Monday, December 5, 2022


RV Travel Newsletter Issue 809


Learn about RV camping, RV travel, RV news and much more. This newsletter, now in its 17th year of continuous publication, is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!

Issue 809 • Week of September 2–8, 2017

Editor’s corner
With Chuck Woodbury
Chuck (at)

You meet the nicest, most interesting people while RVing. I met a few yesterday on an evening stroll around the Holiday RV Park in North Platte, Nebraska. 

Coloradans Ed Drozdz and Taunya Bunte were just pulling in with their 20-foot, 1959 Shasta travel trailer. “I must talk to them!” I told Gail as she pushed me along at gallop speed instead of my usual slow-poke gait where I stop every 50 feet to take a photo.

We rounded a corner and came upon a large telescope in front of full-timer Chris Fellows’ 38-foot Damon motorhome. A sign said “Moon and Saturn. Come see the universe with your own eyes.” Gail and I stopped for an early peak at the moon. Wow! We told Chris we’d return after dark to see Saturn and its rings.

ED AND TAUNYA had set up camp by the time we left Chris, so we stopped. “I bet we spend two hours a day showing people the trailer,” said a bubbly Taunya. “Part of the time is showing the dogs.” She and Ed normally travel with two, 100-pound Giant Schnauzers.

Taunya invited me inside. It looks original — lots of wood, old stove — but it’s tricked out in an invisible sorta way. A microwave is hidden inside a cupboard. An air conditioner is also hidden. There’s a hot-water-on-demand system, a new fridge, and the electrical system is upgraded from 15 to 30 amps.

Sign on the Shasta’s door

Their 20-foot 1959 model came with a toilet and shower (shorter models did not). Oddly, there was a black water tank and drain, but no tank for the gray water. Ed and Taunya carry a portable container to keep the gray water from draining onto the ground, as it would have back in 1959 when such a practice was acceptable.

AT 9:30 WE JOINED A SMALL CROWD in darkness around Chris’ 12-inch telescope. He told me more about it, but it was Greek to me. All I can say is, it was big (400 pounds altogether) and impressive.

Chris travels alone these days. A few years ago his wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was only in her late 40s and had no symptoms of anything wrong. The doctors said she had a couple of years left. So she and Chris sold their Michigan home, bought the motorhome and had two wonderful years together on the road.

I asked Chris if he purchased the telescope as a way to meet people. “It was my sole motivation,” he said. In the last few months, he’s set it up at about 30 RV parks, where people flock to it at night to observe the heavens. “It surprises me how few people have looked through a telescope,” he said.

On this evening, not only were Saturn’s rings visible but also its largest moon, Titan. Altogether Saturn has 62 confirmed moons. Titan is about half the size of Earth, almost the size of Mars. Chris moved the telescope around to show different celestial objects including two double stars. One was red, the other blue — the blue one much hotter than the red. A half dozen people took turns peeking through the telescope as Chris delighted in answering questions.

I asked Chris if he was interested in writing a column about astronomy for RV Travel. He said he would give it a try. I hope so. There is so much out there, and it’s so fascinating. You can visit Chris on Facebook by clicking here.



Like most Americans, my staff and I are saddened by the terrible hardship created by Hurricane Harvey to the people of Houston and surrounding areas. We have donated $250 to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts. We know it’s very little in the big picture, but we’re glad to pitch in to help those who are suffering. Learn about the many organizations helping with the relief effort that could use your help.

Are you headed to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for the big RV show that begins Sept. 13? Gail and I will be there again this year. We’ve reserved the “Locker Room” on Thursday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon for an informal RV Travel meetup. Please stop by. Gail and I will be joined both days by Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor. Our RV electricity columnist, Mike Sokol, will be on hand Thursday, and maybe Saturday. We’d love to meet you!

My Roadside Journal
(about whatever is on my mind, not necessarily RV-related)
Do you have a last name? What’s wrong with you?
It’s amazing how far women’s rights have come!

