odd feeling! And then, just like that, it was daylight again. I wanted an instant replay, but that won’t happen again in the United States until 2024.

Lit-up cattle trucks head back onto I-25 toward Casper, moments after the sun reappeared.

Are you headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the big RV show that begins Sept. 13? It’s a big deal and draws massive crowds. I’ve attended about a half-dozen times, and Gail and I will be there this year. We ran into many RV Travel readers last year, but it was hit and miss. This year we have reserved the “Locker Room” on Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. So please stop by. Gail and I will be joined both days by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor. Our RV electricity columnist Mike Sokol should be there, too.
* * *
If you missed Thursday’s Great RV Accessories Newsletter, please take a minute to read it. My daughter Emily wrote the lead story on a danger that awaits anyone who uses a BBQ grill. I bet you never thought of this. Please sign up to receive the email alert for each new issue of this informative monthly newsletter.

U.S. 26 in Nebraska.

Speaking of newsletters, the subject of RV electricity, especially as it relates to our safety as RVers, is the subject for our newest newsletter, which will debut late this fall. Please sign up here.

Gail and I have now reached Nebraska, my first visit to the state in many years. I love it here, the wide open spaces and the small towns where the highways run right down Main Street.

We got off the Interstate south of Douglas, Wyoming, where I stopped to show Gail all the fun “jackalope” stuff in the small community, including the statue in Jackalope Square (see photo).

The jackalope was invented in Douglas by taxidermist Doug Herrick. His nephew Jim later took over the business. I wrote an article about Jim years ago when he was cranking out “jacks” left and right.

I asked Bonnie, who was staffing the town visitor center the other day, if Jim was still making the mythical creatures. “No, not anymore,” she said. I asked if someone else was making them now. With a sigh, she replied, “Yes, in China.”

Jackalopes from China! That’s not right!



My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Fixer upper RV. Make offer (or not!).
Miss you Dad.’ Headstone message touched my heart.
Do it yourself house from a big box store.
Mr. Ed, the talking “elk dog.”
• The fake people of Kaycee, Wyoming.
PollDo you give money to beggars with cardboard signs?

Today is National Dog Day 
Read a message from our staff dog lover (and my daughter) Emily about this day and how you can provide some love to a furry friend in need.

Is reading this newsletter worth 10 cents to you? 
dime-738Our 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.

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

We have a winner. No more entries for this contest, please. The answer is”elk dogs.”
Win this George Foreman Classic Grill. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Sunday. The question: Before they got the common name we know today, what were horses in North America called? The answer is in Chuck Woodbury’s Roadside Journal.  Email your answer to RVcontests (at) We can only ship prizes to addresses with a U.S. Zip Code. Only one entry per household. All entries must include your mailing address and telephone number (only used for mailing if you win) or your entry will be disqualified and we’ll choose the next (correct) entry. Contest ends Sunday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by We’ll let you know if you win.

Last week’s winner: Pat Bullock of Gardendale, Ala. Pat won the Camco water filter with flexible hose protector.

breaking-newsThe big “America’s Largest RV Show” runs from September 13 through 17 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It may be the biggest ever. Last year broke records when 57,692 packed the huge exposition. At the end of July, advance ticket sales were three times greater for the upcoming show than for 2016. 

Last chance: We’ve mentioned several times that the rate for the National Parks lifetime Senior Pass is increasing from $10 to $80. Well, it goes up on August 28, so this is your final warning. Yes, even at $80 it’s a bargain, but why not save $70? Those of us at who qualify got ours. Did you get yours? Read more.

Steve Walser photographed this (“SunShine”), Western-themed inside and out trailer, at the Mt. Baker Vintage Rally in Lynden, WA. See a larger image or Steve’s catalog by clicking here. Photo © Steve Walser

Every year since 2014, a million more Americans have taken up camping. A host of those are Millennials, now making up 38 percent of the national camping population. Source: Survey commissioned by KOA, published on 

On Thursday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated. Zinke said he’s asking President Trump to shrink a handful of the monuments, but declined to say whether portions of them would be opened up to oil and gas drilling, mining, logging and other industries for which Trump has advocated. Source: Associated Press

Minnesotans have been waiting with anticipation for the opening of the newest campground in the state’s parks — at Lake Vermilion. It was slated to open this summer, but life being what it is in the construction world, it looks as though it could well be in September before a “soft opening” takes place. Still, with plenty of room for RVers and tenters, the state is eager to get the new facility open for business.

Longmont, Colo., city council members have voted in a new RV parking ordinance — and depending on how you look at it, it could be harsher, or kinder, than its predecessor. As of September 1, any RV receiving notice when parked on a city street will need to be moved 600 feet within 48 hours or face a $50 fine and possible impoundment. Currently, a vehicle must be moved within 24 hours. Residents can buy a $40 permit to allow friends to park for up to a week without moving their rig.

Pennsylvania state park officials have rolled back the closing date of the campground at Colonel Denning State Park. The campground was slated to shut down for a remodel project following the Labor Day weekend, but delays will allow the area to remain open through December 10. It will not reopen for the 2018 camp season. 
Sue Black, Arizona’s state park director since 2015, has pumped up the fee-supported park system’s income to a record nearly $18 million. Some department employees have seen significant pay hikes; she herself has received a couple of pay raises, courtesy of the state’s governor who appointed her to the post. Some of her detractors point out that some of Black’s record increase in both park visitors and income came partially during her predecessor’s reign. 

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

news524(2)More News

A break-in at a school bus garage has led to the trail of a man nicknamed “Little Houdini,” who has a taste for stealing vehicles — just about any kind. When bus yard workers in Belfair, Wash., showed up for work, they found a broken window, missing keys — and a missing van. Police quickly linked it to a stolen RV found in a nearby RV park; the rig there was swiped in Florida, and evidently towed by a truck stolen in Tennessee. But inside the RV, a woman was found who said she’d been traveling with Christopher Gay, 40, and they swiped rigs across the nation. Gay’s most notable theft was the 2007 rip-off-and-run of singer Crystal Gayle’s tour bus.

Photo: National Park Service

A fire in California’s Yosemite National Park pushed locals out of the town of Wawona at the park’s south entrance. The small town was under evacuation orders, not so much because of the nearness of the fire, but rather, a forecast weather system with a high probability of thunderstorms that could light up more of the countryside. As of early this week, the Wawona Campground inside the park was still open. The park website carried this caution: “Expect poor air quality and limited visibility due to fires in Yosemite. Avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and remain indoors when possible. All areas of Yosemite are open, but Chilnualna Falls trail and some others south of Glacier Point Road are closed.”

Fire officials in Lexington, Ky., are looking for an RV arsonist with high-value tastes. Before employees at Bluegrass RV could even dial 9-1-1, the fire department itself had seen smoke and was responding to a fire that wiped out a Class A motorhome valued at $300,000. Officials have provided a photo of a pickup truck spotted on the lot before the flames burst out. Know something? Call (859) 231-5672 or send tips to .

Last Tuesday, Austin Bohanan, age 18, ended a long hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He’d been hiking with a relative when the two became separated, and Austin was missing for 11 days. He tried to make cell phone contact with the outside world by climbing a ridge. Failing in that, he trekked up and down streams and creeks, finally flagging down a boater after search teams had been combing 6,700 acres of the park looking for him. 

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.

A considerable jump in fees at the White Rocks Campground in Giles County, Va., is proposed by the U.S. Forest Service. Presently a night there costs $4, but could jump to $15. You can comment until September 18 by emailing .

While new Class A motorhome sales may have stalled in the Lower 48, Canadian motorized rig sales are soaring. According to Statistical Surveys Inc., June 2017 sales definitely bettered those of June 2016. Overall, motorhome registrations blasted ahead nearly 27 percent, with Class A units up 14 percent. Class C rigs shot out of the gate with a 34 percent sales increase.

King Falcon Wi-Fi antenna

Come fall, a new Wi-Fi antenna will hit the market, tantalizing RVers who have strong urges for stronger internet connectivity. A Minnesota antenna building firm, King, is putting its “King Falcon” to wing. Flip on the Falcon Wi-Fi extender then turn on a smartphone app. The Falcon, in omni-directional mode, will show all available Wi-Fi signals 360 degrees around. Click on the signal you want, and the Falcon then goes into directional mode. Claims are that the signal you’ll get is “ten times stronger” than other available Wi-Fi extenders. Purchasing one may cause you to extend your credit — list price for the device is $649. (Source: Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.)