My daughter, Emily, our new staff writer, is an amazing cook and a lover of all things food. So when she suggested we start a feature where our readers contribute their favorite RVing recipes, we jumped. Great idea! If you have some favorite recipes for preparing in your RV that you would like to share with other readers, please contact Emily to learn how you can contribute — Emily (at) . Other tips about cooking in an RV will also be appreciated.

back-768•Did you miss last week’s RV Travel? Read it here.
Directory of back issues.
Support this newsletter with a voluntary subscription.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 8.34.46 AM

Comprehensive list of
RV-related recalls for August

The list of latest recalls on RVs and other vehicles and/or products of interest to RVers has been released by the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The list includes models from Forest River, Heartland, Keystone, Newmar, and others — plus other vehicles commonly used by RVers. Is your RV or other vehicle on the list? Find out here.

Beware of scam that impersonates IRS, FBI
The Internal Revenue Service is warning people to avoid a new phishing scheme that impersonates the IRS and the FBI as part of a ransomware scam to take computer data hostage. Important!

We have a winner. No more entries for this contest, please. The answer is 1900.
Win this cool Mini Drone
. The winner will be chosen randomly out of all correct entries received by noon (Pacific), Monday. The question (SEE PHOTO): About what year would this phonograph have been the latest and greatest? 1875, 1900 or 1925? (Answer is below if you want to “cheat”!) 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 Monday at noon (Pacific), at which time a winner will be selected by We’ll let you know if you win.

Last week’s winner: John Whitney, of Inverness, Florida. He won the ever-popular George Foreman Classic Grill.


RV manufacturers are whooping it up as they analyze shipping numbers for the month of July. According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the month recorded the largest movement of units in four decades. Overall, 32,936 RVs moved from manufacturers to dealers, up 16 percent from last year. Towables took the lead with 28,996 rigs, up 17 percent. Motorhomes trailed far behind at 3,940 rigs, up more than 10 percent, which included Class B “van conversion” units.

RV club Escapees, headquartered in Livingston, Texas, reports that life goes on despite Hurricane Harvey. All guests and residents in Livingston are reported to be safe, but flooding has stopped delivery of postal service mail temporarily — it may have resumed by the time you read this post. Headquarters offices were closed for a few days in the interest of staff safety.

A state-wide ban on campfires in Oregon state parks has been lifted, with exceptions. Parks officials say campfires in designated fire rings are okay, provided no other local fire restrictions apply. Local and regional fire restrictions remain in effect in many state parks, and restrictions from other authorities often apply to state parks as well. Conditions and situations change quickly, so always check for new restrictions. Learn more.

There is an outdoor burn ban in northwest Washington state as of Friday. “The ban applies to all outdoor burning including recreation fires on state forests, state parks and forestlands under DNR fire protection within Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan counties,” the Washington State Department of Natural Resources said in a news release. “This ban also includes all outdoor fires on improved lands under county jurisdiction.” Fires powered by gas or propane stoves are allowed during this ban, it said.

Campfire restrictions for Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest in Washington state are in effect as of Friday, but gas camp stoves are allowed. Also effective Friday, campfires or the ignition of anything other than stoves or grills solely fueled by liquid petroleum fuels are banned in all portions of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex.

Photo: BLM Nevada

Fees could be going up in Nevada’s Red Rock National Conservation Area. The Bureau of Land Management is taking comments on a proposal that would increase entrance fees from the current $7 to $15 in 2018, and up again in 2023 to $20. Camping fees are also on the block, with the present $15 hiking to $20 next year, and $25 in 2023. Comments should be sent to

For the second year, there’s a big stink at the New York State Fairgrounds RV park. The stink is the foul smell of RV sewage as RVing fairgoers try to hook their drain hoses to park drains that are four to six inches higher than the surrounding parking area. As any plumber knows, sewage doesn’t run uphill. Last year the newly minted RV campground came under fire for the higher-than-ground sewage ports, and officials promised that the lot would be raised. They did raise it — a couple of inches. Compounding the problem, standard RV sewer hose fittings don’t fit the park’s ports — allowing sewer gases to float freely about the campground.