A controversial plan to sell out the Oliver, British Columbia, municipal RV park to a hotel developer has gotten a bit stickier. A former bylaw enforcement officer for the town has come forward, warning that town officials haven’t released all relevant information — particularly in not telling citizens just how much money the town would make if it were to operate the site as an RV park year-round, as opposed to its present seasonal method. However, the town’s chief administrative officer says the sell-out is basically “a done deal,” and it’s a bit too late to worry about details.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at

 Tank Sensors Reading Full?
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 or buy at

This week’s Reader Poll
How important is having an electric hookup where you camp?
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:
Do you believe buying an RV extended warranty is a good idea?
Click here for the results.

RVers — Watch out for “helpful” con artists
A few years ago Russ and Tiña De Maris were parked at a Utah Walmart when a man knocked on their door. He said he noticed they had a serious suspension problem with their trailer and just wanted to let them know about it. He also helpfully pointed to a nearby service station where, he said, they could probably get the issue fixed. They luckily didn’t take the bait, but this seems to be occurring frequently. What to watch out for.

Device may transform air to water for boondockers, even in desert
Imagine, boondocking without ever worrying about restocking water even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun. That future may be around the corner, with the demonstration recently of a water harvester that uses only ambient sunlight to pull liters of water out of the air each day in conditions as low as 20 percent humidity, a level common in arid areas. Learn more.

Forty-five RV manufacturers to display at Hershey Show
The Hershey RV Show, coming Sept. 13 through 17 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa., is one of the premiere RV shows in America in size and number and variety of RVs on display. It bills itself as “America’s Largest RV Show.” It covers an area the size of 30 football fields with more than 1,300 RVs on display. This year, 45 RV manufacturers will be on hand. See the impressive lineup.

video camera WPA simple explanation of installing and using RV LED bulbs
This is likely the best video we’ve come across that explains the differences between LED and the standard incandescent bulbs that come with most RVs. So many videos like this are complicated and hard to understand. This one is easy to follow.

This RV setup is seriously big!
Chuck Woodbury found this fifth wheel trailer and tow vehicle at the Indian Campground in Buffalo, Wyoming. The campground bills itself as having the longest pull-through sites in the area. Good thing, because this setup needed every foot. Check it out!

An inexpensive, healthy dining out option for RVers
For RVers, it can be hard to find healthy dining out options. Golden Corral, America’s largest buffet chain, is known for its mouthwatering BBQ chicken, its melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes, and its juicy roast beef. The chain is family friendly and delivers wholesome foods at a reasonable price. Read more.

Double-sided tape and Velcro … How not to hang stuff
The voice of experience, Rich “The Wanderman” explains what happened when he hung up his weather station in his RV. He didn’t want to put screw holes into the RV walls so he used double-sided tape and Velcro, but found out that some types of tape can’t take the heat and humidity in an RV. Find out what to use so you don’t have to learn the hard way like Rich did.

Downsizing The Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go 
Whether you’re downsizing to go full-time or for other reasons, this best-selling AARP book will guide you through the process, from opening that first closet, to sorting through a lifetime of possessions, to selling your home. The author helps you create a strategy and mindset to accomplish the task quickly and rewardingly, both practically and emotionally. Learn more or order.

The readers write — catching us off guard
Here, as edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris, is our biweekly synopsis of our reader responses to some of the hot topics covered recently, including brutal truths about full-time RVing, renting out your rig and, oops!, ice cubes in your gray tank. Read more.

Need a good meal easy? Tinfoil on the barbie, mate!
While traveling does bring out quite an appetite, once you land in camp at the end of a road day, who wants to fiddle around with a lot of meal prep hoopla? So what’s the traveler to do? Pull out the barbie and the tinfoil and let the meal almost fix itself. Here are a couple of Russ and Tiña De Maris’ favorite foil-wrap meals that cook while they’re setting up at a new campsite. Read more.