While many of the much-prophesied eclipse-viewing crowds failed to appear in parts of Idaho, Craters of the Moon National Monument got plenty. On U.S. 93 at Craters of the Moon, traffic was 162 percent higher than normal with 5,910 vehicles in a 24-hour period ending Monday, compared with 2,260 the year prior.

parvshowimagelogoAmerica’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.

news524(2)More News

Don’t feed the squirrels. That’s the advice the Army Corps of Engineers to visitors at Alpine Meadows Campground near Truckee, Calif. It’s not so much to benefit the squirrels, but rather, plague has been detected in the area and the Corps has put out bait stations to slow down the spread of rodents infected with the flea-borne pestilence.

Findings are in regarding the deaths of two Florida RVers in Haywood County, N.C. In July, Robert and Esther Nelson were killed when their motorhome was smashed by a state trooper on the Smoky Mountain Expressway. The trooper, Hunter Hooper, was hospitalized with injuries. An investigation shows Hooper was in pursuit of another vehicle with lights and siren activated when he came upon the Nelson’s motorhome making a U-turn on the expressway. Hooper was able to decelerate from 115 mph to 80 mph before he impacted the motorhome. The cause, say investigators, was a failure to yield right-of-way by the Nelson rig.

Photo: Dan Rademacher on

Here’s a new use for the expression “burn out.” It has nothing to do with working too long but everything to do with the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada. Try and rent an RV or U-haul truck anywhere near the Black Rock Desert when the big extravaganza is near and you’ll find rental agencies are “burned out” by “Burners” headed to the show. This year some who’d had rental units lined up in Reno ended up going all the way to San Francisco to find a rig.

If you were one of the many who laid out cold cash to see a hot eclipse, parking in one of the many ersatz RV parks along the path of totality, you might wonder how entrepreneurs made out. Here’s the outcome for one in Madras, Ore. Solar Celebration rented out 200 campsites at $150 each — a cool $30,000. The outfit “hopes” to actually turn a profit, after it sells the portable toilets it bought for campers to neighboring farmers. If not, the company says it “broke even.”

Want to buy a 2004 37-foot Newmar Kountry Star motorhome with a NADA value of  around $45,000 for $25,000? The rig used to belong to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and recently sold for the deep-discount price to Montana Senator Ed Buttrey, after Zinke donated the rig to his own campaign committee, which did the deal. Some watchdogs are a bit unnerved by the transaction, since Buttrey is in consideration for an appointment as an assistant Interior Department Secretary. Source:

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

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

In line with the latest reports of mega-production of RVs, RV giant Jayco says it’s building a “mega-facility.” The near-quarter-million-square-foot plant is set to begin construction in September, and will add two travel trailer lines and 300 jobs. Jayco’s parent company is Thor.

After weeks of hard-fought debate, Plymouth Township, Mich., lawmakers have settled on new street parking regulations: Park your RV for more than 24 hours on a street, you’ll need to move or get a $75 ticket. This is a “compromise,” as initially the plan was to limit RV parking to four hours. Want to park your RV in the driveway? Sorry, a separate ordinance limits you to a single 24-hour period.

Photo: Russ Winger, Washington State Patrol

In case you missed this a couple of weeks ago, a semi-truck driver has been charged with inattention and following too closely in Washington state. The driver came out of his daze in time to see a BMW sedan, dead ahead, stopped for left-turning traffic on tourist-heavy Highway 101 near Quilcene. Quickly spinning the wheel, he headed into the oncoming traffic lane — occupied by a Class A motorhome piloted by a New Mexico man. The RVer tried to get out of the way and ended up rolling the coach, with himself and two passengers ending up in the hospital. The semi-snoozer yanked it back into the right lane, and mashed the Beemer.

Esquimalt, British Columbia, officials are having to back down from pointing the dirty finger at RVers for a huge sewage spill that cancelled a public swimming festival that was to have taken place late in July. The day before the festival, foul odors and sewage were found on the waters of the Gorge. Officials said they figured a motorhomer had dumped holding tanks in a storm drain feeding into the waterway. Oddly enough, since that time the coliform count has been rising — not falling — as would be expected from a furtive dump-in-a-drain. Now, says the town’s public works director, “This is starting to look like that source might still be active.”

Noisy campground neighbors never get their just desserts? Sometimes it takes a while. At the Bear Spring Campground in Walton, N.Y., the caretaker repeatedly asked a surly group of 36 to quiet it down — early in the morning of August 17. At 10:00 in the morning, a state forest ranger responded. At 1:30, the ranger with backup of three more rangers cited the site permit holders and booted the whole group out. OK, so it took 12 hours ….

SEE VIDEOS AND PHOTOS of almost 16,000 campgrounds and RV parks. See what they REALLY look like before you visit! Click here.

rvbuslogo519Keep up with RV Industry news
throughout the week at

This week’s Reader Poll
Do you usually RV with a pet? If so, what kind?
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 important is having an electric hookup where you camp?
Click here for the results.

Full-time RVing: Safe and happy with the 3/300 rule
Greg Illes, veteran RVer, recommends the 3/300 rule whenever you’re traveling, full-time or otherwise: Stop at 3:00 or 300 miles, whichever comes first. This is a simple rule, taught him by his older/wiser brother-in-law and verified through many trips. Learn more.

RV Mods: Turn your tow dolly into a utility trailer
If you have a motorhome and tow your rig with a tow dolly, what do you do with the dolly when you’re at home and not towing? Probably not much. So why not make that dolly do more? Check out this patented “universal flatbed attachment” that will keep your tow dolly busy year-round. Learn more.

RV park floods with little warning. Residents flee
Dozens of people in Goodlettsville, Tenn., had to evacuate after their campground was flooded with five feet of water. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey hit middle Tennessee with a vengeance on Thursday night, causing road closures, power outages and flash flooding in several counties. Read more.

Newbie asks: How much propane does my RV refrigerator burn?
That’s a question a lot of new RVers ask, particularly when they plan on being away from utility sites. Should they worry that their refrigerator will lose its cool after a long weekend? Here are tips from Russ and Tiña De Maris on how to get the longest usage from your fridge on propane without ruining it. (Oops!)

What to do when you do something stupid. The memory challenge
Read this “true confession” from Rich “The Wanderman.” It, or a variation thereof, could happen to any of us, and it could have ended badly for Rich and his RV. He adds some helpful tips that we could all use as we experience those occasional memory lapses aka “senior moments.” Read 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.

Sparkling-clean RV window screens without water
Here’s a quick tip from Jim Twamley about cleaning dusty RV window screens without using water. Read more.

Snowbird haunts: “Burro” Schmidt’s tunnel
As summer draws to a close, RV snowbirds are beginning to think about their winter getaways. Need a little help with stops along the way to broaden your horizons? Here’s the first of our occasional posts of places to see, things to do in the warmer-during-winter areas of the country. This one is about a man who hand-dug a tunnel through a mountain in the northern Mojave Desert. Why? Find out here.

Should generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?
Check out this short video of one incredibly rude camper’s noisy generator at Yellowstone National Park. Then answer a poll: Should generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?

Texas RV parks open up to Houston evacuees
The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) has identified 41 campgrounds and RV parks with space available for Hurricane Harvey evacuees, including parks in Houston and Galveston. Learn more.

Video: Travel trailer
wipes out after passing truck

This is not pretty. We don’t know the source of this video or the outcome of the accident. We do know that this RVer made a terrible decision to pass this truck. Drive carefully! Watch the 20 second video.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 7_24_55 PMRV 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

. . . soup spoon not required! (Sent in by Wayne Girard)

Recent popular articles that attracted high numbers of reader comments.
Campground power pedestal testing, Part 2 (with Reader Poll).
Expect the unexpected when RVing.
How important is an electric hookup when you camp?
Do-it-yourself home from a big box store.
Where do you hitch your breakaway cable?

More popular articles from last week’s issue
This RV setup is seriously big!
RVers, watch out for ‘helpful’ con artists.
 Do you give money to beggars with cardboard signs? (Interesting comments)
• Device may transform air to water for boondockers, even in desert!

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.

Ask the RV Shrink

Don’t take “no” for an answer when you DIY

Dear RV Shrink:
We bought a used motorhome recently and now live in it full-time. We love the lifestyle but it is causing my husband a lot of frustration. We are in the middle of this new learning curve and we find it very exciting. The problem arises when we have questions and get dozens of different answers. We recently had to replace the toilet. At the same time we tore the carpet out of the bathroom, put in a new subfloor and tiled. My husband was told by several RV parts dealers that there was no such thing as a closet flange extension to compensate for the raised floor….