Fund your RV travels
by harvesting sugar beets this fall

This October, make up to $5,000 working at the sugar beet harvest in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana. The harvest lasts usually 2-4 weeks, but they ask that you commit for the whole month of October. Workers are required to be able to lift 30 pounds. Campsites are provided. Learn more.

Where do you hitch your breakaway cable?
Travel trailer owners have debated on where to attach the breakaway cable to the tow vehicle as long as they have debated on tow vehicles themselves. Dave Helgeson, veteran RVer, explains where and where not to attach the breakaway cable, and why. He throws in some helpful tips.

RV essential tools: Rivet guns
Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, wrote this article about rivet guns while he was serving as’s technical editor. He explains why RVers might need a couple of them, and which types he uses. Learn more.

Newmar recalls Mountain Aire, Dutch Star RVs
Newmar is recalling 1,167 model year 2014 Mountain Aire and 2014-2017 Dutch Star motorhomes built on Freightliner XCR chassis manufactured by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). The chassis battery cable mounting bracket may not have been installed correctly. Learn more.

Easy way to level your RV!
The motorhome packs along two of these and, boy, are they handy! Camco’s RV Yellow Tri-Levelers are designed to raise the RV up to 3-7/8″ on any tire for a more level position. The lightweight levelers are durable and have a resin non-slip surface with a load capacity of 3,500 pounds. Learn more or order for a great price!

Readers’ comments on recent articles

Spotted on a door window in Douglas, Wyoming. Do you have any idea what this means?

Learn more about recent popular articles through what readers added with their comments
Is buying an RV extended warranty a good idea?
Great RV Accessories Issue 59.
Follow-up on LED bulb replacement dangers.
Rent out your RV for some extra bucks?

Most popular articles from last week’s issue
RV Mods: Mod your rig for comfort.
Will beach sand be a problem in the gray tank?
Don’t squat over Yellowstone toilets
Relationship adjustments when full-time vs. part-time RVing
What to do about stripped threads on RV water heater anode
An RV curse: Mold and mildew.

slide-out-covers-655slide-out-guards-655Protect yourself and others
from sharp edges of RV slideouts!
Cut your head just once on the corner of a sharp RV slideout and you’ll race out to buy a set of these so it never happens again! Camco’s Black RV Slide-Out Corner Guards offer a simple solution to the danger posed by sharp corners on RV slideouts. Simply place them on each exterior corner of the slide to provide a cushion zone. They’re made of advanced UV-stabilized resin for long life. Easy to install and no tools are required. Learn more or order.

No overnight parking at these Walmarts
See which Walmarts in the USA do NOT allow overnight RV stays.

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

Work camping jobs for RVers
See the long list of great opportunities to earn money on the road.

sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean 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.

Ask the RV Shrink

Expect the unexpected when traveling

Dear RV Shrink:
We were camped recently in Deadwood, S.D., in a commercial campground. The second day the manager gave us a hospital ID band to wear on our wrist. He said it was going to get very busy and we would need this ID band to leave and enter the campground. He said it was the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We had no idea what to expect. …

Read the rest of the (skimpy) question and the RV Shrink’s advice.

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books

vac-square-755vac-long-755Lightweight 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.

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.36 (on Aug. 21). Change from week before: Down 2 cents; Change from year before: Up 17 cents.
Diesel: $2.60 (on Aug. 21). Change from week before: None; Change from year before: Up 23 cents.

fridge-fan651Keep your food cool
with this RV fridge fan
Every RV refrigerator should have one of these!
This small refrigerator fan from Valterra Products will help keep the food in your RV fridge cool and from spoiling. It cuts down initial cool-down time by 50 percent. Runs for more than 30 days on 2 D batteries. Don’t leave home without this!  Learn more or order from

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 6 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

To begin your fire drill, start with everyone seated with seat belts on. From this position, discuss the different ways you could exit the coach without using the main entrance door.  Next, have everyone get into their sleeping quarters. Sound the “alarm” using the test button on a detector, a safety whistle or a shout.

Courtesy: Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy

Editor’s note: Choose from a wide selection of fire extinguishers at Amazon. Here are links from for smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, LP gas detectors, and combination smoke and CO detectors

Don’t get stuck without 110V AC power
If your RV doesn’t have a built-in inverter, this can save the day when you need to use a small 110v appliance, small TV, stereo, printer — or to charge your computer, cell phone, etc. Just plug it into a 12-volt outlet & then plug in any 110v device that uses 300 watts or less. No need to crank up a generator. “I relied on a small inverter like this for years,” said editor Chuck Woodbury. “It was by far the most useful accessory I’ve ever used in my RVs.” Learn more or order.

RV Quick Tips

jump756Cleaning black tank and its sprayer heads
We recently received this tip from Tim Slack: “Awhile ago I read a tip in your newsletter about dumping a black tank as normal then filling it with clean water, maybe with Dawn detergent, letting it sit for 24 or more hours, and then dumping. It worked well, so I do it periodically. The tank sprayer heads were blocked when we bought our used Tiffin Open Road. The last time I did the clean water trick, I discovered that the water had softened the dried blockage in my tank sprayer heads and they work again! So, thanks for that earlier tip, and please pass along my addendum for others to try.” Thanks, Tim!

Protect the trees when hanging hammocks
If you enjoy lying in a hammock when you camp but (responsibly) don’t want to damage any trees, get two inexpensive, friction-based, nylon tie-down straps (with hooks on the ends). These adjust instantly for whatever tension is needed, and won’t scratch tree bark. Thanks to Wolfe Rose!

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

mice-653rodent-653Keep rodents out of your RV!
The overwhelmingly positive reviews on this make it a best bet for keeping your RV rodent-free. This is the only plant-based rodent repellent registered for inside use by the EPA. It effectively repels rodents up to 100 days with a “woodsy” scent that’s pleasant to humans but offensive to rodents. It’s safe around kids and pets so no safety warning is required. 98% biodegradable. Tested and endorsed by the Good Sam Club. Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

GEN-Y Hitch releases new Torsion Gooseneck Surge Coupler
GEN-Y has introduced its first coupler offering, the all new GEN-Y Torsion Gooseneck Surge Coupler. The GEN-Y Coupler offers the same type of specs you have seen in the industry from other gooseneck couplers (25,000 pound towing, 5,000 pound tongue weight), but with the added benefit of torsion, which leaves you and your cargo feeling less beat up over time. Learn more.

Be sure to sign up for our monthly Great RV Accessories Newsletter. Click 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.

Reader RVs


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

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

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.

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

Charging 6-volt RV batteries

Hello Gary,
Is there a way to charge my two 6-volt batteries with a regular stand-alone battery charger? If so, how would you hook up the positive and negative charger clamps? —George

Read Gary’s response.

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

Which state is best
for a full-time home base?
The full-time lifestyle gives you the unique opportunity to choose any state to call “home.” But there are many factors to consider; a state with the lowest state income tax is not always the best option. This guide provides a wealth of valuable information to help you select the state where you will benefit the most. Learn more or order.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

How to find boondocking campsites

Hi Bob,
I’m confused. How can I tell whether I can boondock on lands along my travel routes? There are no signs that indicate this. But I know boondocking is allowed in National Forests and on BLM land, but even then I can’t tell exactly where I can and where I can’t. And what about other public lands? Help! —Brian M.

Read Bob’s response.

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

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Autumn beckons the RV wanderer to the Oregon Coast.

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

Best-selling RV products and AccessoriesUPDATED HOURLY.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

Campground power pedestal testing, Part 2 (with Reader Poll)
This is the follow-up article to my column from two weeks ago when I asked how many of you had measured electrical problems for your shore power. Here are the results from that poll, along with a follow-up poll. Something interesting resulted from the first poll. In the comments section below the article, one reader noted that a Corps of Engineers campground in Pennsylvania wouldn’t allow them to use a meter to test pedestal voltages. So I called the campground to ask if that was their policy. Find out what Ranger George said in this article.

Sign up for Mike’s new RV electricity newsletter.

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

battery-charger-655SAVE MONEY!
Don’t toss away good batteries!
Most RVers rely on battery-powered devices while on the road, whether flashlights, radios or cameras. But sometimes you just can’t tell how much life a battery has remaining so you toss it to “be sure.” This small tester, for less than $7, will alert you instantly to the condition of your batteries, saving you money from needlessly tossing ones with lots of life left! Works on AA, AAA, C, D and 9V batteries. Learn more or order.