Read the rest of the 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.

1Horizontal-for-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1 1Moran_Host_NC_D-RVtravel_com-72-pix-1Unique 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 editor Chuck Woodbury.

gas-738Latest fuel prices
Here are the latest U.S. average prices per gallon of gasoline and diesel fuel:
Regular unleaded gasoline: $2.40 (on Aug. 28). Change from week before: Up 4 cents; Change from year before: Up 16 cents.
Diesel: $2.61 (on Aug. 28). Change from week before: Up 1 cent; Change from year before: Up 20 cents.
Tighten up your seat belts — we’re in for a bumpy ride!

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.

extinguisher-697(3)RV Fire Safety Tip  

An emergency fire plan that can save your life – Part 7 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.

For your fire drill, start by rolling out of bed and crawling low on the floor where the air is clearer. Proceed immediately to your pre-determined safe meeting place and make sure no one is missing. If you are worried about a pet, know your animal’s instinct will be to escape the fire. Although it may seem callous to think through how you’d react if your pet were trapped inside your burning coach, make a decision now whether your pet’s life is worth risking your own.  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

Learn about low bridges along your route!
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

RV Quick Tips

From John and Mary Mosher.* Email photos of personalized license plates to Diane (at)

Don’t assume there’s a dump station where you’re headed
Do not assume that a public campground where you are headed has a dump station based on what you read in a directory or other literature. Sometimes you will find it has been closed for repairs or even for good. If you show up with full holding tanks, expecting to dump on arrival, you have a problem. It’s always a good idea to seek out a location to dump before you arrive … just in case.

Save time and equipment when leaving your spot
Force yourself to walk around your rig TWICE before you move, and once again after you pull forward. Reader Jim Wheeler says, “We always police the area and sometimes pick up a forgotten item.” Thanks, Jim!

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

*John and Mary explain their license plate: “Our definition (modified slightly from the original) — Trekking: the act of making a long journey across country, usually for pleasure (and usually on foot …).”

CONTEST ANSWER: The phonograph would have been popular around 1900.

Don’t be without this
Emergency Weather Radio!
For about $15, you can rest assured that anytime severe weather threatens, you’ll be notified, even if cell service is down, the Internet is down or power fails. The staff travels with this small, handheld, battery-powered NOAA weather radio. If severe weather is on the way, the radio sounds an alert, followed by detailed information about the the storm to let you know to seek shelter or move away. Get one for yourself and one for your parent or child who travels a lot. Learn more or order.

Gizmos and Gadgets

RVAA picks Dometic Awning Power Wand for award
Dometic’s new awning Power Wand recently received a top product award.  The Power Wand allows a user to have their existing manual awning replaced with a power awning without the need to have power run from the coach. It is easily installed, easy to use, and the Power Wand’s battery will last an entire season on a single charge with typical usage. Learn more.

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

2018 Large Scale Road Atlas now available
This 2018 Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas has maps of every U.S. state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact info is located above maps. Mileage chart shows distances & drive time between 77 North American cities & national parks. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more.

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 this week’s RV Travel Reader RVs.

Windshield wipers for big RVs
Good luck finding windshield wipers for your large motorhome at Walmart or chain auto parts stores. One place where you will find them is at Winter is on the way, and you should be replacing your wiper blades now to be ready for the rains. Check out blades for large windshields here. For all other vehicles, click here.

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

Advantages of AGM batteries in motorhome

Dear Gary,
I’m thinking my coach batteries may need replacing within the year. I asked my RV dealer whether AGM batteries are a good idea. Currently it has the older flooded-cell type that came from the factory (two chassis batteries and three house batteries). The answer I got from my dealer was to stick with the technology it came with and not switch to AGMs. Just so you know, I have a 2004 motorhome with a three-stage charger. I’d be interested in your comments and advice. —Jon

Read Gary’s response.

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

“The” guide to services at Interstate exits
Never take a wrong exit off an Interstate highway again. The 2017 Next Exit lists every exit along every Interstate and details exactly what you will find at each: gas stations (including if they offer diesel), campgrounds, truck stops, casinos, laundries, retail stores (by name), shopping malls, factory outlet malls, drug stores, hospitals, rest areas & more. Very helpful even if you have a GPS. Learn more or order.

Our favorite products for RVers at Check ’em out.

bob-d-med399Ask BoondockBob
with Bob Difley

Thinking of camp hosting? Here’s how

Hi Bob,
We’ve stayed at a couple of Forest Service campgrounds and like them very much, especially the space, plants and trees surrounding each site. In one of them, there was a camp host that seemed to be in charge and kept the campground neat and tidy. How does one get such a position and what is expected of a host? —Mike and Mary

Read Bob’s response.

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

Read the most recent BoondockBob Blog post: Boondocking tips: Getting away from it all without the angst and stress. Watch a short video by Bob Difley regarding preserving our National Monuments.

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

Soap and water won’t work!
Easily remove bugs, tar, sap & grease

Tarminator Tar & Sap Remover breaks down the complex molecules found in tar and other sticky materials. The unique MicroActive cleaning technology gives Tarminator unequaled ability to remove even baked-on tar, grease, sap, and asphalt. Soap and water just won’t do it! Free shipping with Prime!
Learn more or order.

RV Electricity
with Mike Sokol

What’s a ground loop tester and do I need one?

Hey Mike,
I’ve read in several of your posts on various sites that you recommend a Ground Impedance Tester as the “Gold Standard.” What exactly is it and what does it cost? Should I use one for my own testing? —Stan B.

Read Mike’s response.


Mike 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.

Save your knees
when working under your RV

Do you ever need to reach under your RV to grab something, adjust something, add air to a tire, or remove a leveling block? If you’re parked on dirt, gravel, hot pavement or other uncomfortable surfaces, your knees can take a beating! This kneeler pad, for about $7, will save the day. The staff uses its pad all the time. Learn more or order

Your RVer Horoscopes for September
Did you miss Swami Hal’s RVer horoscopes for September in last week’s newsletter? No problem. He anticipated that (he’s good!) so you have another chance to check ’em out here.

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.

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Why does a sidewall “blow out” when you run on low inflation?

Can you explain why, when the tire pressure drops below a rating for a tire, that the sidewall of the tire blows out with great force? What pressure drop will cause this type of damage? When the tire blew it had enough force to damage the motorhome with the rapid escape of air that made a large bang when it blew. Read Roger’s answer.

Graphite keeps your locks working
Keep your RV’s locks (and other locks, too) working the way they should. This product from AGS will keep them lubricated and working smoothly and will guard against sticking and dirt buildup. Also reduces wear and corrosion. This should be essential equipment on all RVs. Learn more or order.

mark522RV Tech Tips
from Mark Polk

Driving in bad weather
Avoid driving or pulling your RV during bad weather and high winds. Because of the size and mass of RVs it can be extremely dangerous to travel during periods of high winds. It’s better to get to your destination one day later than to risk traveling in bad weather.

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

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.

janet1The RV Kitchen
with Janet Groene

Journey Bread
Speaking of emergency foods.

Even if you have nothing else to eat, this hearty fruit-and-nut cake? bread? snack? will give you sustenance. It freezes well, so it’s ideal to have on hand for quick getaways to the campground. This is best made with an electric mixer, so think of it as a bake-and-take camping food. 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.

RV Short Stop

An afternoon in historic downtown Juneau

It’s getting toward the end of the RV travel season in Alaska; however, many visitors still crowd the streets of Juneau’s historic district. Learn about Juneau’s interesting history and a couple of the town’s most popular attractions: the Mount Roberts Tramway and the Red Dog Saloon. Read Julianne G. Crane’s article.

Good reading from 629-rv123
• George Washington State Park, RI
• Airstream Tommy Bahama SE Trailer
• Solar Powered Volkswagen

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.