Your RVer Horoscope for September
RV Travel is honored to present to you the RVers’ horoscope for September from Swami Hal, a retired psychic who travels full-time in a 37-foot Pace Arrow motorhome with his considerably younger, full-figured German wife Helga, aka Helga the Magnificent. Swami Hal has won many awards (he says), due to his uncanny ability to predict the future with fairly decent accuracy. 

Read your RVer horoscope for September.

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

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

New GY Endurance only available in higher load rating. What to do?

Hello Roger,
At the end of next season I plan to replace our GY Marathon tires after five seasons and about 20,000 miles and have been thinking of the new Endurance tire. However, the specs are somewhat different between them and I’m not sure what to do. …

Read the rest of the question and Roger’s response.

tire-guage660gauge4Endorsed by tire expert Roger Marble!
An excellent tire pressure gauge
The Accutire MS-4021B digital tire pressure gauge has an easy-to-read LCD display that provides pressure readings from 5-150 PSI. It’s ergonomically designed with an angled head and a rubber-coated easy-grip handle. If you forget to turn it off, it will do so automatically. The included lithium battery never needs to be recharged or replaced. Used by the RV Travel staffLearn more or order.

mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Supplementary brakes
Every state has laws that require any towed vehicle and/or trailer exceeding a specified weight to have its own braking system. The brakes on your motorhome or tow vehicle were designed to stop it, not the additional weight you are towing behind it. Anything you are towing should have a supplementary brake system.

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

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.

janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Crabby Tomato Soup
Grab crab for good soup.

Nights will soon be getting cooler and nothing warms up the RV better than a candle on the table,  steamy soup in the bowls and hot rolls from the oven. (Tip: Sprinkling the crab with a little lemon juice revives it.) Get the recipe.

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


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.

Digital RVer

Our motorhome is a work of art – Turning photos into artwork
Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour, had a front row seat for the Solar Eclipse this week. They had some fun with a photo of them in front of their RV, but Chris wasn’t satisfied with just a photo. Oh, no. She wanted to turn it into artwork — which she did with a simple-to-use, free app on her iPhone (also available on Android) called Prisma. Check out this fun app and her artwork! Super cool!

Learn about smartphones and tablets
… from Geeks On Tour. Here are two popular webcasts: #52, How to organize iPhone or Android home screens, and #122, How do I find stuff on my phone?  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 629-rv123
• West Thompson Lake, CT
• Volkswagen Camper Turned Pub
• Full Tour of a 2.5 Million Dollar RV

micro-2-762Microwave cover collapses for easy storage
micro-2-flatWhen 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.

Free and bargain camping

Hunnewell Lake Conservation Area
Hunnewell, Missouri
FREE: Overnight RV parking is allowed. More than 20 level pull-thru campsites for rigs of almost any length. No hookups. Pit toilets, potable water. Located at 6503 Highway Z. GPS: 39.712056, -91.862571

Flying J Travel Plaza
Spiceland, Indiana
FREE. Twelve marked RV parking spaces. Do not park in truck parking area unless directed there by Flying J. Lot is level and well lit with normal truck stop noise and no apparent security concerns. Dump station, $10. Located on I-70, exit 123. GPS: 39.851067, -85.412198

Overnight RV Parking, with more than 13,480 locations listed, is the largest and best resource for locating free and inexpensive places to spend a night in an RV. For membership information and a demo of the site, click here. A modest membership fee required, but try the free demoWatch a video about

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.

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.

del-545This week in history
Week of August 26–September 1
Compiled by Dell Bert

Miners Hat Realty in Kellogg, Idaho was a roadside diner in the mid-’50s. You can see it along I-90, near exit 51.

1836 — First Anglo women settle west of the Rockies.
1939 — First televised Major League baseball game.
1955 — “The Guinness Book of Records” debuts.
1969 — First ATM opens for business (in New York).
1974 — Charles Lindbergh dies at 72.
1982 — Actress Ingrid Bergman dies on her 67th birthday.
1985 — Wreck of the Titanic is found.
2005 — Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast.

Only one McDonald’s in the World has turquoise arches. Government officials in Sedona, Ariz., thought the yellow would contrast too much with the natural red rock of the city.