Free and bargain camping

Dallas County Fairgrounds
Adel, Iowa
$10 to $14: More than 100 sites. Dry camp ($10) or a site with electricity (30 and 50 amp) for $14. From I-80, take exit 110 north on U.S. 160 for five miles through town. Turn left on Fairgrounds Road. GPS: 41.626720, -94.023600

Cracker Barrel #544
Columbia, Tennessee

FREE. Overnight parking okay. Get permission from store. Park in one of three marked bus/RV spaces behind store. Lighted, level, should be quiet. Take exit 46 off I-65, then west on U.S. 412 for about half a mile. GPS: 35.641910, -86.900650

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


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.

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

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.

del-545This week in history
Week of September 2–8
Compiled by Dell Bert

RVing is so popular that an RV is featured on Nebraska’s state road map.

1896 — Electric car wins first auto race in the U.S.
1936 — Buddy Holly is born.
1957 — Ford Motor Company unveils the Edsel.
1964 — “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals tops U.S. pop charts.
1997 — 2.5 billion TV viewers watch Princess Diana’s funeral.
2002 — Kelly Clarkson wins first American Idol.
2014 — Comedy legend Joan Rivers dies.

Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-alike contest — and lost.

Bumper sticker of the week
You’re not stuck in traffic. You ARE traffic.

Funny/clever business slogan
“Let us steer you in the right direction” — Santa Fe Meat Company

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

Joke of the Week
A hillbilly was driving across West Virginia when a traffic cop ordered him to stop. “Got any ID?” asked the patrolman. “‘Bout what?” replied the hillbilly.

Random RV Thought
When you’re camping but away from your RV — perhaps hiking or just taking a walk — and all of a sudden a cold wind starts a blowin’, and then the sky opens up with rain … well, after you race back to your RV, open that door and step inside … that is one of the finest feelings in the world. Ten minutes later, after you’ve dried yourself off and put on dry clothes, you can relax and listen to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof, and be very happy that you are comfy as can be in your little mini-house.

Worth Pondering
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” —Antoine de St. Exupery (1900-1944)

RV Travel staff 
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Senior editor: Russ De Maris. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. 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. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

ADVERTISE on and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at) cw501

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

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

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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Jack in Texas.
5 years ago

I would also like to say thanks to you and your staff for the donation to the relief fund here in the southeastern area of Texas. I had little damage, be assured I am doing what I can to help my displaced fellow Texan.

Billy Bob Thorton
5 years ago

Wondering where the segment is on interesting websites. I enjoyed that part of the newsletter. Chuck?

Rhalene DeGraff
5 years ago

I don’t know if this is the place to post this question. I’ve been reading your newsletter weekly for the past 3-4 years and my question is this and what other fulltimers thoughts are

My husband and I sold our home in San Diego 14 years ago and purchased our present motorhome right after to fulltime. Our travels were cut to a minimum after the first 3 years because of the economy decline and we started workkamping. But now, since my husband was hospitalized 3 different times on our last trip 3 years ago he doesn’t want to travel any longer. He’s 78 and I’m 70. We’ve found that we’re not able to afford an apartment nor a mobilhome but unfortunately don’t want to move from the state because our children are here. Our coach has another 5 years of payments. We’re at a loss as to whether to continue to live in the rig (Class A 40″ 3slides) and how long they will last for comfortable living without slowing falling apart and costing us extravagant amounts of money. Any thoughts from others that have gone through this would be appreciated.

Fred Huling
5 years ago

Chuck, I’ve been a reader for years and a financial contributor. I clicked on a story about Bill O’Riley. It was garbage click bait with claws that refused to release my computer. If you ever put up another piece of crap like this I will never view you again. This was so far below you I hope to believe this just slipped by also it was not even true.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
5 years ago
Reply to  Fred Huling

Fred, I have no idea where you found that on our site. None of my staff put it there. We appreciate your contribution very much, but it would be nice of you to ask me about this sort of thing before issuing a threat. It’s possible what you responded to was a Google ad placed on our site based on your interests. Google has a reservoir of a few hundred thousand ads that it places on millions of websites, including ours. We block all ads that our readers find offensive (that they tell us about). I have personally never seen or even heard of the message you saw and responded to. So if you can recall the web address of where you found the offensive ad/message, please let me know and I will gladly block it. We are not a political website and I see no reason why we should be sending our readers to anything about Bill O’Riley, unless he happens to write a book about RVing, which somehow I doubt. — Chuck

5 years ago

This comment is for Emily. I have recently purchased a hot pot. Not an electric one but a stove top one. It is on its way. It looks like a new way of cooking and one which would be perfect for RV travel. I have a stove top pressure cooker which I use several times a week. I purchased the stove top hot pot in hopes of starting a dinner in the morning and letting it cook while we travel as hot pots do not seem to need a power source. I’m hoping the hot pot will save us from running through a fast food place before we stop for the night and end up boon docking. I would propose that for your fist articles you look at different recipes for the hot pot and cooking methods that are more unique to RV lifestyle. As an example I don’t know anybody who uses their propane oven in their RV but I use my microwave and toaster oven daily when on shore power. I recently purchased a hand pull blender chopper and I am enjoying my morning smoothie without using a powered blender. There are a lot more gadgets out there for use in the RV kitchen and recipes tailored to the RV life style.

Emily Woodbury(@emily)
5 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Hi Sherry,

Thanks so much for sharing your excitement towards your recent hot pot purchase. I love (love!) hotpot soups and think it’s a very good idea for down-the-road cooking. After you’ve tried your new kitchen gadget out, write me an email at and maybe we’ll feature the recipe you used! We’d love to hear how it works out.

Thanks, Sherry. Take care and happy cooking!


Kurt Shoemaker
5 years ago

I recently had a problem where my slide-out shifted. I checked out a “How to” videos and got my brother-in-law to assist me. First thing we found was that three out of four adjustment bolts were loose on both sides of the slider. In checking the assembly we found there was no lock washer or locking nut used by the manufacturer.
I contacted Forest River by e-mail and a couple days later I get a reply telling me that all RV’s rattle things loose. Owners should go around and check nuts and bolts like they would lug nuts on the wheels.
I understand preventive maintenance and I am always checking this and adjust that but to think owners should have to climb under their RV to check every nut and bolt sounds crazy to me.

C.B. Sheward
5 years ago

After giving it much thought, we need to stop the barking dogs after 8:00 p.m

5 years ago

Should generators be allowed in National Parks? The example given of a surging generator unattended is NOT fair. I never do that. And my Yamaha is pretty quiet- compared to BARKING DOGS. If we want to ban generators them how about proving electrical hookup?

Elaine Jones
5 years ago

Great paper love reading it.lots of good ideas.

Lee Ensminger
5 years ago

Chuck, regarding your poll question:
“Should generators be allowed in National Park campgrounds?”
You needed an additional answer selection. I don’t think ANYONE thinks the example in the video is appropriate in a campground at ANY time. However, a camping-friendly generator like the Honda or Yamaha products can often not be heard more than a few feet away. I would support a rule of only using camping generators but not a total ban of ALL generators. There was no option for a comment on the poll page, so I’m leaving it here.

5 years ago

Will you and “the gang” be anywhere else during the RV show? My husband and I can only get there on Friday, and you don’t have the Locker Room reserved that day.

5 years ago

Is there a list of contact emails somewhere? I’m looking for Mike Sokol’s.

5 years ago

Enjoy the newsletter immensely. Lots of great ideas and info

Norman Burgess
5 years ago

what a great newsletter…. thanks loads

John Goodell
5 years ago

Question: What is “the locker room” at the Hersey RV Show. You keep mentioning it in your newsletter.
I love the newsletter and read it diligently every week. Lots of great tips and useful RV educational columns! It took us from ‘want to RV’ to ‘RV savvy’. After 5 years I still look forward to it every Saturday. Great job!

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
5 years ago
Reply to  John Goodell

John, the “Locker Room” is a room in the arena, used as a meeting room during special events. In the hockey season, it’s part of the actual locker room of the Hershey Bears hockey team.

Henry Fusco
5 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Chuck Thanks for your donation to Texas relief. I suggest that there be a list of RVers who would be willing to allow displaced persons to use our Rvs for short term done prior to such need. Even here in San Diego in past fires there was evacuation and trouble finding shelter. My hope is that this also helps stop punitive laws regarding RV parking.