Bumper sticker of the week
We’re not old people — We’re recycled teenagers!

Funny/clever business slogan
“Get your buns in here” — Glenn’s Bakery, Gallup, N.M.

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

Joke of the Week
A burglar enters a home. All of a sudden a voice pipes up, “I can see you and so can Jesus!” Startled, the burglar looks around. No one is there, so he gets back to business. Soon, the voice repeats, “I can see you and so can Jesus!” The burglar jumps and then sees a caged parrot over in a corner. It pipes up again, “I can see you and so can Jesus!” “So what?” asks the annoyed burglar. “You’re only a parrot!” To which the parrot replies, “Maybe so, but Jesus is a Rottweiler!”

Random RV Thought
Bring your fishing pole with you even when traveling out of your home state. Many RV parks have ponds or small lakes where guests can fish without a state license. Some parks furnish fishing gear for campers who forgot to bring their own.

Worth Pondering
“Traveling — it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” —Ibn Battuta (1304-1368, Moroccan, considered possibly the greatest traveler of premodern times)

Missing Children Report, August 24, 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 and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)

cw501About the editor Chuck Woodbury has explored America by RV for three decades. In the ’90s he published the quirky travel newspaper Out West, and was an “on the road” writer for the New York Times Syndicate. His book, “The Best from Out West” is available at Woodbury’s RVing adventures have been profiled on ABC News, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and in People Magazine, USA Today and in hundreds of newspapers. He is the host of the Better Business Bureau DVD “Buying a Recreational Vehicle,” the definitive guide to purchasing an RV the right way.

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

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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

This newsletter is copyright 2017 by


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Robert (@guest_11948)
6 years ago

Re: supplementary braking systems.
I was on a workamping assignment just south of San Jose, CA. A Southwind pulled in to register for a site. When they came out of the office I proceeded to escort them to their site. They walked to the back of their RV and started to become very excited. There was no vehicle there. Their toad was gone. Now I had a Southwind RV as well. I know when I am towing and when I am not.

I proceeded to help them by using my car and retracing their route. We drove for maybe 20 miles and there was no sign of their toad. Upon returning to the park, they got in their RV and drove off to find their toad. As it was, they found it in the middle of a farmers field about 30 miles back. The hitch had completely sheared off. It suffered only a little damage.

I began to think of the potential damage it could have caused. They had all the right equipment and it all failed. Now I check and double check my hookup all the time.

Billy Bob Thorton (@guest_11929)
6 years ago

Did I miss this weeks internet sites of interest section.

john hiler (@guest_11895)
6 years ago

Wait – wait, that can’t be true, Wyoming, the most Republican state in the Union dealing with China, I call Fake News on that. That’s not Making America Great – Again…

Susan Smith (@guest_11871)
6 years ago

Could you please post again on how to clean sensors in black water tank. I missed how much dawn to use. Don’t want bubbles coming out of my toilet.
Thank you

Bill Semion (@guest_11773)
6 years ago

This is in re: the electric heat option mentioned: For 9.95, i purchased a small, thermostatically controlled ceramic heater. Don’t get one without a thermostat or it may make the RV too warm. I use it when plugged in. An inexpensive solution.

Bob Godfrey (@guest_11759)
6 years ago

For Mark Polk.

Re: supplementary braking systems. I purchased and use a brake system while towing our Honda CRV but have encountered many, many other RVers who do not and who often state “you can hardly even feel the car back there so I don’t need one” We live in our Class A motorhome and my position, besides the safety issue was always that if I should happen to be involved in an accident and the insurance company found that I was not in compliance with state law (anything over 3000lbs in our state) that they might not cover the claim. Having done more research and finding that most states have a similar requirement is there any data that supports my position that insurance companies might not pay off in the event of an accident? Just curious.

Lew McCool (@guest_11747)
6 years ago

I’m glad you decided to go for the total eclipse, Chuck. I hope you agree it was worth the effort. My best friend from college and I made a pact 50 years ago to reunite for this event. I drove from Cortez, CO, and he drove from Cumberland, MS. We met in Guernsey State Park, WY. It was amazing! We are now planning for 2024.

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